Category: Latest

Republic of Ireland: Martin O’Neill – The New Trapattoni?

When appointed Ireland manager in November 2013, Martin O’Neill was widely seen as a ray of light after the dark final days of predecessor, Italian Giovanni Trapattoni. At Fulham’s Craven Cottage the following May an Ireland fan suggested the team had played “more football” in the as-yet-unfinished friendly against Italy than during Trap’s entire tenure. However, as Ireland chugged their way to an unconvincing six points from two World Cup qualifiers last week, I couldn’t but be reminded of Trapattoni’s teams. Over-negative narrow home wins. Luck-riding away draws against opposition of genuine class. Narrow away wins against opposition of...

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Derby County’s Managerial Merry-go-Round

This hasn’t necessarily been the easiest of years for the supporters of Derby County. On the twenty-ninth of December last year, the Rams were in second place in the Football League Championship, behind Middlesbrough at the top of the table but four points clear of third-placed Hull City. We all know what happened next. Derby slumped to an eventual fifth placed finish in the table, and were then beaten in the semi-finals of the play-offs by the team that they’d been ahead of as the clocks rang in the new year. Modern professional football being modern professional football, a...

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Mazher Mahmood & The Undercover Sting

Six years qgo, Gavin Saxton called Mazher Mahmood on these very pages and feels vindicated onver his comments. He also, has further questions which need to be answered. Back in 2010, I wrote this piece for twohundredpercent, about the journalistic standards of Mazher Mahmood and the News of the World, with particular respect to Mohammad Amir and the Pakistan cricket team’s spot-fixing scandal of that year. Wind forward six years: Amir, having served a criminal conviction as well as a five-year ban from cricket, has now been rehabilitated into the Pakistan side and played in the series against England...

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FIFA: Infantino & The Blatter Playbook

Nothing’s changed. All current Fifa stories, emerging and on-going, could have been written almost anytime this century, simply by replacing “Infantino” with “Blatter.” If The Who’s Pete Townshend could charge for using the line “meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” in these stories, he could buy Fifa (too?). Current president Gianni Infantino has played roles of sorts in controversies in all Fifa confederations. Predecessor, “the disgraced Sepp Blatter” (to give him his full title), distanced himself from them, as if they weren’t Fifa’s constituent parts. By contrast, Infantino is keeping very quiet about trying to control...

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Wimbledon: Another Corner Turned

Hindsight has twenty/twenty vision, and it’s a story that has been retold more times than most within the world of football over the course of the last decade and a half or so, but yesterday afternoon a further small milestone in one of the few good news stories to occasionally find its way into our consciousness in recent years. Yesterday afternoon at The Kassam Stadium, a three-one win for AFC Wimbledon against Oxford United, coupled with a home loss for MK Dons at home against Port Vale, took Wimbledon above the team from Buckinghamshire for the first time in...

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