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Day: December 19, 2010

Scottish Match of the Week: Alloa 2-3 Airdrie

Central Scotland actually missed out, at least up to Saturday, on the latest snowfalls which have caused such problems to the north and to the south over the last few days. There’s still plenty of the stuff lieing, left over from last week, but nothing fresh, so those clubs that had cleared their pitches in the meantime still had them clear yesterday. It has, however, been extremely cold, and Thursday and Friday nights put paid to most of the weekend’s football programme. Even the SPL with its undersoil heating lost most of its games. In Alloa, however, the artificial pitch enabled this second division game to go ahead. Such pitches remain controversial, but there are now four of them in the Scottish Football League, the obvious advantage of them being highlighted a fortnight ago, when Alloa’s game against Peterhead was the only game in Scotland to be played. Besides that, clubs have found that the pitches are paying for themselves through the income they generate from being hired out. Artificial pitches remain banned in all the major leagues in England, as up here in the SPL, who had a bad experience with Dunfermline’s pitch between 2003 and 2005. Although opinions still vary on that qualities of that pitch, the consensus was very much against it, and it seems that Dunfermline backed the wrong horse – there were various competing...

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Match Of The Week: Ipswich Town 3-0 Leicester City

Winter came to visit us at the end of last week, and the out-stretching of his boney fingers was more like that of the Grim Reaper than of Jack Frost, knocking out game after game of the last weekend of matches prior to Christmas. As the day progressed, it soon became clear that very few would escape his wrath. Even a couple of the matches that managed to start didn’t reach completion and, somewhere in London, television executives were panicking. Chelsea and Manchester United’s weekend showdown and the Black Country derby between Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion, a duo of Sunday fixtures that would have been more than worth avoiding the horrors of Christmas shopping for, both fell foul of the weather. One might have forgiven Ipswich Town for hiring a clutch of snow machines, placing them carefully upon the roofs of the stands at Portman Road and gesturing to the visiting broadcasters that there was no way on earth that this match could take place. Ipswich’s recent form has been dismal – six successive defeats that has seen them slide down the Championship table – which has been accompanied by a soundtrack of a succession of press conferences from manager Roy Keane that have given the impression of him almost trying to goad the directors of the club into trying to sack him. A free Saturday evening...

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Time To Change The Guard At Port Vale?

Sheffield Wednesday supporters will recognise the plot. Against a backdrop of declining fortunes for Port Vale’s team, including getting out of a division of the Football League at the wrong end, their directors said they were embarking on a search for “investment” to stem financial losses, reverse on-field trends and get the club back to its rightful place in English football. But the “investor(s)” had to have the “best interests of the club at heart.” So, despite years of searching, the board – or at least a majority of it – have found increasingly ‘unorthodox’ ways of rejecting every investment proposal received. Both sagas have had a cast of thousands, including speculative bidders and people you’ve heard of (famous Vale fans including a perennial World Darts champion and a singer in a popular beat combo). Port Vale’s board also appear to be on its last legs, with the prospect of a convoluted, divisive club share structure being swept away by the multi-million pound swagger of a new 100% owner and the prospect of a happy ending. Although, as at Wednesday – where the takeover by ex-Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric was headlined by one cynic “Tax evader buys tax evaders” – events may yet turn again. Vale went into administration in 2002 with debts estimated at £2m. That was a lot of money in those days. And it still is...

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