Category: Latest

The I-Spy Book Of The FA Cup First Round

The weekend of the First Round of the FA Cup is a familiar enough date in the football calendar to have spawned any number of tropes to have sprung over the years. Every year, the same narrative is written, one of plucky minnows and giants such as, say, Burton Albion or Fleetwood Town. Now, we here at 200% are as guilty of indulging in this as anybody else, but we feel that this qualifies us to introduce this fun game* with some fantastic prizes to be won**, so tighten the lid on your thermos flasks, put that magazine about diesel rolling stock of the 1970s down for a moment, and come join us for our game of FA Cup First Round I-Spy. *Game probably not that much fun. **There are no prizes, unless you count the grudging admiration of your peers, and you may not even receive that. Oversized Tin Foil FA Cup: Footballers are usually understood to be unlikely to trouble Mensa too much, but the PFA can at least console itself with the knowledge that, so far as we are aware, there are no recorded instances of a player mistaking an oversized tin foil FA Cup for the real thing and supposing that his team has been given a bye to a final which is inexplicably being held in Stevenage rather than at Wembley. The tin foil...

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The FIFA Under-17 World Cup: The Semi-Finals

So. Hello, then, a Mexico/Nigeria Under-17 World Cup final. This engaging tournament is back almost where it started after three weeks of football largely and refreshingly free of cynicism and, at least in my case, predictability. Mexico and Nigeria, who met on the tournament’s third day, were worthy and ultimately convincing winners of two entertaining semi-finals which followed similar patterns – lively first halves, scrappy third quarters and fractionally flattering victory margins. Three-nil was harsh on both Argentina and Sweden, although it was far easier to feel sympathy for the latter. Argentina had only ten men for an hour after Joaquin Ibanez surfed Mexico’s Omar Govea’s left leg – described by fifa.com as a “two-studded tackle,” which was as wide of the mark as a Cote D’Ivoire shot. And while they were sufficiently tactically astute to make the second half a contest, despite being two-nil down at the break, they should have been down to nine men even by the time Ibanez slid into view. The holders of ticket number 20 won the worldwide “in what minute will Lucio Compagnucci get booked” sweepstake (you could have thrown ticket number 46 back in the drum). But the combative Argentine midfielder ought to have seen red for what replays revealed to be a forearm smash into Ulises Jaimes’ face. And he ought to have seen red again when he used Mexican...

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FA Cup First Round Week: “Might We Run Into Rupert The Bear In Shortwood?”

Some phrases, it seems, stick with you for life. In the August 1990 edition of When Saturday Comes, Newport County supporter Phil Tanner posed the above question in relation to the death of his football club and its rebirth in the Hellenic League, travelling around the southern and western outposts of the non-league game, playing clubs of which he and the vast majority of his fellow supporters had never heard. Phil probably didn’t run into Rupert during his club’s spell playing football at that level – quite asides from any other considerations, the aforementioned fictional ursine one lived in Nutwood rather than Shortwood – but almost a quarter of a century on from that mischievous question being posed  one of the club’s that Newport played that season will make national headlines. The Wood, as Shortwood United is nicknamed, will emerge from the forest that is the nether regions of the non-league pyramid to make its debut in the First Round of the FA Cup, live on the television, against Port Vale. Shortwood United ply their trade in Division One South & West of the Southern Football League, a level of football as far removed from the Football League as a club playing in the Conference South is from the Premier League. Founded in 1900, the club joined the Gloucestershire County League in 1975, getting promoted into the Hellenic League...

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FA Cup First Round Week: Coventry City & Wimbledon – A Tale Of Two Cup Winners

In the second of our series ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup First Round matches, we take a look at two of the bigger names in the draw, who are playing each other on Friday night. Please, if you wish to reproduce this article elsewhere, link to it rather than copying and pasting it. Thanks.  In the FA Cup First Round on Friday night, two clubs with something of a pedigree in this competition will meet when Wimbledon play Coventry City at Kingsmeadow. In the late 1980s, these two clubs provided a little light relief from what would go on to become a little over a quarter of a century’s tedium for the supporters of all but a gilded few. In the years between 1981 and 2007, only a thoroughly predictable six clubs – Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Everton, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea – would otherwise be fortunate enough to see their teams lift the trophy at Wembley or Cardiff, and these are two clubs which now also have something else in common which has become increasingly common in recent years, the loss of a ground and an exile away from home forced upon them by their owners. During the 1986/87 FA Cup, Coventry City crept to the FA Cup Final as if by stealth. The stand out result of their run to Wembley, when viewed from the twenty-first...

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Back To The Eighties: 1980/81, Part Twenty-Two – The FA Cup Quarter-Finals

It’s time for another break from league action, as we’re down to the last eight clubs in the 1980/81 FA Cup with seven clubs from the First Division and one from the Third Division plaing for a place in the semi-finals of the competition. First up, a quick mention of the match that is missing from the selection that we have. Nottingham Forest drew three-all at The City Ground against Ipswich Town and, although the replay was probably just about the last thing that an Ipswich team that was still competing on three fronts – in the FA Cup, the UEFA Cup and for the First Division Championship – needed, Bobby Robson’s team won the replay by a single goal at Portman Road the following week. Our first FA Cup final, then, is the match between Middlesbrough and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Ayresome Park. Wolves had earned a bit of a reputation as a cup team under manager John Barnwell, whilst Middlesbrough at that point had still never played in a major cup final. Second up is the match between Tottenham Hotspur and Exeter City, the Third Division club who had already knocked out Leicester City and Newcastle United in their most surprising of cup runs. Last up are the two matches played between Everton and Manchester City, which went to a replay at Maine Road after the two teams...

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