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Day: January 9, 2009

Rafa’s Rapidly Approaching Nervous Breakdown

Regardless of one’s opinion of Alex Ferguson, you can’t help but admire the way that he plays everyone around him. With the security blanket of twenty-three years behind him and the status of being more or less completely unsackable, he seems to have an affect on other managers that utterly disables them, turning into fuming wrecks of men, blustering and shouting about perceived injustices being forced upon them by a Premier League that loves Manchester United to the extent that it will fix the season so that they win. The latest manager to fall victim to the gaze of Alex’s evil eye is Rafael Benitez who, at a press conference this morning, launched into a quite astonishing attack on Ferguson – an attack so demented and other worldly that even those of us that have no time for him couldn’t help but be taken aback by some of the allegations being made. “Mr. Ferguson can talk about the fixtures, can talk about referees and nothing happens. We need to know that I am talking about facts, not my impression. There are things that everyone can see every single week”. He went on to add, “”Maybe (Manchester United) are nervous because we are at the top of the table. I want to be clear, I do not want to play mind games too early, although they seem to want to...

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The Name Game

In July 2008, buoyed by their promotion into the Football League, Aldershot Town announced a new sponsorship deal. From the start of this season, EBB Paper would be the clubs new sponsors, and would have their name emblazoned across The Shots’ shirts. More importantly than this, EBB also signed a naming rights deal from Aldershot’s venerable old stadium, The Recreation Ground. From July 2008, The Recreation Ground would now be known as The EBB Stadium At The Recreation Ground”. Aldershot Town became, in one fell swoop, the club with the most mangled name in English football. We have, over the last three decades or so, proved ourselves to be remarkably reslilient to the dubious delights of sponsorship. Kettering Town started the ball rolling in the mid-1970s with Derek Dougan’s almost quaint argument with the Football Association. Arguments over what was and wasn’t allowed continued until well into the 1980s, but we all now accept that our clubs shirts should be daubed with the logos of some company or other (except, of course, you support FC United of Manchester United, Barcelona – and they now carry the name of a charity) – or West Bromwich Albion). It’s part of life. It brings in revenue which, although it isn’t nearly as important as it was two decades or so ago, still makes a considerable difference to the financial wellbeing of our...

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