Contrasting views on Wanderson situation
27 July ~ Russia suffered a poor 2014 World Cup, going out in the group stage after managing just two draws. Since then FC Krasnodar's Brazilian-born forward Wanderson has said in an interview that he would be interested in playing for Russia if the opportunity arises. It sparked debate among fans in the country, with plenty commenting online. WSC contributor Saul Pope has collated many of the responses, which include plenty of racially motivated answer but also a greater willingness from supporters to self-police and speak out against such comments.
Authorities continue to look back not forward
26 July ~ The return of Dunga as Brazil's national coach has perplexed a public still digesting the implications of shipping seven goals in a World Cup semi-final on home soil. As Dunga readily acknowledges, he has to win over the 80 per cent of the public who opposed his appointment in a recent poll. Ironically back in 2006 he was unveiled as the populist figure restoring pride after a shambolic World Cup. Tite, a Copa Libertadores champion with Corinthians in 2012, had been considered the frontrunner, while São Paulo's Muricy Ramalho and Santos coach Oswaldo de Oliveira were also mentioned.
In memory of David Wangerin
24 July ~ The annual writers' competition winners are printed in WSC 330, which is in shops today. In first place is Charlie Monaghan's account of how diving has infected all levels of the game, from the kids he coaches in the morning to his own matches in the afternoon right through to the highlights on Saturday night TV. In second place is Peter Brooksbank on why leaving a game early – even when all seems lost – is never a good idea, especially when you take to Twitter to talk about it. The award was set up with a legacy left by long-standing contributor David Wangerin, who died in 2012. It was only open to amateur writers and had to be based on any aspect of the 2013-14 season. Entries were judged by WSC editor Andy Lyons and co-found Mike Ticher.
Ex-chairman John Ryan blames League
23 July ~ On Thursday July 17 "Doncaster Rovers" trended on Twitter. That's a significant PR triumph for a third-tier football club, so long as you didn't look too closely at the content. "The Doncaster Rovers can go die" is fairly typical of the tweets sending Rovers viral as the proposed takeover by former chairman John Ryan and pop-star Louis Tomlinson of One Direction collapsed. Hell hath no fury like a Directioner scorned. Proposed at the start of June, the takeover by the "Tomlinson-Ryan Trust" was delayed over image rights (presumably Louis' rather than Rovers'), but remained on course for ratification, due to be secured on July 18.
Thirteen clubs raise "lowest" categories
23 July ~ Despite the Premier League's latest TV deal being the biggest so far, with clubs benefiting from being in the most lucrative league in the world, thirteen of them have raised season ticket prices for the coming season. Alex Miller has looked at the figures for Sporting Intelligence, revealing that the average "lowest price" ticket is now £526, up 6.5 per cent. Promoted teams QPR and Burnley have raised theirs the most, the latter by 47 per cent, while Stoke, Hull and Crystal Palace's new lowest prices are also over ten per cent higher than last season. Sporting Intelligence have the full breakdown.
Seasiders struggling for players
21 July ~ While other Championship clubs have got their squads assembled and are busy preparing for the new season, Blackpool are, not for the first time, scrambling around for players at the last minute. Even in the Seasiders' sole Premier League season, manager Ian Holloway was forced to entertain a number of trialists including the forgotten man Francis Jeffers. Twelve months ago, then-boss Paul Ince complained about having to field so many auditionees in a pre-season friendly at Penrith: "We're a Championship club, and with no disrespect to anyone, we shouldn't really be looking at trialists."
Ray Whelan arrest not only incident in Brazil
19 July ~ When all eyes were on the decisive stages of the World Cup the uncovering of an illegal ticket sale scheme by Brazilian police threatened to tarnish FIFA's image once more. The arrest of Match Services executive director Ray Whelan on July 7 for his alleged role in the scheme brought matters uncomfortably close to home, since the company handles sales of premium tickets, accommodation and hospitality packages for FIFA. With Whelan staying at the Copacabana Palace Hotel that also hosted top executives from FIFA, the scandal could hardly have been more awkward.
Links with Sun newspaper
18 July ~ Thanks to a most unusual pre-season, the ire that so characterised Newcastle United's 2014 looks to have faded this summer. For the first time since January 2013, owner Mike Ashley has sanctioned a number of permanent signings, something that has surprised fans and, judging by their official website, even the club itself: when France and Montpellier playmaker Rémy Cabella was unveiled earlier in the week, their choice of headline was the telling, rather desperate: We've got Cabella!
Replaces Conte and has history with Pirlo
17 July ~ Antonio Conte's resignation as Juventus coach on July 15 may have been sudden but it wasn't unexpected. In May, after winning the third consecutive league title with a record number of points and concluding the club's most successful domestic run since 1930s, Conte turned down a contract extension. He made it clear that he'd agree to stay for another year on condition of having a transfer budget that would make Juve competitive in the Champions League; having lifted the trophy as a player with Juventus in 1996, it's also well known that one of Conte's main ambitions is to win it as a manager.