Tag: Charlton Athletic

England’s Greatest Hope?

England beat the Netherlands 2-1 on Sunday evening to move into the final of the 2009 European Women’s Football Championships in Finland, where they will play Germany on Sunday night. Perhaps predictably (and exactly as they did when the under-21 team made similar progress during the summer), the English press have reacted hysterically to the news. Perhaps the most hysterical reaction came from The Guardian’s Richard Williams, who concluded – largely on the basis of one tactical revelation made in the aftermath of their semi-final match against the Dutch – that their manager, Hope Powell, would be as good a choice as any to succeed Fabio Capello as the manager of the England men’s team. Of course, Williams writes for a newspaper and therefore has an obligation to make statements that will encourage people to read the journal that employ him, but his claim does require some further examination. Powell has a UEFA Pro Licence, so there is no reason – if the qualification is worth anything – why she wouldn’t be able to cope with a managerial position within the men’s game, even if the position of England manager is beyond her for now. There may, however, be pressures placed upon her based not only upon her gender but also upon the colour of her skin, and it is worth bearing in mind that the goodwill engendered by...

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The Championship – The Final Day

They’ve been stumbling, lurching and tripping on their shoelaces, but Birmingham City are a Premier League club again. As it turned out, it was a surprisingly untense day. Kevin Fahey’s early goal at The Madejski Stadium meant that events at Selhurst Park, where former Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock had a tug of love going on in taking two points off the club that he never tires of telling everyone that he supports. Kevin Phillips added a second Birmingham goal before Reading pulled one back, but by this time everyone knew that the game was up and that Reading, who had briefly threatened to look like a steamroller during the autumn, would join Sheffield United in the play-offs. The race for the final two play-off places was between Preston North End, Burnley and Cardiff City. Cardiff should have been absolutely nailed on for one of them, but they had failed to win in their previous three matches – seeing off Ninian Park in the process with a 3-0 home damp squib against Ipswich Town – and they failed again yesterday, going down 1-0 at Sheffield Wednesday. This result left a window of opportunity for the two Lancashire clubs, and they both took full advantage of Cardiff’s end of season implosion. Burnley brushed Bristol City aside by four goals to nil in the manner that one would swat at a...

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In Praise Of… “The Beautiful Game? Searching For The Soul Of Football”, by David Conn

In November 2001, I (as was my wont at the time) made the short journey from my flat in the centre of St Albans to Clarence Park to watch The Saints play Basingstoke Town in the Ryman League Premier Division. It was an uninspiring match – a flattering 3-1 win – but more concerning was that, rather than being able to settle down to watch the results come on Sky TV afterwards, we were stuck with the BBC’s coverage. The club hadn’t been paying its bills, and the satellite TV had been cut off. Two months later, the sky fell in. The club failed a CVA that it had entered into and the chairman put it up for sale for £1. The Ryman League suspended the club until it secured new ownership and got its house in order. For five long weeks, with no match day revenue to sustain it, St Albans City slid towards what seemed like an inevitable winding up order. On the clubs message board, tentative discussions were held over what we would do when the inevitable came, but none us really understood very much about what we could do as supporters to save the club. At the last minute, a new owner was found and the club was rescued, but St Albans City sailed very, very close to the wind during those five, dark weeks...

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