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Author: Mark

Are Birmingham Running Before They Can Walk?

One of the least dull points to emerge from the recent Soccerex talk-fest in Manchester was the importance of ‘local identity’ to the financial well-being of football clubs. But this was only thought true of the second-highest echelons of European football; the Football League Championship and ‘lesser’ European national leagues. The big boys, the EPL and La Liga in particular, were all “worldwide fanbases” and “global brands.” Yet there is the sense that the participants in the particular session, “European Leagues – competing in the international and domestic market place,” were getting ahead of themselves. For all the strengths of Manchester United’s reach from Thailand to Timbuktu, their fanbase remains overwhelmingly Mancunian – more local, in fact, than many of their peers, despite the Tunbridge Wells stereotype. So it is that Birmingham City’s desire to conquer China when they aren’t even the biggest club in their own city inspires unease rather than admiration for their ambition. And there is unease in the Blue part of Birmingham at rather more than that. Court cases and chief executives have gone the way of City’s league form and FA Cup dreams in a couple of turbulent months, as the regime personified by “Hong Kong businessman” Carson Yeung enters the phase where not being David Sullivan or David Gold is not enough anymore. Surprisingly little is made of Yeung’s surprisingly small stake in...

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World Cup Preview: Group C

The 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off in six weeks today, close enough that you can start to hear the vuvuzelas. Continuing his preview of this summer (winter)’s events, Dotmund has now reached Group C, where he will do his best to cover the large three lions tattoo on his face and behave in the sort of balanced way we like here at Twohundredpercent. Let’s see what he discovered, with his little notebook at his side.

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Shit Shot Mungo, S02E38: Also, World Cup Wallpaper!

This week’s Shit Shot Mungo sees the race for Heart of Clackmannannshire (who, as you may remember, were kept in the SPL relegation race thanks that colossal amounts of corruption and the reintroduction of a Japanese robot that is programmed to score goals) to stay up enter its closing stages. With Mungo banished to the commentary gantry, can the team manage to string out their survival to the very end of the season? This week’s Mungo is, of course, brought to you courtesy of Ted Carter (look out for his next World Cup preview tomorrow – he is indeed a man of many talents) and is also available here. In other news, we are also very proud to be able to release the official (to the extent that such a thing can be) Twohundredpercent World Cup Wallpaper this evening. As you can see, it features the official animal of each one of the thirty-two nations that have qualified for this summer’s World Cup finals, and will look damn fine on your desktop. It is, of course, completely free charge, but we would ask you to stop by here, to have a look at (and buy, if we’re absolutely honest) some Ted Carter originals, including the original of our own wallpaper. Any pieces of artwork will look damn fine in your living room, and we have been asked to remind...

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Andrew Andronikou: Football Club Saviour

A source close to Portsmouth FC’s administration recently described Portsmouth FC’s most public joint-administrator, Andrew Andronikou, as a saviour of Swindon Town, who spent six years of this decade in a financial hole, having their voluntary arrangement with their many creditors supervised by him. The source was, of course, Andrew Andronikou, recently caught on camera signing autographs for Portsmouth fans as if he were one of Pompey’s wildly overpaid players, as opposed to their wildly overpaid administrator. And you would have to search long and hard in Wiltshire for independent evidence of this claim.Describing him as Swindon’s saviour is Stalinist revisionism on a scale not seen since, well, Stalin. True, his role as “supervisor” of the Robins long-term deal to pay their creditors was difficult. And the club was plagued by division and financial irresponsibility. Indeed, he was right to say, in April 2002 that: “Football in this country has neglected too many simple business rules. Players command big money and clubs have paid it in order to chase their dream. It is no co-incidence that so many clubs are in a state.” But the impact of his comments was virtually nil, coming as they did alongside his justification for hyper-inflationary season-ticket price rises – 100% increases in many cases – to help Town’s exit from a then rare second administration spell. His exhortations to fans to deal “with...

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Portsmouth’s Pain In The Neck

Nothing in Adrian Chiles’ BBC career became him like the leaving of it, as Shakespeare might have written of his fellow-midlander if he watched ‘Match of the Day 2’. “This is what modern football has become.” Chiles told his last MOTD2 audience, with all the indignation at his disposal. “An administrator signing autographs. Whatever next?” (ITV in Chiles’ case, of course, as predicted in these pages…oh, come on, I got ONE right). And there, in the “2 Bad” bit of the programme’s closing feature “2 Good 2 Bad” was Andrew Andronikou, joint administrator of Portsmouth Football Club, getting out of a motor vehicle so big he had to jump to the ground, before signing autographs for people whose faces betrayed uncertainty as to he was, other than it couldn’t be David James. They’ll know him soon enough, though. He is only joint-administrator of the curiously named ‘Portsmouth City Football Club Limited’, but his two colleagues (Peter Kubik and Michael Kiely) could go about their business semi-naked, and not necessarily topless, and still not attract a shaft of limelight. Andronikou came to Portsmouth with a good reputation in the ‘football club in administration’ community, after some years as apparent saviour of Swindon Town. However, this news will have sent mouthfuls of tea flying across breakfast tables all over Wiltshire. Andronikou was a largely unpopular figure among Swindon fans who, get...

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