Category: Latest

Thirty-Six & A Half Million Holes In The Accounts In Blackburn, Lancashire

At least, the supporters of Blackburn Rovers may choose to console themselves this evening, at least the team won yesterday afternoon. For the first time since the start of last month, Rovers have three points under their belt with a one-nil win against Middlesbrough being enough to lift the team to ninth place in the Football League Championship table. A repeat of last season’s battle to avoid relegation to League One seems highly unlikely to be repeated. If there was success on the pitch for the club yesterday afternoon, however, away from it the results couldn’t have offered a much starker contrast. While the team was playing yesterday afternoon, BBC Lancashire was reporting that Blackburn Rovers Football Club has posted the sort of financial results that send a chill down the spine. Some reasonable level of financial husbandry had been the one saving grace of the otherwise disastrous period of ownership of the Venkys group. In the year to the end of June 2012 the club reported a small operating profit of £4.5m, which we might have hoped would stand as an indication that the club at least had some sort of safety buffer in order to be able to cope with its relegation from the Premier League at the end of the 2011/12 season. A combination of being able to trade profitably and plump parachute payments from the...

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Back To The Eighties: 1980/81, Part Twenty – Liverpool Fall Off The Pace

By the latter part of February 1981, it was becoming increasingly apparent that Liverpool were not going to be finishing the season as the champions of England this time around. Too many drawn matches were costing Bob Paisley’s team, and by the time they travelled to the south coast to play struggling Brighton & Hove Albion they were five points behind second placed Aston Villa, with the number of matches left to try and bridge that gap starting to evaporate. Brighton, meanwhile, were seperated from the bottom three on goal difference only and desperately needed points themselves if they were to avoid relegation back to the Second Division. The second match featured this weekend was another relegation battle, this time between Birmingham City and the team who were tied with Brighton at the foot of the table, Norwich City. The home side were comfortably placed in mid-table, but Norwich had been at or near the foot of the table all season. This report, from ITV’s On The Ball, follows the Canaries to St Andrews for a rare Friday night match. Our final match is a match from the battle for UEFA Cup places for the following season, between Southampton and West Bromwich Albion. You can follow Twohundredpercent on Twitter by clicking...

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Vincent Tan’s Cardiff City Fiefdom

Tomorrow afternoon at The Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff City will play Swansea City for the first time in the top division of English football, and from the outside it looks more than a little as if this match might be a be all and end all. Peering in from the outside, it’s not difficult to believe that there has been a something of a sense of “keeping up with the Joneses” about Cardiff’s ownership under Vincent Tan, that parity with the hated “Jacks” was worth the changing of the colours, the changing of the flags and the apparent autocracy that now runs the club with an increasingly worryingly hands-on approach. The battle of the colours of the club has been lost. Perhaps there were too many for whom the blue shirts didn’t matter enough in comparison with being where the perceived action is, in the Premier League. Perhaps there were too many relative newcomers, for whom history meant little in comparison with the ability to puff one’s chest out and say, “We are Premier League.” It’s now difficult to imagine the club reverting back to their traditional colours of blue and white, just as it’s difficult to imagine the very image which represented the football club itself, the iconic Bluebird, being allowed to do anything but fly away into the history books. Since the start of this season, however,...

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Back To The 80s: 1980/81, Part Nineteen – The FA Cup Fifth Round

They’re down to the last sixteen in the 1980/81 FA Cup, and the distinctive aroma of Wembley is in the air. First up are highlights from the second half of the match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Wrexham – note the gap between the pitch and the main stand at Molineux at that time – and this is followed up with (very) brief highlights of the match between Peterborough United and Manchester City. Finally, we have a replay from the following week. Exeter City had already knocked First Division Leicester City out of the competition, and they’d made a long trip to earn a draw against Newcastle United. The replay saw the two clubs travel from St James Park to St James Park for the right to travel to White Hart Lane to play Tottenham Hotspur in the quarter-finals of the competition. You can follow Twohundredpercent on Twitter by clicking here....

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The FIFA Under-17 World Cup: The Second Round

The odds against a Brazil/Nigeria final in the Under-17 World Cup are now shorter than a jockey. For all my talk of “dark horses” in this tournament, the second round revealed a gulf in pace, power, technique – and any other Alan Hansen-ism you might care to quote – between the Selecao, the Golden Eaglets and the rest. It was a curate’s egg of a second round, made odder by the appearance of seventeen teams in it – Slovakia allowed to enter a team of lookalikes for the first half of their 4-2 defeat to Uruguay, presumably because the real team was delayed somewhere on the way to the ground (though not in match traffic as the crowds remain abysmal). The version of goalkeeper Martin Junas who played in the first half didn’t so much misunderstand the trajectory of a long ball forward as miss the turning completely. This set the tone for the rest of the half and by the time the real team got going they had four goals to pull back. This wasn’t too much by very much, though – Uruguayan custodian Thiago Cardoza making two blinding stops as well as waving at a couple of shots as they hit the frame of his goal. Slovakia also twice found what Eurosport’s Andy Bodfish called the “onion sack,” which makes you wonder where he buys his vegetables...

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