Select Page

Month: December 2011

Match Of The Week: Manchester United 2-3 Blackburn Rovers

The Premier League title race, we have been told repeatedly over the last couple of weeks or so, is back on. Since getting knocked out of the Champions League by FC Basel, Manchester United have started to rediscover some of their familiar imperiousness, with sixteen goals in their last four Premier League matches – including five in two successive matches – while Manchester City have, with a defeat at Chelsea and a lacklustre draw at West Bromwich Albion, shown signs of chink in their previously impenetrable-looking armour. On top of this, Alex Ferguson (who gave himself three more years in the manager’s job at the club three years ago) confirmed that he intends to stay in charge at the club for a further three years this morning, and it’s also his seventieth birthday today. Today’s match, against the Premier League’s bottom club, should have something of a party atmosphere about it for Manchester United. Something, however, doesn’t feel right today. The atmosphere at Old Trafford is muted, rather as if no-one particularly wants to be there. It would certainly be understandable if the Blackburn manager Steve Kean didn’t want to be. He remains persona non grata for a proportion of Blackburn’s support, a feeling that has scarcely been diluted by his team’s recent draw at Anfield. They remain anchored to the bottom of the Premier League and, as those...

Read More

Mungo S04E05

Mungo McCrackas has been in some scrapes before but now he’s wanted by the US government for accidentally assailing the Commander-in-Chief’s pods. It’s only a matter of time before they bring their huge resources and intelligence to bear and flush him out into the open. However, as we all know, football is more important than life itself and the FA are trying to get to him first. One way or the other he’s going to end up selling something to somebody and that can only be good news for the economy. I’m backing Britain. Mungo is by David Squires....

Read More

Evans & Crawley Town: Very Little Season Of Goodwill

Seldom has there been a less savoury title for a specific football match than The Split Testicle Match, but this is the name that has been given to the Boxing Day League Two match between Crawley Town and Gillingham, in which the visiting side’s Chris Whelpdale suffered an injury, of which only the most cursory of descriptions may have sent many males wincing and clutching their groins. Even this most unfortunate of injuries, however, seems likely to be overshadowed by a story concerning the events of the match and, most specifically, the managers of the two sides, Gillingham’s Andy Hessenthaler and the Crawley Town manager – and an old bête noire of this site – Steve Evans. This bad-tempered match saw Gillingham surprise the League Two leaders with a win by two goals to one, and Crawley’s disappointment was compounded by the first half dismissal of Claude Davis. In spite of this, they took the lead before half-time before two goals in three minutes at the start of the second half from Jo Kuffour sent all three points back to Kent. Three supporters – two from Gillingham and one from Crawley – were also ejected from the ground, but the bad temper, which was exacerbated by Crawley turning the floodlights off while the visiting side were still completing their post-match warm-down, spilled over after the match with a row between the...

Read More

Is The BBC Considering Axing The Football League Show?

The comments of the host of The Football League Show, Manish Bhasin, over the whereabouts of his show in the BBC schedules over the festive break have been causing social media no little disquiet over the last couple of days or so. This morning, though, a chink of light was granted into a possible reason behind why Bhasin was being so forthright on the subject, with rumours starting to appear in the press suggesting that the corporation is not going to renew its option on the programme come the end of this season. If this rumour has any substance behind it, it marks the end of a brief golden era for television coverage of the Football League in recent years, but it also shines a light on what appear to be the priorities of the BBC’s sport department as the reality of the savage cuts that it has to make begin to sink in. There was no little anger amongst viewers when the show failed to make a place in the schedules on Boxing Day, despite a full programme of matches having been played. The Football League Show has had its fair share of critics since first coming on air in August 2009, but if we detach ourselves from the small matters of Steve Claridge and its atrocious opening title sequence, it has done a reasonable job, over the last...

Read More

Bank Holiday Tuesday – Portrait Of A Foul

Imagine if you will being born. A comfortable float around a womb that you are quickly starting to outgrow. It has to end. Something’s got to give. Then the pushing and the seepage and the screaming and hey presto, pro-lifers everywhere pat themselves on the back, someone done a baby. As a life event, it is perhaps the most dangerous, perilous and traumatic your body will ever face. And that’s what it is like to play non-league football on a Christmas Bank Holiday, I would like to argue. Not for the non-league player the dieticians, the monitors and the internal flight to another swish hotel of the Premier League, nor even the coach stopping off at the Little Chef of the Football League. You are responsible for yourself, floating around in your own little bubble of family, friends and a cheeky rum baba. But there’s the same constricting feeling of that ultimate date with destiny. In this case, it’s at the Robert Albon Memorial Stadium on 27th December 2011, kick-off 19:45. Be you ready for it or not, that’s when you are going to have to emerge, be you fully-formed or riddled with complications. And like the world beyond your dear mother’s foo-foo, it’s a pretty bloody awful place to be. It’s an attractive place for a football ground during the daylight hours, perched right on the edge of the...

Read More