FootballOpinion

A Link to a Lower League Week, and an Irrelevant Photograph of a Guinea Pig

New today, the latest in the Lower League Week I write for BornOffside, covering the big events in League 1 and League 2. Stories include the FIFA regulation stopping Shaun Derry continuing as a player, the bad form of Peterborough, Crewe and Portsmouth, Gillingham losing in the FA Cup, and a really, really bad miss.

I warned you this was coming.
I warned you this was coming.

Click here to read Lower League Week: Notts County and Leyton Orient Battle Red Tape

FootballOpinion

Last Week’s Week, Brought To You This Week

I’ve just completed writing the latest Lower League Week for BornOffside and, after filing it for editing, I realised I’ve not linked to last week’s edition.

The main stories are news and opinion of Swindon and Cheltenham being defeated in the FA Cup; Hartlepool’s excellent form; Gillinham appointing a permanent manager; Shaun Derry retiring from playing to focus on management; Port Vale banning their local paper from covering their matches; Carlisle taking released criminal Courtney Meppen-Walter on trial; and mascots solemnly observing minute’s silences while smiling gleefully.

Imagine this guy with his head bowed trying to be dignified, and tell me that wouldn't be funny/creepy.
Imagine this guy with his head bowed trying to be dignified, and tell me that wouldn’t be funny and/or creepy.

Click here to read The Lower League Week – Port Vale Battle The Sentinel

FootballOpinion

Bornoffside Bits

After missing the first scheduled Lower League Week of the year due to other commitments, today a Lower League Fortnight has gone up at Bornoffside.

In it, I write about lower league involvement in three different cups, Dean Saunders waiting for the moment he starts being quite good to leave his job (again) Port Vale spending money, Notts County’s chairman surfing the web, and Graham Westley was booed by his own fans on his anniversary.

Click here to read The Lower League Fortnight: Glory of the Cups

Not THAT kind of cup, silly!
                                                        Not THAT kind of cup, silly!

I’ve also had another in the series of African Cup of Nations previews published, this time for Togo.

Click here to read African Cup of Nations Group D Preview : Togo

All Bornoffside previews for the competition (and subsequent coverage) can be found at the Africa 2013 section

FootballOpinion

If You Beat Arsenal, Does It Really Count As An Upset?

My latest round-up of the events in football’s League One and Two went up at Born Offside this morning.

If you even vaguely follow English football, you’ll probably be aware that Arsenal were knocked out of the League Cup by Bradford City – a team three divisions lower than them. You can read about the Bradford side of the story, and the rest of their eventful week.

The_Sunwin_Stand_-_Bradford_City,_Valley_Parade by Betty Longbottom                             Taken from Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, Coventry have been in negotiations over rent for their ground, Portsmouth fans are trying to enforce the sale of theirs, Southend and Bury have struggled to pay their wages, a Carlisle director inadvertendly put his manager under more pressure, and you can hear tales of an amusing own goal and an impressive double save.

Click here for The Lower League Week – Keeping Calm and Going to Penalties

FootballOpinion

The Dons vs Wimbledon

I’ve written an article over at Born Offside this morning. MK Dons were drawn against AFC Wimbledon in the second round of the FA Cup, and, having both won first round replays, the tie will now go ahead at the start of December.

If you’re a football fan you may know why this is a big deal. In 2002 the owners of Wimbledon, in the second tier of Englishfootball, not happy with the decent but not amazing crowd figures, pushed to be allowed to relocate to Milton Keynes, one of the largest towns in the country not to have a professional team.

 

Unlike in America, ‘franchising’ teams in this way is generally looked down upon, with many Wimbledon fans and neutrals considering their team to have been stolen away.

With the move all but confirmed, Wimbledon fans set up a new side, AFC Wimbledon, with Milton Keynes Dons being born from the carcass of the former club. AFC have been steadily climbing their way through the football pyramid, and now, for the first time, the teams will meet in the FA Cup.

I’ve wrote about the history, recent form of both sides, fans’ feelings, and the implications for both clubs’ seasons and the wider awareness of the conflict.

You can read about all of that by clicking here.

FootballOpinion

The Truth about Hillsborough

On 15th April 1989, a football match between Liverpool FC and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground, Hillsborough, went drastically wrong.

In basic terms, for those not familiar, crowd control issues meant not all fans were inside the ground by the time the match kicked off, and security decisions, as well as the ground was structured, made things worse. In the end, 96 Liverpool fans died needlessly.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, both the police officer in charge and national newspapers tried to shift the blame onto the fans themselves. The Sun famously claimed that many were drunk, violent, and that some were thieves and necrophiliacs. Sadly, I’m not exaggerating the last claim.

The families of the victims have fought long and hard to clear their collective names, with the results of an inquiry released today, propelling the story back into the headlines here in Britain. If you’re unaware of the facts behind what happened at Hillsborough, I’d recommend this article, which gives a pretty thorough explanation, but you’ll find dozens more written in the last few days.

Though I’m far from an expert on the facts of the story, I’ve written a brief emotional reaction to the news at Born Offside.

FootballOpinion

Harry’s Flaws

Harry Redknapp is a talented football manager. His Tottenham team are currently third in the table, they are playing an entertaining style, and he’s the first English manager to challenge for the title for about ten, fifteen years.

God, that’s a depressing thought.

Harry Redknapp, being stalked by a giant seagull with a bad haircut.

The England manager’s job is currently vacant, after Fabio Capello’s departure last month, and Redknapp has been talked about by the English media, particularly Fleet Street, as if he is the nailed on certainty, the only possible choice. He’s also referred to as the fans’ choice – for instance, Match of the Day has said that the only people in the country who don’t want him to be England manager are the fans of his current club.

While I don’t totally disagree with his good press, I do to a large extent.

I’ve written an opinion piece for Born Offside, presenting the counterargument to the pro-Redknapp press.