Day: August 12, 2009

The Most Pointless Match Of The Season?

At the time of writing, the television in this room is playing away to itself. The noise sounds familiar and, at a glance, it kind of looks familiar. Engand and the Netherlands are battling out a friendly match in Amsterdam. This, however, doesn’t matter, and it takes the whole concept of not mattering to a new level. Is this match, the Netherlands against England in Amsterdam on the twelfth of August 2009, the single most pointless football match ever played? For the supporters, there is a reason to be there, though it has little to do with football itself. A few days in Amsterdam at this time of year is quite a nice mini-break before a winter hauling your way the four corners of the country to support your club team. Most – if not quite all – of the players are there. The last twelve months before a World Cup Finals series is the time when the power of the international manager is at its highest. Only the likes of Steven Gerrard can cry of with this sort of match with a dubious “thigh strain”, or some such. For the rest of them, failure to show up for this match might cost them when the chips are down next year. This, though, is football that is of devoid of any context or any meaning. Under any normal circumstances,...

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Match Of The Midweek: Eastbourne Borough 1-0 AFC Wimbledon

My God, but Priory Lane is a long way from the centre of Eastbourne. It takes a few seconds to sink in when you first check it out on Google Maps. It looks as if it’s in a different town. It’s a pity, really, because Eastbourne Borough is a friendly sort of  club. Perhaps they could lift the ground up with helicopters and put it on the end of the pier or something. Such a trip requires a degree of organisation. There had been talk of carnage with the ticketing arrangements for this match, but a telephone call to Eastbourne’s ticket office at lunchtime put me through to a pleasant-sounding lady and, two minutes later, a ticket is booked. If AFC Wimbledon want to follow an example of how to run themselves in the Blue Square Premier, they could do worse than Eastbourne. Eastbourne were promoted from the Blue Square South two seasons ago behind Lewes, but while their Sussex neighbours imploded as they were handed the championship in 2008, Eastbourne quietly got on with the job of organising themselves for life at a higher level. They earned themselves Community Interest Club status – the first in England to do so – and finished in a creditable mid-table position in their first BSP season as Lewes practically fell off the bottom of the table. The club’s reaction to the Setanta...

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