Author: Ian

Jimmy Armfield: The End Of An Era

Reading through the obituaries this morning for the former Blackpool and England captain and broadcaster Jimmy Armfield, who died this morning at the age of eighty-two, it was difficult not to be struck by the tone of the comments made by those who’d enjoyed the privilege of spending time with him. “Kind”, “modest”, “humble” and “gentle” are not, after all, words that are commonly thrown around when we talk about leading figures in the media – or in the game in a general sense, if we’re honest with ourselves – very often. But then again, Jimmy Armfield was hardly...

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Marco Silva: On Loyalty & Hindsight

So, farewell for now then, Marco Silva, whose departure from Watford this morning following yesterday afternoon’s defeat at Stoke City brings to a close one of the more unusual of the Hornets’ recent forays into the curious world of fixed-term managership. Silva’s time in English football has overall come to be characterised by unusual twists and turns. His arrival at Hull City at the very beginning of this year saw him considered something of a footballing dead man walking. The club’s overall condition at the time put Silva into something of a no-lose situation. Nobody expected Hull to stay...

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VAR Reaching Consequences

VAR has now come and gone from the Third Round of the FA Cup, but as Sean Hallam explains, if we could accept that referees are human, perhaps its introduction wouldn’t even have been necessary in the first place.  A fortunate series of events, depending on your own view of the growing clamour for Video Assistant Referees (VAR), in the space of a few days in English football has given a massive boost to those who believe that making replays of key events available to referees whilst in play is both necessary and inevitable. VAR was used for the...

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Phil Neville: A Job For The Boys  

The decision hasn’t been formally confirmed yet, but the rumours circling that the Football Association are set to appoint Phil Neville as the new manager of the England women’s team has already angered a considerable number of people, and it’s hardly surprising that this should be the case. Although it has been done occasionally before, international appointments aren’t usually used as testing grounds for largely untested head coaches, so the question for the FA if they are to make this appointment is a simple one: show your workings. It’s more than reasonable to say that 2017 was a pretty...

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Fourteen Days Left To Save Hartlepool United…? Not Quite.  

There has been something distinctly heart-warming about much of the reaction to the growing understanding of the extent of the difficulties faced by National League club Hartlepool United over the last few days or so. In febrile and divisive times it can be difficult to retain the knowledge that, as football supporters, we have considerably more in common than we could ever have between us. We do, though. We are family, ultimately. Some of us remember the offers of help and expressions of sympathy from when our own clubs were teetering on the brink. Some of us merely think,...

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