Tag: Wales

Autonomy, Misrepresentation & That Most Peculiar Beast: Team GB

Rumbling along quietly along in the background, the ongoing argument over whether a Great Britain team should take part in the 2012 London Olympics has been one of the slow-burning debates within British football over the last half-decade or so, but this debate ignited this afternoon after a series of statements, made in turn by the British Olympic Association, the Football Association, the Scottish Football Association and the Football Association of Wales, which already seems likely to turn into a full-blown argument. Andy Hunt, the BOA’s chief executive, was reported at the weekend feeling “very positive” that an agreement could be reached between the four constituent national associations and the BOA in order to allow a single team to represent Britain at the games. Today, though, such “positivity” couldn’t feel further away. The reservations of the FAW and the SFA are well-known and understandable. They are concerned that this could be used as leverage to force a merger of the four associations by FIFA. Whilst such a scenario playing out would be highly unlikely (and why, critics of this idea would argue, would FIFA wait for an excuse to do this if they wanted to that much anyway?), critics have hardly been appeased by soothing (and, at times, somewhat contradictory – after all, this is FIFA that we’re talking about, here) statements from FIFA on the subject. Perhaps the...

Read More

Remains of Rous: FIFA And The Team GB Question

The forthcoming Olympic Games and whether a united “British” team should be allowed to play in the competition has reopened one off British football’s oldest debates. Jason LeBlanc takes a look at the history of this fractious state of affairs. The subject of a unified British team partaking in next summer’s London Olympics has been broached on this site before, but with the Euro 2012 qualifier between Wales and England featuring some players that would compete together if their associations—along with those of Scotland and Northern Ireland—agreed to the matter, it feels prescient to gloss over the matter again.  Further, with former IFA president Robert Boyce recently calling upon FIFA to set out concrete assurances an Olympic Team Great Britain would not threaten the independence of the Home Nations going forward, it is a topic that is being revived.  Before plowing forward, though, let’s go back to some of the historical origins of this sticky wicket. Try not to snore too loudly when you fall asleep midway. When English FA Secretary Sir Stanley Rous handed over the till from the 1947 “Match of the Century” to FIFA, he purchased a unique position for the Home Nations that still exists today.  Donating the £35,000 to the cash-strapped international organization—which when adjusted using RPI amounts to over £1 million today—Rous bought the preservation of the 4 independent football associations along with...

Read More

Is Gary Speed Gambling On Aaron Ramsey, Or Is This A Storm In A Tea Cup?

There can be little doubt that the two big stories during the build up to this weekend’s European Championship qualifier between Wales and England have been related to the captaincy of the two teams. How important the captaincy actually is may be a question for another time – and it’s something that we will be returning to a little later on this evening – but there can be little question that the more interesting of the two captaincy shuffles this week has been by the Welsh coach, Gary Speed because, while his English counterpart Fabio Capello has been ruffling the feathers of some in the English press by replacing Rio Ferdinand with John Terry, Speed seems to be looking to the future with his decision. It is a decision that has been forced upon him by the decision of Craig Bellamy to effectively retire from the captaincy of the team on account of a persistent knee injury which means that he will be unlikely to be able to play regularly for his national team again. There were, Speed has stated, several candidates for the captaincy role (most notably Aston Villa’s James Collins) but he has settled on Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey as the man for the job. There is, of course, an element of risk to any managerial decision of this nature. In this case, Ramsey’s youth (he is still...

Read More

John Hartson

That retirement comes at such a young age is one of the curious contradictions of football. No sooner has a professional player reached his prime than he is sliding down the other side of his career arc. The overwhelming majority vanish quietly into the distance to retrain as sports scientists, run pubs, or do any one of a myriad of other jobs out of necessity after the end of their playing careers. Thirtysomething men are suddenly cast as rookies again as they start their managerial careers in earnest. Relatively young men, thanks to the over-exposure of the media, seem older than they are. All of which brings us, albeit in a slightly roundabout way, to the terrible diagnosis that has befallen John Hartson. Hartson had what could be described as a typical top flight career. He started at Luton Town, before a big money move to Arsenal that never quite worked out. West Ham United, Wimbledon and Coventry City all followed, but it was a move to Celtic that finally allowed him to find himself as a player and eighty-nine goals in less than one hundred and fifty matches followed over a five year period. A brief return to England followed, with his playing career closing after short spells at West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City before retiring as a player last summer at the age of thirty-three. In...

Read More
  • 1
  • 2