10 Years of Twohundredpercent: Ten Blasts From The Past

by | May 29, 2016

Ten years ago today, I opened my laptop and wrote a couple of hundred words that ended with the sentence, “More to follow very soon, because I have a lot to say about this particular subject.” I’d moved to Brighton without a job six weeks earlier, had burnt through my final pay cheque from my last employers, and needed to find a way to pass the time when I wasn’t looking for work that was simultaneously entertaining, inexpensive, and a time sponge. My blog, Twohundredpercent, had been sitting around doing very little for the previous few months. There was a World Cup finals coming up in Germany a couple of weeks later. What could possibly go wrong? So I emptied it of demented ramblings and started again, with a view to taking stock over whether I’d continue at the end of the tournament.

A decade on, somehow or other, Twohundredpercent is still with us, so if you’ll forgive this particular indulgence, I’ve spent the afternoon hunting around for ten pieces from our archive that tell the story of this website, and have come up with a small selection that tell a story or two about how we’ve kept ticking over for this amount of time. These anniversaries are usually a good time to offer some thanks, and I’m going to take the opportunity to do that now, so thanks to Neil Mace, Rob Freeman, SJ Maskell, Terry Duffelen, Jason Le Blanc, Mike Bayly, Andy Ollerenshaw, Neil Cotton, Gary Andrews, David Squires, Dave Boyle, Jenni Silver, Neil Park, Elliott Turner, Paul Jones, Richard Grinham, Pete Brooksbank, David Stubbs, Kevin Rye, John Perkins and a whole host of others, without whom maintaining this place would have been appreciably more difficult to manage than it has been.

I know that I’ve forgotten plenty of other people, for which I apologise. These things come with age. My biggest thanks, however, go to Mark Murphy and Edward Carter, whose regular contributions for a very long time have kept me sane and prevented my workload from becoming too back-breaking, and to all of those – both individuals and supporters groups – who have nudged stories our way and provided us with information that we would never otherwise have been able to obtain. We’ve had some invaluable contacts and made some great friends on the way. But anyway, here’s a quick look back over ten years of Twohundredpercent. (Click on the titles in bold to get to them.)

  1. Those We Have Lost – Southbury Road, Enfield: It has long been something of a surprise to me that we have so readily given up so many of the ancestral homes of football with so little fight, and why these grounds, the majority of which were demolished before the advent of digital photography, have been marked so little. For our Those We Have Lost series, I asked supporters to write in with their memories of football grounds that their clubs have left, and kicked it off with my own recollections of the former home of Enfield FC. What I wasn’t expecting was for the comments section below it to become a lengthy conversation between supporters and former players of the club.
  2. Why We Deserve Better Than Alan Green: Now probably better recognised as our go-to man on the intricacies of the hoo-hahs surrounding Scottish football, Mark Murphy has been with us for almost seven years now, only occasionally complaining about not getting paid and filing on stories of financial mismanagement from Glasgow to Plymouth. Sometimes, though, he just likes to let off steam and here he is on fine form, making sense of the nonsense that is Alan Green.
  3. World Cup 2010 – South Africa 2-1 France: Edward Carter has been here since the very beginning, cartooning his heart away, writing daily reports on the Wimbledon tennis tournament and occasionally dropping in words on the icons of the past. During the 2010 World Cup, he took the somewhat unusual step of sending in a match report on the game between South Africa and France which served as a fitting obituary for their involvement in the tournament. Furthermore, it was done in the style of the Bayeux Tapestry.
  4. Steve Evans: Football Manager. Convicted Criminal: Sometimes, a story is a collection of loose ends that just need to be brought together. The sudden success of Crawley Town put their manager under the spotlight, but this was a manager with a dark past in football and I considered it worthwhile to bring the story of this past together in one place. Steve Evans remains in football management. Well, kind of.
  5. Pompey: An Unavoidable Calamity? There was a period, five or six years ago, when it felt as though the financial constraints under which some football clubs had placed themselves might grow so great that something approaching a complete collapse could follow. At some of these clubs, the levels of details required were so great that I was relieved when somebody else was happy to take on the story concerned, and so it was with Portsmouth, where SJ Maskell wrote wonderfully on a crisis that almost killed the club altogether.
  6. Chester City’s Administration & Stephen Vaughan: The death of Chester City and its rebirth as Chester FC was a story that started to grip the football media throughout the winter of the 2009/10 season, as the club collapsed in on itself, but it all started some time before this, and this article from May 2009 told the story to that point, bringing the name Stephen Vaughan to a somewhat wider consciousness than it had seen before. The story of the last few months of Chester City and the battle to get a new club started ended up a regular fixture on these pages throughout that season.
  7. Six Ways To Make Football Manager More Realistic. Probably: Being funny is more difficult than being serious, and I am not a naturally funny person. We’re not slow to criticise the more hysterical and shrill aspects of football culture in this country, and sometime a ham-fisted attempt at satire is the best way to adjust such a subject. So, with football manager video games getting increasingly realistic and football management culture becoming increasingly detached from sanity, here were my very helpful suggestions on how the game could accurately reflect the world of the modern football manager.
  8. Football, Autism & Me: Ultmately, football is a blank slate onto which we project more about ourselves than we probably realise we do. “The Game” doesn’t do anything, but we do, often in its name, sometimes as a by-product of trying to achieve something else. And it’s not always bad, either. So, from 2013, here’s Jack Howes talking about how the game and everything associated with it has assisted him with managing an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  9. The 200% World Cup: Brazil vs Mexico Live! In MS Paint! We’ve been running live blogs here since not that long after we opened for business, but for the 2014 World Cup Final we decided to do every game by this method, and this led to us needing to freshen things up a little during the group stage. This ultimately led to the Brazil vs Mexico match being covered through the medium of MS Paint, an experiment that we’re more likely than not to repeat for this summer’s European Championships.
  10. On Fatherhood & Football: There have been times in the past when I’ve worried a little bit that 200% is a little on the dry side. A bit… impersonal, if you will. Sometimes, though, I have feelings and emotions that it’s useful to get into writing, and so it was when my wife and I found out that she was pregnant at the start of last year. Not knowing anything about fatherhood, I decided to commit my words to the screen, and here are the results. Dylan Edward King was born, in case you were wondering, on the 16th September 2015. At the time of writing, his primary interests in life are immediately scuttling towards the most dangerous area in any room in which he finds himself, and television remote controls. He’s his father’s son, frankly.

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