Category: Latest

Match Fixing Allegations Return To The Non-League Game

It’s a curious dichotomy that when a big story breaks in non-league – and we’re talking the serious stuff here, not the “look at these poor amateur footballers and their crazy 50 fans” stories – that the larger news outlets are unsure how to cover it. Is this serious news, the kind that requires hand-wringing and pontificating for days on end, or something to be dismissed after a day because it doesn’t fit the wider news agenda? The response to the Telegraph’s scoop on match fixing and the subject in general has followed this exact pattern. From one corner, it’s only non-league – and not even professional clubs at that – so who cares if there’s a few brown envelopes exchanging hands? In the other, this shows just how awful the game of football has become and Something Must Be Done. But while media interest may have dropped a little when it became clear this didn’t involve football league clubs, there’s no doubt these are very serious allegations that need to be investigated further. The Conference Premier and North / South appears to be the focus of the investigation and while there are plenty of part-time clubs in the division, there’s also a large number of fully professional teams. If the integrity of these matches is put in doubt this throws into question of promotions across the entire pyramid,...

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Bundesliga Week 14 Round Up – Insanity in Sinsheim

Normally you would not be too bothered about a -2 goal difference after fourteen matches, that is unless you’re the Hoffenheim coach. The good news is that so far, only Borussia Dortmund have scored more goals in the Bundesliga that Markus Gisdol’s team. The bad news is that no other team has conceded more. Last Saturday, the Sinsheim club welcomed guests Werder Bremen to the Rhein Necker Arena. They stormed into a 2-0 lead after eighteen minutes with two penalties from Bosnian midfielder, Sejad Salihović, the second being a cheeky chip to catch Bremen ‘keeper, Raphael Wolf, unawares. Bremen stormed back just before halftime with a penalty of their own, scored by Aaron Hunt. The second came as a consequence of Hoffenheim ‘keeper Koen Casteels somehow managing to let a centered ball go between his hand and the near post, across the face of the goal and straight to Eljero Elia. Kevin Volland put the home side back in front, minutes after the restart and Kai Herdling extended the Hoffenheim lead to 4-2 with a larrup from distance. Game over? Not a chance. Back came Bremen with an unmarked Nils Petersen on 59 minutes and finally, with seconds remaining on the clock Philipp Bargfrede equalised. 4-4 was the final result which left Hoffenheim coach beside himself with frustration. That’s 34 (thirty four) goals conceded so far this season for...

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Dr Assem Allam Writes His Own Legacy At Hull City

Dr Assem Allam is not a young man. At seventy-four years old, we might have expected him to start taking things a little easier at his time of life, to spend a little more time with the Daily Telegraph’s cryptic crossword, tending to his garden and feeding the birds in the park, but one of the more unfortunate traits of the sort of capitalist baron of which Allam is a prime example is that the pursuit of money, status and respect never seems to have a retirement age, and in the case of Allam this seems to be married to an unshakeable desire to get his own way and say exactly what he’s thinking at any given time. Allam now seems to consider himself to be only true voice of Hull City AFC, but his absolute and utter contempt for anybody that intends to stand in his way with regard to the rebranding of the club that he purchased in December 2010 has plumbed new depths this morning with an interview in the Independent on Sunday in which he described supporters protesting against his plan to change the name to Hull Tigers as “hooligans”, warned that he will put the club up for sale if supporters do not accept what he apparently seems to be believe is his “authority”, and stated that supporters who are vociferously protesting against his...

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A Decade On, Boston’s Rehabilitation Nears Its End

You can still find the plans on the internet, lurking out there hidden with all the other forgotten, abandoned detritus. There are images, architectural conceptions. There’s a picture of the plans being delivered, folder by folder, to the local council. I have a copy of the blueprints somewhere, gathering dust in a long forgotten heap of paperwork in a drawer I haven’t ventured into for years. It is all that remains of Boston United’s aborted stadium plan of nearly a decade ago, a plan that would have seen Boston United move to a new ground on a cabbage field two miles out of town in the Boardsides area and the town’s second team, Boston Town of the United Counties League, flytipped down the appropriately-named Cuckoo’s Land, where the residents simply didn’t want them. It was all for property development, of course. Jon Sotnick was chairman of the club and of Lavaflow, the consortium that owned the club. Everyone seemed to have their fingers in the Lavaflow pie, including the then-manager Steve Evans. York Street, Boston’s home since forever, had always been eyed enviously by property moguls. First by supermarket chains and, when that sector outgrew the footprint afforded by the compact ground, those in the luxury flat market. Similarly, Tattershall Road, Town’s quaint little ground, occupied land just ripe for sixty-odd houses with a broom cupboard for a ‘third...

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Villas-Boas vs The World. And Martin Samuel.

It was around the time that Man City rattled in their fifth goal last Sunday that a billion snarky armchair enthusiasts reached for their smartphones to riff on Erik Thorstvedt’s assertion that Spurs, in flogging Gareth Bale to Real Madrid’s marketing team, had ‘sold Elvis and bought The Beatles’. Hands a’tremblin’ with the excitement of injecting the internet with a hit of wit from a syringe marked ‘FUNNY’, and desperate to see Spurs’ title-chasing  pretensions unceremoniously bludgeoned to death, the smirking know-it-alls went for it. The Beatles! As if! Villas Boas, it was clear, had not bought John, Paul, George and that other twat. Nope, he’d landed himself with…. oooh, let’s see now… Steps. ZING! Or… S Club 7! The Monkees! BOSH! That that, David Baddiel! Take that, humour! Personally, I went for Little Mix. It was either that or Gay Dad, but, obviously, I got it wrong. The Twitter mob decided ages go that, since the fat one in Little Mix who wasn’t fat anyway isn’t fat any more even though she wasn’t fat in the first place, Little Mix are the total opposite of Spurs and awesomeballs after all. Gah! After the laughter had subsided to a rolling boil, the world awoke to news that, despite having been entrusted with job of rebuilding Spurs in the post-Bale era, Villas-Boas was, incredibly, TEETERING on the BRINK of the...

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