FootballOpinion

Last Week’s Week, Brought To You This Week

I’ve just completed writing the latest Lower League Week for BornOffside and, after filing it for editing, I realised I’ve not linked to last week’s edition.

The main stories are news and opinion of Swindon and Cheltenham being defeated in the FA Cup; Hartlepool’s excellent form; Gillinham appointing a permanent manager; Shaun Derry retiring from playing to focus on management; Port Vale banning their local paper from covering their matches; Carlisle taking released criminal Courtney Meppen-Walter on trial; and mascots solemnly observing minute’s silences while smiling gleefully.

Imagine this guy with his head bowed trying to be dignified, and tell me that wouldn't be funny/creepy.
Imagine this guy with his head bowed trying to be dignified, and tell me that wouldn’t be funny and/or creepy.

Click here to read The Lower League Week – Port Vale Battle The Sentinel

FootballOpinion

Dodgy Keepers! Dodgy Keepers!

I’ve not written here on the blog for a while, but my writing’s not totally ground to a halt.

Just published yesterday on Squawka is a look at the goalkeepers who’ve made the most goal-costing mistakes in the top leagues across Europe, with representation from Holland, Italy, Germany and France… as well as England’s very own Joe Hart, unfortunately.

I've no idea where the phrase 'Say it ain't so, Joe' originates, but a search leads me to this handsome gentleman.
I’ve no idea where the phrase ‘Say it ain’t so, Joe’ originates, but a search leads me to this handsome gentleman.

England may not lead the world in much these days, but we still produce some of the world’s best comic performers.

Click here to read Butter Fingers: Joe Hart Features In Europe’s Most Error Prone Keepers

FootballOpinion

Turns Out, I’m Not Dead

My Lower League Week column has, over the past two years, become the premier weekly internet recap of events in Leagues One and Two written by a guy called David Stringer.

That is, unless the David Stringer who wrote The Insect Hotel has decided to branch out.

When I feel sad, I like to look at this cover and pretend Bill Oddie wrote a foreword to my book.
When I feel sad, I like to look at this cover and pretend Bill Oddie wrote a foreword to my book.

After not being able to find the time in a hectic last seven weeks (which I’ll blog about at some point soon) I’ve finally gotten back into the swing of things with a Lower League Weeks, published today at Bornoffside.

In it I cover Leyton Orient maintaining their position at the top of League One; Bristol City’s surprisingly enduring underachievement; a mass of sackings and replacements; and, more seriously, Tranmere player Joe Thompson’s battle with cancer.

Click here to read The Lower League Weeks – Getting Back Into the Groove

FootballOpinion

A Noble Endeavour

A new article I’ve written has been published on Squawka today.

With players away from their clubs for the international break, I’ve looked at an English player who never seems to be even mentioned as a possible international – West Ham’s Mark Noble.

Mark Noble, preparing to launch a cross into a penalty area populated mainly by sentient socks. Possibly.
Mark Noble, preparing to launch a cross into a penalty area populated mainly by sentient socks. Possibly.

Writing for Squawka, I’ve looked at Noble’s strengths: creating chances for team-mates; keeping play ticking over by consistently maintaining possession; his talents as a defender and his all-round consistency.

If reading about the all-round consistency of a footballer who plays for a team you probably don’t support doesn’t sound like a good time, then I’m very sorry, and I’ll try and entertain you more next time.

If it does sound like the kind of thing that would interest you, then

Click here to read Four Reasons Why Mark Noble Should Be Considered For the England Squad

FootballOpinion

di Canio’s Fascist Philosophy

Knowing a man’s political beliefs should be enough to tell you his morality. That is certainly something that applies to Paolo di Canio. His politics have been a source of debate through his management career (the GMB trade union broke their links with Swindon Town when di Canio was appointed, and David Miliband resigned from Sunderland’s board when di Canio took over) but his support for Benito Mussolini is helpful in understanding the Italian’s management style.

Continue reading “di Canio’s Fascist Philosophy”

FootballOpinion

What’s the Mata With Mourinho’s Management?

Jose Mourinho, rightly, is known as one of the world’s top coaches. His reputation is so well-established that even people who know very little about the game know him, and the variety of leagues he’s succeeded in probably make him THE most obvious name when debating who the world’s best manager is.

Continue reading “What’s the Mata With Mourinho’s Management?”

FootballOpinion

Look! A Lower League Week!!

Going up tonight, the latest Lower League Week, covering events in Leagues One and Two, is now live.

Northampton have had a surprisingly bad start to League Two given their playoff finish last season; Hartlepool and Carlisle have their first wins of the season; Sheffield United are struggling in League One; I’ve covered the latest, (relatively) mundane developments for Coventry; Leyton Orient can’t stop winning even if they wanted to (though I assume they don’t); Notts County can’t win at all; and there’ve been a load of goals in League One, now officially* the best league in the world.

*It’s at least as official as Sky Sports’ insistence that the Premier League is the best league in the world.

Goals! Everyone loves goals!
Goals! Everyone loves goals!

So how can you say no to all that? Be honest, you can’t, can you?

Click here to read Lower League Week: Northampton Are Cobblers And Sheffield United Still Blunt

FootballOpinion

This Fortnight in Football

I wasn’t able to get a Lower League Week finished last week, so earlier this week a Lower League Fortnight went up.

born_offside_green

It covered Celtic’s offers for Peterborough’s Lee Tomlin; some other interesting late transfer window action; Hartlepool’s 5-0 win over Bradford and the context to explain why this was so bizarre; Bradford bouncing back with a 4-0 win over Brentford; Tom Pope opening his account for the season; Greg Abbott being sacked by Carlisle; Sheffield United’s new Saudi Arabian owners; Coventry winnin to cancel out their ten point deduction; and the huge figures Portsmouth owe to their former players.

Click here to read The Lower League Fortnight – Pay Up Pompey

FootballOpinion

More Like Lambert For England

This article first appeared on Sportlobster on Tuesday. Sign up for free and you can read content like this sooner.

Rickie Lambert, after scoring 2 in 2 for England, will start for the national team tonight. He’s been such a success, not just in his goalscoring but having narrowly missed chances and doing a decent job as the central point of attack, that maybe we should look to his example more often.

When Lambert was called up, this was widely seen as a symptom of how understaffed the national team is. Just 4 years ago he was playing for Bristol Rovers, now he’s playing for England! It’s disgraceful!
Of course, Lambert seems to have maintained an air of zen while the media threw one of their usual hissyfits, performed in spectacular style, and now that sort of contrast is a positive. He used to work in a beetroot factory, now he’s playing for England! What a great story!

Continue reading “More Like Lambert For England”

FootballOpinion

Goals Galore for Coventry and Peterborough

Today at Bornoffside.net, the latest Lower League Week is up.

Carlisle’s results this weeks have been less bad than previously; Bradford’s Nahki Wells has broken a club scoring record; There’s been lots of goals for Coventry and Peterborough but few for Hartlepool; Wycombe have had a double financial boost; Mark Cooper has started well at Swindon but still has a few problems ahead.

Peterborough are binging on goals - any chance one or two could be spared for Hartlepool?
Peterborough are bingeing on goals – any chance one or two could be spared for Hartlepool?

Plus, there’s been a few upsets in the second round of the League Cup.

Click here to read The Lower League Week – Posh Peterborough Slaughter the Royals