Month: October 2008

There’s No Business Like Snow Business

It is always surprising when it snows in England, and the fact that it takes everyone by surprise causes a few problems. The trains, which seem to have been designed to only run properly when the sky is fair and the temperature sits at between seventeen and twenty degrees, grind slowly to a halt. Pavements become temporary ice skating rinks, as councils take several days to come around to the idea that grit melts snow. For anyone that has ever spent any time in a genuinely cold climate, one in which snow is considered to be a part of life that one simply has to get on with, it is a most unedifying sight. It is all the more surprising when it snows and it isn’t January or February. This is precisely what happened earlier this week, when an unseasonal (and, it would appear, completely unexpected) cold front brought snow to the South Midlands, the Chilterns and parts of East Anglia, leading to the abandonment of four matches in the Football League. It wasn’t ever thus. Look back at the black and white photographic archives of any football club, and you will find plenty of pictures of semi-frozen footballers running around on pitches covered in anything up to three or four inches of snow, seemingly oblivious to the conditions around them. These inclement conditions may go some way to...

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Match Of The (Mid)Week: Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham Hotspur

What a difference a week makes. This time last week, Tottenham Hotspur looked down and out in the Premier League – slipping adrift at the foot of the Premier League and players so bereft of confidence that they seemed more likely to come out onto the pitch and attach a line of nooses to one of the crossbars than anything else. After five days in charge, however, Harry Redknapp seems, on this current limited evidence, to be working some sort of alchemy with a collection of players that seem to be gelling with such haste that some people are suggesting that witchcraft may be involved. Off the pitch, Spurs chose yesterday to announce plans to build a brand new 60,000 capacity stadium. The inner pessimist of the average Spurs supporter may lead them to suspect that, just they signed Sergei Rebrov at the same time that Arsenal signed Thierry Henry, it wouldn’t be beyond Spurs to build a Stadio Delle Alpi rather than an Emirates Stadium, and the Premier League would lose, in White Hart Lane, one of its most atmospheric stadia, but recent financial results (which showed a net debt of just £14m) would seem to indicate that the club is in a far better financial state to be able to cope with the construction of a new stadium than, say, the debt-laden Liverpool. It is likely that,...

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Exodus From Genesis

Without wishing to blow my own trumpet too much, there are times when I think that perhaps this site should renamed, “Well, I Warned You That This Would Happen”. What is more surprising is that whilst we often see the screamingly obvious about some of the more hare-brained schemes that people within “The Game” manage to concoct, those people themselves seem blissfully aware of their follies, and the havoc that they have the potential to wreak. So it was with Leigh Genesis. As some of you may remember, at the end of last season, Conference North club Leigh RMI were relegated into the Unibond League Premier Division. They had finished bottom of the table with just twenty-six points, having conceded eighty-seven goals in the process. Undaunted by this disastrous season, their new owner, Dominic Speakman, decided to “freshen up” the club’s image. He changed their name to Leigh Genesis, changed their colours from their traditional red and white to white and black and had a new badge designed that looked like it might have been a cast-off from the designers of the logo for the Xbox 360. The club’s future, we were told, was safe. Genesis were due to move out of Hilton Park, which they had been sharing with the Leigh Centurions rugby league club and into a brand new, 10,000 capacity stadium at a place ominously called...

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Frozen Out

Looking at the average attendance tables for the Ryman League Division One North doesn’t make for especially happy reading if you are interested in the well-being of the non league game in North-East London. The four smallest clubs in the division are all from that particular neck of the woods, with Ilford, Waltham Forest, Redbridge and Leyton all struggling to break into three figures for their home matches. The obvious question to ask at this point is how they keep going, and the reasonable answer to this is that they it with enormous difficulty, and with the considerable support of extremely dedicated volunteers. The truth of the matter, however, is that survival for these clubs has been an uphill battle for decades. Leyton Football Club is, after Cray Wanderers, the second oldest football club in Greater London. They were founded in 1868, and have spent the vast majority of the last 140 years playing in the not inconsiderable shadow of the likes of Leyton Orient, West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur. There were occasional successful times amongst the bread and butter years of ekeing out their own survival. They won the FA Amateur Cup in 1927 and 1928, and were regular winners of the Athenian Football League before being elected into the Isthmian League in 1982. The club had merged to become known as Leyton-Wingate in 1975, but the...

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Tottenham Hotspur, A Bassett Hound & An Unlikely Escape Plan

It has been a busy few days at White Hart Lane, as one might expect from a club having its worst ever start to a season. On Thursday night, they lost 2-0 to Udinese in the UEFA Cup, confirming that their slump this season isn’t the result of a sudden leap in the quality of the Premier League. Meanwhile, two hundred-odd miles from London, at the AGM of FC United of Manchester, it was mentioned that Spurs supporters had been in contact with the club’s general manager Andy Walsh to seek information on how they could form a breakaway club of their own, with the support of Spurs’ longest-serving player, Steve Perryman. Whether this information becoming (relatively) common knowledge had any influence on subsequent events will probably never be known. Late on Saturday afternoon, they sacked Juande Ramos, along with sporting director Damien Comolli and first-team coaches Gus Poyet and Marcos Alvarez. To top off a bizarre few days, arguably the strangest event of the last few days came yesterday afternoon at White Hart Lane, as Spurs finally picked up their first Premier League win of the season against Bolton Wanderers. They remain bottom of the Premier League table, but the first, tentative green shoots of recovery have shown. Whether they last beyond Wednesday night, when they travel across north London to play Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium, is...

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