Day: August 1, 2011

Sheffield Wednesday Send Their Boys To The Slaughter

Flashing across the BBC website on Sunday afternoon came a result which couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow or two: Alfreton Town 14-0 Sheffield Wednesday. The truth was less exciting than the initial rush might have led some Sheffield United supporters to hope. Wednesday hadn’t put out their first team for this match against a club from the Blue Square Premier, but neither had they dressed eleven scarecrows in blue and white striped shirts and placed them strategically around the pitch in the hope that no-one would notice. This score was achieved – if “achieved” is quite the right word – against a team made up of the players from the Sheffield Wednesday academy. The question to be asked at this stage, of course, is what exactly Sheffield Wednesday exactly hoped to achieve from this fixture. Is it possible that an official from the club took a glance at the name of the opposition, believed them to be considerably lower down football’s food chain than they actually are and decided to send the kids in the expectation that this would be a Sunday afternoon stroll in the park? Well, this is possible, and the extent to which it would be an understatement was borne out by the result. Alfreton were promoted as the champions of the Blue Square North at the end of last season and, while they –...

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The Twohundredpercent Pre-Season Previews: Newcastle United

After the unwanted drama of the previous two years, the supporters of Newcastle United could easily have been forgiven for wanting a season of peace and quiet last season and, to an extent, that is exactly what they received – a twelfth placed finish saw them safe and sound in the Premier League for most of the season, after all, troubling neither the top nor the bottom of the table unduly throughout the entire season. Yet, with this being Newcastle United, the season couldn’t pass without some degree of vituperation between the supporters and owner Mike Ashley and, as such, we were treated to the bizarre sacking of manager Chris Hughton at the start of December, which was quickly followed by an FA Cup Third Round elimination at the hands of Stevenage and the sale of arguably the club’s most valuable single saleable asset, striker Andy Carroll, to Liverpool for a scarcely credible £35m in January of this year, and neither have recent events done much to dispel the growing belief that last season’s relative serenity was the calm before another storm crashes into Newcastle United Football Club. St James Park carries the air of being a powder keg, waiting to explode if things start going badly on the pitch again, and this mood, amongst other grievances – some long-standing, others very fresh indeed – arguably began to simmer...

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