Month: August 2012

Signore Pantalone and the Pompey Comedy of Errors

It is often the last resort of the villain in a pantomime to curse his conquerors with his dying breath. Which thought leads me directly to  the vainglorious attacks of  Pompey’s chief creditor, Balram Chainrai, on the Pompey Supporters’ Trust. Indeed, not only the Pompey Trust but the entire Trust movement. For the edification of Sky Chainrai declares, ‘Supporters Trusts’ have a poor record of passing successful rescue packages and unfortunately the PST shows no reason why they would do any better.’ Swansea fans might like to contemplate their lack of success at this point. Despite this, the Pompey Supporters Trust edge ever closer to the biggest coup of the Trust movement to date. Their only obstacle is the villain of the piece himself. Meantime, Chainrai appears to be bidding for the role as Pantalone, a rich and miserly old merchant, driven to protect his money, whilst enjoying keeping those that belong together apart; one who is the perennially bitter butt of many jokes in the Commedia Del’Arte. His character lies at the root of many a pantomime villain. The more he doth protest the more risible his actions become. Surely a stranger to reality, the Football League cannot seriously be contemplating passing such a character as ‘fit and proper’ without facing accusations of bringing the game into disrepute. For it would seem that Chainrai is now becoming the very...

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Cafe Calcio: The Street Pharmacists Guide To Football – An Introduction

A new season of the radio show and podcast Café Calcio begins in a couple of weeks, and we’ll be bringing you a series in association with it. First of all, though, a brief introduction, and here’s co-host Chris Roberts to tell us all about it. Every show in the new season of Café Calcio broadcast on Resonance 104.4 FM will contain a feature linking various narcotics and their effects to an aspect of the game of football or a specific team. The text for those broadcasts will be put up here in time for the show’s transmission at 7PM every Thursday evening starting on September 6th when we will be considering the links between the hit delivered by crack cocaine and the excitement engendered in the fan by the BIG NAME FOREIGN SIGNING.   Before embarking on this journey into pharmaceuticals, or, for the more chemically literate, voyage into football, it is probably necessary to make a few things clear. The first thing is that I’m indebted to the good people at Urban 75 for the precise effects and, in a world where as much rubbish is spoken about drugs as rubbish is on them, can heartily recommend their forum as a useful place to find out more about all kinds of narcotics. I’m also grateful because, quite frankly, I’m too busy to try and watch football on drugs and...

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Port Vale: Reserving The Right To Criticise

The benefits of hindsight are many. And reviewing the fretful close season that Port Vale fans have just endured, I am glad that I “knew the result” of the negotiations on Lancashire businessman Keith Ryder’s putative club takeover. Otherwise I would have feared for them mightily. Vale ended last season in administration with “preferred bidder” Ryder having agreed a deal with creditors to take the club out of administration. They started the new season in administration, with no “preferred bidder” having agreed anything. And yet, Vale are arguably in a safer position now, with genuine hopes that the summer’s mistakes can be rectified. Ryder, Bob Young, a senior partner of administrators Begbies Traynor, and the Football League spent their summer in what appeared to be negotiations over every line of every agreement required to facilitate the takeover. Yet ultimately, Ryder failed to deliver on the key aspect of his takeover… the money to pay for it. And the Vale fan base was left as divided as they had ever been, even during the darkest days of protest against the regime which took them into administration in March. Ryder was swiftly selected as Vale’s “preferred bidder” in April having offered more money for creditors than any other bids received by the administrators. He also provided the administrators with the requisite “proof of funds.” Yet this “proof” was worthless, as when...

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Newport Countys Dream Start To The Season

References to lottery tickets are a well worn trope in the world of those who support those clubs that habitually live below the games breadline. On the whole, those that have come up trumps with those multi-million to one odds have tended to steer clear of football, but one club has bagged itself a Euromillions winner, and even this is just another moment of note in a most extraordinary start to the season for Blue Square Bet Premier club Newport County. Not only have Newport managed to persuade £45m lottery winner Les Scadding to join the board of directors of their club as its new chairman, but if the team, managed by the former Tottenham Hotspur defender Justin Edinburgh, might not even need their newest boardroom recruit to put his hand in his pocket in order to strengthen the team. It has been a remarkable few months for this club. During the summer, it left the unsatisfactory Spytty Park – also known as the Newport Stadium – for a new home, sharing the Rodney Parade rugby ground with Newport RFC and Newport Gwent Dragons. The club had spent much of the summer struggling to make the mathematics of its wage bill add up, and expectations for the clubs progress on the pitch this season were not especially high. This season has, however, seen Newport start with a run of...

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New Season, New Mungo: S05E01

It is that time again. The story of Mungo McCrackas and his time with Heart of Clackmannanshire and Primrose Hill Ramblers is too convoluted to go into here (the full Mungo archive can be seen here), but we are delighted to confirm that the worst professional footballer in the world is back for a fifth series, kicking off this morning on 200%. After a brief stay in London – and an even briefer one in space – Mungo is back in Scotland for the new season and our first episode sees him back from retirement to be reunited with...

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