Select Page

Author: Mark

Stockport County – No-one Is Innocent

As football club nicknames go, “The Hatters” isn’t the luckiest. First Luton headed for a remake of their 1988 FA Cup semi-final meeting with Wimbledon this season, in the Blue Square Premier. And, for much of the last year, Stockport County have been heading the same way. “Where to start?” is both a literal and metaphorical question, although to be fair to fans of the Hatt… sorry… ’County’, the blame game at Stockport is probably harder to play than Scrabble these days, now that Scrabble allows proper nouns. No-one is innocent. Perhaps the most evocative starting point would be ex-chairman Brendan Elwood’s madcap 2000 scheme to merge with Manchester City and form “Man-Stock County” – a stupid hybrid name reminiscent of unimaginative 1970s football comics and, as such, entirely appropriate to the idea. Briefly, of course, Stockport/Manchester City was the Manchester derby, with County briefly the ‘bigger’ team. But that added no credibility to the scheme, which would be no dafter if suggested now. And there’s been equal credibility attached to the financial management of the club ever since. The dealings between Elwood and self-styled ‘sports philanthropist’ Brian Kennedy governed what followed. Elwood chaired County’s late-90s golden era. Kennedy was a double-glazing salesman…sorry…entrepreneur, who cleaned enough windows to be 178th= on 2009’s Sunday Times Rich List. Elwood sold County to Kennedy’s ‘Cheshire Sports’ company in 2003, believing he was...

Read More

Portsmouth: Rank Bad Management, But By Whom?

It says a lot, and none of it good, about the Premier League that all the right questions about Portsmouth’s situation are being asked by others, from HM Revenue and Customs to Private Eye magazine. It is becoming clearer by the day that Portsmouth Football Club has become a venue for an entirely non-football fight between two groups of business people. None of whom are called Ali Al-Faraj. In a recent Guardian interview, Ahmed Al-Faraj, the “brother” of the man Pompey fans have styled “Al-Mirage,” asked a pertinent question of those who doubted the credibility or very existence of the man who supposedly owned Portsmouth for over four months: “So who signed the documents with the Premier League and all the things with the banks, if he is not the owner?” Ahmed’s comments were part of an effort to show that his “brother” had “full charge” of Portsmouth and took all the executive decisions while he was the owner. It is difficult to see how this could be true. And not just because his “brother” was quoted, three weeks after buying Portsmouth, as saying: “It is not us who makes the decisions, the club has its admin and its board of directors, (so the decisions) are not in our hands.” Mind you, this “interview” was conducted “via telephone on loud-speaker whilst he was present in Ahmed’s car following the...

Read More

Good Hosts and Bad Hosts

Until someone figures out how to astroturf the moon and stop the corner flags floating away, all major sporting events have to take place somewhere. And when you have somewhere, you can rest assured that someone already lives there. The host nation and the home advantage are here to stay.

Read More

Shit Shot Mungo: S02E35

This week’s “Shit Shot Mungo” is a rather sombre occasion, featuring, as it does, the untimely death of the Heart of Clackmannannshire stalwart Sid “Bisto” Nixon after a lengthy battle with rabies. Still, Mungo himself uses the event to perform his own very special tribute and it might just turn out that the funeral might just prove to have hidden benefits for the football club. This week’s Mungo is brought to you in association with the Digital Economy Bill, which, as far as we are aware, gives us the right to have anybody that looks at this cartoon fired into the sun from a giant cannon. It’s drawn by Dotmund, and is also available, should you wish to see it in glorious Dotmovision,...

Read More

AFC Bournemouth – Football Club Pays Taxes Shock!!!

The more mischievous sub-editors at the Bournemouth Daily Echo must have been tempted to produce the above headline when chairman Eddie Mitchell recently announced that AFC Bournemouth had indeed paid their taxes prior to the latest High Court winding-up hearing involving a football club. It seemed the ultimate good news story at a club which, in unfeasibly young manager Eddie Howe, has provided the best good news story of the last two seasons. Promotion is still an option after the Easter weekend fixtures for a side that has had to be, almost literally at times, patched together, as a result of the stringent transfer embargo placed upon the club for past financial misdemeanours. And while the taxes have been paid, Mitchell has maintained a superficially sensible stance on the club’s financial situation, namely, “We’re not out of the woods yet.” The “legacy debt” which has kept them in the High Court loop wasn’t just tax. In fact, all kinds of everything was owed to all kinds of people after Sport-6’s disastrous year in charge. Ground rent arrears, directors’ loans, the milkman (I made that last one up, albeit without any conviction that I’m wrong) were among a list of creditors published by Mitchell a month ago. Work still needs to be done. Supporters and others attached to the club seem capable of completing that work. The debts up to...

Read More