Month: October 2007

Football May Or May Not Be Coming Home

In arguably the least surprising piece of sports news of the week, the Football Association has finally confirmed that yes, England will be bidding to host the World Cup. Well, we’d never have guessed, would we? It will have been fifty-two years since “The Home Of Football” (and that’s the sort of phrase that you can expect to hear a lot of over the next couple of years or so) last hosted the tournament, so it kind of feels right that they should be throwing their hats into the ring, but there are plenty of questions that need to be answered about what sort of tournament that the FA will be planning. I don’t consider it an unreasonable statement to say that Sepp Blatter’s idea of a rotation policy around the FIFA confederations has been a failure. The unopposed application of Brazil to host the tournament in 2014 is proof of that in itself. The rotation policy was ill-conceived from the start – why should Central & North America get the same number of World Cup tournaments as Europe and Asia, if there are only three countries in the region that could reasonably be expected to host the tournament (one of which – Canada – seems to have no inclination to do so)? Much as FIFA may not like the fact, the six confederations that make it up are...

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Hung, Drawn And Quartered

If you heard a clattering noise in the distance at about 4.50 on Saturday afternoon and couldn’t quite work out what it was, it was the sound of the wheels falling spectacularly off the Manchester City bandwagon. They held onto third place by dint of Liverpool and Arsenal cancelling each other out on Sunday afternoon, but it is now surely only a matter of time before they plummet down the Premier League table, leaving it with an altogether less interesting look. Meanwhile, Juande Ramos must be wondering what he has let himself in for as Spurs lost at home yet again, this time at home to Blackburn. If he can’t turn things around in the next two or three weeks or so, it officially becomes a “crisis”. Curiously, the BBC web site chose to list the results from the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup above the results from the Football League over the weekend. This may or may not be a reflection of the averageness of the weekend’s League matches. In the Championship, Watford stayed top of the table without kicking a ball, whilst Bristol City continued to cling onto their coat-tails by beating Stoke City at Ashton Gate. Considerably more interesting are the goings-on at the bottom of the table, where QPR and Sheffield Wednesday are breathing some life into the cadavers that their seasons have...

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Your Sunday Night Radio

It’s Sunday night, so here’s some more Baker & Kelly, from the 19th December 1998. It should help to ease the pain of those long winter evenings. 11.30...

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The Final Hurdle

It’s the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup tomorrow. For our non-British (and, I suppose, ill-educated) readers, this is the round before what the FA still (magnificently) called the “First Round Proper”, when the Football League clubs from League One and League Two. Such, however, is the division line between the professional clubs and the semi-professional and amateur clubs that this is arguably the round in which the shocks take place. After all, practically all of the Conference clubs are full-time professional clubs, now. As ever, it’s an eclectic mixture – from former league clubs such as Torquay United and Oxford United, down to Ware (it’s a place in Hertfordshire, not a rhetorical question that has been misspelt) and Kendal Town (yes, that Kendal – home of the mint cake). What is curious here is that a number of the former Football League clubs that have featured on this very blog before have managed to get through to this round, and a couple of them are even playing each other. Two former League clubs are doing battle at the Horsfall Stadium, where Bradford (Park Avenue) – and full marks at this point to the BBC for remembering to put the last part of their name in brackets – take on Gainsborough Trinity. Gainsborough were members of the Football League from 1890 to 1912 and, having been voted out...

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Oh, Is It Thursday Night Again Already?

Taking a day off in the middle of the week really plays havoc with my body clock, you see. A couple of quick thoughts on the first half hour of the Spurs match against Getafe in the UEFA Cup (and I would add that live football on the television on Thursday nights throws my body clock even further out of sync – I’m going to have to stay up and watch “Question Time” on BBC1 in order to realign my mental equilibrium, now): 1. Those big chairs that Spurs have for the management make Martin Jol look like he wearing a long, black wig. 2. Yes, Defoe was offside when Berbatov headed the “second” goal – so much so the the linesman flagged as soon as the ball was crossed. 3. Spurs should sell their soul to the devil (if they haven’t done already) for a new goalkeeper. Anyway, as I am trying to beef up the other place at the moment (and in the process, also demonstrating that I am not merely a one-dimensional football geek), so here’s your Thursday night “Baker & Kelly”, from the 12th December 1998. 11.30...

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