Category: Latest

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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200%’s World Cup Magic, Part One: Argentina vs Cameroon – 1990

In the first of a new occasional series, Ed Carter looks fondly back at his first World Cup finals match. It was Friday 8th June 1990. I was ten years old and I’d never seen a World Cup Finals match before. I came to football relatively late, or at least it felt that way at the time. No-one in my family had any particular interest in the game or strong affliations to anyone in it. And beyond my mother’s understandable worship of The Championships, Wimbledon and inexplicable passion for ice dancing at the Winter Olympics, neither of my parents ever watched, talked or thought about any sport at all. My only knowledge of soccer came from watching my schoolmates playing it at breaktime in my peripheral vision. But it was about autumn 1988 and what happened is that I suspect my dad was going through one of his occasional crises of masculinity. These normally run along the lines of worrying that having no interest in or knowledge of the national game surely marks him down as a nancy boy amongst his peer group. So along with my little brother, a football-mad member of Dad’s church choir and his friend (a particularly foul-mouthed traffic warden), we decamped to the Goldstone Ground in Hove. What we saw created a lifelong interest in football in two of us. My dad remained unmoved,...

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Bundesliga Week 15 Round Up – The Oncoming Storm

The Weserstadion, home of Werder Bremen, sits by the bank of the River Weser and with the threat of an oncoming storm possibly flooding the river there was a chance that their match against Bayern Munich may have to be postponed. As it happened, Werder were hit by an oncoming storm of a more metaphorical type and I am not referring to Doctor Who. Even the good Doctor is likely to need more than a sonic screwdriver and impeccable sense of timing in order to see off Pep Guardiola’s Bayern who are as relentless as a Dalek invasion force in an especially bad mood. The champions exterminated Werder with a ruthless 7-0 win. Franck Ribéry, who scored two, assisted one and set up Werder’s Assani Lukimya for his own goal which got the party started, was probably Bayern’s best player on day. However the entire team could have claimed that accolade and this was the kind of performance where Bayern demonstrated how far above their contemporaries they really are. It was players vs gentlemen. At their best, Bayern are a fusion of the pace and power team of last season’s treble winning side under Jupp Heynkes and Guardiola’s high possession pull the opposition around until they fall apart Barcelona style. They never give the opposition a break and stretched Werder to such an extent that by the end of...

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England’s World Cup Draw Should Demonstrate Their Limitations

At least, we might reflect, expectations had already been lowered to such an extent that there can barely be anybody left on the face of the entire planet who believes in any seriousness that England will win the World Cup in Brazil next summer. It’s not a matter of being fatalist or of showing false modesty. The evidence has been right there before our very eyes for a considerable amount of time, and England supporters now making their plans for the tournament next summer can do so with a carefree attitude, finally freed of the last vestiges of that old albatross called Expectation. As if having perhaps their most mediocre squad of players in living memory wasn’t enough to recalibrate the expectations of those who have never quite gotten to grips with the fact that those pesky foreigners are now considerably better at playing association football than the English themselves are, the prospect of a difficult drawin difficult conditions now awaits. Of course, it’s not quite that simple. The overwhelming majority of England supporters and well-wishers have long watched their national team’s matches through the gaps between their fingers, whilst accusations of “English arrogance” frequently come from those who are desperate for the English to live down to their expectations of them, with very little other supporting evidence other than the worst excesses of the tabloid press and what...

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