Author: Mark

The Last Stand of Issa Hayatou

Issa Hayatou’s 2017 has been mixed…and will get more mixed as his Confederation of African (Caf) football presidency comes under electoral threat at, some say, long last. The 70-year-old (remember the age) was a happy man in Libreville, Gabon on February 5th when his native Cameroon beat Egypt 2-1 in the best African Cup of Nations (Afcon) final for many-a-year…although you wouldn’t necessarily have noticed as his “smiling” during post-match celebrations matched Roy Keane smiling on the disturbing imagery scale. However, he has good reason to look as miserable as…well…usual. Fifa’s senior vice-president, a role which made him acting...

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Rangers & The Strange Case of Mark Warburton’s “Resignation”

The best line about Mark Warburton’s departure as Glasgow Rangers manager came from Irish-based blogger Phil Mac Giolla Bhain. Mac Giolla Bhain has recently produced running commentaries on Rangers board meetings (the continuing anonymity of his source(s) is a wonder). Yet even he hadn’t seen this coming. “I was very surprised when Mark Warburton resigned last night and, in fairness, so was he.” The story, Rangers claiming that Warburton and his management team had resigned and Warburton denying all knowledge, might simply be that Rangers wanted rid of their under-performing management team and attempted to portray the departures as...

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FA In The “No Confidence” Vote In The FA

The debate on the House of Commons’ lack of confidence in the English Football Association (FA) took me back to some grim trade union conference days. In conference halls dominated by a Trotskyist political far-left, debates were repetitively tedious. Delegate-after-delegate would rail against “this vicious Tory government,” (even after Labour’s 1997 election victory, in the more deranged cases). The first speech would make ALL the required points in support of a motion and the subsequent dozens would offer nothing new, merely allowing the speakers to report to their branches (Socialist Workers’ Party, not union) that they had played their...

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The Curious Case of Rangers’ “Relegation”

A curious Scottish court case involving Rangers is barely news, given the events of the last decade. But the latest is, if you’ll forgive the descent into impenetrable legalese, a “doozy.” The case’s central question looks simple. Were Rangers “relegated” in the summer of 2012? And the question remains the same, for the knee-jerk reactors out there, even if you avoid the interminable new/old club argument about Rangers (as I so intend). Even, indeed, if “the gambling industry is still acting as if Rangers is the same club,” as was suggested in court. However, this central question proved far...

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AFCON 2017: The Final Reckoning

Mark Murphy sums up an indifferent three weeks of African international football. FINAL: Cameroon 2 Egypt 1 “Terrific final.” “Fabulous, thoroughly entertaining tournament.” Eurosport’s Wayne Boyce was in a generous mood, or applying for the job of writing the quotes on the advertising posters for the AFCON 2017 finals’ DVD, as Cameroon’s weakened squad produced a happy, fulfilling ending to a tournament which was neither. “Terrific second half,” would be a better assessment of a final that was only “terrific” overall in comparison to the previous six finals which finished either 1-0 or on penalties after a 0-0 draw....

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