Day: June 18, 2012

100 Owners: Number 94 – Mazhar Majeed (Croydon Athletic)

It is very seldom that a non-league football club makes the headlines of a national newspaper for any reason other than a surprise result in the FA Cup, but at the start of the 2010/11 season exactly this happened to Croydon Athletic of the Ryman League Premier Division when The News Of The World reported a covertly recorded interview, beginning a chain of events that would end in death, imprisonment and the closure of the club. But how did a previously anonymous football club from the southern suburbs of London come to get involved in this story, and what did the experiences of Croydon Athletic have to teach us about the dangers of that very anonymity? The summer of 2010 was a time of celebration for Croydon Athletic. At the end of the previous season, the club – which had been founded in 1986 – had win Division One South of the Ryman League, taking it to its highest ever level of football. The club had been owned by Mazhar Majeed, a British-based agent, property developer and bookmaker in his mid-thirties, since 2008 and Majeed had been spending lavishly on the team to ensure promotion. As the new season started, however, footballing concerns would become amongst the last things on the mind of anybody at the club. On the twenty-eighth of August 2010, The News Of The World reported a story that would...

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Euro 2012: Group B – The Final Day

Goodnight, Oranje. The Dutch team arrived at this years European Championships with high hopes, having got to the World Cup final two years ago. This evening, however, they return home with only three consecutive defeats under their belt and a nation wondering how a team with so many talented individuals could have faltered so badly. In all honesty, the damage had been done prior to this evening. Defeat in their opening match at the hands of Denmark proved to be the point at which their chances of progressing in this years tournament were fatally holed and this evening merely sealed the opinion that had been forming over the previous two matches, that the 2012 edition of the Netherlands national football team was scarcely fit for purpose. This evening in Kharkiv they were beaten by the odd goal in three by a resurgent Portugal, but the narrowness of the scoreline only partially told the story of their evening. The performance of Cristiano Ronaldo – who scored both Portuguese goals – was probably the finest individual performance of the tournament so far and may well prove to be difficult to top, whilst it was only an obdurate evenings work from goalkeeper Michael Stekelenberg which kept the score down to that odd goal. The Netherlands had started effectively, with a lovely goal from Rafael Van Der Vaart offering them the thinnest slither...

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