Category: Latest

Death or Perth Glory: Player power and the sacking of Alistair Edwards

The season of goodwill has never extended into football and the anti-Santa has struck with predictable timing, handing out the sack no manager wanted. Andre Villas-Boas, Steve Clarke and Gianfranco Zola have all suffered various forms of defenestration in the run up to Christmas, some easier to predict than others. However, on further shores from the Premier League, one of the more curious and unexpected sackings has come at Perth Glory, where coach Alistair Edwards has been given the boot less than a year into a three year contract. For once, league position had very little to do with...

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A Wet Saturday Afternoon In Brighton

There fall some days when you know, you can just feel, that this isn’t going to be your day. Saturday lunchtime in Brighton town centre has started with a little light Christmas shopping accompanied with the slowly dawning realisation that no, I hadn’t bought the tickets that said I would for that afternoon’s Championship match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Huddersfield Town that I promised I would. The days of just being able to pitch up at matches and pay to get in are long gone, of course. It’s the Saturday before Christmas and tickets are available. It’s just a matter of how to get hold of them which starts to become something of an issue. I stand around in the club’s town centre shop while the staff busy themselves by contriving to do everything but engage with me, and five minutes after this I find myself in a bizarre conversation with an assistant at the Portakabin which now sits outside Brighton railway station on match-days, at which I have apparently misinterpreted a sign on the counter that says “Tickets On Sale” on the – perhaps naive, perhaps stupid – assumption that such a sign would mean that I could buy tickets from there. I can’t, said the girl behind the counter with a look of complete bemusement at the very concept that I could float such an...

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Rangers: Winners & Losers From Another AGM

The wretched soap opera which has been based in Govan in West Glasgow for so many years now has come to a potentially seminal episode. Rangers International Football Club PLC held its first Annual General Meeting (AGM) after the company, which runs the new Rangers FC, posted losses of approximately an arm and a leg during its first year of trading; gargantuan losses for a Scottish fourth-tier football club with regular home gates of 45,000+ and all the more inexcusable given the financial circumstances which required the club’s formation. The last AGM of “Rangers” shareholders, in 2009, was a chapter in a standard tale of financial mismanagement. The then-manager Walter Smith had said that Lloyds Banking Group were effectively running debt-laden Rangers. And this was manifested in the presence of one Donald Muir on the Rangers PLC board. Disaffected shareholders overwhelmingly voted Muir off on a show of hands. But this wasn’t the “right result” for the Ibrox powers-that-be. So the result was declared “uncertain” from the top table and put to a “card vote” in the style of supposedly archaic trade union block votes; whereupon majority shareholder David Murray’s block vote of 90 million-ish made the result less “uncertain.” It was much the same outcome in 2013, in that the will of the people (which Rangers fans claim “we are”) were thwarted by the card votes of RIFC’s...

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World Cup Magic – Sun, Sea, Sand & Toni Schumacher: Espana 1982

They say, of course, that the best World Cup finals is the one that was held when you were ten years old. In the summer of 1982, I was three months shy of my tenth birthday and this tournament marked the consummation of a love affair that had been growing, steadily and inexorably, for the previous three years or so, and in addition to this there was the small matter of the first involvement of the England team at this stage of the competition for the first time since two summers before I was born. At the end of a season which had finished with Enfield winning the FA Trophy and Spurs winning the FA Cup within a week and a half of each other, I was, just about, at fever pitch. My excitement levels had been sent skywards by marketing men, of course. A combination of the purchase of a Panini sticker album by my parents for the forthcoming tournament – little did they know what they were letting themselves in for there – and the gift, the previous Christmas, of the 1982 Match Of The Day annual had guaranteed this. When commentators wring their hands over such nefarious activities as in-game purchases on mobile phone apps, I’m usually reminded of the wild glint in the eye of ten year olds the length and breadth of the nation...

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The Hedge Fund & The Football Club: A Year-Round Pantomime

Every once in a while, we receive an anonymous email or two here at the 200% underground bunker. Usually it’s a gramatically incompetent stream of abuse from an über-fan because we’ve been mean about his – and let’s face it, it’s only going to come from a “him”, isn’t it? – football club, the little diddums, but this afternoon we received one from somebody looking to vent their spleen on the subject of Coventry City. So, here’s “Tallulah Oppenheimer” (if you’re going to give someone a nom de plume, do it in style, I reckon) with their take on all things Sky Blue of late. Hedge funds in football – now there’s an interesting notion. What’s extraordinary is that there are plenty of people in the football authorities themselves – Football League, Premier League in particular – who see no problem, or rather, wouldn’t want to ‘discriminate’ against the possibility that they might prove to be good owners. Funny line that: it’s somehow a matter of equality that a hedge fund should have the right to own a club. You can imagine the ‘missing’ chapter of Nelson Mandela’s ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ focusing on the rights of the downtrodden masses of City of London investment funds to own Rochdale if they so choose – ‘“All are created equal, black, white or banker’, I said addressing a rally of pension...

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