Category: Latest

That Revierderby Touch

Being a preview of the forthcoming match between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04. Matthias Suuck, the presenter of the Yellow Wall pod, a Borussia Dortmund podcast, once described the rivalry between Dortmund and Schalke as more about the two sets of fans similarities rather than their differences. Dortmund and Gelsenkirchen are two former mining cities in the heavily industrialised region of the Ruhr Valley in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the traditional support base of both clubs is working class. The region of NRW is teeming with football clubs of various shapes and sizes but (and this will be argued vigorously, in Cologne and Mönchengladbach) Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 are the biggest. Their derby game is known as the Revierderby and their encounters are among the most highly anticipated in Germany, because both teams enjoy a national (and increasingly international) support as well as local. What usually tends to be missing from these fixtures is the additional sense of peril in terms of the importance of the result. Given the historical dominance of Bayern Munich you don’t often find Dortmund or Schalke competing against each other for the Bundesliga championship. Moreover, the German FA have failed to contrive an encounter between the two teams in the German Cup since the year 2000, in which Schalke won 2-1. That may explain why  this derby remains one of the best supported in...

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Democracy Or Gerrymandering? The Hull City Vote Goes Public

It was noted on this site at least a couple of years ago that democracy in terms of football had the potential to be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, genuine efforts to engage supporters to be active rather than passive in terms of involvement with their clubs arrive at their natural conclusion in the existence of supporters trusts, both at clubs where the trusts are running the show and at those at which they play the vital – but not always popular role – of being a “critical friend.” Democracy, however, can be twisted and spun into something of a façade, offering a veneer of respectability to to something that might otherwise be considered without credibility. The biggest danger of the idea of democratising football was always likely to be its bastardisation. All of this brings us back to the subject of the proposed name change of Hull City to Hull Tigers. As many of you will already be aware, it was confirmed earlier this season that the Football Association would be making a final decision over this rebrand – which, depending on your perspective, has either angered a large number of the club’s supporters or fundamentally split the fan-base – in April, and it was recently confirmed that the FA’s Membership Committee had unanimously recommended to its Council that the application on the part of the...

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Rangers FC & The Self-Importance Of Being Sandy

My limited experience of writing on football finance and club takeover and ownership issues has taught me one thing; that no matter what the specific issue under those headings, the Rangers Football Club will always supply an extreme, and invariably extremely daft, example. As I was writing my last article, about Birmingham City’s sledgehammer-on-nut legal action against the Often Partisan website, a similar story was escalating in Glasgow. The Rangers “situations” have introduced all shades of individual characters to Scottish football, and have spawned almost as many fans’ protest groups. One of these “characters” is Alexander “Sandy” Easdale, co-owner of the Greenock-based McGill’s bus company with his brother James and sole executive director of “The Rangers Football Club Ltd” (TRFCL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the pretentiously-entitled “Rangers International Football Club” (RIFC), the ‘parent company’ of all things Ibrox. One of these fans’ protest groups is Sons of Struth, named in honour of Bill Struth, Rangers’ pioneering manager between 1920 and 1954 and generally regarded as the most important man in the history of the old Rangers. The Sons (SOS) are more a Facebook page than a formal group. But they have had a high-profile in recent fans’ protests, through spokesman Craig Houston. And Houston has been the specific recent target of lawyers representing Easdale, who has long taken issue with the way he and his brother have been portrayed...

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Which Way Now For Leeds United?

In a sense, the single most surprising aspect of Massimo Cellino was its timing. As the office workers of this country fumbled their way through their first cup of coffee of the morning, the news came through from Italy that Cellino had been found guilty of evading import duty with regard to the purchase of a yacht which was impounded in 2012 and fined €600,000. It was news that GFH Capital, the current owners of Leeds United and a group who had turned away from a more or less home grown bid to purchase the club two months ago,...

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A Unanimous Recommendation To Reject: The FA On “Hull Tigers”

In the interests of strict accuracy, it should be pointed that this is not completely a done deal, just yet. It may well have been that the Football Association confirmed this afternoon that their Membership Committee have made a unanimous recommendation to the FA Council to reject Hull City AFC’s proposed to the name of “Hull Tigers.” It may well be that the FA Council could go against the advice of the Membership Committee and vote to allow it, instead. It may well be that the Allems, who haven’t always shown the utmost tact and dignity in their previous public utterances on the matter, choose to go for one further exercise in throwing their toys out of the pram and try to cover their face by acting even more ridiculously over this whole matter than they have already managed. None of these outcomes are completely beyond the realms of possibility, of course, but there can be little question that the announcement – which started as a leak this morning but had escalated to being an official statement on the FA’s website by the middle of the afternoon – that the FA’s Membership Committee were unanimously recommendating rejection of this name change is a major boost to those that have worked so hard for the City Til We Die campaign, whose submission to the Football Association was a controlled, professional...

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