Day: February 5, 2013

Alex McLeish’s 40 Days Crowns Nottingham Forest’s Seven Weeks Of Madness

At least, Alex McLeish might have pondered as he left The City Ground for the last time this morning, he was there for long enough to get Christmas paid for. It’s a small consolation for the now former manager of Nottingham Forest, but small consolations are as much as many Forest supporters can take succour from after the club confirmed this morning that McLeish had left the club after just forty days in charge. Since it had been strongly rumoured that McLeish was at the point of resigning his position after the club’s transfer deadline day disaster – which saw George Boyd turned away on the spurious grounds of not having perfect eyesight, only for the player to be offered a loan deal until the end of the season – it is, perhaps somewhat surprising that he lasted as much longer as another four and a half days. Not that those days were particularly happy ones, mind. A defeat at the hands of Birmingham City at the weekend was followed by McLeish pointedly refusing to discuss his future after the match. There are grounds for suggesting that this was for the best. McLeish’s records at Birmingham City and Aston Villa meant that his initial appointment was greeted with a degree of scepticism by many Forest supporters and he had hardly set the world on fire since taking the job,...

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Match Of The Past: Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth Football Club has had a pretty rough time of things over the last three or four years or so, but today we continue our series of archive videos of the clubs of Football League One with the Fratton Park club, and six videos from the history of a club which has won both the FA Cup and the English championship on two occasions. We kick off with two matches from the years before the outbreak of the Second World War, an FA Cup semi-final against Leicester City from 1934 and the 1939 FA Cup final against Wolverhampton Wanderers. The club’s most successful years came in the immediate post war period, winning the Football League championship in 1949 and 1950. Years of decline followed, and our third match is a complete episode of Match Of The Day from February 1967 featuring Portsmouth play Wolves at Fratton Park. Our next video is a compilation – which cuts out just before the end, but there we go – of the club’s matches from the years between 1982 and 1992, and we follow this with a quite extraordinary trip to The Manor Ground to play Oxford United in November 1992. Our final match sees Portsmouth travel north to Elland Road to play Leeds United – then, of course, a Premier League powerhouse – in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup. You...

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The 2013 African Cup Of Nations – It’s A Knockout

“I’m sure that when the knockout stage starts it will be as good as ever,” claimed Eurosport’s Dan O’Hagan. Sadly, the knockout stages in recent competitions have been consistently disappointing. And this year’s quarter-finals were, mostly, as “good” as ever. Ghana 2 Cape Verde 0 Even by the low standards of this AFCON, the first half in Port Elizabeth was a ghastly affair. The Black Stars seemed determined only to expend as little energy as possible. And with that attitude pitted against a neat and tidy, but hardly expansive, Blue Sharks, the result was 45 minutes of the dreariest football. Eurosport’s Wayne Boyce noted that Ghana defender John Pantsil’s second name was pronounced ‘Paintsil,’ as in, to pick a phrase purely at random, “like watching Paintsil dry.” And it was no surprise that Eurosport had to include bits of half-time itself in its match highlights programme (there’s only so many times that you can tell viewers ‘Moneygram brings you closer’). Analyst Matt Jackson suggested the first-half was “stop/start at times.” But I couldn’t recall the “starts.” Cape Verde’s  ‘minnow’ status continued to obsess the commentators almost as much as the Nelspruit pitch (see below). But at least they had a point about the sand dunes (“Pitch too sandy? Let’s put more sand on it, then”). ITV’s Efan Ekoku insisted Cape Verde were “not in awe of Ghana in any way,”...

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