Author: Mark

48 Crash: FIFA “Reinvents” The World Cup

The EU referendum campaign polarised opinion sufficiently to forget that two people of similar political faith could easily vote differently on the complex economic issues involved. One close friend, who became so partly due to politics, voted “Leave” and remains a close friend. So I hope not to lose friends by suggesting that Fifa president Gianni Infantino’s idea of 48-team World Cup finals from 2026 onwards, is, on balance, taking everything into consideration, overall, not entirely preposterous. Still reading? Good. I’m not out-and-out backing the idea. But some opposition has been a knee-jerk reaction to it BEING a Fifa...

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AFCON 2017: A Preview

Complaints have been less frequent this year, as the English Premier League (EPL) “loses” players to the biggest international football tournament to take place during its season.It has at last sunk in that many foreign players are more honoured by international call-ups than English ones. Thus 23 EPL and 13 Football League players will spend up to five weeks in Gabon for 2017’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). Indeed, Sunderland fans might want more than four of their squad on West Africa’s coast. AFCON’s 31st edition begins on Saturday, with Cote D’Ivoire as holders, after years of star-strewn under-achievement....

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The 200% Review of the Year: Goodbye. Good Riddance

Anyone hoping for a positive take on 2016 in this article is about to have their hopes dashed. Dashed again, probably. I was in the mood to find upbeat angles for this football-year review but there’s precious few. 2017 needs to be a belter to make up for this 12 months of shite and more shite. Just before sitting down to type this, Professor Phil Scraton clinched the “Non-football Person Involved with Football” of the Year. The leading Hillsborough justice campaigner’s refusal to accept the Order of the British Empire, partly on the grounds that (to paraphrase) the British...

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Hillsborough: Full Exposure Required

News of “another” Hillsborough documentary may have installed “Hillsborough fatigue” in observers of the on-going fight for justice for the 1989 stadium disaster victims, the 96 who died and families, survivors and witnesses whose reputations were thrashed to divert blame from police. I had an inner monologue on whether “Hillsborough fatigue” was insensitive terminology and wearily wondered “what now?” before Peter Marshall’s 48-minute film “Hillsborough, Smears, Survivors and the search for truth,” the December 12th episode of ITV’s current affairs series “Exposure.” The excellent film had the answer, “new evidence about what happened next” in “a tragedy still untold,”...

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Celtic: Coasting & Colliding To Victory

I enjoyed watching AFC Wimbledon in 2003/04’s Combined Counties League; a team with larger support than clubs five steps higher in England’s ‘National Game’ consistently hammering sometimes literally “pub teams.” These four-or-more-goal processions were not everybody’s cup-of-tea. Wimbledon won games stylishly. But the lack of competitive edge disconcerted many fellow-neutrals. And when this scenario plays out in the top league in the land, it is more disconcerting still. Celtic are cakewalking to this year’s Scottish Premiership title. And their home game against Hamilton Academicals on Tuesday seemed an ideal opportunity to discover how. It was… though not quite as...

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