Prize of £4,000 for the “winner”
20 November ~ A competition has been launched to find Britain’s worst football, rugby or cricket pitch, with the “winner” receiving a £4,000 prize to improve it. The worst pitch for each sport will receive £3,000, with an extra £1,000 for the worst overall, and entry is open to any amateur clubs with an under-18s team. The competition is run by Briggs & Stratton in conjunction with the Institute of Groundsmanship, which is the professional membership organisation for grounds staff in the UK. To enter all you need to do is complete the entry form and include some photos, videos or anything else that could support your entry.
Stadium listed as Asset of Community Value
20 November ~ Leyton Orient fans have won the right to list their Brisbane Road ground as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), meaning they must be allowed to bid for the stadium if it is put up for sale. The Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust made the application to Waltham Forest council, and the ground becomes the 29th in the country to be listed by their local authority as an ACV. The trust’s chairman, Doug Harper, said: “It should give some comfort to O’s fans that in the event of any worst case scenario regarding our home, we will have a chance to protect it.” More information on the listing can be found here.
Quota system making players lazy and greedy
19 November ~ Russia’s 1-0 defeat to Austria on Saturday was typical of their performances over the last couple of years. Fabio Capello's side showed they can pass the ball and soak up pressure, but lack a sense of urgency and have no Plan B once behind. England fans will be familiar with Capello's refusal to accept the blame for poor performances – against Austria the result was unfair because Russia had stopped them from creating many chances.
New stadium will have 11,000 capacity
18 November ~ At the end of last week AFC Wimbledon submitted plans for their new stadium at Plough Lane to Merton Council, moving the club a step closer to their original community. The initial process is expected to take a couple of weeks, after which more detailed plans will be available to the public. However the club are seeking permission for a stadium with a capacity of 11,000 that could be extended to 20,000, plus they want to build around 600 homes in partnership with Galliard Homes as well as retail space and a leisure club. More information on their plans can be seen here.
Huge interest in Isthmian League club
17 November ~ In WSC 303 I wrote about the affinity between non-League Corinthian-Casuals, based in Surrey, and the Brazilian giants Sporting Club Corinthians Paulista. The two clubs have a shared history dating back to 1910, when the English amateur side toured Brazil and as a direct result the São Paulo club were formed. A great deal of attention from South America is directed towards the Isthmian League Division One South side and when Paulista do well, interest in Corinthian-Casuals escalates. Back in May 2012 the Corinthian-Casuals Facebook page had a little over 4,400 followers, the majority of which were Paulista fans.
Partnership contrasts with Wonga sponsors
17 November ~ The Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) have launched a partnership with three local credit unions, offering fans a chance to help their local communities by giving regular savers access to affordable short-term loans. Newcastle are currently sponsored by Wonga, a company who offer short-term “payday” loans at extremely high interest rates. NUST’s partnership with three local credit unions forms part of their wider aim of working with and supporting other community organisations. The Football Supporters’ Federation have more information on the scheme here.
New manager Lee Clark fighting losing battle
15 November ~ The experts were clear in their pre-season assessment of Blackpool’s prospects and the predictions have turned out to be chillingly accurate. It was widely expected that the Seasiders would finish rock bottom in the Championship and after 17 matches, that is precisely where they sit. The squad that was belatedly assembled was just not of the quality required to win games in the second tier, yet chairman Karl Oyston felt compelled to dismiss Jose Riga, appointed manager in the summer, after Blackpool took only six points from their opening 14 league fixtures.
Martin O’Neill has a formation conundrum
14 November ~ Ever since Roy Keane was appointed as Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill’s assistant, international breaks have provided an opportunity for his views on a variety of issues to be carried by the country’s media. Such was the level of interest when he came into the job that a separate press conference to O’Neill’s was held and it was carried live by national station TV3. One might have been forgiven for thinking, however, that the brouhaha during the October break – which coincided with the launch of his second autobiography – would have signalled a levelling-off in such coverage.
Dithering start reminiscent of Man Utd reign
13 November ~ David Moyes taking time to decide about returning to football this week as Real Sociedad’s coach does not bode too well for his chances of success. Moyes’ name was mentioned widely in local media reports even before predecessor Jagoba Arrasate was sacked, and club president Jokin Aperribay spoke with potential replacements before Arrasate was finally let go on November 5. Once the vacancy was official, Aperribay flew to London to meet with Moyes but returned without a deal being agreed. So the club went into Saturday’s game against Atlético Madrid still awaiting a decision.