Category: Latest

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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The 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup: The Quarter-Finals

So. Farewell, then, a Brazil/Nigeria Under-17 World Cup final. As I predicted here, Mexico had next-to-no chance of beating Brazil. So they did. Just to spite me. And Eurosport’s Wayne Boyce was left almost tearfully lamenting the loss of “the dream final.” Boyce’s commentary colleague Tim Caple had breathlessly recommended to viewers of Sweden’s surprisingly entertaining 2-1 quarter-final win over Honduras that they stick around to watch “this Brazilian team” in action. And whilst there was always a nagging doubt that Caple was tempting fate, few outside Mexico’s fanbase gave their side an earthly. Bizarrely, given that it finished 11-10 after 24 spot-kicks, Mexico thoroughly deserved to win the penalty shoot-out – almost to the point of outclassing the Brazilians. The Selecao scuffed at least three of their successful efforts and found a previously undiscovered hole in Mexican keeper Raul Gudino’s gloves with two others. Mexico’s successful kicks, meanwhile, were either well placed shots or, in the case of Ulises Rivas when the shoot-out was 5-4 and he HAD to score, let Boyce unveil his surely pre-prepared “pop up with a Pannenka” line as Rivas chipped his spot-kick straight down the middle while Brazil keeper Marcos flew to his right. This in turn let Boyce’s co-commentator Stewart Robson bring out his “why don’t the keepers just stand still?” line. But when both keepers appeared too drained to do anything else...

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A Weekend In The Spotlight For Some Of Football’s Afterthoughts

Way back in the past, when social mobility for football clubs was, generally, if not quite absolutely, calcified by the FA’s distinction between amateurs and professionals (a state of affairs which lasted, somewhat extraordinarily, until 1974) or by the Football League’s insistence on re-election rather than meritocracy at the foot of its bottom rung (which clung on as a relic of a closed shop past until 1987), at least the difference between what constituted ‘league’ and ‘non-league’ was somewhat easier to define than it is nowadays. Every year, a bunch of amateurs would find themselves thrust unexpectedly into the limelight and granted the opportunity to bloody the nose of one of their supposed betters in the FA Cup, and every year, it seemed, somebody, somewhere would oblige. These days, however, the lines are somewhat more blurred. Cambridge United, for example, play their football in the Conference National, but as recently as 1991 they were a Second Division club giving Arsenal a hard time in the quarter-finals of this very competition. Another club playing at the same level, Wrexham, got to the same stage of the competition six years later. The line between between the professionals and the semi-professionals has become increasingly blurred over the years, to the extent that even Luton Town, another Conference club, beating Norwich City of the Premier League away from home last season didn’t raise...

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Back To The Eighties: 1980/81, Part Twenty-One: Brighton & Norwich Scrap At The Bottom

As February turned to March in 1981, the battle to avoid relegation to the Second Division was hotting up, with just two points seperating Brghton & Hove Albion, Norwich City and Leicester City at the bottom of the table. The big match of the weekend at the bottom of the table came from Carrow Road, and was between Norwich and Brighton. With ten games of the season to play, winning points was now critical at the bottom of the table. Our second match from the last day of February 1981 is brief highlights from the match between Manchester United and Leeds United at Old Trafford. The following week, meanwhile, saw the first legs of the quarter-finals of the big European competitions. So, first up out these matches is the match between Liverpool and CSKA Sofia from Anfield, and we follow this up with what looked like an extremely tricky trip for Ipswich Town to France to play Saint Etienne. It turned out to be a good week for the remaining English clubs in Europe. You can follow Twohundredpercent on Twitter by cicking...

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