Author: Mark

Why We Deserve Better Than Alan Green

The BBC’s veteran radio commentator Alan Green has been at it again, this time insisting on Graham Taylor’s removal as co-commentator for the recent England vs Croatia match. Mark Murphy wonders aloud whether it is time to put Green out to pasture. BBC Radio Five Live’s Alan Green has been at it again, having a spat with a fellow co-commentator and demanding his removal. While the BBC has been at it again, acceding to Green’s every wish. Why? This piece is unlikely to win any awards for originality. Articles about Alan Green’s favourite football commentator appear tend to turn up with the regularity of London buses. His supporters praise his ‘special’ talents, one of which is his ability to start an argument in an otherwise empty room, another of which is is to have more words written about him than he says himself, some achievement for a man who makes a living talking for chunks of twenty two & a half minutes plus stoppage time in one go, but amongst all the verbiage he inspires, only rarely does the telling phrase appear: “Alan Green is not a very good radio football commentator” . His latest spat came during the otherwise non-event of a Slovenia friendly. He said something along the lines of participants in the Mexican wave “should be shot” – a bit extreme and, for a national radio...

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Bournemouth’s Transfer Embargo Continues

AFC Bournemouth overcame a seventeen point deduction to stay in League Two but, as Mark Murphy writes, their problems didn’t finish there. It could be argued that the greatest condemnation of the Football League’s “Fit and Proper Person” test was that Ken Bates could pass it. This, however, may no longer be the case – not because of anything Bates himself has done, but because of the serial mismanagement of AFC Bournemouth’s affairs last season – which has emerged from the Football League’s explanation for maintaining the strictest possible transfer embargo on the South Coast club. Current Bournemouth chairman Eddie Mitchell issued a statement three days after meeting league officials at their Preston HQ this week to discuss the embargo’s future. While Notts County can add the equivalent of a small country’s Gross Domestic Product to their salary bill apparently without breaching League Two’s salary cap, Bournemouth cannot currently even loan a player from another club. Football League regulations allow these two contrasting circumstances to apply, despite what is supposed to be a ‘level playing field’ because of the mismanagement skills of gentlemen called Alastair Saverimutto and Paul Baker. Sol Campbell’s £40,000-per-week keeps Notts’ salary bill below 60% of turnover because their new owners, Middle East consortium Munto Finance, are paying Campbell’s wages outside of the club’s actual turnover, even though the financiers behind Munto are yet to be...

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Geoff Sheard: Newcastle’s Knight In Shining Armour?

Geoff Sheard is sniffing around at Newcastle United, but Mark Murphy is less than convinced that he is the right man to lead Newcastle United to a bright, new dawn. The list of potential bidders since Mike Ashley first considered selling Newcastle (about two weeks after buying it, some reports would have had you believe) could fill its own page Yellow Pages. Inter-Media Partners, Anil Ambani, Nasser Al-Kharafi, Clark Hunt, Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz, Profitable Group, Freddie Shepherd and even “some Nigerians that don’t exist”. Ordinarily at this point I’d be saying I made those last three up. But I didn’t. Not even ”Freddie Shepherd”.  Some have remarked that the hoax bids for Newcastle this summer have had more credibility than the real ones, and looking at that list it’s hard to disagree. Although, even the most gullible saw through The “Profitable” Group bidding for a club with an overdraft the size of a medium-sized American city’s budget deficit. So, what to make of the latest new bidder, then? Lancastrian “businessman” Geoff Sheard is fronting an “American-backed” consortium., and what Sheard doesn’t know about protracted bids for Football League Championship clubs isn’t worth knowing.  He has a wealth of experience from his go at Sheffield Wednesday. For all his wealth of knowledge, he didn’t have a wealth of, well, wealth. Which is why the Wednesday saga pretty much wrote...

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Birmingham City Prove That All That Glitters May Not Be Gold

Birmingham City are the latest Premier League club to be lined up for foreign ownership. As Mark Murphy reports, the new potential new owner has already had a go at buying the club, but fans are split on whether his involvement and there are question marks over his financial credentials. Birmingham City chairman David Gold isn’t easy to like. There’s all the rubbish he spouts on football matters – his enthusiastic support for the Premier League’s execrable Game 39 plan and the less than stunning “insights” that he brought to a recent 5Live debate on football debt and its (un)sustainability. As if that’s not enough, there’s also his inappropriately slicked back hair – for which he’s years too old – and sickly grin. Whilst some people ooze class, Gold merely oozes. Even when prospective Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung Ka-Shing was sniffing around the club in 2007, it was difficult to summon any sympathy for Gold or his partner in crime, co-owner David Sullivan. Yeung was arguably more sinned against than sinning back then, and was treated with the utmost disrespect and disdain before he became the Sulaiman Al-Fahim of his day by failing to deliver long-promised finance to complete his takeover of the club.  This time around, however, he has rather more to offer than a patchy business and football history, a two-bit, loss-making clothing firm as an...

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The Confederations Cup: USA 0-3 Brazil

The problem with the Confederations Cup, aside from those bloody, bloody, bloody vuvuzela air horns, is that it brings about more mismatches (in terms of quality) than even the World Cup.  However, you’d not necessarily have pegged this game as being one.  If the orthodox Anglocentric viewpoint is to be accepted – that ‘we’ invent sports so brilliant everyone in the world adopts them and then get good enough to beat us hollow – this match represents a battle between the great old new-world football power and the coming colossus.  In reality, the hardworking-but-useless USA team were taken to pieces by a Brazil side who, moving more into their stride now, could turn goalscoring opportunities on or off as it pleased them.  3-0 it finished and, as the old saying goes, the US were lucky to get nil. Brazil coach Dunga said that jet-lag was at least partially responsible for his side’s lacklustre display against Egypt on Monday and so had made 4 changes to his starting eleven.  This is a large number of changes to make in an entire tournament let alone between games, so is the sort of bold decision which is prone to making a manager’s reputation or else getting them in a lot of trouble.  The USA, who had been neat and tidy if little else in their defeat by a typically chaotic Italy on...

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