[I]nevitably, Watford Football Club loom large in this first category of the TTU Awards. We've followed the Hornets' link up to Granada and Udinese closely over the past nine months. First, William Abbs drew our attention to the project back in July; then, Matt Rowson helpfully introduced us to the dramatis personae, before Michael Moruzzi provided a spirited defence as the naysayers gathered and our own co-founder Lloyd expressed ennui at the torrent of press coverage.
[W]e've swung both ways on these pages as regards Phil Brown. In assessing his League One bound Preston side towards the end of 2011-12, my co-editor presented the defence, arguing that he's "guilty of nothing more than being occasionally annoying". Give the man a break, dissenters were told. On the other hand, Ben – TTU's resident Geordie – offered a retort, describing Brown as nothing more than "a varnished Mackem with a hot-air-balloon-sized ego who unleashed his karaoke Sinatra on the pitch in celebration of our relegation is anything less than a prize tosser.
"In recent years sport has achieved an increasingly high profile as part of New Labour's social inclusion agenda, based on assumptions about its potential contribution to areas such as social and economic regeneration, crime reduction, health improvement and educational achievement. However, these new opportunities .
Name: David Phillips In his 1990s prime for: Norwich City, Nottingham Forest Lowdown: Phillips was
already 29 when the Premier League started, having played for Coventry, Plymouth and Manchester
City throughout the 1980s, including winning the FA Cup in 1987 with Coventry. However, he became
Norwich City's record signing when he joined for £550,000 and [.
[T]onight, Watford travel to Leicester City at the onset of a nail biting weekend of Football League fixtures. With a great many issues still hanging in the balance, our two founding bloggers, Lloyd and Lanterne Rouge convened to discuss the prospects: ... Lanterne Rouge: As a Plymouth fan, you've mentioned to me that you are still worried about the drop - it's quite possible mathematically but will take a chain reaction of perhaps sub-nuclear proportions for Argyle to go down to the Football League.
[T]his year's League Two relegation battle is quite remarkable. Not just for the closeness of thefight, but for the teams involved. All bar one have recently spent time in the Conference and all bar one have gained promotion to the League since two-up two-down was introduced from non-league's top tier.
[M]aking his first appearance on these pages, James Bennettconsiders what fan ownership has done for the club he supports, Torquay United, and wonders whether the club's recent downturn form is perhaps indicative of a wider malaise. ... When a football club is in serious trouble, fans usually look for a reason, a suitable scapegoat for why things have gone so catastrophically wrong.
[W]ith ten games or less remaining for virtually every Football League side, most supporters have a pretty good idea of what the next few months holds in store for their team: a promotion push; mid-table obscurity; or a fight against relegation. Honing in on the bottom of League Two, a small but significant five point gap has opened up between Bristol Rovers and Barnet in positions 17 and 18 respectively, leaving seven teams adrift and in danger of playing non-league football next season.
[T]oday, the focus of your average Football League supporter will probably be on Henning Berg and Sean O'Driscoll, sacked after 2 and 5 months in their jobs respectively. Back in reality, however, this correspondent's attention has turned to Devon's perennial bridesmaids, Torquay United, whose Boxing Day visit to Plymouth offered a useful barometer for both team's progress since the corresponding fixture in 2011-12, played out on a similarly wet and windy day in January.
Kicking off a short series of posts which consider the geographies of football in England, we take
a look at the football scene in Cornwall, tussling in particular with the question as to whether a
Football League team will ever pop up in this corner of the country. Over the years, a select
number of Cornish footballers have overcome the inconvenience of their faraway place of birth to go
on to play in England's top-flight.
[O]nce upon a time, the PFA Awards were the undisputed measure of a season's most valuable players.
Voted for by the Professionals themselves, the response to their announcement was one of awed hush
and consent – how could mere onlookers presume to know better than those involved in the rough
and tumble of the actual sport?
A quick pointer to some of the other activities which the denizens of The Two Unfortunates have
been indulging in lately before we hunker down to the serious business of today's league programme
- myself at the Mad Stad and Lloyd at Sixfields. First, if you would relish an hour or so's chat
about the Football League, Lloyd made his debut on the most recent Two Footed Tackle podcast and
the results can be enjoyed here.
[L]ate December 2009 saw our founding bloggers Lloyd and Lanterne Rouge convene on Home Park for a Championship encounter between Plymouth Argyle and Reading. The result? A 4-1 victory for the home side and a worrying episode in Brian McDermott's spell as caretaker manager of the Royals following the sacking of Brendan Rodgers.
[D]uring a recent Fan's Forum at Carlisle United an attendant wag asked our esteemed Director of Football Steven Pattison to explain what exactly it was that his title conveyed; where was his 10% value added, the rationale behind his, surely, close involvement in footballing affairs? His answer, which came after a few moments rumination, gave way to general attitudes about his position which will ring true to fans of most clubs.
[W]andering around Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok in a jet-lagged haze last November, I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of a club shop selling merchandise for an English football team. Nothing too surprising in that, you might think - after all, the Premier League is hugely popular in South East Asia, and we had been welcomed to Thailand by Singha Beer in association with Chelsea and on our drive into the city centre were confronted with tower-block-high adverts featuring Wayne Rooney's pasty bonce.
So Football is officially dead then – beside images of sideburns, NHS celebrations, Kenneth
Branagh in a top hat, a Somali-born hero, David Rudisha, the lightning bolt and the tranquil
surrounds of 'Eton Dorney', the game has lost its sheen – embattled as it was when Freddie
Flintoff inspired an Embrace song in 2005 and Jonny drop kicked that ball two years before.
The list of nominees was long for the second in our eponymous yearly awards. Joe Mason, a regular
starter and scorer for Cardiff; Kevin Nolan, hardly cheap, but still value for money; Rhoys
Wiggins, who's developed into by far and away the best left-back in League 1 over the course of the
season after Charlton had snaffled him for a modest fee; and Crawley's quick and dirty turnover of
Tyrone Barnett were all heralded as good pieces of business up and down the leagues.
A fortnight ago, I wrote effusively of Oxford United's strong start to the season; Chris Wilder's
charges having reached the summit of the League 2 table with a win over Plymouth. But with Wilder
installed as the bookmakers' favourite for the vacant Coventry City job, York City having ended the
Us' unbeaten run last Saturday and Exeter City plundering a terrifically impressive 4-2 win at the
Kassam at the weekend, the situation is now less rosy for the Thames Valley Club.
Despite quiet confidence in advance of this season's opening salvos, a tough sequence of fixtures
added to the absence through injury of midfield playmaker Peter Leven will have left Oxford United
fans cautious before the Capital One Cup visit to Bournemouth on August 14th. But their divisional
betters from Dorset were seen off on penalties and the League campaign has started no less
auspiciously – two of the favourites, Bristol Rovers and Southend have been vanquished and the
performance in the latter game in particular was notable for its ease.
Hereford United fans we chatted to in the aftermath of the club's 1-1 draw with Plymouth Argyle on
Good Friday seemed resigned to their fate. Given the club's history – one that saw them
controversially elevated to the Football League status in preference to Chelmsford City back in
1972 plus a spell of Conference purgatory in the mid-noughties, expectations never get ahead of
themselves at Edgar Street.
In a brief exchange towards the end of last season, myself and then Argyle Fans' Trust Board Member
Gareth Nicholson celebrated how supporting the Pilgrims had suddenly become less of a burden. For
the first time in a number of years we were more relaxed; for once, not entirely convinced that
doom was about to befall the team as we approached one of the final fixtures of another 46-legged
As our 'Turmoil Week' draws to a close, we turn the spotlight westwards to Plymouth, arguably the
most well-documented club in crisis over the past 18 months or so. Thankfully, the situation at
Home Park now appears to be settling down but here season ticket holder Roger Willis takes a look
back over an incredible few years, describing in detail the events that very nearly led to the
There's this bloke closely associated with Portsmouth Football Club. You all know him – obese,
uncouth, dreadlocked, tattooed and clanging a huge bell as though his life depended on it. While
his commitment to the club is laudable, even honourable on a good day, he is incredibly,
At Home Park last night, Plymouth Argyle comfortably beat a scratch Portsmouth side made up
largely of youth team players by three goals to nil in the First Round of this years League Cup.
Seldom could such a result have seemed more trivial in comparison with events going on elsewhere at
a football club than they did in Devon last night.
More "lies"? Rangers co-administrators, Paul Clark and David Whitehouse have been relatively
normal in at least one aspect of their Ibrox operations. Wherever there are co-administrators, one
dominant personality emerges. When insolvency practitioners such as Andrew Andronikou (Portsmouth)
and Brendan Guilfoyle (Plymouth) are involved, these dominant personalities tend to be.
In January, we spent a week considering 5 different clubs experiencing financial and / or
organisational turmoil. Two of those - Portsmouth and Port Vale - have since entered
administration. However, at one of the other clubs we covered, Plymouth Argyle, things appear to be
looking up. Or do they? Roger Willis returns for a third bite as he attempts to uncover what state
the club's books are in as it enters yet another key period in its history.
[I]n this month's When Saturday Comes, Andy Lloyd-Williams considers youth development in English
football and the benefits of coming through at a smaller club. Citing Bournemouth and Plymouth as
examples, he argues that it's better – surely – to spend one's formative years at a club at
which progression to the first-team isn't reserved for pure prodigies only.
[U]nless some misguided King is willing to pay your club say, £35m for the inconvenience, then
losing an upwardly mobile, home-grown striker would usually trigger outrage amongst supporters.
Yet, when Plymouth Argyle flogged 20 year-old Joe Mason to Cardiff for a cut-price £250,000 last
summer, there was hardly a murmur from Devonians worldwide.
The way in which various clubs are free to use and abuse the loan system has been criticized on
this website but, as a Plymouth supporter, I have to concede that the ability to bring in temporary
signings has been a real blessing this season. Having plummeted to the bottom of League 2, Argyle
only began to emerge from the wilderness following a flurry of borrowed arrivals back in November,
shortly after exiting administration.
[I]t's a well worn cliché that the period over Christmas and New Year is a crucial one for professional football clubs inEngland. With 5 games played in the space of just two weeks, it can define a season. Sadly for Plymouth Argyle supporters, 2012-13's festive fortnight was abysmal. Having picked up just 2 points from the 15 available, the Pilgrims now find themselves in the League Two relegation places.
Over three separate trips to Underhill across a period of 12 years, away days in Barnet have become something of a personal favourite. I've missed a few games in that time, but the trio that I have been able to make – each time supporting Plymouth – have been excellent days and reflective, perhaps, of how my life has evolved alongside and around football over these years.
The end of last summer didn't work out too well for Kevin Heaney, the property-developing owner
of Blue Square Bet South side Truro City, when his attempts to by Plymouth Argyle out of
administration failed after repeated promises to come good with the money for the purchase never
came to fruition.
Despite our claims to unbiased coverage on this website, it can be difficult – sometimes – to
think independently of our individual hues. Awarding Plymouth Argyle – my own team – with the
best fans award this year is such a case, although we'd argue that it's on good grounds. Pretty
much everyone, by now, should be cognisant of what a traumatic time it's been for all those
attached to the Football League's most westerly club.
Our series of posts this week has analysed the various impacts geography can have on the fortunes
of soccer clubs. To round things off, we thought we would examine a cross section of eight cities,
towns and city regions which can be said to be under performing in football terms and which may or
may not have the potential to rise to Championship status or above.
With fellow relegation candidates Plymouth seemingly coughing and spluttering towards the finishing
line, today represents an excellent chance for either Macclesfield or Dagenham to push on and leave
their rivals in mental tatters as the two meet at Victoria Road. Here, Macc fan and Magic Sponger
Rob MacDonald wonders how it's come to this for the Silkmen and what the implications for
relegation would be in Cheshire East.
United States Under-23 National Team coach Caleb Porter has added Tony Taylor to the U-23 camp
roster that began training today in Nashville. Taylor joins the squad tomorrow from Portugal's
Estoril Praia. Updated U-23 Camp Roster GK: Bill Hamid (D.C. United; Annandale, Va.), Sean Johnson
(Chicago Fire; Lilburn, Ga.
Here, Roger Willis rounds off our 'Turmoil Week' with the second part of his Plymouth Epic.
Yesterday he focused on the background that led to Argyle's financial meltdown; today he moves on
to bring us right up to date with the key events. The Supporters Start to Act There was widespread
panic amongst supporters at this stage.