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Day: August 24, 2009

DVD Review – “The Damned United” (Revisited)

Earlier this year, we sent Ted Carter to the cinema with a paper bag containing some crab paste sandwiches and a ticket for the movie version of David Peace’s 2006 novel, “The Damned United”. The film is released on DVD next Monday, so we thought that it was time to revisit this interpretation of Brian Clough’s forty-four days at Leeds United. It’s not a massive compliment to say that “The Damned United” is probably one of the five greatest films about football ever made, when the competitors are “Yesterday’s Hero” (a dismal 1979 take on a Jackie Collins novel starring Ian McShane as a photocopy of George Best), “Escape To Victory” (which famously put Sylvester Stallone and Pele on the same team and made Stallone the hero), the execrable “Goal” and “Green Street” series and “Soccer Dog: European Cup”, about a football team with a canine centre-forward that inexplicably turned up on Channel Five the other week. David Peace’s novel, however, was something different – a masterpiece of alcohol-sodden misanthropy, paranoia and claustrophobia which combined fact, quotation and fiction to create a vivid portrayal of Brian Clough’s extraordinary six weeks in charge at Elland Road. It’s fair to say that “The Damned United”, therefore, has a more rigorous standard to meet than “Soccer Dog: European Cup”. 1974 was a turbulent time in English football. England had failed to qualify...

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Football, Finances and League Two

The new League Two season has started with everybody financially stable – more or less – but Lincoln City supporter Keith Duncombe doesn’t feel that the authorities are going far enough. In 2002 Lincoln City FC nearly closed down. In fact, the club was 24 hours from having its application to enter administration in court considered when two of the then Board got together to try to secure enough funding to make that a reasonable possibility. One re-mortgaged his house; the other pledged a not inconsiderable sum of money. I shall be eternally grateful to them that they made these selfless gestures, as it ensured the survival of the club that I have followed all my life, and that has had fans from three generations of my family on the terraces and in the stands cheering on the “Mighty Imps” since the 1920s. But it was touch and go, and I know several fellow fans that travelled to Birmingham for the court hearing and who thought at the time that we just wouldn’t make it. The fans played their part too, and not just those who supported the Imps. I spent many a long hour on the net  at work persuading, cajoling and plain begging fans of other clubs to buy a seat (for £10) at Sincil Bank as part of the “Sponsor a Seat” initiative that eventually raised...

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Steve Cohen Gets His Comeuppance

The following article is a summary of events this summer regarding the American football radio show World Soccer Daily, which went off the air last weekend after a sustained campaign of protest by Liverpool supporters’ groups. In the interests of brevity, it skips over some of the finer details of what has become an extraordinary story involving alleged death threats, anti-semitism and even the involvement of the FBI. Should you wish to read about it in greater – to the point of almost exhaustive – detail, I would suggest that you head here. It took four months, but Steve Cohen was finally made to pay the ultimate price for his comments about the Hillsborough disaster when his  show, World Soccer Daily, broadcast its last episode on Friday. This is the culmination of a lengthy boycott organised by Liverpool supporter groups over Cohen’s continuing involvement in the show which ended with several of the show’s largest sponsors withdrawing their support from it, but it has been a summer of accusation and counter-accusation which has occasionally bordered on the ridiculous and ended up involving the FBI – or not – and ended with a bizarre and petulant final non-statement from WSD. Cohen was certainly the target of a great deal of anger from Liverpool supporters. That much is clear. However, after a half-hearted apology (which began with the line, “Let’s put...

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