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Day: June 26, 2012

An Open Letter to the Scottish Football League

To all officials, boards and directors of the Scottish Football League and its member clubs, I wish to make known the strength of my opposition to any arrangement which would see a reformed Rangers parachuted into the second tier of Scottish football. Not only would this be wrong in its own terms, but any hasty reorganisation of the league structure that might be pushed through to allow a solution to a short-term problem would be a grave error. I understand that I am anticipating events that may not even arise. Still, there is certain to be a good deal of horse-trading going on behind the scenes at present, so – as a season-ticket holder at Raith Rovers and a regular attendee at many other SFL matches – I wish to make my feelings known. When it first became apparent that Rangers would be liquidated, I thought it likely that – under pressure from Sky TV – the SPL would allow them to remain in the top league. That now seems unlikely – the principal reason for the change in momentum being the action of other SPL supporters in making their feelings known to their own clubs. I support their actions unreservedly. Lip-service has often been paid to the truism that the supporters are the most important people in the game. Matchday income in Scotland provides a much higher proportion...

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England At Euro 2012: A “Neutral” Speaks

Eamon Dunphy got it right. The “outspoken” pundit for Irish state television (RTE) said on Saturday night that “England won’t score, they have no creative players…it’ll go to penalties and Italy will go through.” It was a stroke of luck for Dunphy, who rather slurred his way through a short interview on RTE Radio, as he “was preparing for the Spain v France game.” As interviewer Joanne Cantwell semi-gleefully noted, “you did tip Holland to win it, Eamon.” Indeed, Eamon said a lot. It’s almost his job to be controversial for whatever reason – a story that requires another article which I’ll spare you. And he was particularly disparaging towards the English media’s assessment of Roy Hodgson’s team. “I’ve been in stitches reading the English papers today,” he said. “They love Roy Hodgson. They think they’re going to win it.” And, on this narrow point at least, he sort of had a point. English media pundits have been desperate to keep a tin lid on their normally bullish consideration of England’s chances at international finals for which they’ve qualified. And, up to a point, they did. But past that point, a day or so after the scruffy 1-0 win over Ukraine, the instances of “we can win this you know” and variants thereof began to grow. The BBC’s Jonathan Pearce even managed to shoe-horn “there’s a growing belief that...

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Match Of The Past: Southampton

Continuing our summer series of highlights of matches from days gone by, this morning we turn our attention to one of this years newcomers to the Premier League, Southampton. Well, we say “newcomers,” but Southampton FC have spent plenty of time in the top division of English football, most notably a lengthy unbroken spell in the top division which lasted from 1978 until 2005. Today, we have seven matches from Southamptons past, ranging from the start of the 1970s, right the way through to the end of an era, and the clubs departure from The Dell in 2001.  First up, we have a trip to Highbury to play Arsenal in 1970, on a snow-bound pitch in front of a slightly hysterical Brian Moore and with Arsenal, somewhat usually, breaking their habit of only wearing white shorts with their red and white home shirts. Our next game is from 1976 and is, surprise surprise, that years FA Cup final at Wembley against Manchester United, a match which started with United odds-on favourites to win against a Southampton side that was by this time in the Second Division. The Saints, however, had a surprise up their sleeve that day. Back in the First Division, our next match comes from 1979 and is a home league match against Brighton & Hove Albion. A mutual antipathy towards Portsmouth means that Brighton and Southampton...

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