Month: January 2012

The New Town Effect: Brutalism & Abrasive Personalities At Crawley And Stevenage

If the draw for the Fifth Round of this year’s FA Cup was notable for anything in particular, what really stood out was the presence of two clubs for whom an appearance at this stage of the competition would been inconceivable just a couple of decades ago. Last weekend, both Crawley Town and Stevenage chalked up notable wins in the Fourth Round of the competition – both by a single goal, with Crawley’s coming at Hull City and Stevenage’s against Notts County – and the reward for each is a home match against Premier League in the next round, in the form of Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur respectively. Both are clubs that have only recently been promoted into the Football League and both are sides that had something of an adventure in last year’s competition, with Stevenage beating Newcastle United and Crawley almost holding Manchester United to a draw at Old Trafford. Yet both sides remain treated with ambivalence by the supporters of other clubs. Crawley’s FA Cup run last year was treated with a collective shrug of the shoulders from the supporters of other smaller clubs, while Stevenage also remain the recipients of ambivalence in some quarters. There are solid and prosaic reasons as to why this be. The continuing presence of Steve Evans at Crawley Town is a convincing reason as to why the Sussex club has not touched...

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European Championship Stories: 1964 – A Battle Of Ideologies

If the early history of the European Championships can be seen as explicitly wrapped up in the politics of the time, then Spain’s victory on home ground in 1964 European Nations Cup could be regarded as one of international football’s ultimate flashes in the pan. This was a victory that was simultaneously the last gasp of one of the greatest club sides that European football has ever seen and the beginning of a lull that would last for more than twenty years, a brief victory for the ultra-nationalism that blighted Spanish political life for the most of the four decades that followed the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939. The qualifying competition – this tournament was expanded to take in twenty-nine nations, although West Germany would continue to sit it out – provided a couple of surprises of its own. England, entering the competition for the first time, chose their Preliminary Round Second Leg match against France as the opportunity to debut their new manager, Alf Ramsey. Having drawn 1-1 at Hillsborough in the first leg, Ramsey’s first match as the England manager saw his team lose by five goals to two in Paris. Elsewhere, in the First Round Luxembourg beat the Netherlands by three goals to two – and only narrowly lost in the quarter-finals after a replay in, ironically enough, Amsterdam against Denmark after drawing against...

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Non-League Videos Of The Week: 30/01/12

Our non-league videos of the week are twenty-four hours late this week, but we have four matches for you this evening – two from the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier, one from the Blue Square Bet South and one from the FA Vase. First up are two matches from the championship battle at the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier. Fleetwood Town have edged clear at the top of the table, and on Saturday they travelled to play Forest Green Rovers, while Wrexham were aiming to get back to winning ways with a home match against bottom of the table Bath City. In the Blue Square Bet South, meanwhile, Dover Athletic, who are still chasing a play-off place, were at home against Salisbury City. Finally, Dunston UTS of the Northern League were at home on Saturday against Wisbech Town. Our thanks go to those that record, edit and upload these videos. You can follow Twohundredpercent on Twitter by clicking...

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The 2012 African Cup Of Nations: Group Stage Round 2

Group B Sudan went into this tournament having failed to score an ACN goal since 1976. Bet you didn’t know that at kick-off against Angola last Thursday. Bet you were sick of hearing it by full-time. Sudan broke this goalscoring duck (36 years, you know) moments after Eurosport’s Matt Jackson declared he didn’t know where their next goal is coming from. So Ahmed Bashir’s header meant that he and Dan O’Hagan could stop talking about Sudan’s ’36-year’ goalscoring drought. Unfortunately, they chose not to – almost as if Eurosport’s crib sheet only had one fact. To be fair, Jackson was right about Sudan’s apparent prospects of equalising Manucho’s fiercely-struck opening goal. You sensed it might be a case of “roll on 2048” for their next one. Yet they hadn’t been bad in defeat to Cote D’Ivoire. And, by the way, they had only played three finals matches during this supposedly dreadful 36-year goal drought. Yes, THREE. Not that vital a statistic, then. A less dull stat, although not by much admittedly, was that Angola’s 48th-minute penalty was the first of the tournament. Manucho scored with something a few notches below aplomb and the game seemed won, as Sudan hadn’t won a point in the CAN, we were now being informed, since you-know-when. It wasn’t. And it didn’t deserve to be, as Sudan improved as much from first game to...

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Match Of The Week: Sunderland 1-1 Middlesbrough

The tripartite nature of footballing rivalry in the north-east of England means that this afternoons FA Cup Fourth Round match between Sunderland and Middlesbrough has a hint of being a local derby about it without fully appearing to be the real thing. Still, supporters of both of these clubs have cause to give a wry smile this afternoon. Newcastle United, the third part of this particular triumvirate, made a long journey south to play Brighton & Hove Albion yesterday and returned chastened after a single goal defeat which means that the winners of this tie will be the regions final representative in this years competition, at the last sixteen stage. A hint of tension has, however, been brought to proceedings by Sunderland’s somewhat odd decision to only allocate Middlesbrough 3,000 tickets for what has been described as “health & safety reasons.” In addition to this, both of the clubs playing this afternoon have cause to be looking forward with greater optimism than of late. Sunderland have stabilised under new manager Martin O’Neill. It’s twenty years since they last managed to get to an FA Cup final and almost twice that long since Ian Porterfield and Jim Montgomery upset the Leeds United apple-cart at Wembley. A run to the latter stages of this competition this year would be a reasonable barometer of the speedy progress made under their new manager....

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