Day: April 10, 2008

A Stupid Song, A Tree & A Record Losing Goalscorer

When St Albans City Football Club was formed in April 1908, few could have imagined the impact that they would have upon English football – not very much at all. In fact, were human civilisation to end tomorrow, alien archaeologists from the future would almost certainly conclude that their total contribution to that strange cultural phenomenon called “football” was minimal, to say the least. Still, they have reached the grand old age of 100 more or less intact, and while the future for the club looks shaky, the truth of the matter is that this has been the state of affairs at Clarence Park for the vast majority of at least the last thirty years, and is the state of affairs at the vast majority of non-league football clubs. The club was founded after the failure of two smaller, local clubs. There was only one serious option as a site for the new club. Clarence Park was donated to the people of the city of St Albans in 1894 by the MP, Sir John Blundell Maple Bart. The cricket club had already moved in, and the new football club, run by one George Wagstaffe Simmons, became their neighbours. It is a relationship which continues to this day. After two years playing in the Herts Senior County League and the Spartan League, they went it alone in the Spartan League,...

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The Cure To All Woes

After the excitement comes the inquest, and the subject that has been one of the most hotly debated over the last couple of days has been this: what to do about Arsenal? Their defeat at Liverpool coupled with their less than shining form over the last couple of months or so has provoked furious brow-furrowing in the press. The fourth estate has, of course, been salivating over Arsene Wenger’s every move this season, and losing to Liverpool wasn’t in their script. Having seen off Internazionale without seeming to break into too much of a sweat in the last sixteen of the European Cup, they were expected to march on to Moscow without too much difficulty. The events of the last ten minutes of the match at Anfield on Tuesday night were something that no-one was expecting. The one word that has come up again and again is “investment”. You have to speculate to accumulate, and so on. The spectre of Alisher Usmanov has even started to creep back into some people’s lexicons – a man of considerable wealth (no matter how dubiously gained), who might just throw money into the club in the hope of finally bringing the European Cup to Islington. It is reasonably symptomatic of the current woes of English football that people think that being knocked out of the European Cup in the quarter-finals is something...

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