Category: Latest

“Downgrading MANU To Hold”: On Football And The Stock Markets

I had assumed that the strange whirring noise I heard the other day was one of the mini-tornadoes that has added to Southern England’s recent weather woes. Now I wonder if it was Manchester United legend Sir Matt Busby spinning in his grave so violently as to trigger storms across what cynics might consider United’s main catchment area. There was a scene in the 2011 BBC TV film United, about Jimmy Murphy’s post-Munich spell as Old Trafford boss, where Busby made a speech to Football League secretary Alan Hardaker which poetically summarised the two men’s outlook on football, Busby waxing lyrical about “grass and boots and… beauty” while bemoaning Hardaker as a man of “tables, graphs and points.” So what would Busby (at least as portrayed in United) have made of this news-in-brief item which Guardian journalist David Conn tweeted this week? Deutsche Bank downgrades Manchester United (MANU) to Hold: Deutsche Bank downgraded Manchester United (NYSE:MANU) from Buy to Hold with a price target of $16.00 (from $21.00). Analyst Doug Mitchelson expects greater player costs. “We now believe we were too conservative in our player cost outlook and have lowered our ests. We still see compelling growth over the next several years as MANU continues to unlock brand value, though valuation appropriately reflects this in our view,” said Mitchelson. “Positive catalysts remain, however we balance these against team performance...

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How does Australian football build a future beyond Del Piero

Alessandro Del Piero is no Mario Jardel. This is definitely a good thing. While the mention of the Brazilian’s short-lived stint in Australia still causes Newcastle Jets fans to break out in a cold sweat, Del Piero’s two seasons Down Under have been anything but an easy pre-retirement pay cheque. Granted, the Italian hasn’t won anything with Sydney FC to date and nor does he look likely to this season, but Del Piero has often carried the Sky Blues through poor performances and coach Frank Farina’s win percentage would look significantly worse without the former Juventus man. Across the city at Western Sydney Wanderers, veteran Japanese international Shinji Ono has had significantly more success and was a major force in Wanderers’ debut season title win. Ono may not have been quite a high-profile arrival as Del Piero but the Japanese playmaker quickly became a poster boy for the A League, lighting up games with his deftness of touch and creative vision. Both marquee signings have regularly been a joy to watch in the league since arriving and their impact has been such that the competition will take on a significantly different dimension without them next season. 35-year-old Ono has already confirmed he’ll be returning to Japan at the end of this campaign, while it’s not unfair to assume that the 39-year-old Del Piero will decide to call it a...

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Tuesday Night Live! (An Experiment In Live-Blogging)

Oh, hello. With the World Cup finals coming up in five months time, we’ve been discussing coverage of it over the last few days and one of the ideas that has sprung to mind has been live-blogging it all. Fortunately, WordPress has a plug-in which allows this to be done with the greatest of ease (or so they claim), so I thought we’d give it a test drive and see how it works. Or whether it works. In view of this, apologies in advance for if this somehow manages to go magnificently, hilariously wrong. There’s every chance that it will do. But anyway, this evening features a roster of matches that would do any weekend throughout the course of the season proud. There’s the Merseyside derby, whilst Juan Mata – the undoubted saviour of Manchester United – makes his debut at Old Trafford this evening against bottom of the table Cardiff City. A little further down the food chain, meanwhile, the Championship’s crisis club du jour, Bolton Wanderers travel to Queens Park Rangers, whilst Leyton Orient play Coventry City in League One and there are relegation six-pointers – you know them, they’re the matches where the winners get three points, just like in every other match – aplenty at the foot of League Two, with Portsmouth travelling to Wycombe Wanderers and Bristol Rovers at home against Accrington Stanley. The...

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What On Earth Is Going Wrong At Bristol Rovers?

With Bristol City near the foot of League One and Bristol Rovers only four points from the relegation places in League Two, this hasn’t been the greatest of seasons for the conurbation of Greater Bristol. Here’s our West of England correspondent Irene Goodnight – see what I did there? – to bring us up to speed with what may or may not have been going wrong at The Memorial Ground of late. In December 2012 the Bristol Rovers Supporters Club Share Scheme marked its ten year anniversary, with fans contributing more than £1,000,000 since the launch. The hitting of seven figures was marked by celebrations on the pitch at half time of our home match versus Wycombe Wanderers earlier this season, with Andy Rammell – the striker bought with share scheme funds who saved us from relegation by scoring six goals in twelve games at the end of the 02/03 season –paraded round the pitch, and fans applauded for their efforts in transforming the club. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the scheme had revolutionised not only the fortunes of Bristol Rovers but also supporter involvement in how the club was run, yet the hot air coming out of the club with regard to these landmarks only tells half the story. At the time the share scheme started, Bristol Rovers was firmly rooted to the bottom of the Football...

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Goole AFC Captain Karl Colley’s Afternoon Of Folly

The vast majority of non-league football clubs – it might even be argued all of them – spend their lives at some distance from the glare of the national media, and when one does make national headlines, it’s as likely as not that it will not be a story that said club would not want to be in the limelight for. So it was over the weekend for Goole AFC of Division One South of the Northern Premier League. They sit in fourteenth place in that particular division, far enough above the relegation places to not be to concerned by the possibility of relegation but a little too far from the play-off positions to be likely to cause any difficulty at the other end of the table, either. Last Saturday afternoon, they were beaten at by three goals to nil by third placed Coalville Town. This was not a result that would be surprise to many regular watchers of this particular division, but still the match has still managed to find itself splashed across the national press on account of the Goole captain that afternoon, Karl Colley. Colley had just been sent off for a bad tackle when the taunting of the travelling Coalville supporters got a little too much for him, and he jumped into the crowd and made several attempts to get at them, throwing a punch...

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