Goodison Park – where games for the people are still played

CLOTH CAP nostalgia is a popular pastime among football folk as inner cities continue to be purged of their old football stadiums, replaced by smart, antiseptic structures of white steel and plastic. Horse manure no longer squelches underfoot as fans tramp through the streets and past red brick houses, the mildly eccentric fan with a transistor radio clamped to his ear has long gone. Like … Continue reading Goodison Park – where games for the people are still played

Non-League should throw carrots, but to the right people

INCREASINGLY, non-league football clubs have adopted a tactic they hope will entice fans of football league clubs to drop-by on a more frequent basis – the act of discounting admission if the fans have a season ticket of a Premier or Football League club I question this generous, and somewhat misguided approach, which does seem rather odd – cutting the price of seeing a non-league … Continue reading Non-League should throw carrots, but to the right people

Fulham and Charlton show why the Championship is so compelling

HOW OFTEN does a crowd filter out of a football stadium feeling they haven’t really been entertained? All too frequently, there’s a collective shrug of the shoulders, comments like, “not bad” or “they tried”, although supporters of the winning team console themselves with the result, a case of points over performance, function over form. Not so the 18,500 people who witnessed Fulham against Charlton, a … Continue reading Fulham and Charlton show why the Championship is so compelling

The sins of Wenger and Pochettino, strangely similar

ARSENAL and Tottenham Hotspur may have something in common other than a shared geography – they have hosted influential and extremely gifted managers who operate on an autocratic basis. Arsène Wenger was well known to be his own man, stubborn and convinced of his own methods and reluctant to change. In the end, Arsenal had to wait for Wenger to decide when it was time to … Continue reading The sins of Wenger and Pochettino, strangely similar

English football’s eco-system – cause for concern

THE LACK of true democracy in English football, which has long adopted a “survival of the fittest” culture, is an imbalanced class system that is surely unsustainable. Although many people in the UK look at American sport’s structure and self-protectionism with some cynicism, we may have come to a stage where the governing bodies have to look at creative alternatives to introduce more competitiveness to … Continue reading English football’s eco-system – cause for concern

Manchester United still have post-Ferguson hangover – six years on

MANCHESTER UNITED’S latest setback, losing to an unremarkable West Ham United team, has triggered a sense of mild panic and hand-wringing among some Old Trafford regulars. The decision to install Ole Gunnar Solskjær as permanent manager in March 2019 now looks like a hasty, ill-informed decision, but is the blame for United’s continuing frustration really the fault of the popular Norwegian? To many onlookers, Solskjær … Continue reading Manchester United still have post-Ferguson hangover – six years on

Luton Town may be struggling on the field, but they’re back where they belong

THE CHAMPIONSHIP may yet prove to be a step too soon for Luton Town after their rise from non-league to the second tier of the English game in a relatively short timeframe. On the evidence of the first few weeks of the 2019-20 campaign, this won’t be an easy season for the Hatters, so if they survive, they will probably consider it an acceptable achievement. … Continue reading Luton Town may be struggling on the field, but they’re back where they belong

More Coronation Street than Wall Street – Investing in non-league

IS IT purely philanthropy or is there something tangible about investing in a non-league football club? It is hard to justify investment in any sports club, let alone a non-league outfit, but all over the country, local football is short of money and struggling to live within its means. “Just do the math” as they would say on an investment banking trading floor. Money in, … Continue reading More Coronation Street than Wall Street – Investing in non-league

The script has been drafted – Liverpool will [probably] win the title

FIVE POINTS is a substantial gap after five games, in fact it is, apparently, a record margin at this fledgling stage of the season. Such was the miniscule gap between Manchester City and Liverpool last season, Norwich City’s 3-2 win over Pep Guardiola’s treble winners that it may well be considered as one of the decisive moments of the title race. In an age when … Continue reading The script has been drafted – Liverpool will [probably] win the title

Everton’s chance to regain status

THIRTY years ago, if you named the top six clubs in England, Everton would have been among them, despite the era belonging to their neighbours Liverpool. Traditionally, Everton were one of the blue riband institutions, but in the Premier League era, they have been unable to compete for major honours. In fact, the last piece of silverware won by the Goodison Park-based club was in … Continue reading Everton’s chance to regain status

Non-league can still be a stakeholder concept

THE NON-LEAGUE football world often lives within a false economy that does little to dissuade clubs from flirting dangerously with financial ruin. Some clubs live way beyond their means, paying out everything they accrue and agreeing players’ wages that are totally unrealistic when one considers the earning power of the clubs. It’s a questionable  business model – often a club is propped up by a … Continue reading Non-league can still be a stakeholder concept

This Tottenham may have peaked

WE’VE been waiting for Tottenham to win something for quite some time, in fact, it’s been a decade or more. For all the praise, all the admiring glances and appreciation of Tottenham’s style, commitment to younger players and English swagger, Leicester City, Wigan Athletic and Swansea have won more since the Spurs last went marching on to their trophy cabinet. Some managers have been sacked … Continue reading This Tottenham may have peaked

How important are “big six” clashes?

LIVERPOOL’S 3-1 win against Arsenal was a reminder that Unai Emery’s team is a long way from being contenders, but it also underlined the importance of victories against the big challengers early in the campaign. So  far this season, there have been three games between clubs considered to the the “big six”. Fixtures between the elite half dozen – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester … Continue reading How important are “big six” clashes?