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Month: November 2012

The European Football Revolution Will Be Televised

If there is one old adage that football has chosen to ignore above all others, then that which states that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ must be amongst the contenders for pole position. Barely a year goes by without something being rebadged or rebranded, as if applying a tenth new coat of polish to our clubs and competitions will definitely this time lead to a hitherto elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Michel Platini hasn’t been entirely bad as the president of UEFA – occasionally misguided, perhaps but nowhere near approaching what we might describe as Blatteresque levels of appallingness – this mornings announcement that European club football needs to be rethought is a potential minefield of disaster for UEFA which should be negotiated with the utmost care. It is possible to view this latest proposal for tinkering through a prism of outside forces being quietly at work in the background. When the G14 cartel of big clubs was jettisoned in favour of the European Club Association, the more innocent amongst us might have thought that a new era of co-operation between clubs and the regulators might be about to dawn. As time has worn on, however, an alternate possibility in which the hydra that was G14 was decapitated only for innumerate self-interested heads to appear in its place has come to feel...

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The Rangers Big Tax Case: Over & Out

So, farewell then, to the Rangers Tax Case (Big); unless HMRC appeals the impressively-detailed decision published last Tuesday. In which case, we’ll be here for years. The First Tier Tribunal (Tax) decision was a victory for Murray Group Holdings. The ‘oldCo’ Rangers parent company accepted there was a tax liability attached to a minority of its measures to avoid such tax and appealed successfully against all the assessments by HM Customs and Excise (HMRC) they disputed. As a result, those assessments “fall to be reduced substantially.” How “substantially”  was not specified. But it will be “substantially” less than the £24m (plus interest and any penalties for late payment) most commonly estimated as the underpayment of tax since the ‘Employee Benefit Trust’ story first broke in the Scottish Herald newspaper in April 2010. File me under ‘nerd’ if required, but I find publication of detailed legal judgments, combined with a will to penetrate the legalese in which they are written, worthwhile exercises – especially in cases, such as this, where my opinion was wrong. I’ve found myself more conversant in legalese than I was before reading the judgment… as demonstrated by my use of “more conversant” at the start of this sentence. I hope to be at least partly out of this habit by the end of the article. Sorry, in the meantime. The concept of a “majority” decision, when...

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A Rash Of Non-League Cancellations Causes More Than Mere Disruption

The postponement of matches has become, in recent years, something of a rite of passage for any non-league football club on the point of financial collapse. It has become an apt metaphor for the state of a club – in such a desperate position that it is unable even to pay to get to an away match or raise a team – and its significance hasn’t, in previous years, been lost upon those that regulate the game, either. For football clubs that have lurched from crisis to crisis, this has proved to be point at which the banging of nails into its coffin lids. It had been considered that “failing to fulfil a fixture” was about as serious a crime as a football club could commit in the ordinary course of a season, a line in the sand which, if we may be permitted to mix our metaphors for a moment, also served as something of a line in the sand. It spelt, usually, if not quite the absolute end of a football club, then at least the beginning of its death throes. This season, however, has seen something different. There doesn’t appear to have been a memo on the subject, but an increasing number of non-league clubs are finding that having matches called off is not quite the beginning of the end that it might previously have been....

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They Don’t Make Them Like Dave Sexton Any More

On Sunday afternoon at Stamford Bridge, the new interim manager of Chelsea Football Club, Rafael Benitez, was introduced to the clubs supporters to a less than rapturous reception. On a day laden heavy with symbolism, Chelsea and Manchester City, two clubs who have muscled their way into the ultra-rarefied air of European footballs top table, then played out a drab goalless draw which reminded us of a few fundamental truths about the game, the most prominent of which was that there are no guarantees of an entertaining game of football, even if the players on show are from two clubs, hyped beyond rationality and treated in so many aspects of their lives as living semi-deities. It’s not a criticism of the players to say this – it is seldom their fault that their every move is viewed as if through a filter which can make them appear superhuman – rather it is a reflection of the madness that seems to be on display everywhere we look when we regard professional football these days. Thoughts of Dave Sexton, who died yesterday at the age of eighty-two, quite possibly weighed heavy on the minds of many at Stamford Bridge yesterday afternoon. Sexton managed Chelsea for seven years between 1967 and 1974 and would go on to achieve considerable success with Queens Park Rangers before finding himself as the right man at...

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Non-League Videos Of The Week: The FA Trophy First Round Proper

Last weekend saw the First Round of this years FA Trophy, and this evening we have four matches from the weekends matches, as well as a match from the Northern League and a match from Scotland. Our first three matches see Blue Square Bet Premier clubs travel to lower division opposition, as third placed Newport County travel to Welling United of the Blue Square Bet South, Dartford travel to Kingstonian of the Ryman League Premier Division and Southport travel to Stafford Rangers of the Blue Square Bet North. We then have the match from Division One of the Northern League between West Allotment and Northallerton, and we finish off with a match in the junior leagues in Scotland between Kirkintilloch Rob Roy and Clydebank. Our thanks, as ever, go to those who take the time to record, edit and upload these matches. You can follow Twohundredpercent on Twitter by clicking...

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