Category: Latest

Manchester City Shine A Harsh Light On Manchester United’s Shortcomings

It’s early days, of course, not that this will provide much comfort to Manchester United supporters this evening. This afternoon at The Etihad Stadium, David Moyes’ team was blown away by his cross-city rivals, a performance which leaves the defending champions with just two wins from their first five matches of the season and in eighth place in the Premier League table and, in the world of instant gratification that modern football has become, there will doubtlessly be those who will start to wonder whether the end of Alex Ferguson’s era in charge of the club might just be the the end of something altogether more profound. As time passes, empires tend to fall, and some may already be wondering whether signs of this crumbling are already starting to become evident. “No” is the probable to answer to this question, but it won’t stop the tetchy, the angry and those with a hair-trigger finger from being the most likely to be heard over the next few days. But Manchester United’s shortcomings are only one part of the story of this afternoon’s match. Just as Manchester United lost a manager during the summer, so did Manchester City and, whilst there had been concerns previously that Manuel Pellegrini seemed to be struggling to get the most from his players, this afternoon his team’s performance was one which more than met the...

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Just Give Them What They Want: Ethics & The Sisu Model At Coventry City

This afternoon, more than three and a half thousand Coventry City supporters have made the journey to Vale Park to watch their team play Port Vale in League One. Under normal circumstances, there wouldn’t be anything particularly remarkable about this. Coventry City is, after all, a storied club that is playing below what we might consider to be its “natural” level in League One at the moment. This season, however, is far from “normal circumstances” for this club, which continues to play its home matches thirty-five miles from the city of Coventry itself, in Northampton, with the overwhelming majority of its supporters boycotting in protest at a senseless move taken by the club’s owners. As the season has worn on, the sense of stalemate over whether or how the club will return to the city of Coventry has grown to a point at which it is now difficult to see how it can be happily resolved. Despite have started the season with a ten point deduction for having failed to exit administration for the start of the new season, Steven Pressley’s team has already managed to clamber out of the relegation places at the foot of the table, and had this sanction not been imposed the team would be sitting in fifth place in the table with a great chance of getting promotion back to the Championship at the...

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‘B’ Teams & Feeder Teams: Desecration As A Solution To A Problem That Doesn’t Exist

Perhaps this moment marks the final stages of a coup d’etat that started more than twenty years ago. With the Football Association preparing to examine the idea of allowing formal relationships between bigger clubs with “feeder clubs” lower down the league pyramid in England, there will be a fundamental change in English football which will benefit the clubs of the Premier League to the detriment of the entire remainder of the English league system, and should the Football Association, upon completion of this examination, conclude that it is a good idea to do so, then its role will change from being the ultimate custodian of the whole of English football to being, effectively, the people in charge of trying to give the national team a better chance of winning the World Cup. And nothing more. We’ve been here before, of course. At the time that the Premier League was being established, soothing, ameliorating noises were made by the biggest clubs in line with the FA’s failed Blueprint for the Future of Football. Yes, yes, yes, it was implied at that time, the creation of a new top division which keeps all of the television money will definitely benefit the England team. The FA wanted the number of clubs in the division reduced to eighteen clubs and for the new division to be governed by a committee including the FA...

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The VHS Vault: 101 Great Goals

Back in the day, of course, we weren’t spoiled for football coverage in the way that we are today. Each ITV region would show between one and three matches per week, and the BBC would send its cameras to two matches per week, and that was, broadly speaking your lot every weekend. Perhaps this is the reason why so many of the great goals of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s have become revered in the way that they have – this and the fact that great goals that were scored were so many pearls amongst swine. It’s not terribly uncommon to see people these days making comments, when watching matches of the past, along the lines of, “I don’t know how people could possibly have watched football in the olden days” – the sort of comment that probably deserves a post of its own on here – but on pitches with the consistency of rice pudding and using footballs that frequently took on many of the qualities of cannonballs after a drop of rain, that anybody actually could skip past two players and belt the ball into the top corner from twenty yards out starts to become something of a surprise in itself. As it was with television coverage, so it was with what was available to purchase in the shops. In the age of every match being recorded...

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The Antisemitism Genie Has Long Out Of The Bottle At White Hart Lane… And Elsewhere

You kind of knew that here was an accident waiting to happen as soon as David Cameron got involved in it all. Asked by the Jewish Chronicle what he thought of the FA’s statement last week, which reiterated its belief that the word “Yid” should not be used in any context at a football ground and warning that its use could amount to a criminal offence that would leave fans at risk of being banned and prosecuted, the Prime Minister responded by saying, “You have to think of the mens rea [a principle of law which suggests that “an act is not culpable unless the mind is guilty”]. There’s a difference between Spurs fans self-describing themselves as ‘Yids’ and someone calling someone a Yid as an insult. You have to be motivated by hate. Hate speech should be prosecuted – but only when it’s motivated by hate.” Spurs supporters have long self-identified as ‘Yids’, in no small part on account of the antisemitism that the club’s support has faced for many years. Anybody who has attended a match between Spurs and, say, Arsenal, Chelsea or West Ham United will be fully aware of how poisonous the atmosphere can become at these matches, and there is a long history of fairly appalling behaviour by rival supporters – the explicitly antisemitic attacks on Spurs supporters in Rome last year, for example...

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