Extreme group to be banned from Bernabéu
9 December ~ Real Madrid's once-powerful Ultras Sur fans' group are suddenly fading. After a clash between rival factions over the control of the group, Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez is about to move them from their traditional spot in the south stand of the Santiago Bernabéu in order to create a "youth stand", while also banning 250 of their members. If it is finally taken, this will be a huge step towards the disappearance of one of the biggest and most extreme groups of its kind in Spanish football at the moment.
But confident of reaching last 16
9 December ~ Italy pay the price! was the front page headline in La Gazzetta dello Sport the day after the World Cup draw, an indication of how a group with Uruguay, England and Costa Rica was received by the country's football media. "Zinedine Zidane headbutts us again," the paper continued, comparing the Frenchman having drawn Italy as the floating European side in the draw to his assault on Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final.
REDaction group launch petition
8 December ~ The Arsenal supporters' group REDaction have launched a petition to get their club to play a leading role in moving forward the campaign for safe standing. A recent survey of Arsenal fans showed that 91.5 per cent of them would back a safe standing trial at the Emirates but REDaction believe the campaign needs a high-profile leader to begin lobbying the authorities to make the changes. They say that it would give fans greeter choice and lead to an improved atmosphere. You can read more details about the petition sign it by clicking here.
Will put up with long balls in short term
7 December ~ I have to confess that I've been enjoying a nostalgic flashback or two since the appointment of Tony Pulis as the new manager at Selhurst Park. All these media mutterings about direct style and dogged spirit has put me right back there on the Holmesdale, quite possibly decked out in one of those multi-coloured Joe Bloggs sweatshirts and Naf Naf jacket, ciggie in hand and gleefully yelling "Ooof!!!" with the rest of them as Wright 'n' Bright, eyes trained on the sky, barge their way into the opposition penalty box.
Controversial arrangement in Netherlands
6 December ~ After claiming three consecutive Eredivisie titles, Ajax have competition this season in the form of Vitesse Arnhem, who currently lead the table by two points. They were championship runners-up six times between 1898 and 1915, in the days when the title was decided by play-offs. Since then the club have largely performed without distinction, and also flirted with bankruptcy on a couple of occasions, but a change of ownership in 2010 has brought an upturn in fortune and also plenty of controversy.
Pavel Vrba says emotional goodbye
5 December ~ The Football Association of the Czech Republic have got their man, but at what cost? Pavel Vrba officially began work as Czech national team coach on December 3 following an unusually emotional appointment process. As Viktoria Plzen coach, Vrba transformed a once-trophyless team into one of Czech football's major forces, leading the club to a cup win, two league titles and two Champions League campaigns since taking over in 2008. That success left his former employers understandably reluctant to release him.
Results and style below expectations
5 December ~ In the 29th minute of Wigan's match against Derby last Sunday, with the team already 3-0 down, the DW stadium reverberated with choruses "Coyle out". This wasn't a racket caused by impatience – it was down to dashed expectations. Though Wigan never reached the depths of the Championship, the football they have played this season was all too often uneven and predictable. Expectations of a return to the Premier League after a single season had been high, with the club being Championship's second biggest spenders in the summer.
Via New Statesman
4 December ~ Last Monday in Westminster the subject of football governance was discussed by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Mutuals. Representatives from organisations such as the FA, Premier League and Football League were present alongside members of Supporters Direct. It was a discussion that those who run football and the clubs didn't want to happen, and thus marked a significant turning point in the debate. It allowed a platform for the current methods of running the game to be challenged and viable alternatives to be explored, as Martin Cloake discussed in the New Statesman.
Football Research in an Enlarged Europe
4 December ~ A new survey has has been launched as part of the ongoing Football Research in an Enlarged Europe (FREE) project. The questionnaire, available in eight different languages, targets the "attentive public" of football-interested people. It is an academic exploration of football across carried being carried out by nine different universities across Europe and is supported by the European Union's research programme. To complete the survey, which should take around 20 minutes, please click here.