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Day: June 6, 2012

Euro 2012: The Runners & Riders – The Republic Of Ireland

It’s almost a quarter of a century since the Republic of Ireland made their debut in international tournament football, when a first round exit in the European Championships was ameliorated somewhat by the pleasure of beating England in the group stages. Since then Ireland have reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup finals twice, but 1988 has proved to be the country’s sole appearance in the finals of the European Championships until this time around. This summer, however, they are back but the scale of the task ahead of the team is massive, with both Spain and Italy in the same group as them. All, however, is not lost, especially when we consider that they’ve never embarrassed themselves in the finals of a major tournament before – no matter who the opposition – and could face opposition with a history of occasionally stumbling when expected to do better. The History: So, were Ireland under-achievers who found their level after 1986, or a relatively small nation (and one in which football was not, historically, the national game) that has made huge strides forward in recent years, particularly in the World Cup finals since the start of the 1990s? The answer to this question is probably a little from column A and a little from column B. Prior to 1988, despite occasionally generous sprinklings of very talented players, Ireland couldn’t get...

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Ripping Up Traditions, The Cardiff City Way

Considering that they are making a pact with the devil, it is perhaps appropriate that Cardiff City will be playing in red from the start of next season. It was at the end of last month that the club first announced that it was to change its colours in accordance with the request of the clubs new Malaysian investors, who consider red a “luckier” colour in the Far East and that it will allow more people in that part of the world to identify with their – hold your noses – “brand”. The discord that it brought about meant that the plans were initially put on the back burner but rumours, fuelled by a tame local press, began to resurface recently that it wasn’t as dead and buried as many might have hoped and this morning came a press release that will have sunk the hearts of many – but not all – supporters of the club. Cardiff City will be wearing red and black from the start of next season, and in addition to this the clubs badge has relegated its traditional bluebird to a mere after-thought, tucked away underneath a picture of a dragon. Of course, no modern club would seek to push through such an obviously controversial and divisive move without at least paying lip service to the tradition that they are ripping up in the pursuit of money, so this...

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100 Owners: No.95 – Bob Lord (Burnley)

When we talk of the butchers, bakers and candlestick makers that ran our football clubs as their own fiefdoms for most of the twentieth century, there is perhaps one man that, above all others, has come to be considered the personification of the genre: Bob Lord – or, as the football writer Arthur Hopcraft once famously described him, The Khruschev of Burnley. Lord was, perhaps, the aultimate football autocrat. Indeed, the actor Timothy West would use Lord as an inspiration for his portrayal of the hard-nosed Bradley Hardacre in the television series Brass. Lord was the chairman of Burnley Football Club for twenty six years, from 1955 until just three months before his death in 1981. He ruled the club with an iron fist, but also sat on the board of the Football League and was the president of the Alliance Premier League upon its formation in 1979. Lords chairmanship coincided with the most successful period in the clubs history, but he was also involved in controversial player sales, frequent spats with the press and, perhaps most mysteriously of all, with the resignation from the Football League of a fellow football club that also happened to be amongst Burnleys local rivals. Born locally in 1908, Lord started working as a butcher in 1927 at the age of just nineteen and his business eventually grew to fourteen butchers shops. He had been...

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Euro Moments: France

This mornings Euro Moment comes from France, and features former midfielder and member of the “Carré Magique” Alain Giresse standing atop a plinth. Don’t forget, you can see plenty more Dotmund artwork here, and you can read his trenchant opinions on just about everything here.   Don’t forget that with Euro 2012 approaching you can download the Twohundredpercent Euro 2012 spreadsheet here (for Excel 2007), whilst a version that will be compatible with older versions of Excel is available here. You can follow Twohundredpercent on Twitter by clicking...

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