New today, the latest in the Lower League Week I write for BornOffside, covering the big events in League 1 and League 2. Stories include the FIFA regulation stopping Shaun Derry continuing as a player, the bad form of Peterborough, Crewe and Portsmouth, Gillingham losing in the FA Cup, and a really, really bad miss.
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.
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.
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.
The second last Lower League Week went up late in the week last week, so appropriately enough, the link to it is going up late as well.
This edition covers John Hughes’ sacking by Hartlepool, James Beattie’s appointment as Accrington manager, and former Gillingham manager Andy Hessenthaler announcing his intent to return to management… and his belief that he would also have taken them up this year.
After two years of spending heavily, Swindon have announced their intention to make massive cuts for next year. Portsmouth will probably not be able to pay a transfer fee for a few years, as a result of being required to pay ‘football debts’ in full, and there’s the potential for a Coventry buyout by Preston Haskell IV, and investment as a result.
An Oxford supporters’ group, OxVox, have helped force the club’s ground to be designated as a ‘community asset’, protecting it against owners who want to sell it for a quick profit.
Aldershot and Wycombe have had financial problems, while a Yeovil fan has been denied the chance to take a flag into the playoff final… unless he paid £1500 for eight people to help him.
After missing last week, I’ve written a Lower League Fortnight, which has just gone live today.
Typically, there’s been some biggish stories breaking while the column was being checked over by the editor, but there’s still been a fair bit going on.
It was decided pretty quickly that Coventry were talking out of their backsides when trying to avoid a points deduction by claiming it’s only an arm of the club that’s gone into adiministration.
Walsall, Port Vale, and Portsmouth have all been in good form; Notts County and Stevenage have appointed new managers that the fans will be familiar with; the Football League Trophy final has been played, with a pro singing the anthems and everything; and Crawley Town decided to stop their local reporter interviewing their manager and players, because they didn’t like the headlines above a few of her articles.
Over at Bornoffside.net, my weekly round-up of Leagues One and Two, the Lower League Week, has returned for the first time this year, cleverly disguised as The Lower League Christmas. (Okay, maybe not so clever).
In it, I covered the form of Gillingham, Port Vale and Tranmere over Christmas. All of them are battling for the title in League Two, Two, and One respectively, and all of them surprise challengers for one reason or another.
Leon Clarke has signed for Coventry, Hartlepool United have broken two club records in the last month, and Barnet’s management team have broken up. Bristol Rovers have appointed a new boss, who’s helped to force his Plymouth equivalent out of the door. Rotherham have a transfer target which is either delusionally ambitious, or a sign of how far the Scottish league has fallen, dependent on how things turn out.
And there’s evidence that it’s not Lazio, Roma or Millwall who have the most extreme fans in Europe, but Oldham. I also round up the other significant news over Christmas.
A little late, as this post went up on Born Offside on Thursday night.
This week’s Lower League Week focuses on Port Vale, whose financial woes have deepened, with prospective owner Keith Ryder no longer returning the administrator’s calls.
Harry Redknapp returned to football with Bournemouth, di Canio refused to stop talking, Preston have put together a decent run of results, an Oldham player made his international debut against Brazil, and Martin Allen took Gillingham to Barnet, who decided against appointing him manager in May.
Once again I’ve written a Lower League Week for BornOffside.
Andy Thorn has been sacked by Coventry after three games. MK Dons have had four red cards in their first four games, so, in footballing tradition, are clearly the victims of an injustice/Illuminati conspiracy. Wimbledon have, twice in the last week, been four goals down at half time, and Hartlepool United failed to make it to a game after being stuck in traffic.
The football season is drawing to an end, but there’s still a few more games left, with the teams who didn’t quite achieve glory getting a second shot through the playoffs.
There have also been off the field matters, with preparations for next season underway at Preston, and Port Vale on the verge of a buyout.