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Month: July 2010

Football’s Latest Pointless Rule: The 25-Man Squad List

Arsene Wenger is today being quoted as stating that the new Premier League rule reducing squad sizes to 25, as being “a disastrous decision for football and for the players”. When the rule was introduced, the rules stating that Premier League clubs had to have a “Squad List” of just 25, with eight of these being “Home Grown”, it was seen as a great thing for the England football team. The idea was sound in principle, as those sides seen as being full of foreign players, and those teams that were seen to be stockpiling players would have to start to develop more English players, and wouldn’t be able to hoard players. In practice, the reality is very different, and for all the hype behind the introduction of the rule, it’s relatively toothless. In fact as rules go, it’s the on pitch equivalent of the Fit and Proper Persons Test. For a start, it seems to be aimed at the larger clubs, in terms of keeping their squad sizes down. However, the larger clubs are already used to the rule, as a very similar rule has been in force for the Champions League and the UEFA Cup/Europa League for over a decade. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and all the other regulars have been used to dealing with these limits for longer than the Premier League have even been...

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The Premier League 2010/11 Previews 4 – Blackburn Rovers: A Summer Of Silence

Blackburn Rovers finished last season in a creditable tenth place in the Premier League but, with just over two weeks left until start of the new season do Blackburn supporters have cause to be concerned that, this season, the trapdoor may be a little close for comfort? They have, after all, had an exceptionally quiet summer in the transfer market and, if the bottom half of the table does feel as if it is likely to be a pretty congested place to be over the next nine months, the dread possibility of a return to the Football League may loom in the back of supporters’ minds, though these doubts may start to recede if the club passes, as it is expected to, into new ownership although, as supporters of many other clubs will testify, moving into new ownership is far from a guarantee of future success. The Premier League winning year of 1995 is now a rapidly fading memory for Blackburn supporters. The club even suffered relegation in 1999 and took two seasons to get back into the Premier League. Ambitions of glory at Ewood Park have long since been tempered by the reality that the money of Jack Walker couldn’t go on forever. The club is still owned by the foundation set up in his name after Walker’s death in 2000, but it is up for sale and...

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Westward Ho! Are There Choppy Waters Ahead For Plymouth Argyle?

If you believed the hype which surrounded the club over the previous two close seasons, the big surprise about Japan’s relatively successful World Cup squad was the lack of Plymouth Argyle players in it. If you believe the hype now, Plymouth’s Home Park ground – or at least the Home Park ground on which they play their matches – will be a multi-purpose 45,000 capacity all-singing, all-dancing bringer of peace (and Sir Elton John concerts) to all nations by 2018. Oh, and the team will be in the Premier League in four-and-a-bit years. The reality, however, is threatening to become yet another one of over-ambition and troublesome debt management. Recent annual accounts have shown million-pound losses. The club’s ground is no longer their own. Their major shareholder’s track record in football and attendance record at matches and board meetings could be overstated on a blank sheet of A4 paper. And, as something of a postscript, they are in League One with…Peter Reid as manager. The club web-site’s announcement of this year’s Annual General Meeting laid bare the priorities which the current board of directors has. There were details of a share offer designed to raise £2million to facilitate “capitalisation of current indebtedness.” These were surrounded by details of proposals to sell Plymouth’s Home Park ground to a “stand-alone property company,” to “enhance the ability to finance the future stadium...

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Mungo 2010/11 – New Faces, part 2

Preparations for the new football season gather more pace with every passing day.  As this particular passing day happens to be a Thursday, we are once again able to bring you news of another new player in the Heart of Clachmaninshire team for the coming season. Mungo is brought to you, as always, by Dotmund – who assures us that the proper strip will be starting up again “in a week or two”.  So, there’s something almost concrete to look forward to. Click the picture for...

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The Premier League 2010/11 Previews 3 – Birmingham City: Second Season Blues?

Between the battle at the top of the table and the chaos at the bottom of it, the achievement of Birmingham City in finishing in ninth place in the Premier League last season feels as if it was rather overlooked. It was their first season back after promotion the year before and, significantly, it was their highest league position since 1959. Those that continue to look back at the 1970s as being somehow the halcyon days of the club (which, one rather suspects, may at least in part have entered into local folklore because of the club’s dominance of their cross-city rivals Aston Villa) would do well to look at last season’s final Premier League. It could, of course, yet end in tears. Carson Yeung swept into St Andrews in October of last year with the type of grandiose plans that always seem to come as part of the package with such buy-out, but, whilst some money has been spent on new players during the summer, the club’s spending hasn’t been of the largesse that had been anticipated when he took over in the first place. This isn’t a bad thing, of course, though, and the normal caveat, that there are still two and a half weeks before the start of the Premier League season, still applies. There is plenty of time for further reinforcements yet to be drafted in. Birmingham...

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