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Month: August 2010

Play Up Pegasus! The Parallel Universe Of The FA Amateur Cup

This weekend marks the first “Non-League Day”, a concerted attempt to try and persuade supporters of the biggest clubs in Britain to take a step back from the thrills and spills of the Premier League and the Championship (since they have a day off anyway, on account of the weekend’s international matches) and take in the sights, sounds and – yes – smells of their local non-league club. By Premier League and Football League standards, even a relatively modest turn-out would make a great deal of difference to many non-league clubs, particularly the smaller ones, so we are throwing our full wait behind this concept and, to mark it, we’re giving over the rest of this week to non-league football, kicking off this evening by taking a look at the competition that was, for eighty years, the pinnacle of the non-league game: The FA Amateur Cup. In a modern age of sponsors’ names, play-offs and the occasional feeling that we have reached a point in football at which change is the only constant, The FA Amateur Cup is a name that is absolutely reeks of a different age. It calls to mind an era of oak-panelled board rooms infused with the aroma of cigar smoke, of The Great And The Good, decked out with monocles and walrus moustaches, making decisions for the benefit of “The Game”, but which largely...

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Tiss Time, More Than Any Other Time

The recent publicity regarding the newspaper sting carried out upon the Pakistan cricket team during their test match against England and the ensuing debate over the completion of the test match between the two countries has led EJH to wonder why, when something similar happened in football, no action whatsoever was taken. These are the things that people do not know. They do not know because they are not told. “Vince” Hilaire Belloc There is, as you may have struggled not to know these last few days, a certain amount of media and public interest in “spot-fixing”, specifically as regards certain members of the Pakistan cricket team and their agent. The allegations against these men are, of course, both unproven and the subject of a police investigation. They will not, therefore, be the direct subject of this article. What I would prefer to write about, instead, this being a football site, is the incident that came into my head almost as soon as I head about the cricket allegations, not long after close of play at Lord’s on Saturday. What came to mind was Matt Le Tissier’s confession, last year, to having done exactly what Mohammed Amir et al are presently accused of. As widely reported, Le Tissier admitted, in his autobiography, that he had seen fit to bet on a throw-in taking place early in a game at...

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Match Of The Week: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Newcastle United

Of all the cod-psychological theories that envelop the Premier League, the theory of Second Season Syndrome is one of those that has the most meat on it. It runs something like this. Upon their elevation to the Premier League, many newly-promoted clubs will have enough momentum that sees them pick up enough points to guarantee their survival in their first season. During the following summer, however, the challenge arguably becomes even greater. New signings, purchased with the first of that lovely Premier League lolly, may undermine the spirit within the squad of players. Complacency, as a sense of entitlement sets in and the memory of just how difficult it was to get into the Premier League and stay there starts to fade, starts to grow. These factors end up outweighing the actual ability of the players that the club has, and the second season becomes the one that sees them relegated back to the Championship. There are, of course, plenty of examples to back this up. Two years ago, Hull City thundered up the Premier League with an extraordinary run before finding their level. Results elsewhere meant that they survived their first season, but the second proved to be too much for them. They now sit seventh from bottom in the Championship, with rumours of a potential financial implosion continuing to circle. The problem with such theories is that...

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One Leicester Shuffle: The Continuing Adventures Of Milan Mandaric

At first glance, Leicester City’s latest takeover looks like the standard modern football ownership deal. A heady mix of over-ambition, multi-million pound transfer budget promises and “the Premiership within five years” (its been the Premier League for over three years now and still some of them get it wrong). On closer inspection, though, differences emerge. The very presence of Serbo-American former Portsmouth owner Milan Mandaric guarantees regular breaks from the norm. And, more importantly, the real motivation for this takeover has been made clear by the potential new owners. But with so many uncertainties and contradictions focusing the minds of so many observers, this real motivation has been overlooked, almost lost. Mandaric, owner of Leicester since February 2007, has been making regular-as-clockwork pleas almost ever since to investors to help “ease” his Leicester City “burden” whilst all the time claiming that he was “not actively trying to sell the club.” The latest of these denials arrived, on time, last month. “I’m not about to sell Leicester City, vows Milan Mandaric,” ran the headline in Leicester’s Mercury newspaper. But, on this occasion, Mandaric spoke of “on-going negotiations” with “several interested parties.” A club statement added that “(he) has always maintained that he welcome the right partner to help him move the club forward.” And he rounded things off with a solemn pledge. Whatever transpired, “The Leicester City fans would be...

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Wigan Athletic Bingo!

Since their last clean sheet – a nil-nil home draw with Portsmouth on 14th April this year – Wigan have played 6 Premier League matches, winning one, drawing one and losing four.  In the course of this disappointing run, the Latics have conceded 25 times. Eighteen of these have come in the last three games: 8-0 at Stamford Bridge on the final day of last season before beginning the 2010/11 campaign with consecutive home defeats, 0-4 and 0-6 to Blackpool and Chelsea respectively. Times look pretty stressful at the DW Stadium, but now is not the time to lose sight of the fact that football matches are for entertainment.  As such, Twohundredpercent is proud to reveal Roberto Martinez’s Anxiety Bingo! Simply print out your game card and then check off each pained facial expression as you see them in the dugout.  First person to complete their card then stands up and lustily shouts ‘BINGO!’, before claiming their prize!* Click the image for full size * N.B. there is no...

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