Ongoing away allocation problem at Emirates
4 March ~ After significant defeats to Liverpool, Stoke City and Bayern Munich in the Premier League and Champions League in recent weeks, Arsenal host Everton in the FA Cup sixth round on Saturday knowing that the old competition represents probably their best shot at ending that nine-year trophy drought. If the Cup does prove the saving of their season, supporters of their opponents en route to Wembley could be forgiven a rueful smile given Arsenal's failure to abide by the spirit of the competition in their ticket allocations for away fans.
End of Terry, Lampard, Gerrard and Cole egos
3 March ~ John Terry is no longer considered fit for the England team, and Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard must surely be nearing the end of their international careers. This worries me greatly. How will I be able to cheer on England's opponents when this loathsome clique of money-bloated underachievers are finally deemed to be past their best? Watching England fail at major international tournaments will not be the same without them. There just don't seem to be any young players fit to step into the lurid, lucratively sponsored boots of the swollen generation.
Should the competition be scrapped?
2 March ~ Manchester City play Sunderland at Wembley today in the League Cup final. Shortly after one of them lifts the trophy, three Premier League games will kick off. While there will be no repeat of the 2011 FA Cup final, when Manchester City lifted the trophy and their neighbours won the Premier League on the same day, having other matches on the day of the final can only degrade the competition. Yet the debate about the worth of the League Cup has been going on for years. In 2002 for WSC 179 Chris Taylor and Craig Ellyard argued for and against scrapping the competition completely.
Face fellow strugglers Bristol Rovers
1 March ~ With 32 games played in League Two, Northampton Town's season may finally have flickered into life. Their midweek home win against play-off chasing Southend marks the first time that Cobblers have won two on the bounce this season, and saw them move off the bottom of the Football League, above Torquay, for the first time this calendar year. Today will tell if they have the stomach for survival. Opponents Bristol Rovers are in 19th place, just six points above them, but are having a recent resurgence of their own.
Second host third in Championship
1 March ~ By any definition, Burnley v Derby is a big game. There are 14 matches to go in the Championship with the home team second and their visitors two points behind in third. The feeling is that if Burnley can win this game, automatic promotion is theirs to lose. Of the other challengers, QPR are falling away despite seemingly making a new loan a day, Forest apparently have a crippling injury list despite having a huge squad, and Wigan and Reading have probably left themselves too much to do.
Coventry University research
27 February ~ Coventry University have set up a new survey to help them understand the perceived level of trust people have in FIFA and the national football associations. The questionnaire, which takes around ten minutes to complete, involves questions on a range of topics from the consistency of FIFA's decision-making process to how much respect they show to supporters. It also asks for opinions on how the governing body relay information to fans and whether you feel they engage in "ethical practices". You can take the survey here.
New stadium at centre of decline
27 February ~ As the sale of Valencia remains on hold, and the club's future uncertain, Argentinian manager Juan Antonio Pizzi has boosted the team's performances in both La Liga and the Europa League, where tonight they face Dynamo Kiev. A return of the Valencia that dazzled Europe a decade ago might yet encourage foreign investors to consider making a bid. In Valencia's power battle, the main actors are the club's board, the Valencian regional government and Bankia, a once public funded bank now privatised.
Champion Hill could be target for developers
26 February ~ A 3-0 victory over East Thurrock United last Saturday ensured Isthmian Premier Division side Dulwich Hamlet three vital points in their pursuit of back-to-back promotions, but the club's short-term future remains far from certain. Dulwich, managed by Gavin Rose, were Isthmian Division One South champions last season and they have mounted another promotion challenge this year, currently sitting three points clear at the top. But events have taken a worrying turn behind the scenes.
Another struggle for Gordon Strachan
24 February ~ I sometimes feel I've more chance of seeing Scotland play the DDR, USSR or Ottoman Empire. Of the 54 UEFA countries, Switzerland are the biggest of the 13 I've yet to see live. It wasn't just that their Euro 2016 pot was drawn last at Nice's Palais des Congrès Acropolis, or that Dino Zoff gave us Ireland instead. Most galling was that another old goalie Jan Tomaszewski then put the Swiss into the very next group, and that it was England's. I felt yesterday's qualifying draw was rigged purely to annoy me. Wales and Northern Ireland fans may recognise the symptoms of too many fruitless campaigns endured.