Month: June 2012

A New Dawn For Wycombe Wanderers

The timing of the announcement, coming as it did on a Friday evening, might have been a little unusual, but there can be no doubting that the take-over of Wycombe Wanderers Football Club by its supporters trust is very positive news indeed. The clubs future has been a source of some conjecture over the last couple of years on account of the plans and whims of now former owner Steve Hayes, but by repositioning the club as an asset of its local community, and with the future of its Adams Park stadium now considerably more certain, it seems as if a new dawn is rising over the Buckinghamshire club today. A former double-glazing salesman and finance broker, Hayes first became involved at Wycombe in 2004 when he purchased a twenty-five per cent shareholding in the club. He followed this up in 2007 by buying a stake in the London Wasps Rugby Football Club and then securing ownership of that club at the end of the following year. In the summer of 2009, he completed a take-over of Wycombe Wanderers in a deal which saw £3m of debt written off and converted into shares (which, as we will see below, turned out to be a far from harmonious affair), but after this the future of both of these clubs became intertwined as Hayes sought to build a Sport Village containing...

Read More

Three Up, Three Down & The Stigma Of Non-League Football

Earlier this week, a curious Early Day Motion was presented to parliament. Early Day Motions are one of the more endearing quirks of our antiquated parliamentary system, allowing Members of Parliament the opportunity to get whatever may have been on their minds of late which couldn’t be considered of national importance out there in the open. They tend to err on the side of the trivial and humorous, but they can – as happened with the 1979 vote of no confidence that ended the Labour government of Jim Callaghan and ushered in Thatcherism – be introduced on matters of considerable importance. Whether the EDM presented by Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat representative for Westmorland and Lonsdale, earlier this week falls into the former or latter of those two categories may depend upon which football club you support. Farron, whose constituency covers, amongst other places, Kendal and Windermere, is of the opinion that there is a bottleneck at the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier, and that the Football League should introduce a third promotion place between League Two and this division. As gestures go it is a certainly a grand one, but, as the chairman of Burton Albion, Ben Robinson, stated when recently questioned on the subject, “it will take a lot of hard work to convince the majority of clubs.” There was of course, a time when...

Read More

Which Way Now For Scottish Football?

While the European Championships have been chugging along neatly in the forefront of most peoples minds over the last couple of weeks or so, football in Scotland has reached a crossroads, the ramifications of which could be felt for many years. The saga of Rangers FC and the debate – some might even say argument – over where The Rangers, the club that has emerged from the ashes of perhaps the biggest financial collapse in the entire history of British football, will start next season is now set to drag into July, with the distinct possibility of reaching a conclusion that will satisfy absolutely nobody whatsoever. The Rangers had applied to join the Scottish Premier League for the start of next season, but this has already been blown out of the water. With many supporting the placing of the club in the Third Division of the Scottish Football League, it was with no little surprise that the news coming out of the Scottish Football Association and the Scottish Football League had the distinct whiff of compromise about them. What, however, was being compromised and what might be lost if, against the wishes of many supporters in Scotland – including many Rangers supporters themselves – if this compromise is what ends up happening for the start of the new season? A considerable proportion of the problem stems from the pure...

Read More

Match Of The Past: Reading FC

Reading FC will start their second spell in the Premier League next season having emerged from the pack in the Championship to lift the title by a single, solitary point. This, however, is a club with a very lengthy history. Founded in 1871, Reading joined the Football League in 1920, but the amount of time that they spent in the lower divisions means that finding archive footage of them can be a little tricky. Our first three matches all come from the 1987/88 season. First up is a League Cup match against Chelsea from September 1987. This is a first leg match, and it’s worth bearing in mind when watching this that the club did get through after only losing the second leg by three goals to two. There was no League Cup glory for Reading that season – they were knocked out in the Fourth Round by Bradford City, but the team did get to Wembley that season in the Simod Cup, the competition created to fill the void left by the post-Heysel ban on English clubs in Europe. They had already beaten Queens Park Rangers, Oxford United, Nottingham Forest and Bradford City by the time that they reached their semi-final match against Coventry City and, having got through that the final at Wembley attracted a crowd of 61,470 people. Our next match is from the following season,...

Read More

Euro 2012: The Semi-Finals – Germany 1-2 Italy

On the seventeenth of June 1970, Italy and West Germany played out a World Cup semi-final at The Azteca Stadium in Mexico City so epic that earned itself the soubriquet of The Match Of The Century. Perhaps the finest tribute ever paid to an individual football match ever made can be found outside the stadium, a permanent monument to what became known as The Game Of The Century, a 4-3 win for Italy after thirty minutes of extra-time which contained five goals. Pause to consider that – a match so affective that it caused people thousands of miles from the two nations that played it out to mark the fact that it had been played on their home patch. We may never see the likes of it again. This match has set an exceptionally high standards for matches between the two sides, but Italy inflicted a traumatic defeat upon Germany on the semi-final of the 2006 World Cup in Hamburg, and tonight they put in probably the most accomplished performance by any team in this tournament so far in a match which ended with a scoreline that was, if anything, very flattering on a German side that was made to look very ordinary indeed. The headlines tomorrow morning will be written for one man, of course. Mario Balotelli is still two weeks short of his twenty-second birthday, but this...

Read More