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

Commentary Box: 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 Commentary Box: More Coronation Street than Wall Street – Investing in non-league

Signals and signs: Learnings from the Guardian 100

WE’VE become used to seeing familiar names at the forefront of world football. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated polls and awards since 2007 and the recent Guardian ranking of the top 100 players – arguably the best list of its kind – places Messi top and Ronaldo second. Recently, Ronaldo was named the winner of the Ballon d’Or for the fifth time. These … Continue reading Signals and signs: Learnings from the Guardian 100

Winter break review: HR – Dinamo all the way

IT looks like a return to the familiar pattern in Croatia for the past decade or more – Dinamo Zagreb on top and running away with the title. Dinamo are 12 points clear at the top after 20 games and are one of the few teams across Europe that remain unbeaten – 15 wins and five draws with a goal count of 45-13. Since 2005-06, … Continue reading Winter break review: HR – Dinamo all the way

Johnson’s Bristol cream and the margin between success and failure

JOSÉ MOURINHO might have felt Bristol City were lucky to have won their English Football League Cup quarter-final tie with Manchester United, but their 2-1 triumph was a much-needed and much-welcomed reminder that shocks can still happen in top level football. Everyone outside the United support base must have raised their hat to the Robins, it was an old fashioned victory for the little man … Continue reading Johnson’s Bristol cream and the margin between success and failure

The gulf continues to widen in Europe

THE WAY the so-called “big five” leagues in Europe are progressing this season, we could see more than one team hit the 100 point mark in 2017-18, underlining the progressive dominance of a handful of clubs in the major competitions. If the leaders of the Premier, Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1 all continue at their current rate of points accumulation, they will all … Continue reading The gulf continues to widen in Europe

Stockport County: X factor in the FA Trophy

IN  1977-78, Stockport County versus Southport could easily have been game number 40 on a Littlewoods Pools coupon – as a Football League Division Four fixture. The 1977-78 season was the last time the two clubs met in the league, for at the end of that campaign, Southport were voted out and replaced by Wigan Athletic. Stockport were relegated in 2011 and suffered a second … Continue reading Stockport County: X factor in the FA Trophy

Italia’s lament – a warning for the complacent

THE Italian headlines have been screaming, the histrionics have begun and the post-mortems are in full flow – Italy will not be in Russia in 2018 and it is excruciatingly painful for the four-time winners of the FIFA World Cup. Millions of Italians woke up on Tuesday with a sinking feeling in the pit of their stomach. “Can it be true?,” they were undoubtedly asking, … Continue reading Italia’s lament – a warning for the complacent

The case for English success in Europe

EVERYONE was eulogising about Tottenham’s 3-1 win against Real Madrid, and rightly so. It was a very clear signal to the rest of Europe that English clubs can, once more, be taken very seriously in the UEFA Champions League. There have been other victories for English clubs against top opposition, but the manner of Tottenham’s win, against the reigning European champions, was enough to convince … Continue reading The case for English success in Europe

Chelsea – unstable by design?

NOTHING ever stands still at Chelsea, in fact, there’s always been a “self destruct” button hidden deep in the bowels of Stamford Bridge, going way, way back to Edwardian times. Just consider: a manager walking on the roof of the stand, apparently drunk; Tommy Docherty’s antics and the infamous Blackpool incident; the Osgood and Hudson affair; Eddie McCreadie resigning after taking the club back to … Continue reading Chelsea – unstable by design?

This time it’s different: PSG and Manchester City

FOR some years, two of the world’s steroid-induced clubs (not literally, before the complaints come flooding in) have hankered to become part of the European elite. They’ve flickered briefly on the biggest stage, but winning the UEFA Champions League represents the tallest hurdle for any club. Chelsea, who that started the inflated investment cycle in 2003, won the competition in 2012, but in over 20 … Continue reading This time it’s different: PSG and Manchester City

Tinker with the Trophy?

HAVE non-league football fans fallen out of love with knock-out football? Is the cut and thrust of sudden death no longer an attraction? What makes run-of-the-mill league games, a large percentage of which are featureless and, ultimately, of no great consequence, more important than the prospect of an exciting cup run? On the day that the FA Trophy gathered momentum, just 265 people turned up … Continue reading Tinker with the Trophy?

Toffees couldn’t fudge the issue

EVERTON don’t generally act rashly when it comes to managers, but despite their poor form this season, the most relevant factor in the disposal of Ronald Koeman may just have been the shifting sands at the club. Everton are under new management in the boardroom, with Farhad Moshiri owning almost 50% of the club. Bill Kenwright may be chairman and 12.2% stakeholder, but Moshiri gave … Continue reading Toffees couldn’t fudge the issue