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Author: Mark

Celtic In The English Premier League… Well… Sort Of

January 21st already had considerable weirdness potential when I noticed that “Villarreal” was trending on Twitter.  I was – and here’s a sentence I’ve not typed before – off to a match between Celtic and Villarreal under-21s at Dartford FC’s Princes Park ground, in the “Premier League International Cup” (PLIC) – a title you’d normally associate with pre-season games in Asia between Manchester City and Chelsea, not a match between Scottish and Spanish top-flight sides at a Vanarama Conference ground. Somewhere, I had missed several meetings. It transpired, though, that Villarreal was trending due to potential transfer activity with...

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The AFC Asian Cup: An Inter-Nation Poor Relation?

A minor twitter storm kicked up last week when it dawned on many watchers of the AFC Asian Cup on British Eurosport 2 that just as a gradually warming-up tournament was starting to steam up, the channel’s coverage was evaporating. The service British Eurosport have provided over recent years to international football tournament junkies such as myself has been lauded in these pages before. But even before considering the demerits of pundit Mark Bright, I felt let down by their scheduling of this competition. Asia being Asia, the games were never going to tie in with a Western European...

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2014: Football’s Annus Excrementilis

200% is a powerful website. On December 10th, Mark Murphy asked Peter Pannu to “please **** off from Birmingham City. On December 12th…he…pissed off from Birmingham City. Co-incidence? Or will the following rant have a similarly desired effect on some of the reprehensible football “personalities” referenced therein? Co-incidence, probably. But still, eh? In the summer, football’s world was agog at the talents of Thomas Mueller, Lionel Messi, Arjen Robben and, briefly, Ricky Lambert. By the middle of December, English football’s world was…well…open-mouthed at a Manchester United performance so bad that Red Lion pub teams everywhere were considering suing SKY...

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Peter Pannu – Please Piss Off

Peter Pannu has his own niche in the moral quagmire into which the higher levels of modern English club football has sunk. In his five years at St Andrews, Pannu has been overpaid and has underachieved in roughly equal measure, enriching himself (and it has often seemed as if decisions on his remuneration have been his alone) while Blues league position and liquidity plummeted. As I’ve written before, Blues’ finances would be less unhealthy had Pannu been on performance-related pay. And the ex-Hong Kong policeman and barrister recently managed to nutshell all his considerable faults into a remarkable social...

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Blues’n’ Trouble – The Continuing Story Of Birmingham City

When I last wrote about Birmingham City things were grim, on-field and off. In the intervening seven months, NOTHING has changed… apart from the entry in the club’s record books marked “heaviest home defeat.” On May 3rd, Blues avoided relegation to League One by about as long as it took me to type this far. Yet Blues fans may have forgotten Paul Caddis’s drop-saving, stoppage-time equaliser, at fellow-financial basket-case Bolton, when Tokelo Rantie made it eight-nil (EIGHT) to Bournemouth at St Andrews on October 25th. Blues’ then acting-chairman, Peter Pannu, said in an interview with Tom Ross on the...

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