Category: Latest

The First Proper Guffaw Of The Season

It’s over before it begun then, for this season. Last season, you’ll remember, Rangers were involved in a dreadful case of fixture congestion as they fought to walk off with the UEFA Cup, the Scottish Cup and the Scottish Premier League. As it turned out, they managed just one out of three (and that was the one that they probably cared the least for) and hardly endeared themselves with the behaviour of people claiming to be their supporters in Manchester after losing the UEFA Cup Final against Zenit St Petersburg. Fortunately, though, being one of the two powerhouses of Scottish football earns them a pernnial shot at the Champions League, even if they have to start the season in August. They should be good enough for a place in the group stages, shouldn’t they? Well, not this year. In the first major surprise of the European football season, Rangers are out of the Champions League, beaten 2-1 this evening in Lithuania by the largely previously unheard of FBK Kaunas. Having only drawn the first leg at Ibrox 0-0 last week, Rangers were still largely expected to cruise through to the final qualifying round of the competition and a match against AaB of Denmark, and it all appeared to be going reasonably well for them when they took a first half lead, thanks to a Kevin Thomson goal in the...

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In Praise Of… The Topical Times Football Book

Of the many things that young people no longer do that I did in my youth, buying second-hand books is one that I am fairly confident never happens any more – at least not annuals from market stalls. On Saturday lunchtimes, as a boy I would go to the old band-stand in the centre of Enfield market and flick through the acres of old football books that they seemed to have for sale there. The price was usually written in pencil on the inside of the front page, and it was seldom more than twenty pence. I purchased dozens of old football books this way – most often “Roy Of The Rovers” annuals (they also usually kept an box of old copies of the weekly comic, if money was particularly tight), occasionally Rothmans Football Directories and, most commonplace of all, old copies of “The Topical Times Football Book”. The internet hasn’t been kind to “The Topical Times Football Book”. In an environment in which the most arcane of historical details have been recorded in almost gynaecological detail, the history of this austere publication seems to have been lost to the ether. Sitting here, flicking through a pile of old TTFBs (ranging from 1965 to 1982), the feeling of nostalgia is almost overwhelming. There are no adverts in any of them, and there aren’t even any mentions made of what...

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The Championship – 2008/09

If last season’s Championship is anything to go by, this page is a complete waste of time. This time last year we talked glumly of the likelihood of all three of the recently relegated teams from the Premier League stomping straight back into the the top flight, having made good use of their parachute money. It didn’t quite work out like that, of course. Sheffield United‘s inexplicable decision to offer Bryan Robson yet another opportunity to manage meant that, by Christmas, they looked more likely to relegated than promoted. Watford‘s long-ball game won them few friends in their new division, but they were for a long time in or around the top two or three. However, they won just once in their last sixteen games and it looks difficult to see how they are going to arrest that decline. Last year’s relegated teams look likely to have similarly mixed fortunes this season. Birmingham City are the pre-season favourites to go back up, and have retained most of the players that surprisingly failed to perform last season. Gary McSheffrey is probably their most significant player. His big money signature from Coventry City looked like a good bit of business at the time, but he failed to live up to expectations and there will be high pressure on him to perform now that he is back in a division that he...

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Banned For Life?

Slowly but surely, the new season is starting to come to life. Players are starting to sign for their new clubs, the pre-season matches are coming to an end, and by next weekend we’ll be off and running in the Football League and the Conference. For one amateur club, however, not only the new season has come to an end before a ball has been kicked but, at present, the entire playing squad have been banned for life. The FA have spent quite a while making a big deal of their new “respect agenda”, and the decision taken in this would seem to indicate that they have instructed their county subsiduaries to come down hard on clubs that break the rules. It all started to go wrong for Birmingham-based club Hall Green Colts when they had a player sent off in a match in the Coronation Sunday Football League last season. The ejected player had been sent off for abusing a match official, and rather took objection to the red card that he was given. He reportedly came back onto the pitch and spat in the face of the unfortunate official. What happened next beggars belief. According to a report in this morning’s “Non-League Today”, the club deliberately refused to submit a report to the county FA, meaning that perpetrator couldn’t be identified. With this in mind, the FA...

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Preliminary Reports

Well, I can barely contain my excitement. The FA Cup starts in two weeks time, and here’s a list of the matches that ITV will be covering as part of their expanded web coverage. Jarrow Roofing Boldon CA V Spennymoor Town Bridlington Town V Guisborough Town Formby V AFC Emley Racing Club Warwick V Cadbury Athletic Brimsdown Rovers v Hatfield Town Lowestoft Town V St Ives Town Clapton V Stewarts and Lloyds London Colney V Sporting Bengal United Wembley V Royston Town Faversham Town V Horsham YMCA Witney United V Buckingham Town Launceston V Sherborne Town If that little list doesn’t cover you in goosebumps, I’d wager that there’s something wrong with...

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