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Day: May 24, 2011

Some Positive News, At Last, At Wrexham

That such a volte-face should come about so quickly was, to be perfectly frank, a surprise. This time last week, Wrexham FC had been sold to a consortium led by Jon Harris which was probably backed by Colin Poole and that, they wished us to believe, was that. Although it felt as if the fight wasn’t over yet and a visit to Poole’s Netley Hall in Shropshire at the weekend may well have been an embarrassment to him – not least because of several of the comments that his wife made at the time – there was still a suspicion that this particular battle was slipping away from the supporters of the club. While there was nothing to link Wrexham Supporters Trust with the direction action method that had been chosen by some of the club’s support, it seemed likely that the rest of this week would be spent with thinly-veiled (if veiled at all) accusations that the trust itself had been behind such actions, along with further allegations being made. They didn’t have to wait very long for the allegations to spring forth. An article on the Daily Post’s website stated that there had been two arson attempts made against the student flats that cluster around a part of The Racecourse Ground, and Ian Roberts was quick to attempt to link this to other events with the somewhat...

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Down The Southern Road

Once the trophies have been lifted in emphatic triumph then dropped by players unaccustomed to using their hands, the victors’ confetti is swept aside along with the memories of the previous season to open an extended summer of whispers. While the Home Nations do have the odd European qualifier or international friendly over the summer and clubs partake in pre-season matches after the players enjoy a few weeks on holiday, most of this summer’s action will be taking place out of the public eye as club managers haggle with player agents over transfer fees, battle creditors for unpaid services from last year, and contradict the media which are rumouring on what they are doing in the absence of actual football. We return again to a mid-summer trough, where other than the Women’s World Cup in Germany, there is little to distract us from the gossip of player movements, the dissection of managerial appointments, and wild prognostications as to who our favored clubs will field next campaign. If only there was an enforceable superinjunction on transfer gossip. Across the pond, though, football is in full flow from the top division of Major League Soccer down to the US Adult Soccer Association and US Club Soccer, both of which occupy the lowest tier on the American football pyramid. Just above these associations is the fourth tier where the Premier Development League resides. The PDL is a league of 64 clubs organized divisionally into nine regions...

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Singing The Blues: When Is A Conspiracy Theory Not A Conspiracy Theory?

Since I first ventured onto these hallowed pages back in about 1924, there have been those amongst the readership convinced that I’ve had to move aside my Aston Villa season ticket and “Champions 1981” coffee mug to get to my keyboard, whilst Peter Withe winning the European Cup via both posts from a yard and a half out plays on a constant tape loop in the background.  I’m nothing special, though – as many will agree, regardless of the context. The “readers’  comments” section of many a website, from here to the Guardian via even the Blues’ very own Birmingham Mail, has long had theories of conspiracies and agenda against the St Andrews club.  And after the events of ‘Survival Sunday’ (copyright, BSkyB), Blues are back in the Football League, where so many writers apparently believe they belong. So, let’s get this party started? Well, I can’t speak for Nick Harris or David Conn, or any proper journalists who have had the temerity to point out that relegation will seriously dent the already precarious finances of the second city’s eponymous club. But while I admit I was pleased to see West Ham’s plan to keep Premier League football out of the Olympic Stadium start so well, and I’m looking forward to Mick McCarthy’s Barnsley Irish brogue gracing the back end of the BBC’s Match of the Day programme again...

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A Matter Of Trust: Some Supporter-Owned Highlights From 2011

It is the end, then, of another long, hard season, and perhaps now is an appropriate time to be looking at how those clubs that are owned and run by their supporters trusts this season managed to fair. As AFC Wimbledon paraded the trophy that confirmed their accession into the Football League nine years after their formation, the words of the FA’s committee, that a new club in the borough would be, “not in the wider interests of football”, have never sounded more hollow. Wimbledon, however, are just one of nineteen clubs in England, Scotland and Wales that are owned by supporters trusts, and they are not the only one of these to have had some degree of success this season. It is worth, then, taking a moment to reflect upon some of the other Supporters Trust-owned clubs that have had cause for celebration this season. Gretna FC 2008: Gretna FC were a prime example of how the sugar daddy model of football club ownership can fail. Funded by Brooks Mileson, the club rose swiftly through the ranks of Scottish football, played in the UEFA Cup and competed in the 2006 Scottish Cup final, where they only lost on penalties to Heart of Midlothian. However, promotion to the Scottish Premier League meant that the club had to abandon its home, Raydale Park, and play its home matches at Motherwell....

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