Tag: Blackpool

Match Of The Week 2: Fulham 3-0 Blackpool

Perhaps it was inevitable that it would come to this in the fullness of time. The worlds of football, celebrity and cloying sentimentality have been slowly moving towards each other for the last ten years or so. At Craven Cottage this afternoon, though, a nadir has been reached. There is so much wrong with the statue of Michael Jackson that now stands, some might say creepily, outside Fulham’s ground that it is difficult to know where to start, even if we allow for Mohammed Al Fayed’s friendship with the late singer, chimpanzee maintenance man and moonwalker. Firstly, there is the statue itself. Seemingly based on a design submitted by a reasonably artistically talented seven year-old, it is a statue seemingly made of Play-Doh, a design that would have been rejected by Madame Tussauds on the assumption that the wax had partially melted. It is startlingly bad, really alarmingly so, and, football supporters being football supporters, it seems inconceivable that it won’t lead to Fulham supporters – who, of course, were not consulted over this – being treated as laughing stocks the length and breadth of the nation for a while. Then there is the small matter of the fact that Michael Jackson has no links with Fulham Football Club, apart from his friendship with Al Fayed and having visited Craven Cottage once. If Al Fayed was so desperate to...

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A Rant Or Three

While I was ‘away’ at the Asian Cup, English football ‘personalities’ maintained their capacity to infuriate – through stinking hypocrisy as much as the usual pig ignorance. Brady Everybody on the planet bar a couple of Buddhist monks in Bhutan (only a couple, mind) has had their say on Andy Gray’s and Richard Keys’ departures from SKY. So I feel almost duty-bound to join in, late though I am. Although at the risk of upsetting a few feminists who aren’t concentrating (a risk I’ve taken before), Karren Brady is the source of my ire. At least the Key/Gray sackings haven’t been turned into ‘Graygate’ or ‘Keygate.’ And the “only a bit of banter” excuse has been well and truly squashed. But Brady’s attempted climb to the moral high ground fell ay base camp. As well as being unoriginal and unfunny (“perhaps Richard thought I was too busy making the tea and washing up to take his call”), Brady’s suggestion that she refused to take Keys’ call of apology because she was “heavily occupied with the West Ham and Newham Olympic Stadium bid” doesn’t wash. How long would it take to tell Keys to shove his apology where the sun doesn’t shine because he wasn’t sorry for his views, just for getting caught airing them? I’ve just timed it. Admittedly, I speak quickly. But it took me ten seconds –...

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Why Blackpool Had To Be Fined For Fielding Their Reserves

In what may be seen as slightly surprising news, the FA Premier League fined Blackpool £25,000 for fielding an under-strength side. The slight surprise was that, in fining the Seasiders, the punishment was harsher than the suspended fine handed down to Wolverhampton Wanderers in similar circumstances last season. Considering the similarities in the two situations, a punishment of some sort was always expected, and while Blackpool, and manager Ian Holloway are yet to pass official comment on the situation, although there are claims that Holloway has not tendered his resignation, as he claimed he would do. Would Blackpool be right to be aggrieved at the decision? First of all, let’s be clear – unlike certain other Premier League clubs – Blackpool are not extravagant spenders, nor are they one of the richer clubs in the league. The fine is the equivalent of three weeks wages for most (if not all) of the Seasiders’ higher paid players, so it’s not the toothless punishment that certain other clubs. Notwithstanding the fine, prize money in the Premier League is based on the position the club finishes in the table, and had a full-strength Blackpool beaten Aston Villa that night, they would currently be sitting in eighth – worth approximately £3m more than the 12th position that they currently occupy. The Premier League have explained their decision by taking into account the team...

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Ian Holloway Should Put Olly Out To Pasture

Pretty much everyone in football must have an admiration for what Ian Holloway has achieved at Blackpool, even if it is only a sneaking admiration. I’ve advocated awarding Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe two “manager-of-the-year” awards for they way he has turned AFC Bournemouth’s fortunes around from minus seventeen points at the bottom of League Two to their current fourth place in League One. Holloway would have been a close runner-up at least once. And while Blackpool’s start to Premier League life may yet prove to be a “Hull” (or a “Reading” or an “Ipswich” or the numerous teams who succumbed to “second season syndrome”), for the moment they are there to be admired. But when a microphone appears, Ian Holloway the manager seems to be replaced by “Olly”, a talkative, combative “character” in the inverted commas sense of the word… with a funny accent to boot and a disdain for authority which is all the rage at the minute in the face of government cuts and FIFA corruption.  “The game” has always “needed characters” – even in the days when they supposedly had them. The recent passing away of Malcolm Allison vividly reminded us of that, especially the few clips of him as a TV studio pundit, holding forth in a manner that nearly made Jimmy Hill tear his chin off and makes Alan Shearer seem, I dunno… dull (that...

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Under-Strength Teams And The Twenty-Five Man Squad Rule

There can be little doubt that, for the moment at least, the Premier League is more competitive than it has been in recent years, with just six points seperating Bolton Wanderers, in fifth place in the table, from Birmingham City, who currently occupy the third of the division’s relegation places. Even Chelsea, at the top of the table, have lost three matches from their opening thirteen. It is against this admittedly unusual background that the recent decision of Ian Holloway to make ten changes to his team for their match against Aston Villa has to be framed. Although Aston Villa only won that match by an odd goal in five (with that goal coming with just a couple of minutes of the match left to play), might a “full-strength” Blackpool team have held on for a point or managed to scrape another unlikely away win? Comparisons have been drawn between Holloway’s selection last week and that made by the Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Mick McCarthy for Wolves’ trip to Old Trafford to play Manchester United last year. McCarthy rested a number of players for this midweek match (which Wolves lost 3-0) ahead of a match against Burnley at the weekend. Wolves beat Burnley and finished the season in the Premier League, while Burnley were relegated. He would doubtlessly reason that the end of season league table vindicated his decision, but...

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