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Month: November 2010

Panorama And The World Cup: The Press Speeks Its Branes

“Brainless, Betraying, Cretinous”, screamed The Sun this morning, and so it was that their much-anticipated slating of the BBC after last night’s Panorama began. It took a twin-headed approach – firstly, an apparent “voice of the fans” piece of garbage which was either written by or ghost-written for Ian Wright. It is an article so colossally stupid that, if Wright didn’t write it himself, he might want to have a word with his lawyers about some of the thoughts put forward in it in his name. Quite frankly, they make him sound like somebody that doesn’t have the first idea of what he is talking about above and beyond standing on the sidelines, wrapped in a St Georges Flag and shouting incomprehensibly – something that may sound familiar to anyone that has watched British television coverage of major football tournaments over the last ten or twelve years, or so. Wright’s key contention doesn’t seem to be that the BBC were uncovering corruption within FIFA, rather that they were uncovering the wrong sort of corruption. “I thought the investigator was going to uncover proof of corruption in terms of the Russian or Portuguese and Spanish bids giving bribes to FIFA executive committee members ahead of this week’s vote”, he says, “but there was nothing of the sort”. It doesn’t say a great deal for Wright’s scruples if he is only...

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Panorama: The Right Programme At The Right Time

Have we completely missed the point?  I watched investigative journalist Andrew Jennings’ Panorama programme on extensive bribe-taking among high-ranking FIFA executive committee members (unlike England 2018 bid chief Andy Anson, it would seem). So I find it hard to imagine that any of those named would vote for England to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and I doubt whether England will “get” any World Cup in the lifetime of Sepp Blatter or his fellow-travellers in the FIFA hierarchy – present and future.  But is that really the criteria by which we should be judging the programme? Over the last few days and weeks, the key question amongst many fans and journalists seems to have been, “will exposing a significant proportion of FIFA’s executive committee as bribe-takers mean that these bribe-takers won’t vote for us to have the 2018 World Cup?”, and I strongly believe it is the wrong question.  Jennings’ programme was a good one, albeit with one David Mellor-sized flaw. It contained the new allegations which would justify the airing of such a programme. It exposed major hypocrisies among key players, from FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter to former sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe. And it put forward two clear reasons why it was in the public interest…and in the public interest before the World Cup vote.  Old  The programme’s allegations centred on events which took place between...

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Video Of The Week: Only A Game, Part Two: The Manager

We’re moving onto Part Two of the 1986 BBC series “Only A Game” this evening, and this week’s episode focusses on the role of the manager within Scottish football. There can be little doubt that, at the very least between the 1950s and the 1980s, Scotland provided some of the greatest football managers that the world game had to offer. Unsurprisingly, this episode of the programme focusses in part on Matt Busby, Bill Shankly and Jock Stein, as well as taking a look at the swash-buckling young manager of Aberdeen at the time, one Alex Ferguson. Narrated by William McIlvanney, this video comes in five parts and our thanks go to the original uploader. Follow Twohundredpercent on Twitter...

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Match Of The Midweek: Droylsden 1-1 Leyton Orient

For the intrepid visitor from East London to Droylsden this evening, that shiver running down the spine might not be entirely down to the bitter cold in the air tonight. The home side are, after all nicknamed “The Bloods” and the venue for this evening’s Second Round match in the FA Cup is The Butchers Arms, all of which rather calls to mind the opening scenes from “An American Werewolf In London”. Compared to the giants of the the area, Manchester United and the recently-minted Manchester City, they remain very much in the shadows, and the reality of their position is that their real competitors are the other Tameside clubs – the likes of Hyde FC, Stalybridge Celtic and Ashton United – rather than the impenetrable two of the Greater Manchester area. It’s a crowded part of the world, and a little extra publicity will do them good. Also, in the cold, hard reality of non-league football, the money from this run in the competition will come in useful and, much as we might like occasionally indulge ourselves in “The Romance Of The FA Cup” (© The FA), this counts for a lot for a Blue Square North side with an average home crowd of 400 people. Leyton Orient, meanwhile, have had a curious start to the new season. They started poorly, but have seen their form pick up...

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Match Of The Week: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 FC United of Manchester

The Mongol hordes didn’t materialise, as things turned out. Indeed, anyone looking for trouble around Brighton railway station yesterday lunchtime will only have found a handful of bored and cold looking policemen and the pubs humming with travelling support from Manchester enjoying a pre-match drink and trying to postpone having to venture out into the bitter, lacerating cold. The short hop train journey to Preston Park is followed by a brief walk in the woods before arriving at Withdean Stadium. Contrary to the apocalyptic predictions of a few, there isn’t a great deal more security here today than there would be on a normal Saturday afternoon, though and the atmosphere is blessedly cordial. Withdean is one short step for FC United on a journey that has already seen them beat Radcliffe Borough, Gainsborough Trinity, Norton & Stockton Ancients, Barrow and Rochdale. Many of those that haven’t been able to secure tickets for the match are watching anyway, from a vantage point overlooking Withdean that makes much of the pitch visible and on television screens in London and at the Flixton Cricket Club, just outside Manchester. The club brings with it an undeniable and unsupressible sense of event to the match, and even prior to kick-off all of the noise inside the ground comes from the away end, to our left. The myth that it is impossible to create an...

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