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Month: February 2013

SLAPPS For Pompey Bloggers

Those amongst us that occasionally doubt the power the most vocal of football bloggers seldom pause to consider the lengths that some people go to in order to prevent them having their say. This is a story that will ring bells in a number of clubs around the country. Fans of Leeds United, Birmingham City, Liverpool and Doncaster Rovers have all experienced some or all of the pressures we have felt at Pompey. In the last few weeks, however, events on the South Coast have begun to move in a different and troubling direction. Not only have abuse and spurious counter-arguments posted via social networking sites and by telephone been reported, but now threats of legal action have also been brought into play. Yesterday (26th February) the Portsmouth Evening News carried a small News item: INTERNET fan site fansnetwork.co.uk is being taken to court over a blog it published last week by Pompey fan Mike Hall. Lawyers acting for investment banker Pascal Najadi, part of the Harris consortium, say defamation action will take place as no apology has been issued by the website, though the blog has been removed. Fansnetwork.co.uk declined to comment. Micah Hall has been a strong voice of criticism regarding the calamitous ownership of Pompey since Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir became involved in October 2009.  He has been posting on Fans Network for some considerable...

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Football’s Not Coming Home: Gloucester City’s New Ground Plans Falter

Just a week shy of Gloucester City AFC’s 130th anniversary the club’s future has been thrown into doubt with the news that plans for a return to Gloucester are emphatically on hold until further notice. Safe in the anonymous mid-table of the Conference North the club take on Altrincham tonight at their current adopted home, 11 miles down the road in Cheltenham and while a decent battle is expected on the pitch the thoughts of those in the stands are likely to be elsewhere. After almost six years in exile and five years of promises that ‘the club will be home soon’ the club has come up against a brick wall, without a sod on any new ground being cut. To recap for those who might not know, City’s ground was engulfed in flood water in July 2007, along with much of the county, when the River Severn burst it’s banks. It was the third major flood in a decade and water rose up to the cross bar. Remember that meme when the England game was called off because of the rain – that was Meadow Park. The City Council formed a special cross party group and worked with the club to find some way of bringing them back to the city, guiding them through the planning process. Various sites were mooted and dismissed, ultimately it was back to...

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Philliskirk’s Famous Five… Which Never Happened

A recent tweet by the BBC’s Ian Dennis brought some memories flooding back. Not of Dennis’s angry reaction to my criticism of a Radio 5 Live show he hosted about UEFA’s Financial Fair Play initiative (although I thought Dennis was the programme’s only decent contributor). But memories of a curious FA Cup first-round tie from 1992. Dennis’s tweet concerned Oldham Athletic caretaker-supremo Tony Philliskirk. On February 16th, before the 2-2 draw with Everton at Boundary Park which set up tonight’s FA Cup fifth-round replay at Goodison Park, Dennis tweeted “Until today highlight of Tony Philliskirk career in FA Cup was scoring five goals for Peterborough only to have them expunged.“ Indeed, Philliskirk scored six times in the tie – a remarkable effort considering his Peterborough United side progressed 1-0 in a replay at their London Road ground, after a 1-1 draw in the first match. So, how so? More people will almost certainly be aware that Dennis Law is the answer the pub quiz-style question “Who scored seven goals in an FA Cup tie but ended up on the losing side?” In 1961, Law scored all six Manchester City goals as they led 6-2 in a fourth-round tie at Luton Town’s Kenilworth Road. The match was abandoned after 69 minutes due to a waterlogged pitch. And when they started again, Law scored again, only for City to lose 3-1....

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Rangers: The Continuing Adventures Of Charles Green

The ability of Rangers CEO Charles Green to get up people’s noses has, depending on your opinion of him, with reached new heights or plumbed new depths of late. Indeed, if it wasn’t for the need to be hyper-sensitive when writing about Rangers – now that they are no longer “soft touches” for their critics (perceived or real) – you could say that Green is now starting to get up people’s bluenoses. One blocked nasal passage, chairman Malcolm Murray, was reportedly asked to leave by the “Rangers International Football Club” board, after recent reports that he and Green had fallen out. The only surprise to keen Rangers-watchers is that this fall-out took so long. There was an inevitable clash of public personalities… as Green has one, while for all Murray’s faults, he was/is a genuine Rangers fan and has been the dictionary definition of low-key chairman. Mostly. Reports of “concerns raised by two supporters” about Murray’s “personal conduct”  read oddly – they must be two very influential supporters indeed if their concerns led to the chairman being asked to leave. Rumours abounded that Murray had some ill-timed sniffs of the barman’s apron, while in London promoting Rangers’ recent share issue, before publicly expressing some… erm… ’forthright’ views about Green. And with Murray reportedly refusing to go, a share-price-tumbling ‘civil war’ loomed; hence some of the “institutional investors” who formed the successful part...

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That Was The Weekend That Was: A Good Weekend To Be Welsh

If we disregard the rebranding of Cardiff City for a moment, 2013 is turning out to be rather a good year for the Welsh clubs which continue to play within the English league system. At Wembley Stadium yesterday afternoon, in a match almost completely devoid of the cynicism that has come to be a hallmark of twenty-first century professional football, Swansea City brushed Bradford City aside to win the Football League Cup to lift their first major trophy within the English league system after one hundred and one years of endeavour with a performance of almost complete polish which underlined exactly why the Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup has been receiving such praise this season.

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