Month: September 2008

What On Earth’s Going Wrong At Tottenham?

One of the reasons why we like league football is that it is relatively meritocratic. From only a few games in the season, the league table doesn’t lie. Setting aside aesthetic or moral arguments for a moment, few people argue that the Premier League leaders, Chelsea, have been the best team so far this season, or that Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur have been the worst. We have covered the various goings on at St James Park in considerable detail over the last few weeks, but what on earth is going on at White Hart Lane, where a club that is perenially picked as the club most likely to smash the hegemony of the top four has already been cast adrift at the foot of the table and appears set for a long, hard winter. Tottenham seem, on the face of things, to have come undone due to a mixture of their own poor decision making and undue pressure from other clubs. Last season, what was striking about them was that, whilst they leaked a lot of goals, they scored a lot as well. During the summer, though, they lost their first choice attacking partnership (having sold the third part of that particular axis, Jermaine Defoe, in January), and whilst other areas of the team have not been particularly strengthened, the one area of the pitch in which one...

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Rumour, Counter Rumour & Market Confidence

Another week, and another batch of rumours concerning the financial well-being of clubs in the Blue Square Premier. Fortunately, at least some of the rumours flowing around over the last seven days or so appear not to have too much meat on them, though they do help to perpetuate the understanding (which comes close to being a myth) that non-league football is in a perpetual state of crisis. First, though, we’ll quickly bring you briefly up to date on the clubs that we looked at here last week. On the financial front, it has been all quiet on the Oxford United front from a financial perspective, but things have gone from bad to worse on the pitch. They lost 2-1 at Lewes on Saturday, a first win for the part-time club that had looked like getting hopelessly marooned at the bottom of the table. Oxford remain in nineteenth place in the BSP, one point above the relegation places. Meanwhile, over at Grays, owner Mick Woodward has u-turned on his decision to stop funding the club, and they have played three matches since then, beating Wrexham before returning to type with defeats against Stevenage Borough and Cambridge United. It would appear that, for now, the club’s short term future has been secured (they have taken on a new manager, Wayne Burnett, from Fisher Athletic, along with two of his players),...

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Match Of The Week: Dulwich Hamlet 2-2 Hendon

As September starts to roll into October, the evenings start to get shorter and the autumn leaves crispen and fall underfoot, The 2008/09 FA Cup continues to rumble on. We’re at the Second Qualifying round stage now, and things are starting to become rather more serious than they were. This is the fourth round of the competition to have been played so far this season, and the prize money is rising. £3,000 goes to the winners of this weekend’s matches, with the added bonus of the knowledge that they will be 180 minutes from the First Round Proper, where Football League Clubs enter the fray, matches are shown live on the television and the serious money starts to be earned. Should anyone make it all the way from the Extra Preliminary Round to the First Round, They’ll have made £30,000 in prize money alone – a tidy sum for clubs the size of the clubs that enter the FA Cup at the Extra Preliminary Round stage. One of the matches drawn out of the hat for this round is likely to quicken the pulses of people of a certain persuasion – Dulwich Hamlet vs Hendon. This is a clash of two former giants of the amateur game that have fallen on hard times. Dulwich Hamlet live in a world of faded glamour and constant battles against threats to their...

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Hang On A Minute – Joe… WHO?

Newcastle United supporters have spent much of the last couple of weeks being chippy about the rest of the world laughing at their football club. Far enough, in some respects. There has been a nasty undercurrent to much of the criticism of Newcastle’s supporters over the last few weeks, though my personal reaction to such chippiness would be to suggest that it doesn’t exactly aid the cause for their defence. Now, however, the can be no way in which we criticise their behaviour actions. Because Newcastle United’s owners have decided, with wisdom that could (with considerable understatement) be described as “limited”, appointed Joe Kinnear as their new manager. Now, some of our younger readers may not remember Joe Kinnear. After all, it has been quite a long time. He started out as a youth team player for St Albans City, before transferring to Tottenham Hotspur in 1965, at the age of eighteen. Over the next ten years, he played almost two hundred games for Spurs before transferring to Brighton & Hove Albion in 1975. He played sixteen games for them before retiring at the age of thirty. In addition to this, he won twenty-five caps for the Republic of Ireland. So far, so mediocre. His coaching career started in the Middle East, with five years in Dubai, where he managed two clubs. After this, in a career move which...

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