Category: Latest

All Aboard The Managerial Merry-Go-Round… Again

It has, dare we say it, been a tetchy two or three days for the managers of England’s football clubs. Even a breed of people that live their entire lives with a metaphorical axe suspended precariously over their heads will have offered an extra shudder at the events of last three days, which have resulted in the departure of three of their brethren from their positions, and such is the instability of the manager of any club these days that those that remain in work may well even find themselves unable to offer so much as a whispered, ‘There but for the grace of God go I’ tonight. If the form book is anything to go by, there, regardless of the grace of God, they are most likely to go in something like the short to medium term. To begin, then, at the top of the football food chain. Tottenham Hotspur may not have been the champions of England since John F Kennedy was the president of the United States of America, but modern football pays little attention to long-term trends. Spurs spent their Gareth Bale transfer window before they’d even sold that player, and the sheer volume of new recruits at White Hart Lane meant that Andre Villa Boas was always likely to face an uphill struggle in order to placate both the directors and supporters of the...

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Bundesliga Week 16 Round Up: Frankfurt win at Leverkusen

Let us begin at the bottom as there have been some interesting results for Bundesliga’s struggling teams, one of which had a minor impact on the title race. Last season, Eintracht Frankfurt were promoted to the first division after a one season absence and bounced back dramatically by qualifying for the Europa League. This season they topped Group F of that competition and are in the knockout stages with a 2-0 win at APOEL on Thursday. However, their international exploits appears to have been at the detriment to their domestic form and only goal difference separated them between third from bottom Freiburg before going into the late Sunday game at second in the table Bayer Leverkusen. After the game they are still fourth bottom but there is now a three point cushion following a fantastic 1-0 away win at the previously impregnable BayArena. The goal came on the sixty first minute with a header by Marco Russ who met a whipping cross from Sebastian Jung. Leverkusen had plenty of the game but didn’t click, up front. They too had been in European action, midweek, securing passage to the second round of the Champions League at Real Sociedad. It is possible that the team were jaded and top scorer Stefan Kießling got increasingly frustrated with his supporting attackers, particularly Robbie Kruse, for not anticipating his movement. The closing minutes were...

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Birmingham City: Carson In Court & Paladini In Panto

In May, I wrote parts one and two of an article on Birmingham City’s multi-titled, multi-remunerated Peter Pannu. And I promised a part three. Only last week did I realise that part three never made it from my clapped-out PC to the site. And the article, along with my research notes, disappeared into clapped-out PC-heaven. Well, my clapped-out PC is a little less clapped-out now (whether the same could be said for its owner is debatable). And I’ve made new notes. So here’s something for “Pete,” who wondered, on July 5th, if my next Blues’ piece was “ever going to come out.” On the surface, Birmingham City’s takeover battle is a standard one between a deeply unpopular, incompetent current regime and a populist, popular bidder. Scratch that surface and you uncover complexities with the current regime, which make it even more deeply unpopular, and a bidder who appears just as clueless. The biggest achievement of largest shareholder Carson Yeung and Peter Pannu’s regime remains turning predecessors David Gold and David Sullivan into “the good guys.” Regular readers will know of my distaste for those “gentlemen.” Yet very little undertaken by West Ham’s current custodians was as worthy of utter contempt as Yeung and Pannu’s running of the club. City have never been an established Premier League club – as Daniel Ivery of hugely-informative website Often Partisan noted, you aren’t...

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Hull City’s Assem Allam Is A Symptom Of A Broader Problem

There’s an attempt at a coup d’etat going on in football in this country at the moment, and it feels as if point is rapidly approaching at which supporters of all hues will draw a line in the sand and say “enough.” Indeed, that point may already have been reached this week with the confirmation that, having originally promised that there would be a period of consultation with supporters and then apparently going back on this by stating that protestors “can die as soon as they want”, Dr Assem Allam’s Hull City has submitted a formal proposal to the Football Association to change the club’s name to “Hull Tigers” from the start of next season. Allam’s overwhelming desire to desecrate Hull City AFC has publicly been reported as being related to a belief that the use of the name “City” is “common” – he might have preferred to use the word “commonplace” there lest his words be left open to misinterpretation, but that’s by the by – but it has also been reported that this move may be due to something a little more prosaic, that being the local city council’s refusal to sell him The KC Stadium and land surrounding it. To be clear, the KC Stadium is a community asset in the most obvious of respects. The local council paid more than £42m towards the cost of...

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Time For The Fish To Come Home: The Return Of Fisher FC

For a long time, the Surrey Docks Stadium in Bermondsey has been one of East London’s sorrier sights. Although only built in 1982, it fell vacant when the football club that called it home, Fisher Athletic, moved away in 2004 to ground-share at Dulwich Hamlet, and the fortunes of the club and its former home came to mirror each other over the subsequent years. The Surrey Docks Stadium decayed. People with nothing better to do carried out their acts of petty vandalism, and in the end car boot sales were held on the pitch in front of a dilapidated main stand. Elsewhere in London, meanwhile, after a season of chaos off the pitch and disaster on it, Fisher Athletic finished their 2008/09 Conference South season with just eighteen points from forty-two games, and as soon as the season ended, the club folded. Were this story to end right there, we might surmise that this is merely another example of what has happened to non-league football clubs all over London with wearying regularity over the last three or four decades or so. But in the case of Fisher, the story doesn’t end there. The club’s supporters trust formed a new club called Fisher FC and, playing back at Dulwich, have been plugging away in the Kent Senior League and, from the start of this season, the South East Counties League...

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