Day: February 4, 2012

Too Late for Licensing:Time to Pray at Pompey?

When questions about your football club are raised in Westminster and the Prime Minister agrees that the situation needs investigation then you know you are in a bad way. Not because you might be investigated but because the Prime Minister actually knows what Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, is talking about. David Cameron has backed Ms Mordaunt’s call for HMRC to meet with Portsmouth Football club to negotiate their way around the winding up order HMRC took out against the club last month. But would such a move be in the club’s best interests? Pompey seem to be just over two weeks from liquidation. The winding up order is due to be heard on 20 February. The final step into oblivion is all that’s left according to some. The stranglehold of Balram Chainrai on Portsmouth FC is killing the club in painful stages. The close of the transfer window has left fans waiting for his next move, while the club seeks a court order to unfreeze bank accounts to pay players and staff for January. It may be that staving off the winding up order will just extend the misery. It was expected that the club would sell some of the meagre squad to meet HMRC demands. The club currently owes £1.8m in unpaid tax. In the event one player with few appearances, young Ryan Williams, left for...

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Football’s Winter Of Discontent Reaches Arsenal

There’s something in the air at The Emirates Stadium. Arsenal Football Club has had a difficult 2012 so far, and patience – for some, at least – is starting to wear thin, leading to a protest that has brought puzzled expressions from elsewhere. At this lunchtime’s match against Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League, a group of supporters plans to place black bin bags on seats at the ground prior to the match. But what are the reasons behind this protest, what are its aims, and are those protesting representative of the Arsenal support in a broader sense? Where Has Our Arsenal Gone has been here before, at the end of last season they protested with a march from a pub near the ground to The Emirates Stadium prior to the team’s match against Aston Villa. They have a six point manifesto – season tickets, stadium seating, commercial activity, ownership and target markets, the manager and the chairman – and it will certainly be interesting to see how many people choose to get involved in it. While the protest of the end of last season dissipated somewhat as the team’s form picked up this season, we can be reasonably certain that recent tensions have risen on account of another dip in form on the pitch. When the season began, of course, the words “Arsenal” and “crisis” seemed momentarily entwined...

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The 2012 African Cup Of Nations: Eurosport’s Head-To-Headache

Eurosport’s international football coverage, as unique as it remains in the field of sports broadcasting and run on a shoestring budget, remains excellent. And this year’s ACN coverage has been as comprehensive and well-informed as ever. But, as Groups B and D came to their conclusions, well… oops. The “head-to-head” rule is increasingly, if not yet extensively, used in world football as the first method of separating teams level on points at the end of a group or league, replacing goal difference, goals scored or – for those of us old enough to remember it –  goal average. The most high-profile competition to do so is Spain’s La Liga; hence the extra significance of Real Madrid/Barcelona games (like they needed more of an edge). The rule itself states that: “If two or more teams end…with the same number of points, their ranking is determined by the following criteria: points earned in the matches between the teams concerned; goal difference in the matches between the teams concerned; number of goals scored in the matches between the teams concerned; goal difference in all group matches; number of goals scored in all group matches.” Thereafter, it comes down to red and yellow cards or drawing lots, by which time you might be forgiven for thinking that the “teams concerned” had planned things all along just to be difficult. With two teams, the...

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