Writing

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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The 2019 Women’s World Cup, Group F: Storms A-Risin’

Chile 0-2 SwedenThere is a degree of irony to the fact that the Atacama Desert, parts of which haven't seen a single drop of rain in five hundred years, should be situated in Chile, considering the events in Rennes late this afternoon. With about an hour...

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup, Group D: The Setting Sun?

Argentina 0-0 JapanOn the 20th September 2003 in Columbus, Argentina finally made their debut in the Women's World Cup against Japan. They lost by six goals to nil. It doesn't seem unreasonable to say that they've come a long way since then. It's been a...

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup, Group E: Oh Canada

Canada 1-0 CameroonThe absolute thrashing is a staple of any sport that is still developing, but there has been little evidence of this happening at the Women's World Cup so far apart from the magnificent French performance against South Korea in the...

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup, Group D: Auld Enemies

It runs deep, does this. And for those of us who grew up during the 1980s, deep doesn't necessarily have to mean good. It seems odd to criticise the women's game at any time, but especially during the build-up to an England vs Scotland match....

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup, Group B: Fine Margins

Germany 1-0 ChinaWell, that was tighter than Germany probably either expected or wanted. It took a sixty-sixth minute goal from Giulia Gwinn to eventually edge this match, for much of which they were frustrated by resilient - and occasionally desperate -...

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Justin Edinburgh

The obvious thing to do is to leap straight into the football career, as though that in itself should be enough to justify a lifetime. And in the case of Justin Edinburgh, who died yesterday at the tragically young age of forty-nine, it was a...

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The FIFA Under-20s World Cup: The Story So Far

They're already up to the quarter-finals of this year's FIFA Under-20 World Cup. Here's Mark Murphy with an update on where it's got to so far.The group stageWhat’s wrong with Honduras youth football? After their 3-0 defeat to Fiji in 2015’s Under 20s...

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup: Jamaica Rise Again

The 2019 Women's World Cup kicks off on Friday evening at Parc des Princes in Paris, when the host nation France take on South Korea in their opening group match. Over the next few days, we'll be bringing you a little bit of build-up to the...

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Celtic’s Troubled Treble

Celtic’s treble treble is a laudable achievement. But their third treble, completed last Saturday with a 2-1 win over Heart of Midlothian in the Scottish Cup final, is a sad indictment of Scottish club football. If Celtic could get so much so wrong in a...

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The Importance of Being Shaun Harvey

Shaun Harvey, then, rides off into the sunset after eight years with the Football League, with six of those eight having been spent as its Chief Executive Officer. Indeed, he was already the CEO of the League when it emerged that, whilst...

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Play-Off Weekend, Part 3: Eight Years In The Wilderness

It's the end of a decade that they'd sooner forget, but Aston Villa are finally back in the Premier League. They've been away for the last three seasons, but the torment of the club's supporters begins somewhat earlier than that. Over the four seasons...

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Bury FC: Promotion Isn’t Supposed To Feel This Way

It's only been a couple of weeks since Bury pulled off one of the surprises of the season by clinching second place in the League Two table, but the last few been taken up with accusations of non-payment from players and a statement issued by the owner...

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Play-Off Weekend, Part 2: Hold My Beer

Charlton Athletic and Sunderland made the trip to Wembley in different types of gloom. For Charlton supporters, detente is in the air. No love remains lost between them and the club's owner Roland Duchatetlet, but the sudden explosion of form...

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Play-Off Weekend, Part 1: There Can Only Be One Winner

End of season play-offs have a distinct feel to them, and in recent years that feeling has increasingly started to smell of desperation. But in a culture which venerates money considerably more than it does football, so much as the presence of Newport...

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Gateshead FC: Fog on Tyneside

To say that this week has "turbulent" for Gateshead FC would be something of an understatement. For a brief period, it looked as though there might have been a way out of this mess for the beleagured (at the time) National League club. A...

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The FIFA Under-20 World Cup Finals: A Preview

It comes with the territory of biennial age-limited tournaments, of course. Not one English player who won the 2017 Under-20s World Cup would be eligible for the 2019 edition, which begins in Poland on Thursday. Still, their non-qualification,...

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An #EqualGame, Unless You Happen To Be Armenian

Sportwashing ain't what it used to be. In the days before mass media, it was all pretty straightforward. In 1934, the World Cup finals were held in fascist Italy. Mussolini nobbled the referees, and the host nation won the tournament. By 1978, it was a bit...

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Manchester City: Both a Symptom & a Cause

It was a boot into the face of competitive football, a boot laced with threaded gold, but relentless in its pursuit of more. And it's probably already self-perpetuating, building on its own swagger and the fear of others. This is the age of the...

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Southend United: The Ground Grinds On

Of all the Football League’s last-day dramas, the most dramatic was at the bottom of League One. Wimbledon made the great escape, having needed snookers in February. And Southend United made the late escape, despite being ninth on New Year’s...

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Leeds United Fall At The Second To Last

I'm not going to mention it.There have been something fundamentally herculean about this season's Championship play-offs. Last night, West Bromwich Albion took Aston Villa all the way to a penalty shoot-out after a taut second leg which ended in a one-nil...

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Yeovil Town: The Forgotten Relegation

It's been more than thirty years now, and still there is a distinction. League and non-league. The professionals vs amateurs of the modern game. The British sure do love a class distinction. Prior to the 1987/88 season, the clubs that finished at the...

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A Final Word On The Champions League Semi-Finals

Mark Murphy had some degree of affection for more than one club in this week's Champions League semi-finals, but would one win out, when they played each other? The greatest Champions League semi-final comebacks? Tottenham’s, demonstrably....

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Port Vale Football Club: Under New Ownership

So. Farewell then. Norman Smurthwaite. From Burslem anyway. As, sort of, predicted in these pages. Predicting Smurthwaite’s departure from League Two Port Vale didn’t make stuck-out neck history, granted. But it was still a relief that he sold...

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Ebbsfleet United: When Players & The Ownership Fall Out

Having finished the season just one place short of the play-off places in the National League, you'd think that Ebbsfleet United would be a fairly happy place at the moment. Indeed, it's saying something made for the progress made by the club on the pitch ...

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Flushing The Toilet on 2018/19

Mark Murphy’s 2018/19 finished on 27 April, approximately eight months and a fortnight too late. Here’s 2019 words of therapy and updates on late-season events. Plus one “considered” view on a currently-rumoured prospect for 2019/20.Kingstonian's...

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Macclesfield Win Their Sol Gamble

Somehow or other, by the skin of their teeth, they made it over the line. Macclesfield Town survived at the foot of League Two. There was a period during which it felt as though it might not happen. They needed a draw from their home match...

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Identity Politics: Notts County’s Fall From Grace

The last time this happened was in 1893 when, after having lost a test match against Sheffield United, Accrington FC - no relation to Accrington Stanley - resigned from the Football League rather than playing in the Second Division. After unsuccessfully...

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Earthquake: The Collapse of ITV Digital

When it comes to the finances of lower division football clubs, it always feels like armageddon is just around the corner. It's always there, like the car in the rear view mirror in Duel, a silent but ominous presence that may one day wreak havoc across...

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