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Month: December 2010

Spare A Thought At The New Year For Ryton FC

First of all, we would quickly like to take to opportunity to thank everybody that has stopped by at this site during 2010, and to wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2011. To finish off this year, we’re grateful to Michael Hudson, who is reporting for us on the subject of ongoing financial problems at Ryton FC of the Northern League. Hopefully we won’t have too many more of these stories next year! Things were looking good for Ryton FC. From a village on the westernmost edge of Gateshead, the club had managed to survive a second year in the top flight of the Northern League despite the handicap of some of the lowest attendances in the 42-team league. There was also the excitement of a run to the final of the Durham County Challenge Cup, which they narrowly lost to Billingham Synthonia. Secretary Ken Rodger used the club’s raised profile to attract several promises of sponsorship over the summer, setting the team’s budget accordingly, but the cash never came.  “We’ve sent letters and invoices to people who promised that they would sponsor the club, but we’ve heard nothing back from them,” Rodger told the Northern Echo in mid-September. Manager Barry Fleming and assistant Paul Brown were the first to go. “Both signified they would find it difficult to continue in their roles because of the financial...

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The Twohundredpercent Review Of 2010, Part Two: Off The Pitch

If 2010 ended up being frequently forgettable on the pitch, then away from it we saw a year which combined the good, the bad and the ugly in almost equal measures. The year began with the faint scent of revolution in the air. Old Trafford was revolting, but would anything come of it? The answer, as it turned out, was no and, although season ticket sales at Manchester United during the summer were sluggish and the famed waiting list for season tickets all but evaporated, the Green & Gold protests can be deemed now to have broadly been a failure. Wearing a scarf was worth nothing while the money continued to flow into the club through people attending United’s home matches. Forty-odd miles up the M62, a protest that was to become more vehement was taking place at Liverpool. The saga of Gillett and Hicks, their extraction from Anfield and RBS’s sale of the club to John W Henry’s New England Sports Ventures was the football story of the autumn but, while all concerned with levering the sale through seemed keen to play up to the notion that the supporters of the club had been critical, what difference did they really make? And will NESV turn out to be little more of a case of, “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”? It may or may not...

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Match Of The Midweek 2: Liverpool 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

There comes, perhaps, a point when there can be no further glossing over of it all. Upon the full-time whistle at Anfield this evening, Roy Hodgson looked defeated, and not just in terms of this particular football match. He was carrying the gaunt expression of a man that is surely now only living on borrowed time and it is difficult to imagine how this situation can resolve itself with any dignity for the manager. Returning home this evening, flicking through the newspapers tomorrow morning, some Liverpool supporters may look up the table to see how far they are from the Champions League places. Others may look down the table to see how far removed they are from the relegation positions. They are, of course, considerably closer to the latter than the former. It is also worth considering, however, that there are still eight teams below them in the table. Tonight, though, wasn’t entirely about Roy Hodgson. To suggest that he can be solely responsible for such a lifeless display from the team is over-stretching the potential of his powers somewhat and the Liverpool players themselves need to take a long, hard look at themselves and their attitudes this evening. The Wolves goal came eleven minutes into the second half, but Liverpool seldom so much as threatened the Wolves goal in the remaining thirty-five minutes or so of the match....

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Match Of The Midweek 1: West Bromwich Albion 1-3 Blackburn Rovers

To the outsider, Blackburn Rovers had always been one of the more stable Premier League clubs. However, since the arrival of Indian Poultry giants Venky’s last month, the off-field business at Ewood Park (covered elsewhere by Ian and Mark) has seen Rovers become the Premier League’s latest basket case. On the pitch, Steve Kean has had a loss at home to Stoke and a draw against West Ham in his opening games, and needed a win to end 2010 on a personal high note. Kean hasn’t looked to make many changes to the team since Sam Allardyce left the club, with the only new face being highly rated teenage centre-half Grant Hanley alongside Ryan Nelsen. Hanley’s presence is down to an ankle injury to Christopher Samba, and Phil Jones’ knee ligament damage, but his performances so far suggest that Samba may struggle to regain the position, regardless of his alleged recent fallout with Kean. Another area in which Blackburn have retained their continuity is their style, with a number of trademark physical challenges in the opening minutes, and even before the hosts have settled, Blackburn take the lead. Morten Gamst Pedersen provides a looping pass to Kalinic, who beats the offside trap and places the ball past Scott Carson for his first league goal in over three months. 0-1. Initially, West Brom try and play Blackburn at their own...

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The Twohundredpercent Review Of 2010, Part One: On The Pitch

In many ways, 2010 has been an unusual curate’s egg of a year on the pitch. With the value of hindsight, we can see that not everything that we might have predicted last January came to pass yet, at the same time, it often felt as if it was very much business as usual on the pitch. The clubs of the Premier League and Barcelona, the aesthetes choice, all contrived to hit a brick wall in the Champions League before the final whilst, in the Premier League itself, league  Chelsea managed to break Manchester United’s most recent monopoly on the league title itself with a victory that felt more routine than it was thanks to late season thrashings of Aston Villa, Stoke City and Wigan Athletic. Yet Chelsea needed a win at Old Trafford and those thumpings to secure the title on the last day of the season. With the World Cup finals came a competition that couldn’t – and didn’t – live up to the hype. Spain were, as we might have expected, technically superb but seldom sparkled in the manner in which we may have hoped, whilst many of the other “bigger” nations flattered to deceive to varying extents, from England, who, like the tournament themselves, were simply incapable of living up to people’s expectations (and the biggest surprise about this was the amount of surprise expressed...

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