“Big” clubs not popular
September 19 ~ Since 1997 we have been measuring, via the WSC survey, readers’ liking or disliking of 24 clubs ranging in size from Cowdenbeath to Real Madrid. We have posed the same question of the same list of clubs in 1997,1999, 2004 and 2014, merely asking for a tick in either the like or dislike column or leaving blank if no opinion either way. You have probably waited long enough to find out what, if anything, we have learned. The 24 clubs can be reasonably divided into two equal groups of clubs with "international” or “local" appeal.
But you need a hole for it to work.
October issue available online and in stores
The new WSC is out now, dispatched on the day of order from the WSC shop
- Fans protest ticket prices
- Can standing return?
- Broadcasting special: MOTD at 50
- Brazil goes backwards
- Shildon v Crook – FA Cup starts here
- Where are the black managers?
12 September ~ Apparently one cannot say Holland anymore. It is The Netherlands everywhere these days. No matter. The Go Ahead Eagles are represented by the Go Ahead Eagle, an eagle elevated among his peers through his commitment to working towards The Body Beautiful. Read more
Rangers, Britain & Scottish independence
The editors of Born Under A Union Flag have taken on an ambitious task: to quantify Rangers fans' relationship not only with Scotland but the United Kingdom as a whole. A difficult terrain to map, as historically the club has been considered the team of a union that may be dissolving. That Rangers are in this position as a Unionist team in a country falling out of love with the UK is due to a particular set of circumstances which occurred at the turn of the last century, when a challenger was sought for a successful team of immigrants. The fanbase of this new champion just happened to be drawn from the Catholic-free zone of the Govan shipyards. Read more
FC St Pauli
It is often held to be one of the unwritten rules governing the life of a football fan that your allegiance, once chosen, remains unchanged. However many now feel priced out of what used to be an affordable form of popular entertainment, while any sort of supporter activism is seen by the clubs as a threat to the sanitised matchday experience. Only very few such people, however, have taken as radical a course of action as Nick Davidson, the author of the first English-language book about FC St Pauli. Read more
11 September ~ Extra photos by Colin McPherson from the Shot! feature of WSC 332, where Berwick Rangers beat East Stirlingshire 5-0 at Shielfield Park in Scottish League Two on August 23, 2014. Berwick lies inside the border of England yet they play in the Scottish leagues, causing an interesting sense of identity for their supporters.
The teams that shaped our obsession
My Favourite Year, the 1993 anthology co-published by WSC and edited by Nick Hornby, celebrated like never before the obscure, personal details of how supporters become smitten. Superficially Falling for Football seems little more than an equivalent for the Twitter generation, those for whom Chris Waddle and inflatable bananas represent earliest memories. The bloggers deserve a wider audience, though, and talented writers and editors such as Rob Langham (The Two Unfortunates) and Ian King (Twohundredpercent) have forced complacent broadsheets to up their game. Read more
by Roy McFarland and Will Price
Following a home defeat to Reading and a couple of beers, the young Tranmere Rovers defender Roy McFarland goes to bed. A couple of hours later he is woken up by his mum with the news that "there's two men downstairs to see you, Roy, and one of them is Brian Clough". The other, of course, is Derby County assistant Peter Taylor. As McFarland enters the kitchen in his striped pyjamas, "looking like a convict", he finds that Clough has managed to charm Mr and Mrs McFarland, and the deal is already halfway done. Read more
The Gaz Metan Stadium in Medias, Romania, is the 7,814-capacity riverside home of Gaz Metan Medias of the Liga I. Their best finish was seventh in 2010-11, while the Black Wolves were Romanian Cup runners-up in 1951.
September 4, 1976, Division One
4 September ~ Two recent League champions (Leeds in 1974, Derby in 1972 and 1975) had started the season with high expectations, but poor results – both were winless after three games. Leeds manager Jimmy Armfield says in his programme notes that the two goals conceded in the home game against West Brom "were what I termed sloppy goals by First Division standards even allowing for the fact that they were both well taken by Albion". Doesn't this cut right to the crux of one of football's centric philosophical questions? Did West Brom score twice because they were good, or because Leeds allowed them to be good? Are goals the result of good play by the scoring team, or poor play by the defending team?
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