Day: May 15, 2009

Newcastle To Fold? Well, Kind Of.

It never rains but it pours in the north-east. This morning, we are back in Tyneside with the news that Unibond League Division One North side Newcastle Blue Star could be set to collapse over the next few days or so. This, however, is a story of a sudden financial collapse which leaves a slightly sour taste in the mouth, as it seems to involve a rugby club benefiting from a grant from the Football Foundation and then leaving the – considerably smaller and poorer – football club to pick up the bill. Blue Star made minor headlines last season when they offered to resign from the Unibond League and take up a place a division below in the Northern League due to spiralling travelling costs. That resignation was later withdrawn but, one year on, the club now finds itself with a bill for £65,000 that it doesn’t have the means to pay. The story starts with a change of stadium. In 2007 they moved from their Druid Park home to share the lavish Kingston Park home of Newcastle Falcons RFC, a club which their chairman Dave Thompson also owns. The club’s secretary explains that the club was invited to join the then newly-formed Unibond League Division One North because there were no other clubs from the Newcastle area competing in it and that, because Druid Park didn’t come...

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Steve Cohen, Hillsborough, Pride & Prejudice

The majority of our British readers will be unaware of the existence of Steve Cohen. Cohen is the host of a radio show based in Los Angeles called “World Soccer Daily”, and also appears on the Fox Soccer Channel. Last month, while the rest of the football world was paying its respect to the dead and reflecting on how it came to be that 96 people should die watching a football match, he was following his own agenda. Here is what he said: “People showing up without tickets, hell bent in getting into somewhere where they shouldn’t be going because they don’t have tickets, is the root cause of [the Hillsborough Disaster].” “I’m yet to read anybody write in this weekend’s Sunday papers in England, where they’re all doing big commemorations about the 96, and why we should never forget and how it’s changed the game, nobody discusses the 6-8,000 who showed up without tickets and my argument has always been, if those people don’t show up, this never happens.” “[Hillsborough] is a stadium that week-in week-out, Sheffield Wednesday used without incident.” It’s not worth spending too much time deconstructing the above, apart to say that every single one of the above statements is wrong. Very briefly, The Taylor report concluded that there were no more than 10,124 people in the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough that day, meaning...

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