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Day: October 24, 2012

Paul Jewell Leaves Ipswich Town, But Is This Just Papering Over Bigger Cracks?

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Ipswich Town’s only League title, and a title won on their debut season in the top flight. Since then, Town have been ever present in the top two divisions, with just seven of these ending in the bottom half of the second tier. In some respects this has been one long over-achievement, considering the size of the club and the catchment area, but the club have always had a reputation for long term planning – and have prospered most when this long term planning has been allowed to see fruition. Jackie Milburn may have presided over the slump from the top of Division One to the bottom of Division Two, but he sowed the seeds of the youth system that Sir Bobby Robson helped take to wins in the FA Cup and UEFA Cup finals. The feeling is that, in the quest for a return to the Premier League they last graced a decade ago, that the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater. Paul Jewell’s reign as manager, which ended today, has been one full of short-termism and attempts at quick fixes, rather than long term solutions. Initial concerns on this came at the end of the 2010-2011 season, where youth team players including Tom Eastman (now at Colchester) and Troy Brown (at Rotherham) were offered six month contracts on...

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Racism… Again

We live in tumultuous times. It has frequently felt over the last few days, weeks and months as if the edifices of twentieth century Britain are starting to be dismantled, and football is not free from the times being a-changing. When the independent panel released its findings into the Hillsborough disaster of 1989, it felt like a watershed moment. Not particularly because the most substantive part of the findings were anything new – far from it: the families campaigning for truth and justice had been shouting what has now become common knowledge from their rooftops for more than two decades – but because it laid bare the inner workings of an actual, real life conspiracy, a systematic smearing of the names of the dead for the sole reason of covering up the shortcomings of those charged with the responsibility of maintaining public safety on that horrible, horrible day twenty-three years ago. The truth can hurt, but it has been necessary to go through this process as the first stage in achieving justice for those who died that day. If Hillsborough is a boil on the face of English football that needs to be lanced, though, we are still at the diagnosis stage with the other headline-grabber of the last few weeks and months: racism. The last year or so has been an uncomfortable time for those amongst us who...

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Why Yate Towns FA Cup Achievement Cannot Be Understated

We haven’t reached the First Round Proper of the competition yet, but it is possible that we will not see a bigger surprise in the rest of this years FA Cup than was seen this evening at Rodney Parade when Yate Town of the Southern League Division One South & West beat Newport County by three goals to one in their Fourth Qualifying Round replay. Eyebrows in non-league circles were raised by Yate managing a draw in the first match on Saturday afternoon, but to travel to South Wales and beat the leaders of the Blue Square Bet Premier on their own turf is a result that is worthy of all the praise that we can offer. To get an idea of the achievement that this club managed this evening, we should, perhaps, take a moment to consider the distance between the two sides. It is a common trope for the mainstream media to lump all “non-league” clubs in as being some unholy, lumpen mass with nothing to distinguish one from another. Yate’s FA Cup runs has left them with games in hand on every other team in their division, but they are still bottom of their division with just one point from their first six league matches of the season, and whilst they are four divisions below Newport County in the same way that Barnet are four divisions...

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