Category: Latest

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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Newcastle United’s New Press Policy Could Be Doing Fans A Favour

Newcastle United’s decision to charge the press for access to their players is in some respects unsurprising when we consider their recent behaviour towards their local newspaper, the Chronicle, which was banned from St James Park following a spat, the true nature of which has never been made fully clear. What today’s announcement confirms is that the club now considers itself at the vanguard of a new form of relationship between clubs and the media, one in which only tame voices are heard, dissent against the club becomes a thing of the past, and the press pays for access to players and staff that it has enjoyed free of charge for many years. The reflex reaction to this over the course of today has been mostly a combination of outrage and shock at a football club behaving in this respect, but it doesn’t have to be this way. We might contend, for example, that Newcastle United are, in just about the most backhanded way possible, to be thanked for showing up the senior management of the club for what they are in just about the most public way possible. A lot of football clubs cloak themselves in the dark arts of public relations, paying considerable amounts of money to companies whose job it is to spin their news in the most positive manner possible. Newcastle United don’t really need...

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