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Day: May 12, 2012

100 Owners: No.100 – John Houlding (Everton & Liverpool)

There is a point of view held by some that the olden days were better and somehow purer than the world that we live in today. Considering the twenty-four saturation news coverage that football entertains these days, this is perhaps unsurprising. Every tiny story can be blown up out of all proportion, and every word that anybody even remotely connected to the game utters is forensically analysed and interpreted in as many different ways as conceivable. For many years, however, the game remained largely invisible to all those that didn’t attend matches, and the political manoeuvring that took place behind the scenes was veiled in even greater secrecy. For the first of our century of profiles, we’re reaching back to a time before television and cinema, to the frenetic and frequently chaotic days that saw the introduction of the professionalism of football in England. St. Domingo’s FC was founded, as so many of our clubs were, as the off-shoot of a church – in this case, a Methodist church. They played their formative years on an open pitch on Stanley Park in Liverpool – which now separates Goodison Park from Anfield – where they attracted the attention of a local brewer whose house backed onto the park, John Houlding. Within four years, the club was considering turning professional and required an enclosed ground of its own if it was to...

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Rangers: It Was The Daily Record Wot Won It

We have it in England too, of course. If the Daily Express newspaper doesn’t lead with a “news” item on Princess Diana, Madeleine McCann, freak weather or an EU “scandal”, something is seriously wrong. But the Daily Record newspaper’s near-obsession with the ‘Blue Knights’ consortium, which exited stage left for the very last time honest yesterday afternoon, has been a worthy rival in this area of tabloid sensationalism. The Record was a bit quieter yesterday, as the Knights regaled us with their bitter take on events in an afternoon press briefing. An angry Brian Kennedy frothed that “the administrators better have somebody good, some good credible consortium who is fully-funded.” But the expected “or else” failed to materialise. This was wise, of course, as Kennedy was only hours past telling administrators Paul Clark and David Whitehouse that the Knights bid better be accepted by noon on Friday or else they would withdraw from the process. To which the response was “…” – arguably the most honest statement they’d made for some days. Meanwhile, back at yesterday afternoon’s briefing, nominal bid leader Paul Murray nervously scanned the room for anyone looking ready to ask Kennedy if he had his Scottish Cup Final ticket for the Hibees end. Neither could blame the Record for their bid’s demise. Had it succeeded, the proverbial cheque would have been in the post to particularly...

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Visions Of Capitalism: Twenty-First Century Football, The Premier League & Manchester

By tomorrow evening, half of Manchester – a phrase that in itself provokes so much debate that it is worth pointing out that it is being used for the purposes of simplicity alone – will be celebrating a Premier League championship victory. Either Manchester City or Manchester United will be crowned as the champions of England. That such a set of circumstances should have come about on the final day of the season is a situation that has likely caused Peter Scudamore to make some faintly obscene gurgling noises over the last couple of weeks or so, but it has also sparked a debate over the nature of Manchester City’s sudden, testosterone-fuelled rise to the summit of the game, a rise fuelled by the money of the Abu Dhabi United group. Should results go their way tomorrow afternoon – and there is little to suggest that they won’t at present, although this projection is subect to change – City will be roundly accused of having “bought” the title, but is this simplistic assessment of what would be their first championship victory in almost four and a half decades a fair one? The amount of money spent by Manchester City over the last two or three years or so is eye-watering. Of that, we can be certain. Before we starting throwing around very modern catchphrases such as “financial doping”, though,...

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