Writing

Football Writing

Bolton Wanderers: See You Next… Tuesday?

So the headlines were pretty clear. In court on Wednesday, the injunction brought by Laurence Bassini blocking the sale of Bolton Wanderers to Football Ventures was adjourned until the 2nd of September, clearing the way for the sale to finally go through....

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On Non-League Football, Peace, Quiet & Gratitude

It's five and twenty past seven in the evening when I walk through the front door. I'm on a flying visit, following a long day, but I can't walk past the top of my road without saying goodnight to my boys, even though this means that I'll be cutting it...

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Football League Review: One Game Per Division

It's a bit early in the season to be drawing too many conclusions about each division of the EFL, so this weekend here are some brief dispatches from a match in each of them. Charlton Athletic 3-1 Stoke CityTwo matches into the new season is very soon to...

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Bury FC & A Lack of Innocent Parties

The time for excuses is over. At this stage, the blame game is an irrelevance, a mere sideshow in comparison with the only job that really matters. Bury Football Club now has thirteen days to be saved, and rather than sending out barely comprehensible...

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Rangers’ Retail of Woe

Rangers could be in fundamental financial trouble. And the new trouble is perhaps the oldest trouble in the club’s history, beyond persistent over-reliance on directors/emergency loans. Sportswear retailers Sports Direct (SD), owned by...

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Football League Review: Welcome Back, The Football

After a summer during which we have, as ever, been forced to get caught up with our insolvency and company law, the sens of relief at being able to start the Football League season at all was evident. It may have been a summer break truncated by...

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The Absolute State Of Things: League Two, 2019/20

It's difficult to believe that the events of the summer at Gigg Lane and The University of Bolton Stadium haven't sent a cold chill through the entirety of League Two. If what the Bury team last season achieved last season results in the current state of...

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The Absolute State Of Things – League One, 2019/20

When we talk about inequality in football, we tend to talk in pretty broad brush strokes. The gap between the top six in the Premier League. The gap between the Premier League and the rest. The gap between the Championship and the rest. Inequality,...

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Notts County: Breaking The Cycle

So, Notts County have been saved again. It's not the first time that this has happened, of course. The club was saved by its supporters trust in 2004. It was saved by Qadbak Investments in 2009, by Peter Trembling (briefly) and then Ray Trew...

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The Summer of Discontent: Bury II – A 14 Day Reckoning

For Steve Dale, the beleaguered owner of Bury Football Club, any feeling of respite couldn't have lasted much longer than a few days. Confirmation that the Football League had accepted a CVA proposal offering 25p in the pound to non-priority creditors and...

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The Summer of Discontent, Part 5: Notts In Distress

There's some way yet to go, but after not having lost a founder member since 1896 there's every chance that the Football League could still lose two in the foreseeable future. The travails of Bolton Wanderers are a subject we've covered recently here, but...

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Summer of Discontent, Part 4: Bury – Race To The Bottom

With a week and a half to go before the start of the new EFL season, things are looking pretty grim at the foot of League One. A division which starts a week on Saturday already has two teams twelve points adrift of the rest, with Bolton Wanderers and Bury...

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The 2019 African Cup of Nations: Algeria All Over It

Despite a sensational second round, the 2019 AFCON was beyond redemption after the putrid group stages. But the knock-out rounds gave it a go. The right team won. Mark Bright provided some worthwhile punditry. And VAR…erm… sort of… worked....

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup: America, As Expected

Many apologies for the late delivery of this. As some of you may be aware, I am a de facto single parent at weekends, and whilst it was possible for me to get myself in front of a television set to watch the 2019 Women's World Cup final, freeing up the...

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup: Schrodingers Match

Oftentimes, the third-fourth place play-off match can be a surprisingly entertaining match. With the pressure largely off but a potentially large audience still likely for the match, the penultimate game of the tournament is an opportunity to...

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How To Fix VAR: A Ten Point Guide

It's been hogging the headlines for the last couple of years. The biggest star in global football at the moment isn't Neymar, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Megan Rapinoe. The biggest star in global football over the course of 2018 and 2019 has been a...

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The 2019 African Cup of Nations: Round Two

Africa’s Cup of Nations (AFCON) was getting better, until ‘un-super’ Saturday. But it was still no Women’s World Cup. No VAR yet, for a start. And that’s not necessarily as good a thing as you’d think. Mark Murphy explains. Ish…Group A: Egypt 2 Democratic...

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Africa’s Cup of Nations, Round One

Has it ever been said of an entire tournament that it has “lacked quality in the final third”? Because the 32nd African Cup of Nations (AFCON), which began in “Mo Salah’s Egypt” last Friday, is partway there.Most first-round matches were...

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup: Canada vs Sweden

Canada 0-1 SwedenOh, Canada. Whilst the Canadian men's national team have pretty a wretched record on the international stage - one appearance in the World Cup finals on 1986 which ended with elimination on the group stages, although the team's...

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup: France vs Brazil

France 2-1 Brazil (After Extra Time)The hosts, then, continue to edge their way towards the final without really impressing. Following the unedifying spectacle on display in Valenciennes earlier in the day it rather felt as though this summer's Women's...

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup: England vs Cameroon

England 3-0 CameroonWell, there's a lot to unpack here, but where do we start? This afternoon in Valenciennes England beat Cameroon this afternoon to progress to the quarter-finals of the 2019 Women's Cup, but that rather feels like the least important...

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup: Norway vs Australia

Australia 1-1 Norway (Norway win 4-1 on penalty kicks)With disallowed goals, penalty claims being turned away, a red card and eventually a penalty shootout, this evening saw what might well turn out to be the most incident-filled match of the second round...

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup: Germany vs Nigeria

Germany 3-0 NigeriaOnward and upward, then, to the start of the knockout stage of the 2019 Women's World Cup finals, and there couldn't have been a more visually arresting place to start this phase of the tournament than the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble, a...

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The Under-20 World Cup: Ukraine If You Want To

Mark Murphy’s tip as Under-20s World Cup finals dark horses, Qatar, lost only 1-0 to the eventual tournament winners. But that is as far away from telling the story of that tournament as any of his predictions… Under-20s World Cup finals don’t...

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup, Group D: Scotland Denied

England, Japan, Argentina, Scotland The Scotland men's national team has qualified for the World Cup finals on eight separate occasions, but has never got beyond the group stages of the competition. The Scotland women's team qualifies for the Women's World...

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup, Group C: Tight At The Top

Italy, Australia, Brazil, JamaicaAll three are through, of course, after a taut group ended with the underdogs adrift at the bottom but Italy, Australia and Brazil all claiming six points after a round robin in which Italy beat Australia, Australia beat...

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup, Group F: Hearts & Minds

Sweden 5-1 ThailandGood news stories come in all manner of shapes and sizes, and they don't always involve the teams who will feature in the latter stages of a tournament such as this. It seems unlikely that either Thailand or Chile will be gracing the...

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The Under 20s World Cup: The Road To The Final

Mark Murphy ALWAYS enjoys Under-20s World Cup finals, even when normal people might not quite. However, the 2019 ‘edition’ has been open to all but the most miserable to enjoy.QUARTER-FINALS:Colombia 0 Ukraine 1Italy 4 Mali 2 United States 1 Ecuador 2...

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup, Group B: Calculated Gambles

Germany 1-0 SpainDespite what we might have seen on Tuesday night in Reims, women's football can be just as much determined by the narrowest of margins as the men's game. On Wednesday afternoon in Valenciennes, Germany met Spain in a match between one of...

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup, Group A: Mountains To Climb

Nigeria 2-0 South Korea If no-one else, fans of wordplay will have been pleased that this afternoon's match between Nigeria and South Korea took place in Grenoble, because at least we can say without a shadow of doubt that the Korean team has a mountain to...

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