Day: May 15, 2011

West Ham United’s Uncertain Future

As West Ham United’s relegation from the Premier League was confirmed this afternoon with a match still to spare, supporters of the club may well be left wondering what the future holds for their club. After a chaotic season, punctuated by the decision to award the post-games use of the Olympic Stadium in Stratford to them, Avram Grant was reportedly sacked in the tunnel after this afternoon’s defeat at Wigan Athletic. As such, the next managerial appointment that the club makes could well turn out to be one of the most important in the entire history of West Ham United, and the question of whether Messrs Sullivan, Gold and Brady can be relied upon to make the right decision is on that is far from certain. There is little for West Ham supporters seeking solace this evening to clutch at. The club is believed to be £80m in debt, with revenues certain to decline drastically as a result of relegation from the Premier League. On top of that, a cursory glance at the top of this year’s Championship table indicates that this is a division that is easier to fall into than to get out of. None of the teams relegated from the Premier League at the end of last season could manage as much as a place in the play-offs at the end of this season and the...

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Match Of The Week: The 2011 FA Cup Final: Manchester City 1-0 Stoke City

For those of us that consider the Premier League to be little more of a diversion than any of football’s other myriad of competitions, it had been easy to switch off over the last few days and pretend that this wasn’t happening. The full extent of the debasement of the FA Cup by the Premier League and Sky Sports probably didn’t hit home until about twenty minutes before kick off at Wembley yesterday. Lunchtime kick-offs, we might have thought would mean that there would be more than enough room to accomodate both in one day, but there wasn’t. Although the match didn’t kick off until three o’clock, the FA Cup final kicks off a full half hour earlier. How many people, for example, missed the singing of “Abide With Me” because Sky’s reporters were still interviewing Rio Ferdinand on the pitch a Ewood Park? Not, of course, that we should expect any more or any less from the Premier League or, indeed, the Football Association. In the midst of the caterwauling on the subject of FIFA corruption over the last few days, that the Premier League had hinged its support for England’s World Cup bid on the FA supporting their wretched Game 39 proposals while Scudamore was telling the press that “There has never been an issue with the Premier League and supporting the bid” seems to have been...

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The Twohundredpercent Play-off Jamboree: Cowdenbeath 0-2 Brechin City (agg. 2-4)

We were here a year ago for the same fixture and for the same reason – the first division play-offs. Last year they met in the final rather than the semi, and both sides were going for promotion. Cowden won it then, achieveing their second successive promotion despite a backdrop of off-field problems which resulted in further budget cuts this year. It’s been a difficult year for them since – manager Danny Lennon left for St Mirren, taking several of their players with him, and they were left to rebuild a new side of part-timers in a mostly full-time division in the attempt to stay up. Given which, they actually made a pretty good fist of it under new manager Jimmy Nicholl (whose appointment was a bit of a coup), finishing well clear of bottom-placed Stirling but just failing to avoid the relegation play-off spot. For Brechin’s part it’s their third straight year in these play-offs, though this year their participation in them ended up looking rather more doubtful than it had at one stage. For a while they were Livingston’s closest challengers for the title, but a run of seven games without a win in April – including five home defeats – left them sweating before recovering to finish fourth. They’d needed a bit of a recovery in the first leg of this tie as well, in which...

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