Category: Latest

Weymouth FC & The Nature Of A “Community Club”

There have been few phrases that have slipped more perniciously into the lexicon of British football in recent years as “community club”. It is a phrase that rolls off the tongue easily, which offers a comforting mental image of a football club doing precisely what it should do, engaging with its community, playing a positive role with local people and, above all else, not being run by rapacious businessmen who would seek to take it for all it has before leaving it to wither and die when it has served its purpose. One person’s idea of what a “community club”, however, might differ very much from somebody else’s and these definitions are currently being tested by an ongoing debate at a club that has graced these pages more than once in the past – Weymouth Football Club, of the Southern League Premier Division. The trials and tribulations of this club over the last decade or so could take us all night to explain, but it should suffice to say that the club finally seemed to have reached some degree of harmony last year with a new shareholding structure which limited any individual to a 7.5% ownership of the club. It wasn’t the holy grail of a club being run by its Supporters Trust as an Industrial & Provident Society (IPS) in which each member has one vote with the...

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Back To The Eighties: 1980/81, Part Four – The Pressure Builds Under Malcolm Allison

We’re now up to the last weekend of September in the first season that we are covering in this new series, and we have a busy weekend of football from the Football League. The cameras of Match Of The Day were at three matches. First up is the Manchester derby between United and City at Old Trafford, which sees the home side continuing to cling onto the coat-tails of the division’s early pace-setters while the Manchester City manager Malcolm Allison is starting to come under serious pressure following his team’s dismal start to the season, which sees them one place of the foot of the table and without a win from their opening seven matches of the season. Match Of The Day’s second match is brief highlights of the Third Division match between Portsmouth and Fulham, and they round off with extended highlights of the match from Molineux between Wolverhampton Wanderers and an Ipswich Town side that has already opened up a three point lead at the top of the table. On the other side, meanwhile, the cameras of ATV were at the match between West Bromwich Albion and Southampton, whilst Yorkshire Television – featuring a very young Martin Tyler commentating – was at the Third Division South Yorkshire local derby at Bramall Lane between a Sheffield United side that was in second place in the table at kick-off...

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Atherstone Town’s Dereliction Of Duty

Weekends when international matches take centre stage tend to be slow ones on the sports desks of our national newspapers. With no football matches being played in the Premier League or the Football League Championship, there are slim picking for those who want their weekend editions to be covered with the national game and, as such, it is perhaps unsurprising that an outbreak of crowd trouble, even if it does come to pass at a non-league which otherwise would have been of no great consequence. The indicents occurred at the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round match yesterday afternoon between Atherstone Town and Barrow AFC, and involved around thirty or so Atherstone “supporters” – a phrase which we use advisedly when we consider what the cost of their behaviour is likely to be to the club – got onto the pitch, attacked Barrow supporters and lit flares. It was a dismal afternoon for Atherstone Town, who normally play their trade in the Midland Football Combination – four divisions below Conference North club Barrow – and for whom getting this far in the competition had already been something of an achievement in itself. By the time of the incident, which came about at half-time, the home side was already losing by four goals to nil, which turned out to be the final score of the match as well. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the...

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Back To The Eighties: 1980/81, Part Three – The Decline Of Derby County

The third week of September saw Match Of The Day take its cameras to the south coast, the west country and the east Midlands. Sadly – or, for all we know, not – the match between Bristol City and Notts County are not available to us, but highlights, albeit in one case very brief, of the other two matches, between Southampton & Liverpool and Derby County & Wrexham, are. There is little question that Match Of The Day’s main match from the The Dell was the most important match of the weekend, with Southampton second place in the table and Liverpool sitting one point and one place behind them. The other match saw Derby County play Wrexham at The Baseball Ground in the Second Division. Little more than five years earlier Derby had been the champions of England, but the club’s deterioration since then had been rapid. The manager that had guided the club to its second league title in in four years in 1975, Dave Mackay, should have been one of the most secure in England, having taken the club to a league title and two top five finishes, as well as an FA Cup semi-final, in less than three years in charge of the club. However, a poor start to the 1976/77 season ended in Mackay being sacked in November 1976. Following this, the club became increasingly...

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An Impossible Job: Twenty Years On

Incredibly (face it, they’re a dreadful shower) it’s 20 years this week since England last failed to qualify for a World Cup Finals. Consequently there will be quite a number of you reading this who don’t remember, or perhaps weren’t even born to witness, the terrible scenes that ensued. Five days national mourning. Stock markets in Tokyo teetered on the brink. Traditionally, one might write “people who were born on that day would be shaving now”, but I feel that it is both reductive and sexist. As well as being fundamentally inaccurate – all 20 year old boys these...

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