Category: Latest

The 200% World Cup: Meet The Team, Part One

This summer marks the third World Cup Finals that we have covered here on 200%, and we’ve decided to mark the occasion by doing something a little different this time around. Four years ago we marked the occasion by producing match reports for every single match played within literally days of them having been played, but the questions hanging before us as we started to prepare for this tournament were pretty straightforward: who, exactly, reads match reports these days and why would they bother reading them at a place like this – where we play fast and loose with...

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British Television & The World Cup, Part Two – The Box Takes Over

In the first part of this series, we looked at the formative days of televising the World Cup, from the limited selection of matches on offer to viewers in Europe in 1954 to the two day delay for any televised coverage at all from Chile, eight years later. Even though viewers in Europe were not in a position to be able to watch live matches in 1962, however, there was already a global revolution in television broadcasting coming, thanks to developments in satellite and other technology, and the next two tournaments would come to shape much of what we...

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Exeter City Face A Fan-Ownership Crisis

Eleven years ago an unassuming revolution took place in Devon. There were no triumphant shouts of proclamations of the new regime. Instead a dedicated group of volunteers grimly rolled up their sleeves, surveyed the damage in front of them and got to work. Now, over a decade since the Supporters’ Trust was invited to take control of the battered and near-critically wounded Exeter City, another potential revolution is in the offing. It’s even more bloodless and yet could end up killing the very thing that many City supporters treasure – fan ownership. It’s no exaggeration to say that the future of the Trust is at stake over the coming weeks. Currently under a transfer embargo, things could get a lot worse for the Grecians over the coming weeks. The challenges of fan ownership mean that a club of Exeter’s size will always be at a financial disadvantage to some of the division’s big spenders but the last few seasons have been particularly unkind to Exeter. Relegation from League One followed by missing out on the playoffs the season after and a battle against relegation this season has led to plenty of glum faces at St. James’ Park. Off the field, postponements, failure to progress in cup competitions and no recent player sales has stretched finances. But this is a fan owned club. Should it not be living within its...

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The 200% World Cup: The Warm-Ups – No Dutch Courage Against Wales

That’s more like it. After far too much entertainment at Craven Cottage last week, this stroll in the Amsterdam twilight was what World Cup warm-up friendlies are all about. Not getting injured and making the post-match fireworks as incongruous as possible. While Ireland’s draw with Italy was put into perspective by the Azzurri’s inability to beat Luxembourg (Luxembourg!!), Wales’ tame defeat to the equally-tame but more talented Dutch put both teams in their rightful place – the Netherlands worried about World Cup group opponents Chile, Wales about September’s Euro 2016 qualifying opponents Andorra. Wales were missing the “spine of their side,” known to his friends as Gareth Bale – although BBC Wales’ commentators Rob Phillips and Kevin Ratcliffe name-checked Aaron Ramsey and Ashley Williams for credibility’s sake. And Ratcliffe went even further: “But you’ve got Neil Taylor,” he pleaded, although you could almost hear his conviction draining away with every syllable. Studio pundit Barry Horne had no such qualms. “Where should Gareth Bale play?” presenter Jason Mohammed asked. “Wherever he wants,” said Horne, to rapturous applause from a bizarrely-commissioned studio audience. The Netherlands, meanwhile, had Wesley Sneijder alternating with a member of the Dutch public in a Sneijder fright-mask – “Sneijder” interchanging occasional brilliance with lengths of doziness. And after half-time they were missing Robin Van Persie, who grimaced his way through the second quarter before Jeremain Lens replaced...

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The 200% World Cup: England Are Quite Interesting

With a bevvy of exciting youngsters breaking into the first team and an UEFA Under 17 European Championship win under their belt, England have suddenly become interesting. It’s as if the collective youth of the Premier League read the FA commission’s plans for the future of English football and decided to take matters into their own hands. While it is the God given right for all free born English folk to approach a World Cup with uncurbed and unwarrantable optimism the bitter experience of the 2010 World Cup has introduced some much needed curb to pre-tournament enthusiasm. Instead of...

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