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Day: June 13, 2011

The 2011 Women’s World Cup: Group A Preview

It’s now less than two weeks until the 2011 Women’s World Cup starts in Germany, and over the next couple of weeks or so we’ll be taking the time to bring you a quick run-down of all of the teams that are taking part in this year’s competition. FIFA had considered increasing the number of teams entering this year’s tournament to twenty-four, and then to twenty. The former number was rejected because it was considered that increasing to number would dilute the competition too much (critics of women’s football were arguably handed ammunition when Germany beat Argentina 11-0 in the opening match of the last tournament), whilst the latter, just as logically, was rejected as being entirely unworkable. This year’s qualification period started just over two years ago, and ended in November of last year. First up is the group featuring the hosts and defending world and European champions, Germany; Group A. Germany (Tournament Odds – 11/10): Winners of the last two World Cups as well as the last European Championships and the host nation for this year’s showpiece event, if women’s football could be described as “coming home”, then it surely is for Germany this summer. Everywhere we look in their squad for this summer sits the mark of sheer quality. With a mixture of older and younger players, the balance between youth and experience is delicately woven...

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Is It Time To Re-Organise Non-League Football Again?

The events of the weekend in the Football Conference have re-opened a debate within non-league football that has lain dormant for several years, in spite of increasingly contradictory geographical arrangements starting to become more commonplace. Mike Bayly wonders whether it is time to rip up the league committee’s rule book and start again. “At today`s Annual General Meeting of the Football Conference Limited, the member clubs unanimously approved the Constitution of the Competition. This followed the unanimous decision of the Board to expel Rushden & Diamonds FC from the Football Conference under Article 5.2 of its Articles of Association … the consequences of this decision (to expel Rushden) for the Constitution are that Southport retain its membership of the Premier Division; Thurrock retains its membership of Conference South and Bishop`s Stortford is transferred from Conference South to Conference North on a geographical basis. While Bishop`s Stortford`s transfer is far from ideal, it is simply the result of the relevant regulation governing such placement.” On Saturday morning, an official statement on the Football Conference website advised the above. Although most supporters empathise with the difficult situation the Hertfordshire club now face, others have argued it is simply consequence of a system they were hitherto happy to abide by. This, to a large degree, misses the point. The real problem here is not geographical interpretations of arbitrary boundaries, but the failure...

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Those We Have Lost: Richmond Road, Kingstonian FC

After a depressing few days, let’s try and lighten the mood a little as Mark Murphy brings us his memories of the former home of Kingstonian FC at Richmond Road. I only saw the death throes of Isthmian League Kingstonian’s Richmond Road ground. But it still had ‘something.’ And (sorry if this is “too much information”) most of my dreams involving Kingstonian games are still at Richmond Road, despite it hosting its last fixtures in January 1988. Richmond Road had housed Kingstonian (Ks) since the club took on the name – and the mantle of “town club” – in 1919. Before the “great” war, there was a “Kingston-on-Thames FC” there. This club emerged from the primordial swamp of clubs which characterised organised football’s development in the town at the turn of the last century. And in 1907… it split again. Kingston-on-Thames continued at Richmond Road and the “new” club, Old Kingstonians (“Old” being the 1900s equivalent of “AFC”), played at Norbiton Sports Ground, on which now stands Kingsmeadow Stadium, where Ks now play and to where Wimbledon will bring league football in August. With war dissipating old enmities, “Kingstonian” was formed in 1919 and although the Norbiton Sports Ground was available for £2,225 in April of that year, the £2,225 was not available; a lot of money in those days etc… Richmond Road, which had done wartime service as...

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Supporters Direct Lose Their Funding

Football is a passionate sport. It’s played by passionate people, and followed by passionate people, and without such people, the sport would not thrive the way that it does – as Jock Stein famously said, “Football without the fans is nothing”. The various governing bodies use the fact that the game is passionate, and that football fans are passionate people in order to sell television rights, and other marketing concepts around the world. Those television rights holders also play on the passion of the fans, in order to not only sell their product, but also to advertise their product. The Premier League have played on it, Sky Sports play on it, and most of the newspapers have played on it to plug their own coverage from time to time. One time of the year when that passion is plugged into the most, is when the end of season play-offs arrive, with its various crowd shots of deliriously happy fans celebrating, or disappointed fans in tears. Amongst the teams that won promotion at the end of this season, of course, were AFC Wimbledon. And without retreading old ground too much, the story is routed in the theft of the club, thanks to the actions and lies of the then owners of the club, which was rubber-stamped by a three man commission. This led to the formation of England’s second Trust-owned...

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Hopelessly Romantic: Remembering Works Teams

When a football legend parts from the game either through retirement or death, ink splatters as tributes are furiously written to consider the man’s style of play, his memorable moments on the pitch, his connections with his fans, and his contributions to club and country. Even for an almost legend, debates commence over whether the player had been underrated, if he should indeed be a member in the pantheon of the greats instead of simply a distinguished guest, or what flaws he might have had as a player or person that prevented him from achieving truly legendary status. In the event the footballing community loses one of its less prominent members, a mention is made by the club with thoughts going out to his family along with an announcement of the funeral arrangements and a generic line regarding the player’s statistical trace from yesteryear. Perhaps his old club wears a black armband for its next match, which makes many of the club’s younger fans ask, “Who died again?” An incident of the later variety happened this past week, when French club Sochaux-Montbéliard announced the passing and funeral of World War II-era player Charles Castellani. Also known as Carlo (and certainly not the same Carlo Castellani for whom Empoli FC named their stadium after), this Castellani was a hometown lad for Sochaux and spent most of his years playing for Les Lionceaux during and after the war. With his Italian family having previously fled...

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