Author: Mark

Would Wood Have Won It Anyway?

In the second of our articles about the sporadic crowd trouble that disrupted several of last weekend’s matches, Mark Murphy reports from Meadow Park, where his team were on the end of two goals and a right hook from a club with a history of troublesome away support. My team’s season finished at the weekend. We had a very good one, which exceeded most fans’ expectations – by quite some way too, after losing our first four league games and conceding, ulp, NINETEEN goals in the process. It had a disappointing end which, thankfully doesn’t appear to have masked the considerable overall achievement of reaching that end – a promotion play-off final after winning promotion last year, too. So, satisfaction all round and here’s to next year. Or so I thought. My team, Kingstonian, lost the Ryman Premier Division promotion play-off final away to Boreham Wood, having finished behind them on goal difference (no surprises after the start to the season that they had) after the 42-match season. The final was a tight, nervy “defences-on-top” affair, destined to be swayed massively by the first goal, especially with two of the best goalkeepers in the division on show. On 50 minutes, Boreham Wood goalkeeper Tony Tucker made an outstanding save. And Wood broke the deadlock on 69 minutes, before doubling their advantage with two minutes left thanks to Dewayne Clarke’s...

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Are Birmingham Running Before They Can Walk?

One of the least dull points to emerge from the recent Soccerex talk-fest in Manchester was the importance of ‘local identity’ to the financial well-being of football clubs. But this was only thought true of the second-highest echelons of European football; the Football League Championship and ‘lesser’ European national leagues. The big boys, the EPL and La Liga in particular, were all “worldwide fanbases” and “global brands.” Yet there is the sense that the participants in the particular session, “European Leagues – competing in the international and domestic market place,” were getting ahead of themselves. For all the strengths of Manchester United’s reach from Thailand to Timbuktu, their fanbase remains overwhelmingly Mancunian – more local, in fact, than many of their peers, despite the Tunbridge Wells stereotype. So it is that Birmingham City’s desire to conquer China when they aren’t even the biggest club in their own city inspires unease rather than admiration for their ambition. And there is unease in the Blue part of Birmingham at rather more than that. Court cases and chief executives have gone the way of City’s league form and FA Cup dreams in a couple of turbulent months, as the regime personified by “Hong Kong businessman” Carson Yeung enters the phase where not being David Sullivan or David Gold is not enough anymore. Surprisingly little is made of Yeung’s surprisingly small stake in...

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Andrew Andronikou: Football Club Saviour

A source close to Portsmouth FC’s administration recently described Portsmouth FC’s most public joint-administrator, Andrew Andronikou, as a saviour of Swindon Town, who spent six years of this decade in a financial hole, having their voluntary arrangement with their many creditors supervised by him. The source was, of course, Andrew Andronikou, recently caught on camera signing autographs for Portsmouth fans as if he were one of Pompey’s wildly overpaid players, as opposed to their wildly overpaid administrator. And you would have to search long and hard in Wiltshire for independent evidence of this claim.Describing him as Swindon’s saviour is Stalinist revisionism on a scale not seen since, well, Stalin. True, his role as “supervisor” of the Robins long-term deal to pay their creditors was difficult. And the club was plagued by division and financial irresponsibility. Indeed, he was right to say, in April 2002 that: “Football in this country has neglected too many simple business rules. Players command big money and clubs have paid it in order to chase their dream. It is no co-incidence that so many clubs are in a state.” But the impact of his comments was virtually nil, coming as they did alongside his justification for hyper-inflationary season-ticket price rises – 100% increases in many cases – to help Town’s exit from a then rare second administration spell. His exhortations to fans to deal “with...

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Portsmouth’s Pain In The Neck

Nothing in Adrian Chiles’ BBC career became him like the leaving of it, as Shakespeare might have written of his fellow-midlander if he watched ‘Match of the Day 2’. “This is what modern football has become.” Chiles told his last MOTD2 audience, with all the indignation at his disposal. “An administrator signing autographs. Whatever next?” (ITV in Chiles’ case, of course, as predicted in these pages…oh, come on, I got ONE right). And there, in the “2 Bad” bit of the programme’s closing feature “2 Good 2 Bad” was Andrew Andronikou, joint administrator of Portsmouth Football Club, getting out of a motor vehicle so big he had to jump to the ground, before signing autographs for people whose faces betrayed uncertainty as to he was, other than it couldn’t be David James. They’ll know him soon enough, though. He is only joint-administrator of the curiously named ‘Portsmouth City Football Club Limited’, but his two colleagues (Peter Kubik and Michael Kiely) could go about their business semi-naked, and not necessarily topless, and still not attract a shaft of limelight. Andronikou came to Portsmouth with a good reputation in the ‘football club in administration’ community, after some years as apparent saviour of Swindon Town. However, this news will have sent mouthfuls of tea flying across breakfast tables all over Wiltshire. Andronikou was a largely unpopular figure among Swindon fans who, get...

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Southend United & Fossett’s Folly

Southend United were under threat of extinction thanks to a £400,000 Inland Revenue demand. Whilst their new ground at Fossett’s Farm is seen as the solution to the club’s long-term financial difficulties, the Shrimpers needed help in the short-term. They were fortunate that business partners were able to advance future revenue to cover the short-term costs and keep the club afloat for the time being. The consequences of this borrowing will probably be onerous, and will definitely have a detrimental effect on the promised financial advantages of the ground move. But that is for another day. Southend are saved. And with prudent financial management, the future is bright. An accurate snapshot of Southend United’s fortunes… in November 1998. Naturally, given that Southend are right back where they were in 1998, when he came in, I come to bury Southend chairman and majority shareholder Ron Martin, not to praise him. His spin on the events at ‘his’ club this season has been as annoying as it has been disingenuous. His club have been exposed as serial late-payers of players and tax authorities alike; “a habitual defaulter” was how the latter described them in court. Progress on the new stadium at “Fossett’s Farm”, still the panacea for all the club’s financial ills, has been shunted and stunted by financial battles for which Martin and his club are getting blame from friends...

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