Day: October 12, 2012

Ken Bates: “An Ex-Chairman Is A Nobody”

OK, we all know that Ken Bates is an unpopular individual in footballing circles. He is still, though, not as unpopular as he ought to be. There are still those in football, watchers, participants and commentators, who are happy to file Bates under “character,” or give him credit where it is not entirely due. To far too many people, Bates still represents a flash of excitement and unpredictability in a game whose participants are coached more rigorously in “dealing” with the media than kicking with their weaker foot; a game which usually only lets its guard drop in the ugliest fashion (check Chelsea FC’s latest travails for details). Bates “tells it like it is,” and “isn’t afraid to speak his mind.” But while “those who speak their mind often have nothing to say,” Bates has been filing column inches on sports pages throughout my lifetime (OK, maybe that’s taking things too personally), since he first came to footballing prominence, as Oldham Athletic chairman in 1965. Famously, he shared half a chapter of Arthur Hopcraft’s timeless book The Football Man, representative as he seemed to be of the thrusting new entrepreneurial spirit of modern football circa 1968. In it he was contrasted with the old-school (literally and figuratively) occupant of the Arsenal chair, Denis Hill-Wood. Hopcraft wrote of the pair that they were “definitively, the representatives of the public school...

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An American Learns to Appreciate Non-League Day

This years Non-League Day falls tomorrow, and it is receiving unprecedented media coverage. Such global coverage will inevitably draw interest in abroad, and we’re delighted to welcome back Futfanaticos Elliott Turner for a little perspective on tomorrow from the other side of the Atlantic ocean. For Brits sick of the commercialization and exportation of the English Premier League, Non-League Day offers a humble reminder of simpler times. Each October, during the international break, football fans in the UK flock to much smaller stadiums to support local amateur clubs. The players play football, but a bit slower than in the EPL. Fans pay for tickets, but often at 1/8th the price. Despite the lower quality of play and suspiciously cheap tickets, folks smile and repeat the trek year after year. For American fans of soccer, such as myself, we view this event with suspicion. Why? In America, contrary to what you’ve read on the internet, we Americans exclusively ride around our native country in large, red double-decker buses with no top roof (just like we do in London!). We constantly eat Big Macs. The anglo population is 10% less pale than the isles. This hectic driving situation, poor diet, and additional sunlight has combined to create a very competitive race of peoples. We chide the defeated. We place winners on pedestals. Second place is the first loser, or so popular t-shirts...

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