THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

wsc372 biggest

February issue available in stores and online

The new WSC is out now, available from all good newsagents or to order from the WSC shop.

Inside
Rivalries ~ Derbies that are rarely played | The Gillingham-Swindon feud | Why Leicester feel left out

Plus
Mark Clattenburg’s game plan | Short-term goals at Swansea | Wembley attacked by the FA | Doncaster Belles held back | The other clubs in Porto | When pests stop play | Carlisle United: Away day blues & In praise of Brunton Park | The importance of badges | Scarborough make their way back | When Preston’s Invincibles returned | Barnsley meet Moneyball | grassroots inequality | depleted Hartlepool | celebrating Stanley Matthews | Inside the dressing room | Harry Pearson on deranged games teachers | Focus on Just Fontaine | Partizan Belgrade’s eventual title

372 MOTM

Barnet 2 Morecambe 1  Plush surroundings for struggling teams
That Barnet v Morecambe is a League Two fixture, or to those of us who go by the old money a Fourth Division one, prompts me to drift back to the pre-1987 days in which clubs were able to stay in the League despite finishing rock bottom by seeking re-election. With a few exceptions, such as poor old Barrow forced to give way to fashionable Hereford in 1971-72, they would do so successfully. Consequently, the moat between League and non-League felt like a wide one, with the drawbridge rarely lowered. Buy here to read the full article

372 Rivals

Fanning the flames Rarely played rivalries
When the final whistle blew at the Britannia Stadium on February 10, 2002, no one in attendance was to know that they had just witnessed the end of an era. As their side sat third in what is now League One with 13 to play, the Stoke City supporters would have been quietly optimistic of promotion. The Port Vale following that day, meanwhile, would still have been hopeful of their team making the top six, having just defeated their bitter rivals 1-0 and with 14 fixtures left to bridge a nine-point gap. As it transpired that May, Stoke won promotion via the play-offs and Vale wound up well and truly in mid-table. It remains the last Potteries Derby to this day. Buy here to read the full article

Embed from Getty Images

Control freak  Mark Clattenburg
In 2016 Mark Clattenburg took charge of the FA Cup final, the Champions League final and the Euro 2016 final. At the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards he was named Referee of the Year. However, in February 2017 he resigned from the Premier League to take up the lucrative role of head of refereeing at the Saudi Arabia Football Federation. Freed from Premier League constraints Clattenburg has made a series of seemingly attention-seeking statements that have perplexed many in the refereeing fraternity at large. Buy here to read the full article

372 Doncaster Belles

Pros and cons  Doncaster Rovers Belles
In late November, on a bright and freezing afternoon in the north London commuter belt, I stood watching Doncaster Rovers Belles deliver a scintillating attacking performance as they swept aside Tottenham Hotspur. A fully deserved 4-1 away win from a young squad with bags of potential to go top of women’s football’s second tier. It was a display which should’ve given great hope for the future, but in actuality this is probably as good as it can get for one of the sport’s most iconic names. Buy here to read the full article

Availability
WSC is the only nationally available independent football magazine in the UK, and you can get it monthly for a very reasonable £3.50. You should be able to find a copy in your local newsagent, otherwise outlets that stock WSC include WH Smith, mainline train stations plus selected Tescos. If you're having trouble finding the magazine, you could do one of the following:

1. Subscribe now and also get access to the complete digital archive
2. Buy the latest issue direct from WSC
3. Sign up for our digital edition and apps for iPhone, iPad and Android
4. Email us
5. Ask your local newsagent to order it for you

Barnet and Doncaster Belles photos by Paul Thompson, rivals illustration by Matt Littler

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