Category: Latest

Jack Wilshere In ‘Is Twenty-One Years Old’ Shock

It often seems as if, whenever a professional footballer opens his mouth in public, there is one phrase, varyingly attributed to Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln and others, that springs immediately to mind: it is better to remain silent and be considered a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove any doubt. This week’s outrage du jour concerns the Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, who has had a busy few days, first being caught smoking a cigarette outside a nightclub in London and then offering his opinions on who should and who shouldn’t be allowed to play for the England national team. Since there’s an England match at the end of this week, a predictable mass hysteria has descended upon a player who has previously been reasonably well protected from the worst excesses of the media, but this week Wilshere has likely learnt a couple of harsh lessons about the nature of the glare of the media spotlight. Getting caught en fumant might be looked upon as a youthful mistake, as might the compoundment of this mortal sin by apparently fibbing about what was going on at the time. In our current climate with regard to smoking, Wilshere might scarcely have been more greatly castigated had he been photographed with underage prostitute sitting on his knee whilst holding a crack pipe in his hand, but this is neither here nor...

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Rangers: More Money Madness

The news that Rangers International Football Club plc (RIFC) lost, on average, £1.1m-per-month in its first financial accounting period, wasn’t “news” to everyone. A number of bloggers alleged to be “Rangers-haters” said “the figures don’t add up” as soon as the new Rangers set-up started playing last July. To others, this was confirmed by RIFC’s “interim” accounts in March. The declaration of £7m losses in their first seven months introduced “burn rate of £1m-per-month” into Glasgow’s football lexicon. Operating losses of £14.36m in 13 months are a “burn rate” of £1.1m per month, And Rangers’ Chief Executive Craig Mather wasn’t surprised either, declaring in the accounts’ “business review” that matters were “wholly consistent with the five-year business plan… set out to investors ahead of the Initial Public Offering (IPO) in December.” It is unknown, however, whether it was “set out to investors” that their investment would be spent within ten months and that financial experts would be predicting a need to “go back” to them for more investment to keep the club going beyond another year. The biggest news story from the accounts, was hardly news either, as executive remuneration was also set out to investors… in December. Former Chief Executive Charles Green, the IPO share prospectus noted, had “an annual salary of £360,000 (plus benefits and expenses)” and was “entitled to a non-contractual bonus of 100% gross salary...

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Back To The Eighties: 1980/81 – Part One

It’s the summer of 1980, and a decade that started with England as the champions of the football world has just ended in a manner that few would have predicted ten years earlier. The national team’s arrival back in tournament football had ended in every conceivable flavour of defeat at the 1980 European Championships. The team itself found itself eliminated from the competition with a game to spare, and rioting supporters who faced tear gas in Turin as the team drew its opening match against Belgium. Perhaps the only consolation that could be taken from the whole dismal episode was that, having missed out on the previous two World Cups, at least the team had managed to find its way there in the first place. The club side of English football, on the other hand, had offered its fair share of excitement, even if the spectre of hooliganism continued to hang heavy in its background. English clubs – Liverpool in 1977 and 1978, and Nottingham Forest in 1979 and 1980 – had won the last four European Cups and the previous season’s First Division Championship race between Liverpool and Manchester United had gone to the final day of the season before Liverpool finally lifted the trophy. The 1980 FA Cup, meanwhile, had been won by West Ham United, who had beaten Arsenal at Wembley by a goal to nil,...

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Tony Kleanthous Locks Horns With The Local Authorities… Again

Following relegation from the Football League at the end of last season, Barnet Football Club has made a reasonable start to life back in the non-league game in the Conference National. With thirteen matches of the new season played the club sits in tenth place in the table, a position which may be slightly misleading, considering that its points tally leaves it just three points off a place in the play-offs. The current drama at the club, however, is all coming away from the pitch as owner Tony Kleanthous, who has started to come to resemble a man who could start an argument in an empty room so long as that room was a council chamber, locks horns with another North London local authority. There was a sense of weary resignation about the club’s departure from Underhill, the ground that it had called home since 1907, at the end of last season. A dispute over access to part of the ground with the local council was the reason given as being the straw that broke the camel’s back for staying there, but the club’s departure from the London Borough of Barnet to the London Borough of Harrow doesn’t appear to have eased the difficulties that the club is having with local authorities. Having said that, however, it would seem that it has taken only a few months for Kleanthous...

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The Death Of Hinckley United?

Yesterday afternoon at Meadow Park in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, Chesham United defeated Hinckley United by three goals to nil in the Premier Division of the Calor Gas Southern Football League. Under different circumstances, it would have been the most unassuming of matches. Chesham United are chasing promotion at the top of the table, while their visitors are just above the relegation places at the foot of the table, and on the pitch the outcome of this match was never likely to be in any great doubt. Away from it, however, the match has taken on a significance which overshadows anything that could have happened on the pitch, for the travelling supporters, at least, because yesterday afternoon those travelling supporters from Hinckley may just have seen their club play its final match. It is less than twelve months since the club suffered the indignity of the cancellation of a home league match in the Blue Square Bet North against Bishops Stortford because it was unable to raise a team for the match following the imposition of a transfer embargo. This wasn’t the first time that the club had found itself in severe difficulty, either. Hinckley lost in the Blue Square Bet North play-offs in 2007, but its decline since then has been rapid. Two years ago the club finished in third from bottom place in the finals Blue Square Bet North...

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