Day: March 5, 2012

Queens Park Rangers And A Four Year Plan In Ninety Minutes

Mat Hodgson could probably fit a quart in a pint pot as a party trick, which is just as well. The director of “The Four-Year Plan” had enough material from the reign of motor-racing tycoon Flavio Briatore, and others, at west London club Queens Park Rangers for either (a) “an entire conference” (Fawlty Towers, 1979) or (b) six one hour episodes of a documentary series. “At least it wasn’t called the “five-year plan”, a friend noted, unaware of the Nazi connotations of the actual title. But only a warped sense of perspective would lead you to draw any parallels between 1930s Germany and 2007 Shepherd’s Bush; a sense of perspective such as Briatore’s, in fact. Hodgson must have known straightaway that Briatore would be the film’s star. Whether he every conceivable emotional Italian stereotype from QPR’s directors’ box, or was a disembodied, unheard presence on the end of a mobile phone, Briatore dominated the first hour of the film. And it was surely no co-incidence that his presence, on or off camera, was in inverse proportion to QPR’s on-field success, though this may have been down to clever editing. Early shots of the directors’ box focused on both the front row and Briatore’s seat in row two. Later shots, from a not-noticeably different camera position, focused entirely on the front row. So when later shots of directors’ box celebrations...

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Twenty Years Of Fever Pitch

It may seem odd to look at upon the anniversary of the release of a book, but Fever Pitch is no ordinary book. This year sees the twentieth anniversary of a book that launched its own sub-genre –  the football confessional continues to thrive to this day – and has been held responsible for both a sea-change in attitudes towards football supporters and for the gentrification of the game in a general sense, and it is worth taking a moment to pause and consider the impact of a book that went some way towards redefining football writing in Britain. These days, there is a constant stream of books about the game for our delectation, but it wasn’t ever thus. There was a time, not so long ago, when ninety-nine per cent of all football books fell into three categories: dry statistical or reference books for those amongst us who enjoy burying our heads in the abstract, swashbuckling childrens stories about salt of the earth professionals or biographical books which often succeeded only in reminding the reader that the life of a professional footballer is considerably duller than most of us might have thought. There were honorable exceptions to this, such as Arthur Hopcroft’s 1968 masterpiece The Football Man, or Hunter Davis’ season with Tottenham Hotspur, The Glory Game. On the whole, though, the world of football literature presented would-be readers with a barren...

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The Monday Morning Timewaster Project: 05/03/2012

It’s Monday morning again, and time to waste away roughly a tenth’s worth of your weeks endeavours by clicking through some links from the previous seven days. As ever, we have a mixed bag for you – a video here, some forensic financial investigation there – and we should also take this moment to remind you that if you come across anything that you think might be appropriate for this feature, feel free to drop us a line using our contact form, which is available using the page linked at the top of this page. – First up, Spirit Of Mirko reflects upon Cardiff City’s narrow defeat at the hands of Liverpool in last Sunday’s League Cup final. – Our very good friends at Pitch Invasion have been harvesting five years’ worth of top quality independent football writing and bound it together into a book, further details of which can be found here. – The world and his wife has probably already seen this, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t stand a second reading. Here’s The Swiss Ramble on Arsenal and their finances, asking the question that many of their supporters have been asking all season: can they afford not to spend? – Supercrassico has this somewhat depressing look at Julio Grondona, the dismal head of the Argentinian Football Association. – And finally, a little something for the...

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