Month: February 2011

The Seven Ages Of Fan, Part Four: The Soldier

As some of you will already be aware, for the next few weeks Monday night is now literature night here on Twohundredpercent. We are delighted to welcome back Football Hobo’s Alan Smithy back to our pages this evening for the fourth act of his seven part epic which traces the life of the football supporter in relation to the celebrated monologue from Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”, which is better known as “The Seven Ages Of Man”, or “All The World’s A Stage”. This evening: The Soldier. Honour and betrayal – bedfellows of chairmen and their managers, and favourite themes recurring in the works of the Bard. And while he may not have been able to imagine the intrigue and double dealings of modern day football, the course of boardroom affairs never did run smooth. And what of the modern day chairmen? Their love lies in their purses, while Chris Hughton, Sam Allardyce and those other unfortunates on the merry-go-round might rightly think that they were more sinned against than sinning in this winter of  managerial discontent. I reckon Shakespeare could’ve knocked out a decent football play if he were around today, but perhaps he was more prescient about the beautiful game than we give him credit for. If you take one of his most famous soliloquys and look at it slightly sideways, you might find that it was...

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Non-League Videos Of The Week: Blue Square Premier Special

This morning’s non-league videos of the week come from the Blue Square Bet Premier. Last weekend saw the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy, which involved a number of clubs from the fifth division, all of which left clubs that had already been eliminated from that particular competition to get on with the important job of accumulating points in the league. Our first match features Wimbledon and Altrincham. Wimbledon, to put it bluntly, need to keep winning now if they are to get anywhere near the top of the Blue Square Premier table by the end of the season. Their defeat at home against Wrexham during the week left Crawley Town firmly in the driving seat at the top of the table, just three points behind them but with five games in hand. Altrincham, meanwhile, remain firmly in the relegation places at the bottom of the table. Our second match features another club that are battling against relegation, Hayes & Yeading United, against a team chasing a place in the play-offs, York City. Hayes, with the lowest average home crowds in the league, were always going to face an uphill battle to stay in the Blue Square Premier and it is to their credit that they are still in touch with the others at the foot of the table and they currently sit one place above the bottom four in...

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Match Of The Week: The 2011 League Cup Final: Arsenal 1-2 Birmingham City

Perhaps today was a day for burying a few clichés. That the League Cup “doesn’t matter any more” has become one of the mantras of the modern game, but this is a viewpoint that looked somewhat bedraggled as the full-time whistle blew at Wembley Stadium this afternoon. As the Birmingham City players celebrated this most unlikely of victories, the Arsenal players slunk to the floor, shattered by defeat. It didn’t feel as this was a result that “didn’t matter” at five minutes to six this evening. For the first time since before the assassination of John F Kennedy, Birmingham City Football Club could celebrate taking a major trophy back to St Andrews. Birmingham’s previous major trophy win also came in this competition, but the League Cup has changed a lot since 1963. Much as the competition is decredited by its critics nowadays, it remains a competition that has come a long way over the last five decades. A Wembley Final and a place in Europe weren’t on offer in 1963. As such, today is a day that will enter the shared consciousness and folklore of Birmingham City Football Club. The DVD of the match will become a comfort blanket, to be pulled out with a bottle of whiskey when times are tough. They have a fight on their hands ahead in order to maintain their Premier League place after...

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Generous George And Other Acts Of Random Football Kindness

It sounds like a plotline one of those football films – the non-league minnows, who are playing for free, have their coach trip for a huge away trip to the other side of the country paid for by a generous stranger. But that is just what happened to Redditch United this week. Generous stranger, and massive Blyth Spartans fan, George Robson was the one behind the gesture. Rooted to the bottom of the Blue Square North and with no playing budget whatsoever Redditch are fighting very hard to keep their heads above water, watchful of the likes of Ilkeston and Farsley Celtic who have both been lost from that league in the past two seasons. They aren’t winning too many matches, their first team manager left and the average of the squad is 19 (just), it’s not a great time for anyone at the club right now. But George’s gesture, to pay for the first team coach to make the 11hr round trip to Blyth last Tuesday left Reds secretary Tim Delaney, and most of the fans on the Redditch forum, speechless. “For a supporter of one club who pledges his support and money to them on a regular basis to even consider another’s plight is truly humbling and restores ones faith in human kind,” he said. Before adding that the first team and travelling directors, supporters and staff...

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Odd Goings-On At Blackburn And Watford

There was a rumour circulating recently that Watford Football Club were in takeover negotiations with someone who had neither changed his name nor had a troubled business and financial background. These were quickly dismissed as nonsense. And though it is being too kind to take full notice of what potential Watford owner Laurence Bassini has to say about… ANYthing, it was certainly worth a second look at what he said about his putative involvement with Blackburn Rovers, and how “I was offered Blackburn Rovers, as Jerome Anderson is a good friend of mine.” The Lancashire Telegraph newspaper interpreted this as Bassini being offered the club BY “agent Jerome Anderson,” which isn’t quite what the wannabe Watford supremo said. However, what he did say was enough to get fans up in even more arms than ever before about Anderson’s true role at Ewood Park over the last year. Or at least it should have been. Alas, of the 40-odd comments the article received from Telegraph readers, 36 were a sectarian Burnley/Blackburn argument which was childish and pointless even for a ‘web warrior’ offering. Only four readers thought even as much as “hang on a minute” about a players’ agent’s suggested involvement in seeking a buyer for their club. Maybe Blackburn fans are suffering from lunacy-fatigue and are just pleased that the team is playing football again after months of rollerball...

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