Author: Mark

Birmingham City: Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues

If convicted money-launderer Carson Yeung Ka-Sing’s gruesome tenure as Championship strugglers Birmingham City’s main shareholder taught the club’s fans anything, it was ‘be careful what you wish for.’ West Midlands football is currently a Chinese hotbed, of course. And many risks and controversies are covered by owners at Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa. Investment conglomerate Fosun International turned Wolves £7.5m profit into a £23.18m loss in their first financial year at Molineux, indeterminate amounts of which have made their way to Jorge Mendes’ players’ agency, Gestifute, which is part-owned by…Fosun. Tony Xia’s ‘ambitious’ plans for his...

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VARs: The Final, Final, Final Word

I have been unable to spell my reactions to the latest Video Assistant Referees (VARs) palavers, on and off the field. The non-swear words, anyway. Tottenham’s FA Cup-tie against Rochdale, we shall consider in a moment, stopping for now just to apologise to those with whom I had a twitter conversation on the non-VAR-related chapter in the curious case of the Son Heung-Min penalty in the night (a conversation made more curious still by Fernando Llorente scoring every time I tweeted). But first, Fifa President Gianni Infantino. Those of you still awake AND caring may know that the International...

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Rangers’ Transfer Window

Three types of ‘normality’ conflated in Scotland last month to construct a lunatic world; Glasgow’s football media, Rangers FC’s public relations (PR) operation and the parallel universes occupied by Rangers and non-Rangers supporters. It is public knowledge that Rangers need at least £7.2m additional funding to meet financial liabilities to July 2019 as they fall due, with the “first tranche” due last November. Chairman Dave King and independent auditors Campbell Dallas both said so, in Rangers International Football Club’s (RIFC) annual accounts, to June 2017. RIFC’s “forecast cash flows” assumed that “future transfer payables will be met by future...

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VAR: For FIFA Finances, Not Football

The most important contribution to the recent mass debate over Video Referee Assistants (VARs) was not, mercifully, Alan Shearer’s. It wasn’t the academics at Belgium’s Catholic University (KU) of Leuven (cue howls from Rangers conspiracy theorists) ‘kinesiology’ department, who assessed the diverse data from the two-year, global experiment (‘kinesiologists’ study body movements, performance and function…nope, me neither). It wasn’t anyone from the International Football Association Board (Ifab), the archaically Home Nations “independent” guardians of football’s laws. Ifab directors include the English FA’s Martin Glenn and the Scottish FA’s Stewart Regan…and if you wish to stop reading now, I fully...

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VARs: The Pundits Results Are In

Sky News Health Correspondent Paul Kelso clearly and obviously retains many Twitter followers from his years as one of the country’s best national newspaper football writers. “Bored with VAR,” he tweeted on Wednesday, as Chelsea’s FA Cup third-round replay with Norwich gave the BBC their first opportunity to hopelessly mis-analyse VARs (Video Assistant Referees). Within 15 minutes, however, Kelso’s followers’ football discourse forced him to “actually turn on the game to see what fuss about.” To which one wag (me) responded “Fuss about Alan Shearer arse elbow differentiation inability.” As I’d feared/predicted, Shearer applied all the expertise he used...

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