November issue available now online and in store
Racism & football: The spread of online abuse | FA launch new crackdown | Italy: the trouble with Ultras
Junior clubs need cash | Village teams fight to survive | When anthems go wrong | Bradford City getting better | Warsaw's alternative club | Ambition in Andorra | Badges of distinction | Blundell Park's fabled floodlights | Grimsby Town: a long-distance love | New EFL chairman's task | Non-League in Worcestershire | Focus on Benito Carbone | Kent clash in FA Cup qualifying | WSL draws the crowds | Retro football websites | Europa Conference League | A 1950s title tussle
Hostile territory Discrimination statistics
During the 1970s, pioneering black footballers such as Cyrille Regis, Laurie Cunningham and Viv Anderson commonly encountered abuse on matchdays. These times are considered the dark ages of football, where far-right groups would campaign outside the stadiums, stirring up racial hostility. In 2018-19, Raheem Sterling, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Mohamed Salah were all subject to overt forms of racism. And, on the opening day of this season, Fulham defender Cyrus Christie reported that two Fulham fans in the away end at Oakwell racially abused his sister. The incidents continued, no only inside the stadium but online, too, as Yakou Méïté, Paul Pogba and Tammy Abraham faced a barrage of racist abuse after missing penalties. So, is racism in football getting worse, or are we getting better at talking about it?
Bradford City 3-1 Carlisle United Bantams adjusting to life in League Two
The front page of this morning's Telegraph & Argus paints a grim picture of Bradford. One story tells of a 16-year-old sentenced for trying to build a bomb in his bedroom, another centres on a man whose takeaway was infested with rats. Yet the back page headline declares It's a happy place to be. Bradford City defender Kelvin Mellor is discussing the football club, rather than the local area, but at least there's an escape from the misery elsewhere in the paper.
Pitching in Junior football
I've been a touchline dad for some years now. You probably know the role, and quite possibly the feeling too. Hours of standing around on freezing, wind-blown playing fields, shouting encouragement in between life-preserving cups of styrofoam tea, usually followed by earnestly attempting to find the positives from the latest 12-1 thrashing on the journey home. "Well, our goal was a corker, wasn't it?" Last season, events caught up on me, and with the team reaching the Under-15s, we had a double blow. The manager quit. Our local league folded. And then a third, crushing event happened – of which more later. Faced with the probable dissolution of the team, I decided to step up and launched my career in football management.
Rising stars Decorated badges
Football is a game of chaos and a perfect example of its random nature is the supposedly simple matter of the club crest. For those supporters of a certain age, this was something that remained unchanged, often for decades. The adding of shields around the badge, rebranding and general messing around to "update" them is mainly a modern phenomenon. As well as general tinkering, clubs have been eager, often with the best intentions of celebrating their history, to add stars above and within their club crest. The problem for some is that these stars have often been added in a slapdash fashion leading to, at least for the casual fan, confusion about what is being recognised and why.
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Bradford v Carlisle photo by Colin McPherson; junior football illustration by Adam Doughty