Day: August 15, 2012

The 2012 Olympic Games: Footballs Legacy

The dust is very gradually settling on an almost entirely successful London Olympic Games. And the BBC aren’t about to let us forget how good they were, as they had as successful a Games as anybody – even “Square Eyes”, the TV critic in satirical magazine Private Eye, gave the BBC’s Games coverage a great review, and (s)he never gives great reviews. So most of the sneering so far, in the newspapers I’ve read and the conversations I’ve had, has been directed at the football; particularly, though not exclusively, the men’s football. And this criticism has been misplaced. It has overlooked the (high) quality of the two tournaments themselves in favour of sniping at Great Britain’s, or Team GB’s place and participation in them. And it has disingenuously contrasted the grace and humility of so many Olympians with the distinct lack of same shown by “football”, by which most critics mean the English Premier League or England’s relatively colourless Euro 2012 squad. The Olympics has temporarily usurped the weather as the general British conversation ice-breaker. Asked my Olympic opinion by a friend on Monday, I offered: “didn’t watch much of it, nice to see such a healthy, non-jingoistic patriotism, the football was really good,” and was met with a rant-and-a-half. The football was “a disgrace”, she said, compared to the honesty and integrity of all these athletes who have...

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The 200% Pre-Season Previews: Queens Park Rangers

Okay, let’s get this out of the way quickly, before we move onto altogether more relevant matters. Joey Bartons sending off at Manchester City was a pretty stupid piece of behaviour, for which he has been severely punished. There. That wasn’t so bad, was it? Bartons media profile has a tendency to overshadow everything in its wake up these days, but this does his employers something of a disservice. What should have been elation at the clubs return to the Premier League at the end of the season was tempered by concerns over the behaviour of those running the club at the time. They have long gone now, as has Neil Warnock, the man that took the club back to the Premier League in the first place. Considering the turmoil that such events carry with them, that the club held onto its position in the division at all is something of a small wonder. Yet a year on, here is Queens Park Rangers Football Club – still a Premier League club and one which is likely to improve upon last year’s close shave. Bartons misdemeanour at the City of Manchester Stadium on the final day of last season might have cost the club its Premier League place, but providence shone on it elsewhere and Rangers stayed up. While this summer has been quiet in the transfer market, the new...

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Is Push Turning To Shove At Fratton Park?

At Home Park last night, Plymouth Argyle comfortably beat a scratch Portsmouth side made up largely of youth team players by three goals to nil in the First Round of this years League Cup. Seldom could such a result have seemed more trivial in comparison with events going on elsewhere at a football club than they did in Devon last night. Portsmouth Football Club has been teetering on the brink for several years now, a story quite brilliantly recanted for us on this site by SJ Maskell, but this morning, with the news that Balram Chainrai and his Portpin company are finally to withdraw their interest in the club, comes the moment at which push comes to shove at Fratton Park. The story of the summer at Portsmouth FC has been one of a desperate battle to off-load the club of high earning players that were irresponsibly signed after the clubs previous spell in administration. One by one, this has been chipped away at, with the clubs administrator Trevor Birch making frequent dire warnings concerning the fact that the clubs immediate future. The last deadline to pass came at the end of last week, when Liam Lawrence, the last remaining senior player on the books at Fratton Park, finally agreed to leave the club. This was supposed to open the door for Chainrai to buy the club from the administrator,...

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The 200% Pre-Season Previews: Norwich City

So, let’s get the obvious line out of the way first. That difficult second season. Buoyed by the adrenaline high of promotion into a new division, a team kicks on and exceeds the most apocalyptic of pre-season predictions. In the lower divisions, this might mean two successive promotions, but in the Premier League this usually means a mid-table finish of some description. With the summer comes a sinking feeling that everybody has got to go through it all again, and the second season sees the sunniness of the previous season give way as clubs that may have been unfamiliar with idioms of the previous year show them up as the imposters that they are, and might have been all along. Is there anything in this theory? Possibly. After all, it has happened frequently enough in the Premier League over the last ten years or so. Will this scenario apply to Norwich Citys prospects for the coming season, though? Possibly not. In the unforgiving environment of the Premier League, one of the worst aspects of any degree of success is the recognition that comes with, and Norwich City perhaps paid the ultimate price for their mid-table finish last season when they lost manager Paul Lambert to Aston Villa before the club had even hardly had the chance to catch its breath. Of course, the best that any club can do...

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