Author: Ian

Il Calcio Dilettantistico: The Non-League Anglo-Italian Cup

The Anglo-Italian Cup had a pretty chequered history, and for ten years it was played between non-league clubs. Here’s Mike Bayly with a brief history.  In the pantheon of defunct football competitions, the Anglo-Italian cup polarises opinion like few others. An arbitrary tournament that endured low crowds and media indifference, it also offered smaller English sides the chance to play competitive European matches and experience the novelty of a continental atmosphere. Originally instituted for professional members, the concept was at its most intriguing between 1976 and 1986 when relaunched for non-League clubs, producing a raft of improbable encounters whose...

Read More

Televised Football In The Regions: Anglia – Punching Above Their Weight

Throughout the late 1950s to the middle of the following decade, football in England underwent a shift in its tectonic plates that went almost umremarked upon. The traditional bases of power, the industrial towns of the Midlands and the North such as Burnley and Wolverhampton, found their power starting to wane, whilst the industrialisation of professional football led to the increased growth of big city clubs from Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and London. Perhaps it was a coincidence that this occurred at the time when regular league football started to be shown in the nation’s homes. Perhaps, though, it wasn’t....

Read More

Merthyr Town & A Matter of Trust

Life, as the popular twenty-first century vernacular would have it, comes at you fast. Over the course of the seven years since the club’s reformation following the collapse of its predecessor, Merthyr Town FC have looked like a model of steady improvement in the shark-infested waters of the non-league game, an environment in which the vast majority of clubs live a hand to mouth existence and financial insecurity is never that far away. Since joining Division One of the Western League in 2011, the club’s ascent had been solid, with three promotions lifting it to the Premier Division of...

Read More

Italy: The Arrival Of The Apocalypse

There are two sides to most people who watch football on a regular basis. On the one hand, we have to be ruthless pragmatists, in order to preserve our sanity if nothing else. We know that some players are better than others, that some teams are better than others, and that some teams can be either greater than or equal to the sum of their parts. It’s mechanical, in a sense. All footballers – and all football teams – are not created equal. On the other hand, though, we are fabulously flamboyant romantics. We love the idea of David...

Read More

Televised Football In The Regions: The Midlands – In Colour

If, at the point that Associated Television (ATV) began their contract to broadcast seven days a week to the Midlands in 1968, one had asked a sample of football experts which parts of the country would come to dominate football in England over the duration of this contract, it’s entirely possible that the vast, sprawling band across the middle of the country wouldn’t have figured in that many people’s calculations. Such is the size of the Midlands that of course it had representation in the First Division, but this was largely concentrated in the bottom of the half of...

Read More