Day: April 13, 2012

Rangers Football Club: The Good, The Bad & The Loopy

You can say what you like about Scottish media coverage of Rangers’ financial crisis but you’re certainly spoilt for choice. Unfortunately, that choice is all-too-often between parallel universes, with a tangential universe thrown in every time club owner Craig Whyte is within range of a microphone (Whyte’s common criticism of HMRC as “living on a different planet to the rest of us” is top-of-the-range irony, I’m sure you’ll agree. The announcement of the shortlist of Rangers’ bidders and the administrators’ report to creditors on consecutive days last week provided plenty of scope for media sources to reveal their contrasting takes on affairs, and their common ignorance. A perception persists that BBC Scotland has taken the more cynical, doom-laden view of Rangers’ financial prospects. This view dates back to Whyte’s run-ins with the corporation last autumn, when they exposed his ‘colourful’ business history. The BBC’s main independent rival, Scottish Television (STV), meanwhile, is perceived as more club-friendly (branded “STV Loyal” on fans’ websites). This view also dates back to Whyte’s autumn media travails – the Motherwell ‘tycoon’ afforded air time by STV News immediately before the BBC’s expose. Whyte himself, meanwhile, has been Whyte – and all that entails. An article in last Saturday’s Scotsman newspaper contrasted two supposedly polarised views of the report to creditors in which administrators Duff & Phelps ‘revealed’ Rangers’ potential debt in a doomsday (doomsweek?)...

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European Championship Stories: 2004 – Greek Economies Of Scale

As football entered the twenty-first century its race towards full industrialisation had more or less been completed. Resource management had become everything. In club football, scouting networks had diversified in order to fall quickly upon any young player spotted that hadn’t already got a professional contract, whilst at international level the stigma surrounding appointing foreign coaches had been diluted with several high profile European appointments. Football, both at club and international level, had long since become stratified, with familiar faces expected to win familiar trophies. In 2004, though, the rule book was tossed aside by a team and a coach who understood their limitations and played within them to a tactical system which sought to minimise risk and maximise gain, and what came to pass was possibly the greatest surprise win in the entire history of international tournament football. Football has been passionately followed in Greece for almost as long as the game has been codified, but the Greek national team had seldom given those back home a great deal to cheer about. It took until 1980 for the team to reach the finals of a major tournament and, having finally achieved this for that years European Championships, their stay in Italy was a brief and not particularly happy one, with the team returning home following defeats at the hands of the Netherlands and Czechoslovakia and a goalless draw...

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