Day: August 27, 2011

Match of the Week: Aston Villa 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

In this age, tradition often cedes its elevated status to accommodation. So it was that as the day’s West Midlands derby between Aston Villa and Wolverhampton evoked a sense of English footballing tradition just on name alone, it nevertheless had to be played earlier than the more traditional 3 pm time. The early kickoff not only appeared to have disrupted the Saturday ritual of several Villa supporters, with many vacant seats spotted at Villa Park by opening kick as perhaps some were still in the pubs, but the lunchtime start put off the play of the players on the pitch as well, with neither side looking truly up to it throughout the first 45 minutes. Having roughly exerted the effort for only half a match then, a scoreless draw was destined to be the outcome in this one, and that is exactly what we received. Still, prior to the contest, it somehow felt proper for this fixture to begin the weekend in the Premiership and for these two clubs to have entered the affair with good starts to their 2011/12 campaigns. Pre-season prognostications for both generally remained in the dire category, with heavy black clouds having already been placed menacingly over Mick McCarthy’s squad, and fears of an Alex McLeish-inspired revolt planted in the pitch at Villa Park given the Scot’s former stewardship of rival Birmingham City. It was...

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Yesterday In Plymouth: The Final -Or Penultimate? – Chapter

Yesterday in Plymouth, Argyle Football Club was saved from extinction’s brink. Lead administrator Brendan Guilfoyle said he was “satisfied that Bishop International Limited has secured the necessary funding and everything is agreed between the numerous parties.” And he possibly sparked city-wide guessing games by adding that it had been a “complex deal involving a dozen stakeholders.”  Amid the celebration and relief these words have brought to Argyle’s (genuinely) “long-suffering” supporters, it might seem rather pedantic to point out that Guilfoyle didn’t actually say Bishop (BIL) had paid any money over yet. It might also seem rather churlish to point out that if the Football League apply their ownership regulations properly there is no way they would accept the deal which appears to have been agreed.  Cornish property developer Kevin Heaney and Argyle acting chairman Peter Ridsdale are among the aforementioned dozen stakeholders. And even the celebratory reports of yesterday’s events explain why their roles are at odds with those League regulations. BIL remain a firm “led by (Heaney).” As part of the deal, Heaney’s firm will “fund this season’s estimated £1.2m losses.” Heaney remains the chairman of Truro City Football Club and regulations do not allow for individuals to have “any power whatsoever to influence the financial, commercial and business affairs” of more than one club. Nor do they allow individuals “to guarantee the debts and obligations” of more...

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Dipping A Toe Into The Welsh Premier League

Cardiff City supporter Neil Mace lives next door to The Cardiff City Stadium, so the Welsh Premier League isn’t something that had previously occurred to him as a good idea. Last weekend, however, he took the plunge and this is what he found out. As a Cardiff City fan, the Welsh Premier League has previously escaped my interest. With the Cardiff City Stadium on my doorstep, I’ve not had to travel far to watch a decent level of football being played (allegedly). The league itself is relatively new, formed in the early nineties to counter threats to the Welsh national team. Some of the member nations of FIFA resented Wales’ independent membership as they did the other home nations. They used the fact that Wales’ biggest clubs competed in the English pyramid system as a contradiction of Wales’ independent status.The first time the league rose to prominence in my mind was when TNS had a play-off against Liverpool for a place in the preliminary stages of the Champions League. It had never occurred to me that the seemingly humble Welsh Premier League was a means of qualifying for a European competition. TNS ultimately lost the two legs of this play-off, but the performance they put in surprised me, and although the score line would not flatter them, it wasn’t at all the second-rate football I’d expected. Welsh Premier League teams...

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