Category: Latest

VAR: For FIFA Finances, Not Football

The most important contribution to the recent mass debate over Video Referee Assistants (VARs) was not, mercifully, Alan Shearer’s. It wasn’t the academics at Belgium’s Catholic University (KU) of Leuven (cue howls from Rangers conspiracy theorists) ‘kinesiology’ department, who assessed the diverse data from the two-year, global experiment (‘kinesiologists’ study body movements, performance and function…nope, me neither). It wasn’t anyone from the International Football Association Board (Ifab), the archaically Home Nations “independent” guardians of football’s laws. Ifab directors include the English FA’s Martin Glenn and the Scottish FA’s Stewart Regan…and if you wish to stop reading now, I fully...

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The Great Leeds United Badge Debacle

Ah, Leeds United. It’s been a while. Compared to the chaos of recent years, this season has so far been a relatively serene by the standards of a club which, in its own way, has come to represent the madness and excesses of the modern game perhaps more than any other. This season in the Championship isn’t going quite as well as most supporters would have hoped and this calendar year in particular hasn’t brought too much for them to celebrate, but at least, after the Cellino years, nothing particularly embarrassing had happened. Unless you count losing in the...

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Torquay United: Death On The Riviera

So far this year, the majority of the headlines made towards the foot of the National League have been made by the crisis-torn Hartlepool United, but there is another former Football League club that has also been having an extremely difficult time of things of late, and which now seems to be sliding almost imperceptibly towards the wilds of regionalised non-league football. The last five years have not been an especially happy time to be a Torquay United supporter. The team has failed to finish in the top half of the table in either of the two divisions in...

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VARs: The Pundits Results Are In

Sky News Health Correspondent Paul Kelso clearly and obviously retains many Twitter followers from his years as one of the country’s best national newspaper football writers. “Bored with VAR,” he tweeted on Wednesday, as Chelsea’s FA Cup third-round replay with Norwich gave the BBC their first opportunity to hopelessly mis-analyse VARs (Video Assistant Referees). Within 15 minutes, however, Kelso’s followers’ football discourse forced him to “actually turn on the game to see what fuss about.” To which one wag (me) responded “Fuss about Alan Shearer arse elbow differentiation inability.” As I’d feared/predicted, Shearer applied all the expertise he used...

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Jimmy Armfield: The End Of An Era

Reading through the obituaries this morning for the former Blackpool and England captain and broadcaster Jimmy Armfield, who died this morning at the age of eighty-two, it was difficult not to be struck by the tone of the comments made by those who’d enjoyed the privilege of spending time with him. “Kind”, “modest”, “humble” and “gentle” are not, after all, words that are commonly thrown around when we talk about leading figures in the media – or in the game in a general sense, if we’re honest with ourselves – very often. But then again, Jimmy Armfield was hardly...

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