Day: March 1, 2012

Hope & Despair, Or, Why Stuart Pearce Cannot Succeed As The England Manager

Amid all the bluster about Englands match against the Netherlands last night (a match already being described by some as “That Thing That Happened At Wembley”), Mark Critchley thinks that he may have spotted the real reason why Stuart Pearce cannot succeed as the England manager. To be English is to be afflicted. History’s ever-unravelling twine simply doesn’t have the courtesy to cut this seat of Mars a bit of slack, and thanks to Western civilisation’s added prejudice against demographics of a largely white, heterosexual and male background, the England football team understand this more than most. Gary Lineker, in his documentary Can England Win the Next World Cup? opined ‘there are all sorts of reasons why we’ve been so unsuccessful for so long’. No Gary, there is only one. It is not because our coaching structures are as unmanned as a Maeve Binchy appreciation evening on Sputnik 1. It is not because our children are told to, God forbid, win the Kelly’s Erotic Cakes Junior County Challenge Cup and liquidise the skulls of any kid tactically astute enough to get in their way. And you know what, it is not because the media in this country chum up to dumb young prodigies, capitalise on any microscopic failure of theirs and then slip them the required change for their final, cortex-collapsing can of Tennent’s Super. No, it’s none of...

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Is More Regional Football The Answer To The Lower Divisions’ Prayers?

Spiralling wage bills aren’t the only thing that are making the lives of non-league football clubs more and more difficult. Paul Caulfield has taken a look at the difficulties that clubs face and arrived at the conclusion that a possible solution may be to reintroduce greater regionalisation back to the lower divisions. When one Mike Gilbert of Beaconsfield wrote to the Non-League Paper last year bemoaning the current structure below the Football League, he was spot-on in his analysis. Non-League football clubs are travelling too far for league games and screwing themselves up in the process. Fixtures like Bath City versus Gateshead have no place at this level, or anywhere below League One for that matter. For those arguing that wages, not travel is the problem, try turning out for Gateshead at Bath and getting to work the next morning, and you will understand why the Tynesiders’ Chairman Graham Wood took his club full-time. Bath City, who remain semi-pro, face midweek trips to Barrow and Gateshead in March (who drafts these fixtures?),  something that irks Director/Manager Adie Britton, who supports regionalisation from League Two downwards. “We are trying to run a Conference club on gates of 700-800. How can it work? It is unsustainable. There are nineteen full-time clubs in the Conference out of twenty-four, with managers looking at their personal ambitions, not the viability of the clubs. Clubs drop...

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