Day: February 18, 2011

Craig Levein and Graeme Hogg: a classic punch-up

This week’s spat between Joe Jordan and Rino Gattuso prompted the usual sanctimonious outpourings about the disgraceful behaviour of footballers, as well as the usual counter-responses from fans that actually we really enjoy the occasional on-pitch contretemps. Both opinions have more or less reached the point of cliche, but like many cliches, both have some degree of truth. Although causality is rarely direct, players do need to be more aware of their responsibilities at times in situations where there is considerable tension – ask the police what Glasgow is like on a night after a contentious Old Firm derby, for example. On the other hand, most games are not played in anything like such hostile circumstances, and while you wouldn’t want it happening every week, a little bit of fisticuffs now and then can brighten up an otherwise dull game. But I don’t propose to analyse the rights or wrongs of it in any more detail – this is simply a gratuitous excuse for me to recount my own favourite footballing fight. (And feel free to add your own underneath.) I’ve seen a few over the years, but far and away the funniest came, not in the charged atmosphere of a Champions League knock-out tie, but in the utterly tensionless cauldron of a pre-season friendly between Raith Rovers and Hearts at Stark’s Park. It was August 1994, Hearts’ high...

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Light At The End Of The Tunnel For Mansfield?

It is probably a reflection on the autocratic way in which most football clubs are run that when a chairman actually seems to be acting in a way that is beneficial to his club and his supporters, it can almost feel counter-intuitive. What, one could be tempted to think, is his ulterior motive? In the case of John Radford, the chairman of Mansfield Town, the answer seems to be, “the good of his football club”, and both Radford and Mansfield had a decent result at their local County Court yesterday. Keith Haslam has already tried to repossess Field Mill from the Stags once this season and today saw the beginning of his second attempt to throw them out of their home. He has failed, for now. After his previous antics, revised terms for a lease were agreed between Haslam and the club, but the club refused to sign it and now claim that Haslam attempted to change its terms. So it was that thirty or so supporters, Radford, Haslam, Chief Executive Steve Barker and supporter-director Darren Shaw all turned out at Mansfield County Court to try and thrash the matter out. The result was a good one for Mansfield. He decreed that the club must not be evicted from Field Mill until the end of next season and the case has been adjourned to the middle of April, when...

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