Category: Latest

Beitar Jerusalem: Forever Pure Stupidity

“At least no British club is like… that,” I had to repeat on an inner-self tape-loop as I watched “Forever Pure, Football and Racism in Jerusalem,” the latest episode of BBC4’s “Storyville” series of international documentaries. The July 2016 film highlighted Israeli Premier League (IPL) Beitar Jerusalem’s sordidly-racist fanbase and Beitar’s nutcase Russian owner, “convicted gun-trafficker” Arcadi Gaydamak, during a 2012/13 season whose second half was pock-marked by fan revolts which nearly relegated Beitar. Indeed, film-maker Maya Zinshtein, like Rob Reiner in “Spinal Tap,” got “more, a lot more” than she could have imagined. Beitar are considered part of “the hardcore of the national movement, of the right wing” in Israel, with organised fanbase group, La Familia, “known for their radical nationalistic views.” Like a perversion of “more than a club,” La Familia believe Beitar “is about more than football” and “has a much deeper meaning than the game.” However, these “beliefs would send this major club spiralling out of control” during the film. Beitar’s season turned to mush when Gaydamak, ex-Portsmouth ex-owner Sacha’s father, took them to Chechnya for a mid-season friendly and returned with two Muslim players from their Chechen opponents, Russian Premier League side Terek Grozny. Beitar won only once with 19-year-old Dzhabrail Kadiyev and 23-year-old Zaur Sadayev in the squad. Zinshtein’s film was a magnificent attempt to tell a multi-layered tale in 83 minutes, when...

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The Continuing Tailspin of York City 

Three minutes into stoppage-time at Prenton Park last Saturday, a header from Tranmere Rovers’ James Norwood proved to be a goal of no little National League significance. Not only did this goal keep the home side well and truly in touch with a title race that  has narrowed considerably over the last few weeks, but it also marked something symbolic at the other end of the table, where a win for North Ferriby United against Gateshead shunted York City, who conceded that late, late goal on Merseyside, to the bottom of the table. It’s been eighteen matches now since...

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Premier League Review: London Rises Again 

It has been, to say the very least, a difficult few days for Chelsea Football Club. The stories that have been swirling around the whole of professional football over the last couple of weeks or so have left a mildly effluent taste in the mouth, and the club’s fulsome apology regarding historical child sex abuse allegations will likely have long lasting ramifications for the game. For Chelsea, it seems likely that this year will end with cognitive dissonance ringing in the ears. To add a further layer of irony to it all, this unpleasantness comes at a time when...

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Crystal Palace & Tony Pulis’s Payback Time

Another production at football’s theatre of the absurd. Tony Pulis, an ex-manager of about 47 clubs (for the purposes of this story, Crystal Palace), loses a huge legal battle because his chairman was seen at a hairdressers. And Pulis himself with little more than one hair for each club he’s managed. Not even Pulis could make it up, And he’s done a fair bit of that this year, according to rulings made against him by a Premier League managers’ arbitration tribunal in March. These were released on November 28th in a 32-page judgment by Sir Michael Burton (“sitting as...

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Podcast 78: Homosexuality & Football

Apologies for the delay in the release of this week’s Twohundredpercent podcast. Changes in circumstances have meant that we’ve had to mess around with the schedule again, though this time we’re confident that we’re back on track. This week’s podcast is on the subject of homosexuality in football. What is it with Tony Cascarino? Will homosexuality ever be completely normalised? And, if it isn’t, is it the fans that are to blame for this, the clubs, or the players? It’s a tricky and sensitive subject, but bear with us and we’ll get through it together. As ever, you can...

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