Category: Latest

Bundesliga round up – Week 24: Stuttgart Sack Schneider for Stevens

After last week’s defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt, VfB Stuttgart elected to keep their coach Thomas Schneider for another game despite their perilous position in fourth from bottom of the Bundesliga. On Saturday they faced the bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig at home. It was a Wikipedia definition of a must win game. Jan Hochscheidt took the lead for Braunschweig but Stuttgart hit back with two goals from Alexandru Maxim and Martin Harnik. The home side played well enough but missed a chance to finish the game off when Christian Gentner missed a penalty. Inevitably, Braunschweig equalised on 83 minutes through...

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The Tactics Tank: England vs Denmark, Exfoliated

With just a matter of days, weeks, months and minutes until England fly out to Brazil before flying back again either having done well or not so well at the FIFA World Cup, Wednesday’s friendly fixture against Denmark afforded boss Roy Hodgson the ideal opportunity to not only evaluate potential candidates for places in the squad, but also test and tweak the tactics with which he will either baffle or amuse the world. Hodgson, of course, has long been derided as a kind of football conservative, the entrenched view of many being that he is to football tactics what Michael Gove is to education – namely a universally loathed, luddite Puritan mired in dark age thinking and possessed of a face that resembles an animal. While Hodgson’s failure at Liverpool hardly helps the cause of mainstream supporters prepared to defend him against his more vociferous detractors, his tenure as England manager – and particularly his record in recent games – has provided a more positive visualisation of what may lay ahead in Brazil. Born in 1947, Hodgson’s has certainly been around the block a few times. His managerial career has been wildly varied, taking in domestic titans and smaller, obscure clubs, as well as a storied international career spanning several decades. This poses a big problem for soccer academics and tactical analysts trying to establish his heritage as a...

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Turning The Tide On 3g Pitches

It may be coincidence or it may not be, but at the end of a winter that has decimated the non-league football calendar it has hardly felt like much of a great surprise that the cold winds of financial difficulty have been blowing through the bank accounts of some semi-professional clubs of late. We have already lost Eastwood Town of the Northern Premier League, and recent troubling rumours have also been emanating from Bashley and Corby Town of the Southern League along with the announcement of Conference North side Vauxhall Motors that they will be resigning their league place...

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The Madness Of Queens Park Rangers’ Annual Accounts

Well, at least we now have a fuller picture of exactly why the club is understood to be so steadfastly against the notion of Financial Fair Play. It had been expected that the release of Queens Park Rangers’ annual accounts for their 2012/13 financial year would not make for particularly appetising reading for the club’s supporters, but to suggest that at least they weren’t even worse than had been expected surely carries a hint of disingenuity about it. Over the course of the club’s last season in the Premier League, the club contrived to find a way to lose...

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Birmingham City & Rangers: A Bad Week To Be A Bluenose

Both sides of what could soon be a proper international border, it is tough being a “Bluenose” just now. The odds against Rangers seeking the financial sanctuary of administration, or the sale and leaseback of major assets, as solutions to their latest book-balancing difficulties get shorter each day. Meanwhile, the semi-mythical “Owners and Directors Test” in England’s Football League looks like being failed at last, although Birmingham City President and major shareholder Carson Yeung has had to spend years laundering money in Hong Kong to do so. These are the bare facts of the Rangers’ situation. They have averaged 40,000-plus crowds since entering Scottish Football’s fourth tier in August 2012. Last season, their gate income dwarfed the rest of their division combined, as it has this season in the third tier. They received £22m from an initial public offering (IPO) of shares in in December 2012. But that money and all other income…has gone. So Rangers have had to borrow £1.5m from hedge fund managers Laxey Partners and club director Sandy Easdale for “general working capital purposes,” or they would be insolvent. If income is as closely-linked to on-field success as the experts in such areas suggest, Rangers should have guaranteed annual promotion while making profits significant enough to allow them to challenge bitter rivals Celtic as soon as they reach the top-flight. The explanation for their failure to...

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