Day: November 27, 2012

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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