Category: Latest

The Fly In The Ointment

Recently, while killing an afternoon wandering around my local library, I came across a DVD called FUTEBOL, which contains a fairly comprehensive history and social commentary of “The Beautiful Game” in the world’s 5th largest country. Sadly, while the librarian was searching for the aforementioned title, there were 2 of the 4 discs which couldn’t be found.  The librarian apologetically shrugged his shoulders, and I gave him a c’est la vie roll of the eyes, even though I was secretly thinking “for f**k’s sake”. Mildly peeved, I thanked the libarian (insincerely) for his efforts, and prepared to turn on my heels and go about my business. Just as I was about to leave, the librarian chummily asked “so, who’s your money on for the World Cup?”  Whether he meant it as such, I took this as a clear invitation to start an unnecessarily long conversation about who I thought would/wouldn’t win, and why. I told him my tip for the trophy was (and still is) Argentina. He nodded in at least partial agreement, then gave a rueful shake of his head and said “great team, but Messi’s no Maradona is he?”. Now, if he’d said this in certain quarters, he would have most likely have been knocked back by a tidal wave of hysteria from people who believe Messi is some kind of sainted figure, who is exempt from...

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Scudamore: The Premier League States Its (Lack Of) Intent

I wrote in my previous article that the Premier League (EPL) statement on its “investigation” into what is beginning to be called “Scudgate” (sigh) posed more questions than answers. The following is what I meant (with the statement in bold): Summary of a meeting of Premier League Clubs held on 19 May 2014. In the matter of media allegations regarding the Chief Executive. This article will take a while. I haven’t even got to the statement itself and already there’s questions. It was reported throughout last week that the EPL’s “Audit and Remuneration (A&R) Committee”, the body which has authorised Scudamore’s salary and bonuses down the years, was to discuss the issue. The BBC website reported on May 16th that they “will meet on Monday to consider disciplinary action against Scudamore.” The Committee’s independence, both professional and personal, from Scudamore was subjected to considerable scrutiny over the weekend. But yesterday (Monday) it was still being reported that the A&R Committee had “emerged” on May 14th as the disciplinary body. Yet the 17 EPL member clubs (relegated and already promoted clubs not included) “emerged” at pretty much the last minute as the actual decision-making body, despite the A&R Committee being reported as part of the EPL’s “due process” for holding Scudamore to account. If you didn’t have complete faith in the good governance of the EPL, you might think they...

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Scudamore : The Story That Won’t Be Brushed Under The Carpet

Dave Boyle enjoyed bits of last week. But, perhaps learning from his experiences in 2011, the rudest word he has come up with in reaction to the “Scudamore affair” is schadenfreudegasm. If Premier League (EPL) Chief Executive Richard Scudamore ever thought the Sunday Mirror newspaper story about his sexist e-mails would end with his apology and the curious inability of the game’s governing body to act against him (the FA, remember), he was wrong. If he thinks the EPL put an end to the affair with their “investigation into the newspaper allegations” and the subsequent statement from acting Chair Peter McCormick, then he’s wrong again. And that’s three “errors of judgment” in a week, which is going some, even for modern “English” football. Scudamore probably thought there were enough vested interests in football – or at least in the money his broadcasting deal negotiating skills have brought to EPL clubs – to protect him. But enough people in and around football resent that money enough to want, and work for, his resignation (what, for instance, have Cardiff City done to deserve £62m?). More importantly, enough people in general simply believe it wrong that Scudamore should remain in his job after admitting to using such discriminatory language. Thus the story stayed sufficiently high-profile to allow it this week’s Sunday Mirror to publish a follow-up. This follow-up was so at odds...

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Alan Dowson: A Manager To Remember

Yes… yes… Murphy’s on about bloody Kingstonian again. But this one’s important. No…really… It may not seem like much of a legacy, I grant you. But when Isthmian League Kingstonian played out a nothing final game of the 2011/12 season, it highlighted just how few such games there had been in manager Alan Dowson’s seven-and-a-bit years at Kingsmeadow, which came to an end last week. Seasoned Ks watchers used to often joke about games having “an end-of-season feel” to them…in mid-September. And it would often be all-too-true.  So for Dowson to virtually eliminate the concept was a huge achievement, alongside the fact that he left Kingstonian – on-field and off – in a demonstrably better state than that in which he found it. Dowson took over a team drifting in the lower-mid reaches of Ryman Division One South and left one which finished second in the Ryman Premier and, if kept together to any significant degree, will surely among the favourites for promotion from it next season. Superficially, that represents solid but unspectacular progress.  However, Dowson, and those he recruited to work with him, did more than that. He re-fashioned and rebuilt a sense of a proper football “club.” This had been lacking for years at Ks, for historical reasons with which I’ll not bore you here, and is something more tangible and important to football at our level....

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Rangers: Split Personalities

For an awkward few days in July 2012 there appeared to be two “Rangers” football clubs on the go. One was what is now called “emerging from administration” – by going into liquidation. And the other was seeking permission to play at Brechin City in the Scottish League Challenge Cup – permission granted by the Scottish Football Association creating an entirely new membership category, specially, and so far solely, for them. There appeared to be two Rangers on the go again last week. One was in court, claiming that their finances were secure and that fans’ threats to withhold season-ticket monies were not a “major concern.” The other was lambasting fans – in a club statement published during the court case – for “creating financial difficulty for Rangers” which could “only damage the club.” Rangers are currently the subject of a covert takeover bid – albeit one hidden in relatively plain sight – by South African-based businessman and lifelong fan, Dave King. King, however, does not want to pay market rate for Rangers, or any rate at all if possible. So he is using fans’ current discontent to deprive Rangers of much-needed season-ticket renewals income, unless or until “fans” receive security over Rangers’ Ibrox Stadium (initial demands for security over Rangers’ Murray Park training complex have been dropped, for reasons as yet unclear). The vehicle for this was to...

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