Day: August 19, 2009

The Death Of Tony Allden

Considering the amount of physical exertion that takes place on football pitches the length and breadth of the country each year, it is perhaps surprising that that there are so few deaths amongst those people that play the game each week. Indeed, we should be grateful for the fact that such deaths are so rare that the names of those that do die playing football live long in the memory. One of the saddest of all was the story of Tony Allden, a non-league centre-alf during the 1960s, but his sudden death during an FA Amateur Cup match in 1967 also brought the very best out of the game, including a tribute that would have been fitting for any footballer, whether professional or amateur. Highgate United’s FA Amateur Cup run in the 1966/67 season had already raised eyebrows by the time that they reached the quarter-finals of the competition. Playing in the Worcester Combination league, the club from Shirley, just outside of Solihull in the West Midlands, had already excelled in reaching this stage of the competition, and their reward was a home match against Enfield, one of the giants of the tail end of the amateur era, and their Tythe Barn Lane ground was spruced up accordingly for the occasion with temporary stands being added to cater for the larger than average crowd of around 2,000 spectators. The...

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Match Of The Midweek: Wigan Athletic 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Is there anyone of a certain age or over that didn’t experience a little frisson of excitement during the summer when they noted for the first time that both Burnley and Wolverhampton Wanderers would be back in the top division of English football? The press have largely been dismissive of both clubs’ chances of staying up this season, though, and they had something to sink their teeth into at the weekend. While Burnley were being outplayed at Stoke City, Wolves were being supine rather than lupine in surrendering against West Ham United at Molineux on Saturday afternoon. This evening follows another test for them. Wigan Athletic have now been rattling around in the Premier League for long enough to be considered old hands at the art of doing enough to secure their survival by the spring, and they looked surprisingly impressive in beating Aston Villa at Villa Park at the weekend. With its forty-six match seasons, the Football League could be said to encourage flabbiness in its member clubs. If you make a mistake, then there is time and room to atone for it. This breathing space is much more scarce in the Premier League. With eight less matches to play, every match is important. On Saturday, the suspicion was that Wigan knew this, but that perhaps Wolves didn’t. What made Wigan’s win on Saturday all the more eyebrow-raising...

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