Author: Mark

Gaelic Football: Roscommon, From Rags To Riches

Last March, Roscommon were touted in Ireland’s media as Gaelic Football’s “Leicester City.” This March, Roscommon were Gaelic Football’s Sunderland…with a worse defence. A “quick and awful” decline. An inexplicable, un-necessary waste of a LOT of talent. Roscommon is one of those Irish counties which need locating on a map to most non-Irish people. At school in the mid-1970s, I had to explain that it was in “Southern Ireland” and I wasn’t in danger of “getting bombed up” during my summer holidays there. It sometimes needs locating on Gaelic Football maps too, with only two All-Ireland titles, both in...

Read More

CAF’s Presidential Election: Who Really Won?

So, my “gut” feeling about Issa Hayatou’s re-election to Africa’s Football Confederation (Caf) presidency? Indigestion after all. Thursday’s election in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa contained triumphs for Fifa president Gianni Infantino and president of Zimbabwe’s FA (Zifa) and the Council of Southern African FAs (Cosafa), Philip Chiyangwa. Caf’s actual new president Ahmad was carried shoulder-high around the African Union building’s Nelson Mandela Plenary Hall. But the REAL winner? Nah. Ahmad’s rise without trace to Caf power echoed Aleksander Ceferin’s rise to Uefa power last September. Both had Infantino’s overtly-covert backing, ensuring their election regardless of their campaigning. And both...

Read More

Kingstonian On The Move Again

Football protest movements are usually admirable. You wish every good fortune to Millwall and Leyton Orient fans. But Kingstonian fans? Where’s that “head-in-hands” emoji? Ryman League Kingstonian (Ks) will be ground-sharing at Ryman colleagues Leatherhead next season, for “an indefinite period” before Ks’ potential move to a new ground within Kingston borough. It is a one-year deal with an annual renewal option, dependent on the moves’ progress…or otherwise. The scenario, announced on February 22nd, is riddled with uncertainties. Ks ground-shared with then-Ryman colleagues Hampton in February 1988. However, our move to Kingston borough’s Kingsmeadow Stadium was already assured then...

Read More

CAF’s Presidential Campaign: The Final Countdown

The African football confederation (Caf) 2017 presidential campaign has frequently reminded me of what was once said of an election in my trade union: “Democracy is being de-mocked.” If public declarations of support can be believed, Madagascar FA president Ahmad (his ballot paper name) has sufficient momentum for victory. It is an “if” the size of the ego Ahmad’s self-styled “election agent” Philip Chiyangwa. But incumbent president, Cameroon’s Issa Hayatou, will need some delegates to Caf’s 39th Ordinary (ha!) General Assembly, in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa this Wednesday and Thursday, to use the secrecy of the ballot to vote...

Read More

The CAF Elections: Can Hayatou Win?

If disgraced gnomic Swiss Fifa ex-president Sepp Blatter could win a presidential election when he did in 2015, can current African confederation (Caf) president Issa Hayatou win one in Ethiopia on March 16th? The short answer, to paraphrase a more fondly-remembered president, is “yes he can.” The long answer is “Of COURSE he can. International football administration is rotten to the core, its democracy driven by finance and patronage. But…well…” African football has been in-vogue since Uefa Champions League draw compere Gianni Infantino became Fifa’s president last February. Infantino’s victory was underpinned by African votes, giving Africa considerable leverage....

Read More