There was no minute's silence at Old Trafford last night. The Premier League may be voracious and a little mercenary at times, but it isn't stupid. The death of Margaret Thatcher has, if nothing else, revealed something approaching the full depths of the disunity that exists in this country nowadays, but if there is one thing of which we can be reasonably certain, it is that there would not have been a unanimously respectful sixty seconds of contemplative reflection for the former Prime Minister prior to a match played in a city that was as damaged as many others by the policies of her governments.
There's lots of comment today about the Premier League clubs passing a version of Financial Fair Play; some positive, some negative. The first thing to say is that by defining sustainable as losing on average ÂŁ35m a year, they've done us a favour in pointing out just how crazy this environment is.
Two footballing personalities of greatly differing pedigrees were in the papers this week, both of whom have divided opinion during their greatly differing careers broadcast journalist Colin Murray and ex-player and manager Tony Adams. Having welcomed Murray's choice as the BBC's Match of the Day 2host in 2010, I feel duty-bound to comment now he is to be replaced by the greatly differing Mark Chapman.
The language used by the Football Association can be most perplexing at times. In the aftermath of Sunday afternoon's one-all draw at Tottenham Hotspur Sir Alex Ferguson was up to familiar tricks, holding the officials and in particular assistant Simon Beck responsible for his team dropping two points after having led for most of the match, whilst appearing to question not only their competence but also their impartiality.
So, the Premier League title race isn't quite over just yet, after all. With the full-time whistle looming at White Hart Lane yesterday afternoon and Manchester United leading thanks to the only goal of the match, Tottenham Hotspur launched one final ball into the visiting penalty area, David De Gea who had previously put in an excellent performance failed to deal successfully with the looping ball, which was turned back for Clint Dempsey to rescue a well-deserved point from a match which had already reinforced the fact that Spurs aren't in a Champions League place by chance alone.
One debate within football which has started to pick up pace over the last few months or so has been that concerning the return of safe standing to top level matches in England. Several clubs have already expressed an interest in trialling safe standing areas in grounds, and this week has, perhaps, seen a story emerge from Sunderland which demonstrates why it would be beneficial for such a trial to begin as soon as possible.
Another year, then, brings another fuss about wearing poppies. This is perhaps unsurprising, when we consider modern professional footballs propensity towards being able to start a fight in an empty room when combined with the increasing hysteria that seems to manifest itself around this time every year.
At the risk of sounding like Steve Coogans swimming pool security guard in The Day Today, last weekend in the Premier League, no-one died. This isn't, of course, to say that there wasn't CONTROVERSY. Every red card that is issued these days is accompanied by forensic investigation by those that would like to get said dismissal overturned and, increasingly, the same tiresome practice now occurs with every card that isn't issued as well.
The excellent weekly radio football show Cafe Calcio returns to the air next Friday, and for
this series one of its regular features will be the Street Pharmacists Guide To Football. Here's
co-host Chris Roberts on the more-ish effects of the Premier League for the supporter of a
Three games into the Premier League season, the distinctive sound of burning pitchforks is in
the air. Without a win from the six matches that they have played between them, both Andre Villa
Boas and Brendan Rodgers are already being cast into a familiar mould that of the hapless
Oh, is it that time of the year already? The football clubs of the Premier League are
making their preparations for the start of the new football season and this means, of course, the
release of their new kits. So, in the first of a two-parter what he thinks the kits of all Premier
League football clubs shouldÂ look like will follow here's Ted Carter with his review
(and a league table!
The concept of the "close season" is becoming a rapidly fading memory. This summer has seen the
European Championships pass seamlessly into the first round of friendly matches which will fill the
schedules now until the middle of next month, when the league season finally begins. These matches
serve an obvious function for clubs.
On the pitch, Cardiff City are having a season that has been about successful as any of their supporters could hope for. The club is eight points clear at the top of the Football League Championship with only a third of the season left to play, and barring a spectacular collapse a place in the top division of the English football system for the first time in a little over fifty years is now a near certainty.
Guzzling a beer in the stands whilst cheering on your team is very much a thing of the past. Or is it? In response to the hooliganism that heavily stained British football culture three decades ago, a law was passed in 1985 to remove a fan's right to drink alcohol in their seats or terrace. [...]
It rather feels as if the debate over safe standing at top level football matches is only just kicking into gear. For some years, the case has been made, slowly and persuasively, for the introduction of the type of seating that has been seen in football grounds in Germany for some years and it is starting to feel as if this argument is starting to feel as if it is starting to gain some traction.
We continue our series of archive matches of the clubs of the Football League Championship this morning with Peterborough United. Peterborough were formed in 1934 and were elected into the Football League in 1960 in place of Gateshead. They won the Fourth Division championship at the first attempt, but were relegated back to the Fourth Division in the summer of 1968 after serious financial irregularities were found in the clubs accounts.
Considering that they are making a pact with the devil, it is perhaps appropriate that Cardiff
City will be playing in red from the start of next season. It was at the end of last month that the
club first announced that it was to change its colours in accordance with the request of the clubs
new Malaysian investors, who consider red a "luckier" colour in the Far East and that it will allow
more people in that part of the world to identify with their hold your noses "brand".
Last week I spent in New York. This fantastic city is not known for its football, but nevertheless I had some good footballing experiences in the city. There is surely vast footballing talent in the USA, but only in recent decades has it begun to seep through to the highest level, although the potential surely remains unexploited.
The first few months of the Montreal Impact's inaugural season in MLS have been both exciting
and frustrating. Last Wednesday, I grabbed my camera and took a trip up to Montreal with a good
friend. We took in the Canadian derby between Montreal and Toronto FC.
The excellent weekly radio football show Cafe Calcio returns to the air this evening (a little later than scheduled) on Londons Resonance FM, and for this series one of its regular features is the Street Pharmacists Guide To Football. Here's co-host Chris Roberts on the ruinous or are they? effects of one of the street pharmacists most successful recent creations crystal meth.
The excellent weekly radio football show Cafe Calcio returns to the air this evening (a little later than scheduled) on Londons Resonance FM, and for this series one of its regular features will be the Street Pharmacists Guide To Football. Here's co-host Chris Roberts on the more-ish effects of the Premier League for the supporter of a newly-promoted club.
The last twenty-four hours or so have been rapidly evolving series of watershed moments for the perception of the Hillsborough disaster of 1989. The last cobwebs of doubt have been swept away from the naysayers, and those that might have sought to place the blame for events of that day on anybody other than those that were supposed to be in charge of safety that day.
It took more than twenty-three years but the truth finally became public about the Hillsborough disaster today, and its capacity to shock remains as undiminished as ever. The families of those who died, who have fought tooth and nail for the full story to be made public, finally realised their wish today with the release of 450,000 new documents relating to the events of the fifteenth of April 1989, and for many individuals who felt that they might have washed their hand of all of this today will be a rightly uncomfortable day.
We've been here before, of course. The news that the Football Association has decided to
jettison Umbro as the manufacturers of the England national teams kit in favour of the brand that
owns it, Nike, has been a long time coming and should be no great surprise to many seasoned
Football kits are very much in the news in recent days, since Cardiff City's decision to switch
from their traditional blue jerseys to a red shirt depicting Owain Glyndwr sat atop a dragon whilst
erotically touchingÂ King Edward I. And with ruthless efficiency, now a major international
tournament arrives to further remind us that the people who design football kits are a singularly
Over the last week I have been in Ukraine, exclusively to watch football. A lot had been said in an
exaggeratedly eager English media to put down the country, but truth is that the English should be
ashamed not only about their media, but also about their fans. Ukraine is a beautiful country, and
under the most difficult circumstances, they have prepared as well as anybody for this tournament (
Jon Bounds is a member of the National Council of Football Supporters' Federation (FSF), a founder member of STAR (Supporters' Trust At Reading), and writes for the Reading FC fan-site The Tilehurst End, and last night he was at the Professional Footballers Association annual awards ceremony that has kicked off yet another storm in the press today.
There's a lot of negativity written about football, some justified, some not, but much of it adding to a sense of ill-feeling about the game. Football can, however, be a force for good and this good can be found in some unexpected and unheralded areas. Here's Jack Howes on how the game has helped him with his Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Goalkeepers, to quote the great Brian Glanville, are different, and this is a theory which expands far beyond the mere otherness of their stock in trade. To define the goalkeeper as the sort of person who may thanks, John Burridge, thanks a lot may hang a metaphorical "You don't have to be mad to work here but it helps" sign in the netting of their goal covers only one aspect of the lot of their job.
The Rao family at Blackburn Rovers have long since garnered the awards as the most gullible fallers for English Premier League (EPL) hype. But the original remain Hong Kong hairdresser Carson Yeung and his band of merry distant associates at Birmingham City. Yeung and Co, mostly "Co", threw ÂŁ81.5m at the two Davids, Sullivan and Gold, to take the Blues off their sleazy hands in 2009 â two less deserving causes for the money it would be hard to imagine.
In spite of the obvious contradiction in making such a statement, there is much to said in praise of the stalwart. The stalwart is our representative of the unchosen many. They are the bread and butter of the game. The silent majority. The background cast as its celebrities swan around in front of the flashing lights.
Every so often, the broadsheet press in this country take a trip to morality's summit, in order to urinate on football from the greatest possible height. Not "real" football, you understand, as played with unstinting honour since William Webb Ellis first picked up the ball and ran with it (i.e. âcheated') at Rugby School in 18.
Football and fiction have not always made for the happiest of bedfellows. Perhaps there is
something about the pure drama of every aspect of the game which results in the budding football
fiction writer, perhaps, feeling the need to stretch the limits of their imagination beyond the
credible. How, we might well ask, can a fiction writer come up with a story that remains plausible
whilst paying lip service to both the sheer ridiculousness and complete mundanity of modern
Finland's football community is frequently in an agitated discussion about about whether its
culture is sufficiently impressive to nurture any kind of football worthy of respect. The presence
or absence of something called 'football culture' might, to the casual observer, seem like a
function of the league system (if there's football matches, bingo!
In the excellent football anthology "My Favourite Year," the novelist and biographer DJ Taylor
describes an emergency public meeting held after a boardroom putsch did for the previous chairman
Sir Arthur South and installed the businessman Robert Chase in his place. According to Taylor, at
this meeting an elderly woman stood up, fixed Chase with a steely glare and with tone of prodding
verbal accusation, asked, "What I want to know is.