Day: May 19, 2011

The Twohundredpercent Play-Off Jamboree: Peterborough Head For Old Trafford

If you wanted to see a hint of the essence of the unconfined joy of football coupled with a hint at the traditions of the game in England, it was on display behind the goal at Peterborough United’s London Road this evening. When, at the third attempt, Craig Mackail-Smith bundled the ball over the goal-line to complete the home side’s over-turning of what had been, at one point during the first leg, a 3-1 deficit, the terrace behind the goal exploded under lights turned amber by decades of tobacco smoke, a joyous explosion of care-free abandon. London Road has two such terraces, one at each end of the ground. The Moyes End, which sits opposite it, has its final hurrah this evening before being demolished and replaced by something thoroughly modern. Fifty-odd miles down the M1, there is already something thoroughly modern. Peterborough United travelled to Buckinghamshire at the weekend and, after a good start, almost saw their world cave in. With a man sent off and having fallen two goals behind, it was starting to look as if they might have missed their window of opportunity of making the Old Trafford final. This, though, was only part of the story of the first leg. Peterborough United took almost 4,400 supporters to the first leg, and this was a match played out in front of banks and banks of...

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A Chequered week for Burscough FC

In the past ten days Burscough Football Club have seen their chairman and secretary sacked, a groundshare with their rivals announced and seen their Supporters’ Club disown them and make plans to form a new, independent club. Yet just under 12 months ago the club were proudly announcing the dawn of a new era. It is unlikely director Dave Hughes had the events of the past week in mind when he declared: “We are looking forward to the future with renewed optimism following the recent takeover of the Club and we will be looking to return the Club to the centre of the local community where it has played a significant role over many years.” Far from keeping Burscough in the ‘centre of the local community,’ the company which took over the club has arranged a groundshare outside of the village and in doing so threatened the very future of Burscough FC. It was around this time last year that Chequer Properties were officially revealed as the new majority shareholders at the club and the news owners of Victoria Park where the Linnets play their games. The property company had been widely rumoured to be taking a role in the club for a few months prior to the official announcement that previous owner Chris Lloyd had sold his shares (and written off a hefty debt the club had accumulated.)...

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Arcady Gaydamak, The Israeli Connection and PFC.

This article first appeared on Pompey online in November 2010. Since then, on 29th April 2011 Le Monde reported that Arcady had been acquitted of all  charges in relation to Angolagate, clearing him of arms trafficking. With it  looking increasingly like he will be proved innocent in the Bank Happoalim affair along with his suing of ex-business partner Lev Leviev over their Angolan diamond interests it would seem Arcady may be recovering his  former influential position. As reported on True Blue Army, Arcady still has tax evasion charges to face but with Gaydamak it is quite clear you never know what might happen next. This writer will watch with interest. I have heard it said in PFC circles that Mr Chainrai and Mr Kushnir have been surprised by the amount of interest the fans take in the business affairs of the club. This says a lot for their understanding of the running of a football club. However, the farcical events of the night of Friday 22 October suggest they have recovered from their surprise. The crass manipulation of fans’ feelings for the club in the melodramatic and premature announcements of immanent liquidation got the desired effect. Fans massed outside Fratton Park to be captured on TV. The story contended with Rooney’s pay all night on the news channels. Sacha Gaydamak was set up, once more, to be the demon king that would ruin PFC. We all...

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The Twohundredpercent Play-off Jamboree: Albion Rovers 3-1 Annan Athletic

It’s not often anyone has all that much to say about Albion Rovers. So now that they’ve got quite a good side and – at the midway point of this two-legged play-off final – look favourites to go up to the second division, let me take a few moments to do so. It doesn’t help that they have a rather undistinguishable named. Formed, so wiki tells me, from the merger of an Albion and a Rovers somewhere back in the distant past, the Rovers play in Coatbridge in North Lanarkshire. I’ve met even a few Scottish football fans who didn’t know that, they’re a club who so often tend to slip under the radar – never bad enough to become comical, but rarely good enough to enter the wider consciousness. Apparently they had some relative days in the sun way back before the war, but of the last sixty seasons they’ve spent all but one in Scotland’s bottom division. And, with one of the lowest budgets in the league (that’s still the case – no three figure wage packets round here) they’ve usually been near the bottom of it, but for a couple of seasons now under the management of Paul Martin they’ve been making noises about finishing at the other end; and this year for the first time, they managed the top four finish (second, actually) that gave...

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Plymouth Argyle: The Club With The Unknown Owners

Brendan Ambrose Guilfoyle has a ‘complex’ track record in football club administrations – a reputation to which he is living down as ‘lead’ administrator at Plymouth Argyle, it appears. Argyle’s current situation was neatly, if inadvertently, summed up by adjacent headlines on Plymouth’s Herald newspaper web-site, as “Argyle’s creditors agree debt offer as anonymous preferred owner signs deal” jostled for position with ”Argyle acting chairman on fraud and trading charges.” The subjects of these stories are now Guilfoyle’s preference for Argyle’s future. And given Argyle’s traumatic recent past, this combination of concealment and financial mishap could be regarded as ‘continuity.’ On April 4th, Guilfoyle’s preferences seemed clear, but different. He said in March that “I think I have seen the guy who is likely to buy Plymouth Argyle,” although he declined to add “and his name is…”  (as in “I saw rock’n’roll’s future and its name is Bruce Springsteen”). He “encouraged everyone to engage with the “Akkeron Group”, the hotel investment business of former Plymouth City Development Council chair James Brent. And a statement from administrators the P&A Partnership encouraged “stakeholders to support their offer.” So far, so straightforward. Concerns were initially raised that Brent could be linked in one bound to Argyle’s acting chairman, one Peter Ridsdale. But Ridsdale, remarkably, is seen as the safest pair of hands in recent Argyle boardrooms. So, generally, any link with the...

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