Month: September 2011

Mungo S04E02

This month’s visit to Primrose Hill Ramblers finds Mungo in his traditional ebullient early-season form, with innumerable negative consequences for everyone around him. Meanwhile the Ramblers manager Arnaud Finger further expands on his footballing philosophy and all marvel at how over-rated thought can sometimes prove. David Squires drew this all as it happened, like a courtroom artist. Click for bigger You can visit David Squires’ site here. We advise that you do. You can follow David on Twitter here, and Twohundredpercent...

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Shadows On The Wall: Whyte Wants Out of Scotland

Making a reference to Greek philosophy when discussing Glasgow Rangers probably sounds far too distorted to be credible. It likely is, but it was difficult not to consider Plato’s Allegory of the Cave when hearing owner Craig Whyte talk of reviving the Atlantic League idea or somehow getting Rangers accepted into the English league system. Much like the prisoners in that cave who had been chained there since birth, restricted from movement, Whyte seemed to paint Rangers as unfortunate heavyweights tied down to a league incapable of furthering the club’s ambitions or fattening its wallets. Instead, those shadows on the wall–Rangers playing their way into the lucrative English Premier League or the unfettered freedom from creating a league with other top European sides–looks much more appealing to Whyte than the tangible reality of playing Kilmarnock on a Tuesday. Of course, as Socrates continues in the lesson, it is supposed that one of the prisoners is released from the cave, but upon seeing the actual objects that have been casting those shadows on the wall of the cave all that time, the prisoner has no idea what they are. Were Whyte to earn Rangers release from the shackles of the Scottish Premier League, he might be struck dumb and want to return to the cave to stare at the shadows a bit more in depth. In regards to Rangers somehow gaining...

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Football’s Culture Of Perceived Slights

It was a moderately diverting night in Valencia. Chelsea put in a solid performance and had come close to what would have been a solidly impressive win, only for Solomon Kalou’s momentary lapse of reason for minutes from time, which cost Chelsea a penalty kick and, subsequently, two points in their Champions League group. Injury time ran down without major incident but, with time up and Chelsea preparing to launch one final free-kick towards the Valencia penalty area, the referee blew for time and we were suddenly propelled into a very modern ritual: that of the perceived slight. Juan Mata was booked for “something he said to the referee” and Ashley Cole followed him, for what looked like a shove. The haranguing continued as the players left the pitch. Before we go any further, it is worth clarifying that this was an odd decision on the part of the official. Referees will usually allow a passage of play to complete before blowing for time, and this is quite plainly what did not happen last night. The histrionics of some of the Chelsea players, however, seemed pointless and ill-thought out. The referee had already blown for time. He was not going to change his mind. As such, even the notion that trying to influence the referee over future decisions seems far fetched. All that happened – and all that was...

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Pants And Publicity For Bath City

How often does an FA Youth Cup game get national coverage? I’m not talking ages old clips of a young Wayne Rooney or David Beckham or John Terry replayed in some ‘before they were famous’ programme while non-entity talking heads try to be witty, I mean actual coverage of the events of a game. Today various tabloids carried reports on Newport County’s Monday night tie with Bath City at Spytty Park, a few of them included pictures, most of the stories covered the key points of a sparky match, won comprehensively by the young Welsh side by five goals to nil. How come? Well, its all down to the referee’s decision to dismiss six members of the Bath squad because of a row over pants. Some of the Bath players had white thermals under their red shorts, thus contravening a little known, but perfectly valid, law of the game. It’s there in the FIFA rules: “if undershorts or tights are worn, they must be of the same main colour as the shorts.” It’s daft but it’s a rule, it isn’t one which is very well known but who knows all the rules inside out? Likewise the reaction of the Bath bench and players was equally daft and led to a series of red cards for dissent. While two of the Bath City Academy boys were changing their underwear on the side of the pitch, Newport...

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Port Vale – Bullet The Blue Sky

After months of turmoil – preceded by years of worry and struggle – Port Vale’s tale could be nearing a happy ending, provided the right protagonists hold their nerve and the decision-makers do something like ‘the right thing.’ When last we were in Burslem, boardroom changes were afoot, with the prospect of two new directors, both popular with supporters campaigning for boardroom personnel changes. A feisty EGM on July 1st had produced some cock-eyed poll results. The ‘old’ board lost a vote of no confidence yet three of them, including humungously-contentious former chairman Bill Bratt, were narrowly re-elected thanks to the vagaries of shareholder ‘democracy.’  However, fans’ favourite candidate, local businessman and long-time Vale sponsor Mark Sims was also elected. But he refused to take his seat until he got a detailed “look” at Vale’s “books” and all the old board – re-elected or not – resigned. Fans’ group North London Valiants (NLV), who had called the EGM, were also invited to nominate a director. And with post-EGM ‘interim’ chairman Mike Lloyd and recently-appointed CEO Perry Deakin making genuine-sounding conciliatory noises, a new era appeared to beckon. Vale being Vale, however, the route has been the dictionary definition of circuitous and mistrust has remained rampant, at least in some quarters.  Neither Sims nor NLV’s nominee, their chairman Malcolm Hirst, became directors. Both chose not to because their similar pre-requisite...

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