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Day: January 31, 2013

The 2013 African Cup Of Nations: The Finale To Groups C & D

Group C Group C ended up as Group A’s inverted evil twin – intermittently good at first, collectively allergic to goal attempts at the end. Having praised Eurosport for negotiating Group A’s minefield of ever-changing team positions, I felt somewhat let down by the mess into which they mired themselves as Zambia and Nigeria threatened to copy each other into oblivion. Two nil-nils, an increasingly likely outcome of their games with Burkina Faso and Ethiopia respectively, would have left the Chipolopolo and Super Eagles level on points, head-to-head, goal difference and goals scored…and leave them separated on what ITV’s Sam Matterface called “fair playgrounds.” Of course, second place wasn’t about to be decided by the quality of kids’ recreational facilities. However, the fair-play grounds which were to decide it seemed scarcely less random when it emerged that Efie Ambrose’s dismissal against Ethiopia could eliminate Nigeria. This took time to emerge on Eurosport, however, as they boldly declared at half-time that third-placed Zambia “have it all to do.” ITV, meanwhile, had Zambia second, Matterface having already noted that the bookings count was 8-6 to Nigeria and would see them through. ITV began badly, though, Matterface declaring it “winner takes it all in Rustenberg.” This wasn’t necessarily true of Ethiopia who, if Zambia also won, would have still been third behind the Burkinabes. But two victories needed two goals. So Matterface’s...

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Deadline Day Panic: Is QPR’s Spending An Accident Waiting To Happen?

During the days, which now seem like a lifetime ago but which in reality were quite recently, of free and easy credit and hire purchase, the phrase ‘buy now, pay later’ became something of a mantra on the high street. Retailers wanted consumers to interpret this phrase in a very specific manner, appealing as it did to the strongest instincts of the human desire for instant gratification, but as time progressed consumers came to realise that by stressing the phrase differently it could come to mean something quite, quite different. Failure to repay on time could lead to court action and even the conversion of innocent looking loans into debts secured against their property, and the spiraling out of control of people’s personal financial positions became a familiar sight, with personal insolvency levels shooting through the roof. This phrase sprang to mind this morning as Queens Park Rangers assaulted the last day of the transfer window with all the subtlety that we might have expected from a club with a little cash to spend, a pressingly desperate need to stay in the Premier League and Harry Redknapp as its manager. The flurry activity was such that we could even be persuaded that the club was acting in such a manner in order to render any attempts at parody futile. By the middle of the morning, Christopher Samba had arrived...

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