All 31 entries tagged Football

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October 28, 2009

Kicking Or Screaming: The Decline Of The Football Museum

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At the turn of this decade when football clubs were building their new stadiums on deserted wasteland on the edge of cities, chairman began to wonder how their great concrete bowls would make some money on those days when football was not being played.  

Many of these stadiums were being built on various loans and guarantees and the task to recover the money had to begin as soon as the stadium doors had opened and for a while, it seemed that anything goes regarding how money could be made. In areas of a city where there had been no history of innocent casual visitors, chairman seemed to believe that fans would start to treat their new multi-million pound stadium as a shopping centre/ social club.  

October 23, 2009

So What Is So Wrong With Rio Ferdinand

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Does football need Rio Ferdinand? For some fans, I sense that they would not be particularly concerned if he shuffled off the international stage and Old Trafford down the lower leagues, to Notts County and finish his career with a little bit of ITV punditry. I had never realised that Rio Ferdinand could provoke the same level of passionate hatred that I had always believed was exclusively reserved for a certain set of players including Frank Lampard. 

October 15, 2009

Football Via The Click Of Your Mouse

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A couple of nicely direct questions to kick off. Were you one of the fans that were glued in front of your computer screen on Friday night to catch the England Under 21s versus the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Under 21s via Chelsea TV? Did you decide that you’d had enough of Strictly or the X Factor on Saturday night and paid the £11:99 for the privilege of Ukraine v England via Kentaro?  

October 10, 2009

Good Times: Bad Times

Good Times: Bad Times

Michael Henderson (2009) 50 People Who Fouled Up Football,

London, Constable

I have yet to meet anyone above the age of ten who believes that everything about British and European football smells of roses. Certain players annoy certain people, whilst a particular manager can rub someone up the wrong way by screaming the wrong choice of words, making a particular touchline gesture, or just being seen on the TV. We all have our favourite grounds; favourite TV sports presenters, favourite strikers, goalkeepers and favourite football shirts. Our favourite things form the basis of football debates, which are played out across the nation.

Michael Henderson’s book is for all of us that are coping with the ever-increasing things in life that slightly make us angry and frustrating. I sense that the number of things that slightly annoy us increases as we get older. We stop being the innocent child and teenage hormones crash together to turn us into cynical old grumps. Players move on, managers retire, worn but loved stands are demolished for the sake of a soulless steel structure full of corporate boxes with as much atmosphere as a municipal rubbish dump. Change seems to be generally distrusted by football fans and when it happens, we start to mutter in a very British way.

Henderson can distinctly remember those childhood days at Bolton’s Burndon Park and is wondering how it went so wrong for the beautiful game. Like a hapless customer making a tentative step into a high street coffee bar to be bamboozled by a never-ending range of skinny mochas topped with lumpy UHT cream and sickly syrup, Henderson is struggling to understand how football seems to have lost its soul since his childhood days in deepest Lancashire.

I have to admit that I agree with virtually every single suggestion from Henderson for the fifty people who are the warts on the face of modern football. This list is full of preening players who seem to believe that they are royalty in all but name, and chairman who live and work as if they are playing a particularly reckless game of Monopoly rather than being a trustworthy businessmen. Sequels to this book could be filled to bursting with further players and chairman whose actions caused a trail of destruction.

One-dimensional pundits and presenters are sprinkled into the mix, as well as football ‘people’ who want to hype up every single football ‘incident’ as a matter of life and death on the same level as the credit crunch. Henderson has particular contempt for those radio producers and presenters, who have presided over the mangling of the British language and a sense of perspective for the sake of a bit of ear-catching banter.

An ex BBC Radio Five Live controller have the honour of being gently, but comprehensive criticised in one particular chapter, whilst two pundits (one still at the BBC and one ploughing his trade on a rival station) are criticised for their one-track analysis. If Henderson wanted to produce another sequel to this book, it would be not that hard to find fifty pundits to be lined up in a fictitious studio of shame.

There are the comics and z-list celebrities who rode the crest of the football wave without a real understanding about what makes this game tick. One particular comic is castigated for treating the dear characters of football with a haughty and viciously cutting disrespect on a late night chat show, which sent their delirious audience into hysteria but made these ex players look like helpless fools. There are the footballer’s wives who have fought amongst themselves to gain those precious column inches in those gossip magazines. There are the ex referees living off their willingness to provide ‘good copy’ for the adoring press rather than being remembered as one of the best men to officiate the game.

Some of the criticised football people are easy, but comforting, targets. Current and previous Leeds United chairmen and managers are given a comprehensive dressing down. The presence of Don Revie in the list can allay the possible argument against this book that Henderson despises every aspect about football that has developed since the Premier League was formed in 1992.

Sir Alf Ramsey could be regarded as a controversial addition to the list but Henderson believes that Ramsey failed to adapt to the changing nature of football that was particularly defined by the Dutch during the seventies. It could be argued that England have generally failed to recognise this style during the subsequent forty years. Peter Swales, the ex Manchester City chairman and earnest TV set and record player seller of South Manchester is profiled towards the end of the book. His twenty-one years in charge at Maine Road is regarded as one of the main reasons why the City trophy cupboard remains bereft of meaningful trophies since the League Cup of 1976

The book is an enjoyable read and is impressively presented with caricatures of each rogue by Nicola Jennings of the Guardian. We will continue to grumble about the game that we love so much, but Henderson is right to note that somethings have been improved in football. He admits that there has never been “a truly blessed time for English football; no walk to the paradise garden. I am also sure that this walk will never happen in the future, but we will always have something to talk about when we rant about football.

October 02, 2009

Remembering Sir Bobby in Broad Street

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I know that Birmingham has its critics. In some areas, it has the appearance of a budget version of Dallas, but I am growing to like Britain’s second city. The football is plentiful in the region and of a decent quality too at a very decent price. I have enjoyed a number of trips to Villa Park, Molineux and St Andrews since I have been living in the area, but my hometown team in Suffolk remains close to my heart.

September 25, 2009

Tales of the Unexpected

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For people of a certain age, Sunday nights at 10pm meant Tales of the Unexpected on ITV and it was a must watch show for my parents. It was a murder mystery drama to finish the weekend off in style. If you type ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ in to any well known video sharing website, you will get a chance to catch the scarily catchy signature tune complete with various shadowy women dancing around the screen in a pretty evocative way.

September 17, 2009

We Are Off To South Africa!

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Two days had passed since that Wednesday night at Wembley, and as we trudged up the stairs to start another day at work, a colleague turned to me and wondered what I thought about England’s recent victory against Croatia? There have been many occasions during my lifetime when that question would have provoked an emotional rant about what went wrong with the team, and why I believed that England were an embarrassment to world football as well as the nation. I would finish my screams with the wish that I was born in Brazil, so would be assured that my team would get to the World Cup and be a serious bet to win the tournament.

September 03, 2009

The Measured Reaction to Hooligans

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When you talk about the history of football in the UK, it is difficult to avoid talking about hooliganism, which blighted the national game for decades. It was a shameful period in British football but the story has to be told. These yobs dominated the UK national scene throughout the seventies and eighties. Football was a regular lead topic on the BBC’s Nine O’clock News for the wrong reasons.

August 29, 2009

Snap Judgements and Hasty Retractions

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There are a few things that can be regarded as predictable in football. Many clubs will complain about an injury crisis before the first ball is even kicked. Some commentators will suggest that the fledgling season will be Spurs’ year, and all of the promoted teams will be written off as certain relegation fodder before the first whistle is blown.

August 26, 2009

The Football League Show

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This article has to be a bit of a collector’s item. It is not in my nature to have a go about the BBC and their football coverage. If I start to whinge about the BBC, I feel that I am taking a swipe about everything that is great about Britain. If I grumble about Match of the Day, I feel as if I am committing one of the biggest sins in British football. I was a bit young for David Coleman and Frank Bough but Des took me through the big football moments of my crazy childhood years. Gary has taken on the task over the last decade or so.  

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  • great work i am moved. are u on facebook or email as i would love to share my publication ideas for … by ned on this entry
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  • Interesting article. The Irish were cheated out of a World Cup final chance and to talk about Roy Ke… by Ned on this entry
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  • interesting article, it is interesting to see your passion towards museums shining through!!!!! by Joe Carr on this entry

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