Category: Latest

The Perverse Joy of Small Attendances

Perhaps this marks me out as the worst sort of rubber-necker, but there is something that I find strangely enjoyable about looking out for low attendances at football matches. Coming across one can invoke very strange feelings of surprise, concern, and very occasionally a smile dripping with schadenfreude. In modern times, this usually means looking to evening matches in the lower divisions. If you’re a non-league club who ground-shares and has an inconsequential cup match against a team with a small support on a Champions League night, you may well pass across my radar. It’s usually only fleeting, but...

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Under Pressure: On Stress & Football Management

If there’s one thing that we know about modern football above just about anything else, it’s that modern football matters. It’s a message that is relentlessly pushed at us, and the reasons for it are many and varied. The amount of money involved is most commonly cited as the root cause for this. Back in the days when many – if not most – financial transactions within the game came in the order of thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of pounds, there was less at stake. The supporters of the 1960s and 1970s simply didn’t discuss...

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Design Classics: The Adidas Tango

With the start of another football season comes another rash of new ball designs by various sporting manufacturers. Adhering to the apparent viewpoint that all publicity actually is good publicity, Nike have elected this season to go for a rather unlovely design called the Ordem V, which they have wrapped in different colours for La Liga, Serie A and the Premier League, with La Liga’s being in orange and yellow, Serie A’s in orange and purple, and the Premier League’s being at least an improvement upon last season’s quite monumentally dreadful luminous yellow, blue, purple and white, although it...

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Chaos Theory & Indirect Free-Kicks

I’ve been watching football for pushing forty years, now, and in spite of numerous serious challengers, there remains one question above all others to which I’ve never received a truly satisfying answer. It’s a question that touches upon refereeing consistency, my own personal baseness, and even the fundamental, existential matter of whether sport is, can, or even should be considered just another branch of the light entertainment industry, or whether it’s something other, that exists entirely within its own cultural bubble. And it’s a very simple question, as well: so, why aren’t more indirect free-kicks ever awarded inside the...

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The Football League & Wimbledon’s Nickname

It seems to be one of the more immutable rules of life that, for an organisation as hopelessly bone-headed as the “English” Football League, the old adage that it is better to remain silent and considered a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt will usually be ignored with a recklessness that borders upon being cavalier. Friday night’s League One match between Wimbledon and Milton Keynes was almost certainly difficult enough to stomach without the post-match of the body that claims to regulate the seventy-two clubs of the Football League. As it stands, we are left...

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