Category: Latest

Phil Neville: A Job For The Boys  

The decision hasn’t been formally confirmed yet, but the rumours circling that the Football Association are set to appoint Phil Neville as the new manager of the England women’s team has already angered a considerable number of people, and it’s hardly surprising that this should be the case. Although it has been done occasionally before, international appointments aren’t usually used as testing grounds for largely untested head coaches, so the question for the FA if they are to make this appointment is a simple one: show your workings. It’s more than reasonable to say that 2017 was a pretty...

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VARs – The ‘Inevitable’ Controversies

‘Inevitable’ was as misused a word this week as ‘irony’ usually is. So, it was ‘inevitable’ that video assistant referees (VARs) would cause ‘controversy’ when experimentally introduced to English club football on Monday and Wednesday. BT Sport presenter Lynsey Hipgrave said so, after Monday’s Brighton/Crystal Palace FA Cup third round tie, won for Brighton by Glenn Murray’s late goal, which was scrutinised by VAR Neil Swarbrick and assistant Peter Kirkup. “Of course, there was the inevitable VAR controversy,” she told studio pundits, Steven Gerrard and Rio Ferdinand. ‘Of course,’ there was virtually no controversy. Nor on Wednesday, when Swarbrick,...

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Fourteen Days Left To Save Hartlepool United…? Not Quite.  

There has been something distinctly heart-warming about much of the reaction to the growing understanding of the extent of the difficulties faced by National League club Hartlepool United over the last few days or so. In febrile and divisive times it can be difficult to retain the knowledge that, as football supporters, we have considerably more in common than we could ever have between us. We do, though. We are family, ultimately. Some of us remember the offers of help and expressions of sympathy from when our own clubs were teetering on the brink. Some of us merely think,...

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Hartlepool United: Hanging By A Thread

Hartlepool United is a football club that is used to being the butt of other people’s jokes. From the unwanted record of the most appearances in the Football League’s re-election places without ever being voted out – fourteen, to be precise – to likely apocryphal stories about hanging monkeys, for many years this club became known as possibly the quintessential struggling Football League club, living a hand to mouth existence and fighting for the mere right to exist. At the end of last season, however, the wheels finally came off the wagon. Even a win on the last day...

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Video Assistant Referees: A Clear & Present Danger? 

The recent refereeing conspiracy against Arsenal served a dual purpose. It re-affirmed Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger’s not-at-all-crackpot theory that all of football is against him and his team (see the opening goal in last year’s FA Cup Final for detai…ah…wait). And it gave media pundits topical material for their “analyses” (heavy emphasis on the “anal”) of the potential impact of Video Assistant Referees (VARs), ahead of VARs introduction to competitive English club football this week (with Arsenal among the first four teams to be governed by the system. Of course). VARs themselves will serve a dual purpose. One more...

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