Day: December 2, 2010

It’s Russia And Qatar, And The Scale Of The Defeat Means That There Is Shame In Losing

Perhaps the clue was in the faces of the England bidding team as they sat down to hear the announcement of the vote. David Dein and Prince William sat impassively, both carrying the thousand yard stare of men that already knew their fates. It wasn’t so much the fact that England lost the vote that shocked, but the margin of the defeat. Just two votes in the first round of voting, one from Geoff Thompson and the other reportedly from Issa Hayatou, put them in last place. It was rumoured that, before the vote, Sepp Blatter reminded some executive committee members about “certain media” and “recent media coverage”, and it has also been pointed out in several different places that the two countries from the nine that bidded with the worst records on freedom of press were the two that FIFA chose. If the former is true (and we already know that the latter is), what does this say about FIFA’s priorities? This may, of course, be a complete coincidence and all manner of wacky conspiracy theories will probably be put forward over the decision to give the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar over the next few days. The two separate votes, however, should be taken in isolation of each other if we are to make much sense of them. For 2018, the Russian bid...

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Haslam Evicts Mansfield: Will Football Look The Other Way?

What to make, then, of Keith Van Hooghaslam, the Scumbag Millionaire landlord of Mansfield, and his most recent round of pantomime villainy? Anybody turning up at Mansfield Town’s Field Mill ground this morning will have been met by a stark message pinned to the entrance. Haslam has evicted the club from the ground that he owns for non-payment of rent, an irony that is almost unbelievable when we consider the manner in which Haslam came to own it in the first place. Haslam’s tenure at Field Mill was characterised by a tendency for him to look after number one. Mansfield Town’s accounts to June of 2003, published in September of that year, confirmed that a loan of £239,297 made by the club to Haslam, had been written off. The following year, the club’s accounts confirmed that the club had loaned him a further £90,000, in apparent breach of an agreement reached between Haslam and TEAM Mansfield, a supporters group that had bought shares in the club. In total, over £1m found its way out of Mansfield – £585,142 in “interest-free loans”, along with £583,449 to his holding company, Stags Limited, to buy land for an academy which wasn’t built and, in addition to this, he was also paying himself a salary of £60,000 per year. Keith Haslam, we should remind ourselves, bought Mansfield Town for £1 in 1993. This,...

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Supporters Start To Mobilise As The Plymouth Crisis Deepens

Sometimes, we can only stand back and applaud such loyalty. With just four weeks until Christmas and after having been told to expect redundancies, the staff of Plymouth Argyle – the people who, quietly, efficiently and for considerably less reward than those that are in any way the public faces of the game – held a meeting earlier this week and confirmed that they will work on, without pay, until the current crisis that is blowing over Home Park has been resolved one way or the other. They’re not the only staff not have been paid – the players haven’t either after the club’s bank account was frozen earlier this week. The problems mounting at Plymouth Argyle are starting to take on a distinctly familiar hue. With this in mind, it is worth considering how closely everybody in Plymouth will be monitoring today’s vote in Zurich for the 2018 World Cup finals. It would be overstating matters to suggest that England winning with their bid would prove, in itself, to be enough to be the salvation of Plymouth Argyle Football Club – the problems that they face require considerably more immediate attention than could be resolved by this – but it may assist in making the club a slightly more palatable prospect to the sort of investor that we might want to see at the club, and this cannot...

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Mungo S03E18

Heart of Clachmaninshire’s renaissance still seems to be some way off, but for once it’s not for the want of trying.  Even Mungo McCrackas seems able to contribute to a positive team performance.  However, could sinister outside forces be about to derail their efforts?  The answer, inevitably, is yes. Mungo is brought to you by Dotmund (who has pictures for sale and is still open for Christmas present commissions for the next few weeks… email him if you are interested!), with a little help from Rob Freeman. Click for...

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