Day: December 14, 2011

A Welsh Premier League Odyssey: Part Four – Llanelli AFC vs Prestatyn Town

If there’s one thing aside from love spoons that Wales is known for, it’s probably the persistent rain. We’ve had a Sunday of untold downpours, to the extent where the game between Neath and Port Talbot had to be called off due to a waterlogged pitch. However, their more resilient rivals managed to brave the liquid bombardment and put a team out to face Prestatyn Town. Stebonheath Park is home to Llanelli AFC, last year’s Welsh Cup winners. Llanelli returned to the Welsh Premier League in 2004. Their first season back in the top flight proved challenging, but after a few changes in the manager’s seat, the club settled and retained their Premier League status. The seasons that followed saw Llanelli perform consistently well as they were frequently competitors in European competition and often pushing for the title, achieving that once in 2007/8. Currently player/manager at Llanelli is Andy Legg. Legg is a player with a wealth of experience playing for a host of clubs in the football league. He is also one of only a few players to have crossed the divide between south Wales rivals, Swansea and Cardiff, and come away being admired and respected by both clubs. Legg took the reins at the club in April 2009 and has managed to sustain their winning ways. His record speaks for itself, since Legg took over the team...

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Ferguson, Villas-Boas & “Keeping It Simple”

“Football is a simple game” were four words of Graham Taylor’s wisdom when he was managing Watford up the Football League in the late 70s and early 80s. And his Watford sides certainly “kept it simple.” But it is an unfortunate consequence of the contemporary 24-hour news culture that “keeping” football analysis “simple” leaves a gap in the media schedules. It would, of course, be better to properly analyse certain aspects of the game – its finance in particular, I would naturally suggest. But lets not… erm… over-complicate things. Two major talking points have helped fill recent media schedules, Manchester United’s Champions League exit and Chelsea manager Andres Villas-Boas’s hyper-sensitivity to media criticism. From the moment Roy Keane opened his motormouth immediately after Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat in Basel, the debate has raged about the suitability and maturity, or otherwise, of United’s young players, alongside the question of whether mainland European clubs are “catching up” with the Premier League. Of course, Keane thinks any player not as good as him is “not good enough.” So his comments were hardly surprising (why did he fail as a manager?). And whether the Premier League is being “caught up” (an issue which genuinely isn’t that simple) seems destined to be asked every time less than three “English” teams reach the Champions League semi-finals. But the amount of soul-searching elsewhere betrayed a desperation...

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The Twohundredpercent Review Of 2011: The Ascent Of The Blue Sky Thinkers

That 2011 should have seen a trickle of new ideas on the subject of how to reorganise English and European club football should come as no great surprise. Last year saw an unprecedented undermining in the authority of FIFA, following the flawed process for determining the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, whilst UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations were always likely to cause a fluster in England, which long ago submitted its professional game to the rigours and inherent inequalities of neo-capitalism with such gusto that it sometimes feels as if an accountancy qualification is of almost as much use to a supporter as a working knowledge of the office law.   If the undermining of the credibility of those running the game – some of which was thoroughly well deserved, whilst some had the distinct whiff of self-servitude about it – created a vacuum, then there were plenty of people that were more than happy to step into that void and offer helpful suggestions of their own. The only problem with this was that, with this being Britain, just as the electorate reacted to a crisis brought about by runaway neo-capitalism by voting in an even more neo-capitalist government than the one that we already had, so it has been that the debate on the future of football in 2011 has been steered by those that can only...

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