Football: Beyond Help

Manchester City

The FA Are Shockingly Inconsistent

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There were many puzzled faces up and down the country after hearing Joey Barton's lenient punishment following his brutal attack of his then City team mate, Ousmane Dabo. Essentially, he's been given a six match ban and a £25,000 fine. He will face a further six match ban if he's up in front of the [.

Ebbsfleet lose Akinde magic

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After Dimitar Berbatov's strange menage-a-trois dalliance with Mark Hughes and Sir Alex Ferguson, and Man City gazumping Chelsea, yesterday's third oddest deadline day transfer was that of John Akinde from Ebbsfleet United to Bristol City for £150,000 plus add-ons. The transfer wasn't bizarre because of the player - Akinde has long attracted interest from league clubs [.

Glory Fans - Not So Bad After All?

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As a child, the summer holidays brought about a family trip to a campsite in Europe. We'd get in the car to travel down to Dover and I would always be wearing my United shirt. After hours and hours of driving, we'd pull in at our designated tin can and the holiday had begun. It wouldn't [...]

Brazil

Match-fixing claims in Germany 2006 and Bundesliga

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Do we have another match-fixing scandal on our hands? In an interview published by German news magazine Der Spiegel on Monday, award-winning Canadian journalist Declan Hill gave accounts that detail the manipulation of Ghanaian matches in the 2006 World Cup, most notably the second round match between Ghana and Brazil, which was won 3-0 by [.

Gato, the next Superstar?

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Every now and again a player appears on the horizon and you think ‘this could be the one'. A few years ago me and my colleague were in Brazil watching Santos against Botafogo. The game was as eventful as ever, but it was remarkable for the talents of Robinho and Diego, two players who shone [...]

English Premier League

What Arsene really said, and why Chelsea, Liverpool and United have nothing to worry about

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Wenger is frequently misquoted (once or twice by yours truly as well) but this is a royal cockup. Arsene was asked about UEFA's plan to propose to the EU that football clubs that run on an operating deficit or those who are unable to pay wages based on their current revenues and have to finance [...

Transfer Window: Good or Bad?

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I've heard several people say that the transfer window is 'bad' for football in England, after reading Paul Fletcher's article on it this morning I thought it's worth commenting on the matter. For the record, as a football fan I'm all for the transfer window - it keeps the transfer madness locked up to a few [.

Is Football Bad For Your Health?

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Football has a pretty big role in terms of UK culture, and never more so since the birth of Sky Sports and the Premier League, enhanced even further by Euro '96. We're now at a point where around 29 million people attend live games and that's not even taking into account the millions more who [...]

50 “Guaranteed” Predictions for the 08-09 season

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The predictions are divided into 5 categories - the press, the players, the game, the teams and everyone else (fans, agents, management). You're welcome to add your own predictions in the comments, discuss the predictions I've made or come back later on in the season and check how many I got right (I'm going for [.

Fifa order Mutu to pay Chelsea £13.68m in compensation

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Modern football guarantees that silly season is always on, 12 months out of 12. Former Chelsea striker Adrian Mutu was sacked in 2004 after failing a drug test for cocaine. After a four delay (in claims, counter-claims, appeals, etc), Fifa's Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) awarded Chelsea a hefty compensation.

Manchester City: Frantically weaving a larger basket case

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Even Thaksin Shinawatra's ego wouldn't go so much as to proclaim himself the Messiah, yet for a brief period he was held in such regard at Eastlands. His takeover of the club last summer, coupled with a supposedly huge cash injection and the installation of Sven-Goran Eriksson as coach led many City fans to start [.

English Double Standards: Clattenburg v Shinawatra

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The English Premier League has never been known for a lack of discipline, even when Robbie Savage was in it. While discussions rage about the ability of officials to control matters on the field, fans should never doubt the impossibility of the situation facing them. You only have to look away for an instant and [.

The FA Introduce New ‘Respect’ Initiative On Opening Weekend

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The ‘Big Kick-Off' has brought with it a big kick-off for the FA's new respect for referees campaign. Branded ‘Respect', the campaign has been prominent during the opening weekend of the Football League season, and equally so at the Premier League's curtain-raiser, the Community Shield. The new initiative has been promoted heavily; Manchester United and [.

Soccerlens: Fans More Fickle Than Ronaldo

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Soccerlens has launched a scathing attack on football fans around the world, branding them irrational and childish. Soccerlens owner and Ahmed Bilal went so far as to call them a "senseless, directionless mob who enjoy being manipulated by the media.". Speaking exclusively to Soccerlens (go figure) on the Ronaldo saga, Bilal questioned the loyalty of so-called Manchester [.

Saving Private Barton: why the FA should help Joey and Newcastle

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Joey Barton's story is tragic - a promising and talented footballer who has made bad decisions, decisions that have now brought him to a crossroads in his life. Where he goes on from here and what he does with his career will depend a lot on how he views the past (whether he perceives himself [...]

Modern footballers hold clubs and fans hostage

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When you're hot, you're hot... and doesn't the modern day footballer know it. A few months ago Robbie Keane pledged his future to Tottenham Hotspur saying "I'm having a summer off without people ringing saying 'Are you going here, are you going there?'... I am more than happy here (at Tottenham) and I want to stay [.

Modern footballers hold clubs and fans hostage

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When your hot, your hot... and doesn't the modern day footballer know it. A few months ago Robbie Keane pledged his future to Tottenham Hotspur saying "I'm having a summer off without people ringing saying 'Are you going here, are you going there?'... I am more than happy here (at Tottenham) and I want to stay [.

Is the BBC killing Nigerian Football?

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Take a honest account of the sad state of affairs in Nigerian football - corruption, lack of money, the lack of love from the locals, etc etc. Bring in a 'journalist' working under a deadline to produce an catchy, quotable punchline to the story to make it instantly promotable. Add a healthy helping of the [.

The Arsenal Way - sponsors convince Gunners to train Indian kids

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Arsenal staff recently held a 2-week coaching program in Calcutta and selected 16 schoolboys for a training program at the Emirates dubbed 'The Arsenal Way'. The boys, aged between 10 and 15, are flying out to begin their training at the club's stadium, The Emirates, from next month. How did Arsenal, a club notorious for NOT [.

Manchester United, India and the English Premier League

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When David Gill was asked whether Manchester United planned to go to India for a pre-season tour in the future, he told us what we already knew: That the market in India was huge, that they'd had offers to come play there, that Manchester United needed to conquer that final frontier before any other [.

Among the Hugs: Is Cuddly MLS Really Turning Violent?

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West Hammered: MLS Learns from the Pros While English cynicism used to be a cherished import in the all-too-earnest hinterland of soccer-loving North America, the bile has lost its caché in the past few years. No more, Guardian. Cease and desist, 'When Saturday Comes'. Your glib asides on the American game, which may have [.

Is Sepp Blatter a Marxist?

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For all those enraged by the hundreds of millions of pounds in inflated transfer fees flying between the stadia of Europe this summer: there was once a bearded man from a long time ago who proposed that the use-value of a commodity or service should determine its price, not market forces. No, I'm not [.

Pre-Season Football - Profits from Practice?

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Increasingly we're seeing pre-season preparations forced to accommodate "brand-expansion" trips with Chelsea having traveled to the US and Liverpool to Asia in recent years (and United having traveled to both continents in the last 3 years). This summer sees Chelsea spend time in China and Malaysia as part of their push for global domination of [.

Slavery in Soccer? I Don’t Think So

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It's amusing how the term "slavery" gets thrown around these days. In November of 2003, Rasheed Wallace compared the NBA's Zero-Tolerance policy concerning arguing with referees to slavery. "That's retarded," the eloquent Wallace opined. "In my mind, it's kind of like a slave and master or father and son.

The Real Deal With FIFA, Club Football and ‘Slaves’

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He's not worth it. As a public-attention whore and someone whose main concern is to make FIFA look good in the eyes of press and the national associations as well as to help make FIFA more money, Blatter doesn't represent the true opinions of a 'guardian of football' (as FIFA claims itself to be [..

Olympic football

4 things to remember about the 2008 Olympics

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The 2008 Olympics will end on Sunday 24th August (with the 08 Olympic football final on Saturday) and there's been lots to talk about this time around, from the politics to the environment to the questions about age to the outstanding performances and the odd funny moments. What will you remember most about Beijing 2008?

Team England or Team GB - The London 2012 Debate

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Politics and sports seldom mix, especially when sport is seen as a tool to gain political leverage (either by those using it or those protesting against it). And when the sport is as widespread and as passionate as football, with the politics as acrimonious and divisive as those of Great Britain, mixing the two is a [.

Major League Soccer

Promoting Soccer in the USA

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Last week, Ahmed wrote a tongue-in-cheek piece on why Americans suck at soccer. I believe he enlisted seven points to back his claim some based on truth whilst others said in jest. Of course, a lot of people thought he actually believed most of what he wrote and hence received a less than complimentary [.

7 Reasons Why Americans Suck At Soccer

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The world's greatest nation is surprisingly mediocre when it comes to playing the world's most popular sport. It's not that they keep losing - far from it. Americans have a winning mentality that automatically ensures that whatever team they put out will be competitive. However, when it comes to genuine footballing talent, the US [.

The Rest

Power to the People: Is it time for FIFA to become Democratic?

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Accountability and football in England go together like Michael Bolton's voice and opera: badly. You can count on one finger the amount of people who are accountable to lovers of the beautiful game and even then you'd struggle to work out who. There are those who should be accountable, but they wriggle under so many [.

A simple answer to most football problems

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What's wrong with football? Ask any fan and you'd wish you'd never gotten them started. The referees get it wrong, the players cheat (always the opposition, mind you), there's too much money in the game, the players are greedy bastards who don't give two hoots about loyalty and honor, international football is crap, there's no talent [.

Who care more, fans or managers?

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If you have never coached or managed a football team you will believe, like I did, that the fans feel the highs of victory and lows of defeat more than anyone else. You will believe that the players and staff just don't care as much as you do. I have always felt this way about my [...]

League Two Points In The Wrong Direction

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For that rare breed of person who is a fan of both football along with finance law and practice, the current goings-on with the League Two crisis clubs makes for interesting reading. For the rest of us, it looks to lead towards the strange spectacle of three clubs - Luton, Bournemouth and Rotherham - all [.

Burscough’s battle through sickness and health

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Last week in Scotland Gretna's short and ultimately sorry place in the Scottish league's history finally came to an end when they were replaced by Annan Athletic. But south of the border, there were shades of the ill-fated demise of Gretna when Conference North side Burscough announced immediate financial restructuring in light of a [.