Day: September 9, 2009

Michael Shields Released

The decision to release Michael Shields, made by Justice Secretary Jack Straw this morning brings to a close one chapter of a particularly unpleasant incident in the recent history of English football. It has to be said, however, that it opens a completely new one and it must be hoped that this is a story which will not now be brushed under the carpet. In May 2005, Shields was in the Bulgarian resort of Varna, having visited Istanbul for Liverpool’s win in the Champions League against Milan. On the night of the 30th of May, a fight broke out at the hotel in which Shields was staying during which a Bulgarian barman, Martin Georgiev, was kicked and punched to the ground before having a paving slab dropped on him. Four men – Shields, Graham Sankey, Bradley Thompson and Anthony Wilson – were arrested on the night. Sankey was released without charge, while Thompson and Wilson were both charged with other, lesser offences. Shields, meanwhile, was charged with attempted murder, convicted and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. This sentence was later reduced to ten years and he was moved from a prison in Bulgaria to serve the remainder with his sentence at HMP Hindley, near Wigan, in November 2006. A campaign to release him began in earnest. One of the other three arrested that night, Sankey, faxed a confession...

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Match Of The Midweek I: Oxford United 2-0 Luton Town

We have three Matches Of The Week for you this week. Tomorrow night, it’s England vs Croatia in the World Cup qualifiers and on Thursday night the England Ladies Team take on Germany in the final of the European Women’s Championship in Helsinki. Tonight, though, we kick off with Oxford United vs Luton Town in the Blue Square Premier. Oxford United and Luton Town met this evening as non-league clubs for the first time, and it was an event. The two clubs were both in the First Division during the 1980s, and their subsequent relegation from the Football League have been the result of neglect on the parts of the people that owned their clubs. This is Oxford’s fourth season in the Blue Square Premier. They led the table for much of their first season before tailing off and losing in the play-off semi-finals against Exeter City. The following year they stayed in mid-table for much of the season and eventually settled in eleventh place, and last season finished just outside of the play-off places, four points off a play-off place after they were deducted five points for fielding an ineligible player. Luton Town started this season as the favourites to win the Blue Square Premier title, but things haven’t gone their way so far and the pressure is already starting to build upon manager Mick Harford. Their biggest...

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