Category: Latest

Referee! You Got It Wrong… Again!

A couple of recent refereeing decisions have attracted Mark Murphy’s attention and, spotting an opportunity to have a gratuitous dig or two at Sam Allardyce and others, he thought he’d attract your attention too. The Dick Emery Show was a staple diet of my early 1970s TV viewing and amongst the Emery characters which proves that the past truly is a foreign country was an improbably-named skinhead called Gaylord, whose catchphrase was “Daaad, I fink I got it wrong again.” Gaylord’s voice has been my personal soundtrack to two particularly “alternative” pieces of recent refereeing. This week’s Stamford Bridge shenanigans involving referee Neil Swarbrick, West Ham goalkeeper Adrian and Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o. And, as I’m sure you feared, one involving my team Kingstonian. And, yes, we were the ‘victims.’ Chelsea supremo Jose Mourinho’s post-match comments about West Ham’s “19th-century” football attracted bigger headlines (although a blanket defence like West Ham’s seems sooo 21st-century – even if manager Sam Allardyce evokes more pre-historic times). But the instant reaction on BBC Radio 5 Live offered a rare moment in broadcasting history – Robbie Savage making the most sense. To briefly recap, Adrian saved a stoppage-time Eden Hazard shot and lay on the floor, ball held tight to his chest, as Chelsea’s Demba Ba chased a potential rebound. In the BBC studio, pundits and presenters agreed that Adrian wouldn’t be “getting...

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Leeds United: The “Manager-Eater” Takes Pole Position… Or Does He?

So the ongoing saga of the take-over of Leeds United has taken another few twists and turns this week, and now nobody on the outside of the matter seems to have the first clue what, exactly, is going on at Elland Road. It had been widely expected that a purchase of the club by the Sport Capital group, fronted by the millionaire Andy Flowers and the current club’s managing director David Haigh would be done and dusted by now. Since the end of November, it had seemed as if their takeover of the club was all but a done...

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“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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