Day: April 7, 2010

“England” Out Of Champions League, Apparently

So it has come to pass. For the first time in seven years, there will be no English clubs in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The manner of the defeats of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United were from three different chapters of the book, “How To Get Eliminated From A Two-Legged Cup Tie”. Chelsea were edged out by Internazionale over two legs during which they seldom looked a considerably inferior team. Arsenal were thrashed – fortunate to find a way back into the first leg against Barcelona, they were hopelessly outplayed by one single player in the return match. Manchester United can, at least count themselves slightly unlucky – beaten on away goals after two very tight matches. At full-time, however, the ITV commentator Peter Drury seemed to mistake “Manchester United” for “England”. It is difficult to exactly quantify this, but it has started to feel, over the last ten years or so, as if English football supporters (except, obviously, supporters of the clubs involved) have stopped supporting “other” English teams in European competitions. Have we grown bored with the predictable precision of England’s four biggest clubs to the latter stages of the competition? Are we jealous of the seemingly perpetual success of these four clubs? Are we just that much more hostile to other clubs than our own? Something has changed. Turning our attention to this evening’s...

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AFC Bournemouth – Football Club Pays Taxes Shock!!!

The more mischievous sub-editors at the Bournemouth Daily Echo must have been tempted to produce the above headline when chairman Eddie Mitchell recently announced that AFC Bournemouth had indeed paid their taxes prior to the latest High Court winding-up hearing involving a football club. It seemed the ultimate good news story at a club which, in unfeasibly young manager Eddie Howe, has provided the best good news story of the last two seasons. Promotion is still an option after the Easter weekend fixtures for a side that has had to be, almost literally at times, patched together, as a result of the stringent transfer embargo placed upon the club for past financial misdemeanours. And while the taxes have been paid, Mitchell has maintained a superficially sensible stance on the club’s financial situation, namely, “We’re not out of the woods yet.” The “legacy debt” which has kept them in the High Court loop wasn’t just tax. In fact, all kinds of everything was owed to all kinds of people after Sport-6’s disastrous year in charge. Ground rent arrears, directors’ loans, the milkman (I made that last one up, albeit without any conviction that I’m wrong) were among a list of creditors published by Mitchell a month ago. Work still needs to be done. Supporters and others attached to the club seem capable of completing that work. The debts up to...

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Would Peterborough Benefit From Stepping Off The Rollercoaster?

The phrase goes, “Marry in haste, repent at leisure”, but supporters of Peterborough United may be wondering this week whether this caveat also applies to divorce. The rise of the Cambridgeshire club from League Two to the Championship had been one of the more understated surprises of the previous couple of years, but this season, in the harsh glare of Europe’s fourth most watched league, the club has stalled spectacularly and last weekend became the first in the top four divisions of English football to be relegated. In the cold light of day, if recriminations are likely to start at London Road, the target of those may well be the club’s owner, Darragh MacAnthony, who this week appointed the fourth manager of the season at London Road. MacAnthony had, prior to his involvement with Peterborough, been involved in an attempt to take over at AFC Wimbledon, but the supporter-owned club told him that they weren’t interested in his desire to take their club over and run it as his fiefdom. He was only thirty when he took over at Peterborough United in 2006 and, early in his reign, made a public statement in a match programme in which he stated that he would get the club two successive promotions. This is something that he did deliver upon, but some might wonder what the point of two successive promotions would...

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