Category: Latest

In Defence Of “Stand”

It is, perhaps, a sign of the organisation’s success that there seems to have been, since its inception, a been a steady stream of people lining up to take a pop at the football supporter’s pressure group Stand. Formed a couple of years as Stand Against Modern Football, the group might well consider that such costs are worth bearing, when the alternative might easily have been to be ignored by all and sundry. Before I say anything else, though, allow me to lay some cards on the table. I have been, in the overall scheme of things, a supporter of Stand since its inception, and have contributed to their magazine. I believe that football supporters need a radical voice which complements the broad brush – and relatively respectable demeanour – of the Football Supporters Federation and the more technically minded work of Supporters Direct. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Stand was inevitable, given the recent history of professional football on England, but I do believe that it was necessary. Much of the criticism of Stand seems to be based principally on its original nomenclature. The addition of the phrase ‘Against Modern Football’ to its name seemed like an obvious nod towards Italian groups have protested under the banner of ‘No Al Calcio Moderno’, but from a personal perspective it always felt as if the use...

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Birmingham City Fans Can Delay No More

“I’m as mad as hell and I can’t take it anymore,” said Peter Finch’s character Howard Beale in the 1976 film Network. Birmingham City fans clearly can’t either. The Blues are mired in a Championship relegation battle. The club and parent company, Birmingham International Holdings (BIH) continue to lose multi-millions despite selling almost every decent player manager Lee Clark has had. And in advance of BIH’s Extraordinary General Meeting, which approved plans for it to financially restructure – and borrow – its way out of its financial woes, fans arranged their first public display of disaffection, a banner protest based around the slogan “DelayNoMore,” urging club president Carson Yeung to do just that in selling the club. Immediately after the EGM, the club’s sole paid director, Peter Pannu, suggested that Blues’ future looked “bright,” which disaffected fans have treated as rhyming slang. And any remaining faith in Yeung will have dissolved among fans who read BIH’s announcement concerning its much-trumpeted relisting on Hong Kong’s Stock Exchange (HKSE). Pannu has made a huge deal of BIH’s relisting because the project was his responsibility as BIH’s top executive, and it actually was a huge deal, for BIH at least, as demonstrated by share-trading activities since the relisting on February 7th, including progress on BIH’s long-promised “disposal” of its interest in Birmingham City PLC with a 12% shareholding just bought by what...

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Sharp In The Cup… Sheffield United’s Jekyll & Hyde Season

According to the Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough, it was news of the reward that pushed his team over the line in their FA Cup Fifth Round match against Nottingham Forest on Sunday afternoon. For reasons – as ever – best kept to themselves, the Football Association held the draw for the quarter-finals of this year’s competition towards the end of the first half of their match, and as serendipity would have it the Blades found out at half-time that winning this match would lead to a Sixth Round match against Sheffield Wednesday, if they could pull a result out of the hat in the forty-five minutes that followed and Wednesday come to beat Charlton Athletic in their now-delayed match. It might, therefore, be argued that this was a little harsh on Nottingham Forest. There doesn’t seem to be any particularly good reason why the draw for the next round of the competition should be held whilst matches are being played, after all – apart, of course, from the purposes of the amelioration of broadcasters, who would rather have the draw made as soon as their live match finishes. And football can’t be upsetting its paymasters now, can it? Hull City supporter who looked mournfully at the scheduling of tonight’s match at Brighton, a venue impossible to get back from by public transport from this evening and would be...

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Bundesliga Round Up: Week 21 – HSV change coach after Braunschweig defeat

Hamburg coach Bert van Marwijk just barely escaped with his job last weekend after the 3-0 defeat to Hertha. This weekend the axe finally came down and after 143 of the longest days of his life the former Dutch national team coach was paid off. The decision was taken shortly after Hamburg lost their relegation six pointer at bottom club Eintracht Braunschweig, 4-2. On loan Hertha BSC striker, Pierre Michel Lassoga took the lead for the away side after 23 minutes. The Hamburg fans set off their pyros in joyous celebration of what they imagined would be a win...

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Tom Finney: The Loss Of One Of Football’s Great Gentlemen

There will be tears at Deepdale this afternoon, of course, and understandably so. After all, the announcement of the death of Tom Finney yesterday at the age of ninety-one has brought the curtain down on one of football’s most enduring love affairs, that of the modest player blessed with abilities beyond the reach of all bar a select few and the club that he represented with such distinction for so many years. But there will also be celebration. Each and every Preston North End player will wear a shirt bearing his name, and there will be as much applause as there will be silence. A life so well lived deserves such treatment. His was a career played out in the years immediately prior to the invasion of television cameras that we take so much for granted these days. As such, perhaps the most appropriate way in which we can assess his impact on the landscape of post-war English football is from the recollections of his contempories. Bill Shankly, who played alongside Finney at Preston, for example, commented on the ability gap between the winger and the rest of his team that, “Tom should claim income tax relief… for his ten dependants,” and that, “Tom Finney would have been great in any team, in any match and in any age… even if he had been wearing an overcoat.” It was...

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