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Month: April 2012

The Decline Of Match Of The Day

Viewers of the BBC’s flagship football programme Match Of The Day were treated to a somewhat extraordinary sight last weekend when presenter Gary Lineker launched into a somewhat bizarre impersonation of the Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger complaining about refereeing decisions going against his team during their match earlier that day against Stoke City. Whilst this behaviour could arguably be described as offensive and certainly wasn’t funny, it also shone a light on the slow, drawn-out decay¬†arguably British football’s most venerable television institution. Match Of The Day will be fifty years old in two years time, and we can reasonably certain that this is a birthday that we will hear a considerable amount about. There is little that the BBC seems to enjoy more than eulogising its own heritage, and there can be little questioning its historical importance in the development of the televising of football in this country. It was the first regular, nationally broadcast programme dedicated to the national game (after a brief sojourn at its inception when it was shown only to viewers in the London region in BBC2) and it has been, barring a couple of brief intermissions when rights to broadcast matches were, somewhat inconveniently, lost to other companies, a mainstay of the winter schedules since then. For many, many years the ¬†format remained largely unchanged. There would be extended highlights of one match until...

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Mungo S04E09

As the seasons change and the roosters will rise and fall, so the Mungo season finale must finally come to all men. Twohundredpercent raises a hearty and particularly jaunty-looking titfer in the direction of David Squires, whose Herculean efforts kept Mungo alive and better than ever before for the past nine months. However, our hero finds himself in a rather parlous situation, out of control in outer space at the controls of an errant Premier League-sanctioned rocket. With countless of his peers now jettisoned into the abyss – largely by mistake but who knows? – will McCrackas ever see...

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The Return Of The Saints: Southampton’s Rapid Ascent To The Premier League

If there was any hint of tension in the air at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday lunchtime, it didn’t hang around for very long. It took them a little under sixteen minutes for Adam Lallana to give Southampton the lead against a Coventry City that had already been relegated from the Championship with room to spare, and the final tally was a 4-0 rout which confirmed a return to the Premier League after a break of seven years for a club which just last season was playing its trade in League One. For the second successive season, the other clubs of the division will have cause to stop and wonder how a club newly-arrived in their division could cut their way through it like a hot knife through butter and win promotion at the first attempt. When attention turns to the key players in Southampton’s successive outstanding season, two names spring immediately to mind – those of Rickie Lambert and Nigel Adkins. Lambert scored thirty-one goals in forty-five matches this season, including twenty-seven in the league. It’s a tally that took his total since signing for the club from Bristol Rovers in 2009 to eighty-eight goals in one hundred and fifty-five matches. Lambert hasn’t played in the Premier League before and at thirty years of age this could be his one and only chance to do so. We will...

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Non-League Videos Of The Week: 29/04/2012

This weekend saw the end of the normal season for many of the leagues below the Football League and the beginning of the play-offs in some. This weekend, we’re going to have a look at a few of the outstanding issues at the top and bottom of the leagues, starting in the Blue Square Bet South, where a Sutton United side jostling for the best position possible in the play-off positions was at home against a Farnborough team that has only narrowly avoided relegation at the bottom of the table. Next up is a match from Division One North of the Ryman League. Leiston led the way going into the final match of the season, but with their match against Potters Bar Town rained off, attention switched to the match between Grays Athletic and Enfield Town, where a win for Enfield would put them top of the table whilst leaving Leiston needing a win from their final match to snatch top place in the league back at the last. In Division One South & West of the Southern League, Bideford Town had already been crowned as champions but they were still looking to end the season on a high from their trip to second-placed Poole Town, who were looking for a win to build some confidence before their end of season play-off matches. Finally, the end of the season...

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Roy Hodgson… England Manager?

The timing was just right for tomorrow morning’s newspapers, but the name isn’t the one that most had expected to see at the top of their short-list. Earlier this evening, a statement appeared on the Football Association’s website confirming that they have made a formal approach to West Bromwich Albion to speak to Roy Hodgson over the position vacated by Fabio Capello two months ago. We had been starting to wonder whether an appointment would ever be made. After all, it’s only forty days until the start of the 2012 European Championships and the possibility that the FA had somehow forgotten that they should probably have a coach for this tournament – even if in name only – was starting to become a little less implausible than it might otherwise have been. Hodgson may well of the old school, but he is a damn sight more cosmopolitan than any of the other Englishmen that might have been hoping for a call from Lord Bernstein. He has coached in eight different countries – Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, England, Italy, the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland – speaks five foreign languages and has coached at international level, precisely the sort of qualifications for coaching this particular position that the bookmakers’ favourites for the position do not hold. Yet the very nature of the debate that has surrounded the matter of the...

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