November issue available now online and in store
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Oldham Athletic: Matchday protests at Boundary Park
Coventry City: A Sky Blues legend | Support from abroad
A World Cup every two years | Where are the utility players? | Fan takeover at Hearts | The legend of Lowestoft Ladies | In praise of own goals | Tribute to Jimmy Greaves | Problematic shirt sponsors | Ware v Hemel Hempstead Town | Creep of crypto currency | Championship chaos at Derby and Reading | Lukas Podolski's homecoming | Walking football making strides | A neutral Queen's Park scarf | WSC survey results | Focus on Roberto Mancini | Bucharest's big three denied
Doubling down Biennial World Cup proposals
As one of the most lucrative sporting events in history, the World Cup continues to be a cash cow for FIFA. So it is hardly surprising that the smaller fry of world football – FIFA currently has a membership of 211 affiliated associations – seek a combination of increased opportunity and enhanced exposure, linked to direct financial benefits from FIFA, broadcasters and sponsors. The latest spat in world football governance has emerged in this context, as FIFA has given the go-ahead for consideration of World Cup reform, for both the men’s and the women’s competitions.
Oldham Athletic 0-0 Hartlepool United Protests but no pitch invasion
Around 90 minutes before kick-off, three Hartlepool supporters chat amiably to a couple of mounted police officers near the tactical aid unit vans stationed behind Boundary Park. They are discussing the chances of today’s match being abandoned. “I think it’ll all be fine once you’re inside,” an officer says. He explains how Oldham fans are planning a pre-match protest against the club’s owner outside the ground, but that its organisers have warned against a repeat of recent pitch invasions. In any case, many protestors are boycotting home matches, so won’t be going in to watch. One of the Hartlepool fans nods. “I hope you’re right,” he says. “We’ve travelled all the way up from Kent for this.”
Natural talent Tribute to Jimmy Greaves
October 1969, Spurs beat Newcastle in an otherwise standard league game, full of graft and sweat. Then, Jimmy Greaves settled on the ball near halfway, weaved through half a dozen defenders and tucked the ball gently into the net. It was a moment that changed me. I was 13, now I had a team and a hero for life. It remains the best goal I have ever seen.
Distant echoes Following Coventry from afar
As a south-west Londoner growing up in the 1990s, I could, by all rights, have chosen Brentford, Fulham or Chelsea as my team. I could even have become a supporter of Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United through a loose family tie. But I went for the Coventry City of Jimmy Hill’s Sky Blue Revolution and the famous 1987 FA Cup victory. Premier League Coventry City. I aligned myself with the team my dad had followed his entire life, my logic presumably being that it was the more glamorous option compared to lower-league Brentford and Fulham. And thus, the most misguided act of football glory-hunting of all time was set in stone.
Arsène Wenger and Gianni Infantino photo via Getty Images, Oldham Athletic v Hartlepool United photo by Colin McPherson/WSC Photos, Jimmy Greaves photo via Colorsport, Coventry City photo by Colin McPherson/WSC Photos
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