Category Archives: Football League

We support Ground for a Pound

Apologies once again for the lack of posts over the last two weeks — it’s really beginning to get to me, actually. However, that will hopefully change within the next few days.

This is a quick one for you all. My home-town club Stockport County (although I’ll plainly admit that I’m a United fan, but I’ve been going to a lot of County games this season after a gap of a few years…) have launched an innovative and quirky way to try and raise £1 million and therefore begin the process of buying Edgeley Park back from Cheshire Sport, the double-glazing magnate Brian Kennedy’s sporting arm and owners of Sale Sharks.

County are one of the few clubs that are essentially owned by the fans, and Cheshire Sport have given the fans’ trust eight years to raise the £4.5 million needed to buy the 100+ year old ground back.

Anyway, the scheme is called Ground for a Pound and all it asks you is to buy a pixel of Edgeley Park (and some of the houses surrounding the ground…) for £1 sterling, in order to contribute towards the needed £1 million. After only being online for three days, the demand has been fantastic and it’s getting some decent press as well, notably in The Times and on Sky Sports. 

So, your quid could really help towards getting the ground back, and cementing the future of Stockport County.

Or buy a few pixels at once or maybe even one a week – up to you. If you want to advertise your business, website etc, then it’s cheap advertising for you, too, as all pixels act as a link.

And hey! Once they’ve raise the million, you could have your pixel selected and have the opportunity to name one of the stands!

‘The Sight is in End’ End – I dream… 

Go on!

www.groundforapound.com

David.

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Filed under Barclays Premier League, Edgeley Park, England, English Premier League, Football, Football League, Guinness Premiership, News, Rugby Union, Sale Sharks, Soccer

Fifa say ‘nay’ to Premier League global plan, but we enter a worrying period

Sepp Blatter has said that the Premier League’s international round will not be going ahead. He has also issued what is practically a threat, saying that were the Premier League to go-ahead with the plan, England’s 2018 World Cup bid would be affected.

With UEFA, the AFC and now FIFA opposing the plan, it seems unlikely that it will happen. Yet this sets up a battle that could well turn very nasty, and could marginalise English football from the rest of the world. Richard Scudamore has come out and said that if they receive backing from the FA, it will go ahead.

If that happens, the consequences could be damaging, and will finally confirm something that has long been pondered: that the national game is secondary to the process of profiteering and promoting a valuable product. Indeed, were the Premier League to implement the plan, it would now probably affect the value of its prized commodity.

Yet this could raise the club vs. country row again, except this time it could take a more unsavoury and potentially harmful air. If the Premier League went against FIFA, where would players loyalties lies? With their employers, or with the law-maker? It would likely be the former.

It could, in some ways, be the equivalent of the Kerry Packer/World Series Cricket saga of the 70s, where players are torn between two sides: the PL, seeking more money in a supposed quest to advance their national game; and FIFA, the body there to protect world football (of course, where it does is the matter for a separate debate altogether). Players being forced to choose sides, and players being ostracised.

In 2000, the FA got the biggest shock possible when it realised how out of touch it was with world football, after England’s World Cup 2006 bid failed to get to the final round. Since then, it has worked hard to build bridges throughout the footballing world, to a point where it is now favourite to get the 2018 World Cup.

Even the CONCACAF chief Jack Warner, after originally being heavily against the bid and saying that he would do everything to make sure it failed, has now suddenly come out in favour. The Premier League’s plan threatens this newly-created relationship between the FA, the other NFAs and confederations.

It is time the Premier League ditched the idea. It was once rather funny and foolish in all honesty, but now it’s extremely threatening and deeply concerning. This has transcended taking clubs abroad for a game, raising more revenue and upsetting fans who will, in all probability, show apathy for a few weeks and nothing else; this can now irrevocably damage the game in this country, and leave a deep and ugly scar.

David.

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Filed under AFC, Barclays Premier League, Comment, CONCACAF, Cricket, England, English Premier League, FA, FIFA, Football, Football League, Jack Warner, Kerry Packer, Richard Scudamore, Sepp Blatter, Soccer, Sport, UEFA

Farewell to the Moston Menace

Manchester City’s decision to allow Ishmael Miller to turn his season long loan to West Bromwich Albion into a permanent transfer (for £900,000 potentially rising to £1.4m) was good news for the Midlands side, for whom Miller has played an important part in their attempt to return to the Premier League, but as a City fan it left me with a tinge of regret.The explosion of Micah Richards onto the national scene around a year ago had pundits raving about his physique, but Miller’s is arguably even more impressive:

Moston Menace

Unlike Richards, at 6’3″ Miller is tall as well as fast and strong. Not many defenders would fancy stopping him, and his record for the Baggies this season (10 goals in 24 games) would suggest that not many of them have been successful. Indeed, it was Miller’s physique and his scoring record at City that won him the nickname within the club of ‘The Moston Menace’, after the north Manchester district from which he hails.

In fact, this is really the reason I was sad to see the back of him. I don’t remember any players in recent memory who had a nickname that was based on where they were from rather than on their name. Richard Dunne may be a rock at the heart of the City back four, and a big part in our success this season, but ‘Dunney’ is hardly the most inspiring handle.

In this age when even players who come through academies are from all over the country or even the world, a player turning out for his local team is a rarity to be cherished, in the Premier League at least. Miller wasn’t even the only Mancunian in the City first team; Michael Johnson is from Urmston and although Nedum Onuoha was born in Nigeria he was raised just a couple of miles from Maine Road; I think what really got me about Miller was that nickname. It sounded like a throw back to another age.

“Miller for City… running down the wing…The Moston Menace has it…shoots…another goal for City! The Moston Menace scores and the City fans throw their flat caps in the air!”

What might have been…a man can dream.

Harry.

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Filed under Barclays Premier League, Comment, English Premier League, Football, Football League, Ismael Miller, Manchester City, Soccer, Transfers, West Bromwich Albion

Tough decision

It seems likely that Dundee United skipper Barry Robson is going to be on the move today. United have confirmed that they have accepted £1 million-plus bids from Celtic and Nottingham Forest. That’s SPL champions, and champions league knockout stage qualifiers, Celtic. And League One play-off prospects Nottingham Forest.

So now Robson just has to choose where to make that next career step. Boy do I not envy him this decision! Anyone reckon he’s asked for thinking time?

Jamie.

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Filed under Celtic, FA, Football, Football League, News, Nottingham Forest, Scotland, Scottish Premier League, SPL, Sport, Transfers

In a nutshell

Here it is – the nutterdom of transfer deadline day summed up to perfection. Taken from the BBC’s transfer deadline day live text commentary :

“Juan Roman Riquelme has just arrived at John Lennon airport to be met by Everton chief exec Keith Wyness.”

Expect more like this over the coming hours.

Jamie.

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Filed under Barclays Premier League, England, English Premier League, Everton, FA, Football, Football League, News, Sport, Transfers

Coming up: DRAMA

On a football related note, The Sight is in End will try and bring you THE SAGAS, THE DRAMAS AND THE EXCITEMENT OF… *ahem* the closing of the English transfer window from tomorrow afternoon. I’m sure everyone is eager to hear whether Hartlepool will up their offer for Stockport County’s Anthony Elding.

David.

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Filed under England, English Premier League, Football, Football League, News, Transfers

Award Nomination

In the first, and almost certainly last, of a new series, I would like to make a nomination for the award of stupidest booking of the season.

My nomination goes to Julian Bennett of Nottingham Forest.

During his side’s 2-1 defeat at Swindon yesterday, Bennett received a yellow card for inciting the opposition fans, a punishment given almost exclusively to players indulging in over-exuberant goal celebrations.

What actually happened was that a goalbound Swindon shot was prevented from crossing the line by a muddy patch in the six-yard box. Forest cleared it, but the referee’s attention became drawn to a rumpus behind the goal. Bennett, one of the Forest substitutes, had curtailed his warm-up routine to energetically celebrate Swindon’s misfortune infront of their own fans, thus causing a fight to break out.

Perhaps he thought he’d get away with it because the referee would be watching the game. Silly boy.

Jamie.

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Filed under Football, Football League, Nottingham Forest, Soccer, Swindon Town

The Wit and Wisdom of Kevin Keegan

kevin_keegan-head_over_heels_in_love_s.jpg

I have said some harsh words about Newcastle United on this site, and indeed I have been quite sick of hearing about them over the last week. But today, I have to admit that football supporters everywhere owe the Geordie club a debt of thanks.

Since hearing the news of Kevin Keegan’s re-appointment as Newcastle manager, I have lost count already of the amount of times I have heard the phrase ‘entertaining football’ uttered in connection with it. And I have to say I cannot argue, the world of football is about to become a whole lot more entertaining. At least for us neutral observers, and dare I say one or two Sunderland fans.

I think it is time for a reminder of exactly what this great man has to offer the game in terms of entertainment. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you what is now universally known as The Wit and Wisdom of Kevin Keegan:

“The good news for Nigeria is that they’re two-nil down very early in the game.”

“It’s like a toaster, the ref’s shirt pocket. Every time there’s a tackle, up pops a yellow card. I’m talking metaphysically now of course.”

“The 33 or 34-year-olds will be 36 or 37 by the time the next World Cup comes around, if they’re not careful.”

“They compare Steve McManaman to Steve Heighway and he’s nothing like him, but I can see why – it’s because he’s a bit different. They are both called Steve.”

“In some ways, cramp is worse than having a broken leg. But leukaemia is worse still. Probably.”

“I think Ron will be pulling him off at half time and no mistakin’.”

“There’ll be no siestas in Madrid tonight.”

“England have the best fans in the world and Scotland’s fans are second to none.”

“He can’t speak Turks, but you can tell he’s delighted.”

“You’d think the Moroccans would have learnt their lesson by now. You can’t win games without scoring goals.”

“I’d love to be a mole on the wall in the Liverpool dressing room at half-time. And not for the reasons that you’re thinking of Clive.”

“Goalkeepers aren’t born today until they’re in their late 20s or 30s and sometimes not even then. Or so it would appear. To me anyway. Don’t you agree?”

“I know what is around the corner. I just don’t know where the corner is.”

“You can’t do better than go away from home and get a draw.”

“You’d think the Cameroonians would have learnt their lesson by now. You can’t get very far with such brutal tackles. It’s just not cricket you know.”

“Chile have three options – they could win or they could lose. It’s up to them, the tide is in their court now.”

“The substitute is about to come on – he’s a player who was left out of the starting line-up today. There were others as well.”

“I came to Nantes two years ago and it’s much the same today, except that it’s totally different. The red light district is still the same mind you. Though it’s a lot bigger. And more expensive. I prefer Hamburg, more variety. There are these ladies there with fully formed moustaches, know what I mean.”

“…using his strength. And that is his strength, his strength. You could say that that’s his strong point.”

“The game has gone rather scrappy as both sides realise they could win this match or lose it or draw it even.”

“Argentina are the second-best team in the world, and there’s no higher praise than that.”

“That decision, for me, was almost certainly definitely wrong.”

“A tremendous strike which hit the defender full on the arm – and it nearly came off.”

“I don’t think there’s anyone bigger or smaller than Maradona. You seen the pictures as well Clive. Like an acorn I tells ya, just like an acorn.”

And my personal favourite:

“The ref was vertically 15 yards away. He has a moustache.”

Thanks Mike Ashley, from football supporters everywhere. We owe you one.

Jamie.

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Filed under Alan Shearer, Barclays Premier League, English Premier League, FA, Football, Football League, Kevin Keegan, Newcastle United, Next Newcastle Utd Manager, Soccer, Sport

Sod Newcastle, a real football team needs saving

So we’ve been hearing all week about football’s crisis club. An ongoing story of failure and disaster, which now appears to have reached breaking point, caused by continued mismanagement and a desire for quick success being allowed to override the need for long-term foundations to be laid.

Well actually, no, we haven’t. Instead the column inches have been clogged up with the latest renewal of the pantomime called Newcastle United. So lets quickly recap what everyone, interested in football or otherwise, now knows: A staggeringly rich football club, and its latest in a long line of staggeringly rich owners, keeps failing to use their staggeringly vast resources sensibly enough even to bring just enough decent football to keep the fans quiet. Oh how my heart bleeds for their plight.

Or to put it another way, who gives a toss? More importantly, who gives a toss when there is a case out there more deserving of our sympathy? A case for whom the kind of press coverage Newcastle have received this week could mean the difference between footballing life and death.

For Luton Town, the game is nearly up. Already in administration, a situation which has cost them ten points that currently make the difference between a place in the relegation zone, and being within shouting distance of the play-offs, Luton yesterday lost their manager. Yes, they lost their manager. You don’t hear it put like that very often do you?

For Kevin Blackwell, his job had become impossible. In making his final preparations for Luton’s home game against league one leaders Swansea on friday, Blackwell discovered that five of his players had been sold by the administrators. Having already endured the administration and points deduction, along with FA enquiries into the dodgy dealings of the club’s previous owners, and not having been paid for two weeks, you can begin to understand how Blackwell reached the end of his tether.

Yet, despite all this misery, the team has continued to show the most incredible spirit in it’s performances on the pitch. Luton’s home record has been one of the most consistent in the country this season. Promotion, not relegation, would be uppermost in their mind without the ten point penalty, and even since it was imposed, Luton have shown enough good form to suggest that survival would not have been a problem. In fact, before yesterday, Luton had lost only once in 13 games, an extraordinary performance by players who, of course, are also not being paid right now.

In addition to this, they knocked Nottingham Forest out of the FA Cup in the second round, before trumping that by earning a magnificent and improbable draw against Liverpool (should that be crisis club Liverpool?) in the third. The latter result has earned Luton a potentially life-saving replay at Anfield, but unless a new owner can be found for the club with some speed, this could prove to be a short reprieve.

Salvation for Luton is currently forming in the shape of a consortium led by (former) TV celebrity Nick Owen, a lifelong fan. Everyone in football should be hoping that Owen succeeds. Firstly, he is exactly the type of owner that a football club like Luton should have; a genuine fan, someone who would perform every action with the best interests of the club in mind, someone who would genuinely be in touch, and have sympathy, with the thoughts of the supporters, and someone who would leave the running of team affairs to the manager and his staff.

More importantly though, clubs like Luton simply must not be allowed to just disappear out of the league. They are part of football’s history, were a trophy winning club in the recent past, and are a hugely important institution in their local community. For clubs of Luton’s stature to suddenly cease to exist has massive implications for football, threatening even to the Premiership royalty that so sadly, and with blinkers firmly fitted, ignores their situation.

Lest we forget, Luton currently find themselves in such dire straits largely thanks to the allegedly illegal transfer activity of the clubs former owners – activity which was brought to the attention of the FA, The Football League and the national media by their then manager Mike Newell. Newell was admonished by virtually everyone in football, he lost his job, and has not worked since. The courage he showed in speaking out, with no support whatsoever from within the game, has been rejected and forgotten. This tale tells us everything we need to know about the way football is being run.

If the takeover goes through at Luton, and stability can be restored, Blackwell might be persuaded to change his mind about leaving (he’s decided to keep working with the players until February). Considering the job he has done with the team in such trying circumstances, this must be regarded as a necessity for Luton.

Although even if they hang on to Blackwell, the depleted squad is going to find it tough going for the remainder of the season, and bringing in new players is a fast-disappearing possibility with the days of January ticking by. Another example of how the smaller clubs are punished by the ridiculous transfer window rules, which were of course imposed in an attempt to curb the spending power of the super-rich.

The owner, directors, caretaker manager, players, and fans of Newcastle United should open up a newspaper today, wade through the ten pages of headlines about their own club, and seek out the small print. Hidden in there, they might find a football story that will make them sit up, take stock, and put their ‘problems’ into perspective.

Lets look at the facts: They will have no problem finding a manager, that manager will have millions of pounds to spend, they will continue to get 50,000+ gates for every league game regardless of how the team play, and they have no chance, repeat no chance, of getting relegated.

Could be worse couldn’t it? Newcastle, if you’re listening, you can’t continue to enjoy the luxury you do without the help of clubs like Luton Town. I suggest that the very least you could do is stop whining for five minutes, and wish them luck in their bid for survival.

Jamie.

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Filed under Alan Shearer, Barclays Premier League, Comment, English Premier League, FA, FA Cup, Football, Football League, Liverpool FC, Luton Town, Next Newcastle Utd Manager, Nottingham Forest, Sam Allardyce, Soccer, Sport, Swansea City

Match Report: Stoke City 0-0 Newcastle United

Stoke City 0-0 Newcastle United

FA Cup: Third Round

Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent

Att: 22,681

It was built up as the match that could determine Sam Allardyce’s fate as Newcastle manager; it now holds more significance, but for now at least, Allardyce remains safe.

Meanwhile Stoke, while being pleased in keeping the Premier League outfit at bay, forcing the replay and with it the extra cash needed to boost their attempt in reaching the top flight, will be somewhat disappointed with the goalless draw after playing the better football and having a 67-minute Jon Parkin header cleared off the line – a minute after he arrived as a substitute.

It was an astute tactical decision by Tony Pulis, still under pressure by some Stoke fans despite their current 4th position in the Championship, which was almost enough for Stoke to claim a famous win. Parkin’s intimidating (to say the least) stature was a nuisance for the Newcastle defence, and also caused a goal-mouth mêlée seconds after his headed effort, which Liam Cresswell couldn’t capitalise on.

Parkin came on for Malian international Mamady Sidibe, who looked deeply annoyed at being substituted. He had a right to be, as he was industrious and selfless, and did all he could to try and be inventive in a game that lacked a lot of it.

He used his towering presence to assist with defending, but was also threatening with his vision and through-balls to Ricardo Fuller that constantly questioned Newcastle’s Abdoulaye Faye, who was composed throughout the 90 minutes.

But ominously for Allardyce, Newcastle and Fabio Capello’s England, Michael Owen is a long distance away from his best. The loneliness of being a long distance away from your best showed, as he cut an at-times isolated and beleaguered figure in the cold and wet of Stoke-on-Trent.

Owen was sluggish, rusty, and struggled to generate any sort of basic pace, impetus or threat. On 55 minutes, Owen failed to connect with a clear chance after Steven Taylor’s header hit the post and goalkeeper Steve Simonsen was left stranded. Allardyce eventually gave him the full ninety minutes, but he’s going to need many more not just for his sake, but for his club and Allardyce himself.

Damien Duff, who filled in for the ill James Miller, is also some way off his best; while Mark Viduka had a frustrating evening, with his only decent effort coming after 18 minutes thanks to a Charles N’Zogbia ball into the penalty area. N’Zogbia was the pick of the Newcastle players, and worked extremely hard on the left-hand side to pressurise an occasionally uncertain Simonsen with an array of crosses.

Newcastle were almost saved from an awkward replay as substitute Andrew Carroll’s desperate lunge at an N’Zogbia cross hit the post.

Allardyce looked pleased as the final whistle went, but the tie has now gained even more significance, for a loss at St. James’ would surely signal the premature end of Sam Allardyce.

That’s if it doesn’t happen beforehand, that is.

David.

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Filed under Barclays Premier League, BBC, FA Cup, Football, Football League, Match Report, Michael Owen, Newcastle United, Sam Allardyce, Sport, Stoke City