Supporters want to change reputation of club
21 October ~ Ahead of their team’s Champions League home match against Manchester City, which will be played behind closed doors, some CSKA Moscow fans have set up an initiative to change public opinion of their club. UEFA closed the Russian club’s stadium for three matches after repeated racist behaviour by their supporters. Now a social media campaign, organised around the hashtag #CSKAFansAgainstRacism, aims to promote a welcoming environment inside the stadium and among fans. FARE have more information on the group.
20 October ~ You can never write off FIFA president Sepp Blatter – he is a man with great ideas. By Tim Bradford.
November issue available online and in stores
The new WSC is out now, available from all good newsagents or dispatched on the day of order from the WSC shop.
- New approach at Aston Villa
- Scotland: independence and football
- Third party ownership debate
- Threat of technology
- When players wear glasses
- In praise of the FA Vase
17 October ~ Newcastle Utd will be hoping to get their first win of the Premier League season this weekend when they host Leicester City at St James’ Park. In 1989-90 the two teams were in the second tier, with Leicester mid-table but newly relegated Newcastle, managed by Jim Smith and fielding the prolific strike partnership of Micky Quinn and Mark McGhee, pushing for an immediate return to Division One. In a thrilling game Newcastle missed a penalty as the visitors, featuring Gary McAllister and Kevin Campbell, took a 4-2 lead. Eventually the home team won out, with McGhee completing the comeback with a neat turn and shot. Newcastle went on to finish third, losing out in the play-offs to Sunderland. When the two teams next met, at Filbert Street the following season, the scoreline was again 5-4 but to Leicester.
The story of Billy Meredith
If you had to choose one player to encapsulate the Edwardian football world, you would be hard pressed to do better than Billy Meredith. In an extraordinary career, which ended in 1924 FA Cup semi-final defeat at the age of 49, the celebrated Welsh winger was central to many of the era's key moments. He scored the winner for Manchester City in the 1904 FA Cup final, then won the League with Manchester United in 1908 and 1911, and claimed another Cup winner's medal in 1909. He was with United when Old Trafford opened in 1910, and back with City when they moved to Maine Road in 1923. Read more
by Kevin Sheedy
Paul McGrath and Tony Cascarino's autobiographies are renowned as two of the most caustic and revealing footballing books in recent times. Their former Republic of Ireland international team-mate Kevin Sheedy has written his life story now but anyone expecting soul searching in the same vein as Back From The Brink or Full Time is likely to be disappointed. Sheedy's story is told in a fashion that could most politely be described as "breezy". From a youngster at Hereford to a bit-part player at Liverpool before becoming a key part in the all-conquering Everton side of the mid-1980s – then rounding off his playing career at Newcastle United and Blackpool – it's all dealt with in the same cheery, almost matter-of-fact fashion. Read more
15 October ~ Saint Nicholas, unofficially canonised in the Middle Ages, is the patron saint of Christmas and storm drains. Everyone knows of course that he is the patron saint of Christmas because, as a young man, he would secretly leave gifts outside poor people's homes – not necessarily what they wanted, but it's so difficult to buy for people isn't it, and this was as true then as it is now. Read more
The rise of fan ownership in English football
It is surprising that the rising supporter activism of the past three decades – from the inky anger of 1980s fanzines to the thoughtful campaigning on governance and club ownership of the supporters' trust movement – has not been more widely chronicled. Jim Keoghan has made one of the few readable stabs at drawing all these stories together in Punk Football, which traces how fan protest has shaped the game in recent times, including where it has failed and the formidable forces it is up against. Read more
13 October ~ Jack Charlton's Middlesbrough led from the end of September and were champions by 15 points, a divisional record under two points for a win. Their success was based around a tight defence which conceded only eight goals at home and a powerful midfield featuring 20-year-old Graeme Souness and his fellow Scot, Bobby Murdoch, a European Cup-winner with Celtic. Like his older brother, Bobby Charlton was experiencing a first season in management, at Preston. But after today's victory they won only four more games and went down in 21st place.
£5 off to WSC readers
WSC contributor Simon Inglis has launched the latest book in his Played in Britain series. Played in London charts the spaces, buildings and sports that have shaped London’s cultural and urban landscape for centuries. Beautifully illustrated with original photographs and detailed maps, the book is based on over ten years of in-depth research. There is an extensive chapter on football and even if your team isn’t based in the capital you’ve probably watched them there.
Lakeside Stadium is the 12,000-capacity home of South Melbourne, who play in the top level of the Victorian league system, one step below the A-League. The ground was built on the old site of the Lake Oval, which was used for Australian rules football. However, in 1995 South Melbourne were forced out of their old Middle Park ground because of the construction of the Melbourne Grand Prix circuit, and Lakeside was built as their new home. In 2008 the ground underwent another major redevelopment to accommodate an athletics track and make it the centre of the Victorian Institute of Sport.
But Slovakian team having a chaotic season
20 October ~ Slovan Bratislava v Sparta Prague may not be the most glamorous of Thursday's Europa League matches, but it evokes its fair share of nostalgia. The two most successful clubs in Slovakia and the Czech Republic respectively are, after all, meeting in a competitive fixture for the first time since 1992-93, the final season of the federal Czechoslovak league. Sparta generally held the edge over Slovan in the federal era, winning 21 titles to the Bratislava club's eight.
Landowners want it redeveloped
19 October ~ Hitchin Town are fighting to stay at their Top Field ground after plans were submitted to turn it into a superstore. The club have played there since their foundation in 1928, though football has been played on the land since the 1800s. On October 8 a meeting was held in which club members called for residents to support their battle. The land is owned by the Cow Commoners Trust, who are backing its redevelopment. Hitchin chief executive Andy Melvin said: “We believe if a superstore is built here it will be the death of the town. We also believe if they relocate us it will be the death of the football club.” Save HTFC has more details.
Posters are hand-printed
19 October ~ After the success of their 2013-14 Football League and Premier League map, Doing The 92 have launched a European version for the current season. It includes the winners of all the major European club honours plotted on a large map of the continent, with kit colours and a representation of each trophy won. It also shows which country’s teams have had the most success since the launch of the European Cup was launched in 1955. Each poster is hand printed on high-quality paper to avoid fading. The posters are available for £15, plus £6.50 postage and packing in the UK.
Petition has received 15,000 signatures so far
18 October ~ MP David Crausby has expressed his disappointment following the Government’s response to his petition, which calls for the Premier League to give 7.5 per cent of its broadcasting rights income to developing community facilities. The petition, which has received 15,000 signatures so far, was relaunched in July. Crausby said: “One year on from my first petition the Government have shown that they aren’t even considering the issues that have been raised despite the concerns of thousands of people all across the country.” More information about the campaign can be found here, and you can sign the petition here.
Larrett Roebuck played for Huddersfield Town
18 October ~ Today is the 100th anniversary of the death of Larrett Roebuck, the first player from the Football League to be killed in the First World War. Roebuck joined Huddersfield in March 1913 and the left-back made his debut on January 3, 1914. He played 19 games for the club, the last one a 1-0 victory against Leicester Fosse. He signed a new contract but as a reservist Roebuck was called up in August 1914. Six months after his final Huddersfield match Roebuck was declared missing in action near Beaucamps-Ligny and eventually presumed dead. The Western Front Association have more information on the life of Larrett Roebuck.
Fifty years since famous friendly
17 October ~ Last weekend Hibernian drew 0-0 at home with part-time Dumbarton in Scotland's second division. Fifty years ago, in October 1964, life was much better for Hibs fans. Jock Stein was their manager, they had some of the most exciting young players in the country and they beat Real Madrid. Stein was in charge at Easter Road for just a year, squeezed between his first managerial post – when he'd transformed Dunfermline from provincial also-rans to European overachievers – and his famous reign at Celtic.
League form should be ignored for "prestige"
16 October ~ In the 1990s AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi complained that it did not make economic sense that the European season of top clubs such as his Milan could be over by the beginning of November, or even earlier. Those were still the days of European competitions with straight knockout rounds and no seedings. So, in 1988-89, Napoli found themselves up against Real Madrid in the first round and promptly went out, a fate which also befell Inter two years later against the much more modest Malmo.
Sound and aesthetic add to the spectacular
15 October ~ During his side's Euro 2016 defeat on Saturday, Germany striker Lukas Podolski volleyed one off Poland's crossbar from just inside the box. ITV co-commentator Clarke Carlisle raved about Podolski's accuracy, technique and, most of all, the power he imparted. Essentially he missed and Germany didn't score in Warsaw. But replays showed the crossbar visibly reverberating after Podolski's strike. Bending the biggest piece of the goal frame is a more spectacular indicator of impact than any ruffled net. Wherever the ball ends up in the immediate aftermath, connecting with the bar is frequently more dramatic than scoring.
Questions over why City couldn't buy ground
14 October ~ The prospect had been circulating for some time, but the news that Coventry City Council were about to finalise a deal to sell the Ricoh Arena, "home" of Coventry City FC, to Wasps RFC caused a little consternation among Sky Blues fans and indeed the football club themselves. As the council met to discuss the deal, the club’s owners – hedge fund Sisu – and a number of fans groups pleaded with the council to delay approval in the hope of heading it off. Fat chance.