Taking the higher road with the Orient

IT’S good to see Leyton Orient back in the Football League after two years in the non-league game. Orient are one of London’s most humble, most down-to-earth clubs and certainly most challenged clubs – they have competition from Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham on their doorstep. Indeed, you can see the Olympic site from Leyton station. Leyton is one of the most diverse areas of … Continue reading Taking the higher road with the Orient

Forest Green Rovers and another way

FOOTBALL IS, in many ways, a one dimensional game – its simplicity, its demographic and its popular appeal make it ideal for the masses. Regardless of the number of causes the industry attaches itself to, the essence of football remains entertainment for the people, the creation of loyalty and allegiance and, ultimately, forlorn expectation. Traditionally, we have associated the game with grimy back streets, smoking … Continue reading Forest Green Rovers and another way

Ground debate: League Two and its ancient homes

FOOTBALL is full of financial imbalances and the gap between the Premier and, for example, League Two is painfully vast. The gulf is so substantial that there is an argument for shifting the bottom two division of the English Football League to part-time status. However, the emotional pull of the game is such that this is unlikely to happen in the near future. Supporters of … Continue reading Ground debate: League Two and its ancient homes

Football Media Watch: Campbell’s kingdom

AFTER some years bemoaning the fact he hasn’t had a chance to become a manager, the eccentric character that is Sol Campbell has been appointed “gaffer” at Macclesfield Town, the 92nd-placed club in the Premier/Football League structure. The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor said that Campbell doesn’t always realise how he comes across, referring to some of the comments he made when being given the job. At … Continue reading Football Media Watch: Campbell’s kingdom

GOTP Notepad: A dose of reality – League Two

THE gap between the Premier League and the lower reaches of the Football League is growing to such an extent that the long-term future of the game at the lower professional levels has to be questioned. In the latest BDO Financial Directors’ Football Survey, the stark reality of life in League One and Two was outlined. As Premier League clubs enjoy healthy profitability – some … Continue reading GOTP Notepad: A dose of reality – League Two

Notts County: Bird watching in Iremonger Road

AS THE world’s oldest Football League club, Notts County has a rich heritage, but it is not a story gilded with glittering prizes. Nevertheless, a visit to Meadow Lane is a trip back to the industrial heartland of professional football. It is almost 130 years ago that Notts County kicked-off their inaugural Football League campaign, on September 15 1888, losing 2-1 at Everton. Notts County … Continue reading Notts County: Bird watching in Iremonger Road

A day at the promotion races: Doncaster and the Rovers

YOU CANNOT avoid politics and trains when you visit Doncaster. As soon as you arrive at the railway station, you come across a plaque that commemorates two local trade unionists, Mr Steels and Mr Holmes. It’s a town that has also been heavily influenced by the railways – both the Mallard and Flying Scotsman, trains that induce a flutter of excitement with those people that … Continue reading A day at the promotion races: Doncaster and the Rovers

Newport and the search for renaissance

WALES were one of the darlings of Euro 2016, and rightly so, for their performances put more celebrated nations to shame. But whether the success of Chris Coleman’s team marked the start of something significant and sustainable remains to be seen – at the moment, they are in a three-way battle in their 2018 World Cup qualifying group with the Republic of Ireland and Serbia. … Continue reading Newport and the search for renaissance

Bees, a hive, but no honey

BARNET have always struggled to shake-off the image of a non-league club playing in the Football League, but they surprised most people by returning to the league for a third stint in 2014-15. The club’s first spell in the Football League, presided over by characters like Stan Flashman and Barry Fry, lasted 10 years before they went down in 2001. They returned in 2005, but … Continue reading Bees, a hive, but no honey

Through the turnstiles: Northampton Town

IT HAS BEEN  a bitter-sweet season for Northampton Town. Last autumn, the club faced a winding-up order from the taxman and such was the financial situation that their players were unpaid for a period of time. And then there was the small matter of a £10.25m loan from the council to fund ground improvements at Sixfields, their purpose-built stadium. What had happened to it? The … Continue reading Through the turnstiles: Northampton Town

Through the turnstiles 2015-16: Bristol Rovers v Barnet

“Bristol Rovers were playing at home, parlez-vous…Bristol Rovers were playing at home, parlez-vous.” That was the song we used to sing at school in a playground ditty about German troops crossing the line in World War Two (or was it WW1?). Bristol Rovers and homes – a contentious issue. I remember quirky old Eastville, with its greyhound track. They moved to Bath City’s Twerton Park … Continue reading Through the turnstiles 2015-16: Bristol Rovers v Barnet

Stevenage break the habit, but there’s no such thing as a sure-fire “winner”

Great players don’t always make great managers, they say. Teddy Sheringham was not an all-time great in the mould of Bobbys Charlton and Moore, but he enjoyed an outstanding career that included an astonishing 51 England caps, 898 games, 355 goals, three Premier titles, one FA Cup and a never-to-be-forgotten UEFA Champions League win. With credentials like that, Stevenage have secured the services of someone … Continue reading Stevenage break the habit, but there’s no such thing as a sure-fire “winner”

Calling in on….Burton Albion – success on tap for the brewers

Burton-upon-Trent is one of those places that you associate with Britain’s commercial heritage. It’s a town of canals and breweries – at one time, Burton provided a quarter of all the beer being drunk in the country. It’s also renowned for being the home of the Peel family, of which one notable member, Sir Robert Peel, founded what became the police force. With some of … Continue reading Calling in on….Burton Albion – success on tap for the brewers