Category: Latest

Melancholy In Derby Over The Departure Of Nigel Clough

It’s likely that there will be a sense of melancholy hanging over the city of Derby this afternoon. Its relationship with the Clough family is a long at somehwhat complex one which stretches back to the late 1960s, when an upstart manager arrived at The Baseball Ground from Hartlepool United and started about one of the more dramatic transformations of a football club that has ever been seen. Five years on from Brian Clough’s arrival at a Derby County Football Club that was, at that time, at the wrong end of the Second Division, they were the champions of England, and such events have a tendency to cement a bond even though, within eighteen months of lifting the Football League Championship, Clough senior had left the club amid acrimony after a very public falling out with the club’s then-chairman Sam Longson. It was a bond that even survived the even greater success that he managed at their biggest rivals, Nottingham Forest. We are two and a half weeks away from the fortieth anniversary from the departure of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor from The Baseball Ground, and professional football has changed almost beyond recognition in those intervening four decades. Quite asides from anything else, the club no longer calls its home The Baseball Ground, but this is a mere trifle in comparison with the mere fact that the likelihood...

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The World Cup With Blood On Its Hands

There comes a point at which the rotten core at the heart of football will become too much for most to take. We have come to accept the greed and the avarice as a part of life, as if there is no other way in which these people behave, and we are pacified only, it seems, by the collection of three points on a Saturday afternoon. Perhaps, though, for the corrupt culture that has burrowed its way into FIFA over as many decades as you choose to select from, some sort of day of reckoning is fast approaching. We all took the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar as being utterly and hopelessly corrupt to the core, a decision made for dozens of reasons that had little to do with anything but the greasing of palms, and the endless quest to accommodate the tournament up to the point of holding it in the middle of the winter for the first time has done little to satisfy those who have who have already arrived at this conclusion. On the whole, though, the arguments in favour of moving the 2022 World Cup finals have been dismissed with a sneer by FIFA, Perhaps, though, that situation is about to change. When misgivings about awarding the 2022 World Cup finals to a micro-state with no discernable football culture to speak of...

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A Loose Cannon Firing In The Wrong Direction: Di Canio Out At Sunderland

In the current hire ’em and fire ’em culture of football management, it is not uncommon to hear statements of sympathy for managers who have fallen foul of the whims of their club’s owners and found themselves out of work. We will have to play a game of wait and see to establish whether this will happen with Paolo Di Canio, whose short spell in charge of Sunderland AFC came to end earlier today, the first Premier League manager of the new season to lose his job. Perhaps more than any other manager in the Premier League, Di Canio was one who had to deliver results. His previous political utterances meant that there were a good many who were deeply uncomfortable with his appointment, and this had the effect of meaning the the knives have, for some, been sharpened from the very day that he first arrived at The Stadium of Light. His honeymoon period in charge of the club could barely have started any more positively, beginning with a three-nil win at Newcastle United and a one-nil win at home against Everton, but since then his results have taken a distinctly downward turn. Sunderland held onto their Premier League place at the end of last season, but they club has only won one of its eleven matches since then, and that was against a team from two divisions...

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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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