Decline and Fall?: Football and “Failing” Towns

November 10, 2013

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“Last month The Economist hit the headlines for publishing a distinctly unflattering portrait of several British towns including Wolverhampton, Hull, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough. As the stats – for unemployment in particular, but also educational standards, welfare cuts and numbers of empty retail units – made clear, the towns and cities in question are undeniably enduring tough times. But the emotive choice of title for the article (‘Rustbelt Britain’) and such sentences as ‘In Hull, teenagers in baseball caps and tracksuits wander aimlessly’ betrayed a sneering, superior attitude encountered most frequently in the pages of the Daily Mail. A graph showing the unemployment figures was almost inevitably captioned ‘Grim up north, and in the Midlands’. Even more controversial, however, was the editorial leader that the article prompted. While the original piece at least maintained the pretence of being an objective description of a depressing reality, the leader – which added Burnley to the mix – was nakedly and unequivocally prescriptive. Its core message to policy makers?” thetwounfortunates


Three Things: Sunderland vs. Manchester City

November 10, 2013

“Despite having a new manager in Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City’s struggles at the Stadium of Light continued as they lost 1-0 again to Sunderland. Here are three observations from Sunderland’s big upset: City’s Wearside woes continue as new-look Sunderland grow. ‘Dickensian’ is the best way to describe Manuel Pellegrini’s first Premier League campaign. A tale of two Citys, it has been the best of times at home and the worst of times away from it.” ESPN


Liverpool’s Luis Suárez grabs double to heap more misery on lowly Fulham

November 10, 2013

“If Martin Jol is not yet worried about relegation, he should be. He might have more immediate concerns about his job, in point of fact, since this was not the sort of performance any manager under pressure would have wanted to endure going into the international break. There is no particular shame in losing at Liverpool, especially if you have managed only three goals in 12 Premier League visits to Anfield, but it was the manner in which Fulham crumpled and folded midway through the first half that suggested they are going to find it hard to break out of a downward spiral.” Guardian


Does Rodgers Need To Be A Genius?

November 10, 2013

“As Liverpool fans we’re steeped in the mythology of our managers as geniuses. It started with Bill Shankly’s incredible personality, continued with Bob Paisley’s remarkable success, and carried on through to Kenny Dalglish in the late ‘80s, where his clear genius as a player only added to his aura as a boss. More recently, there is little doubt to anyone who doesn’t harbour an irrational grudge that Rafa Benítez was a tactical genius, in the way he masterminded runs to two Champions League Finals by outwitting the managers of more established and expensive sides, and the amount of high-pressure matches he won. Like it or not, Brendan Rodgers has these ghosts to try and live up to.” Tomkins Times


Jordan just two games from World Cup debut

November 10, 2013

“It was the denouement of a World Cup qualifying campaign that had begun 26 months and 18 matches earlier with a 9-0 drubbing of Nepal in Amman. Now, only Uzbekistan stood between Jordan and a game against the fifth-best side in South America for a place at Brazil 2014. And the game against the Uzbeks had gone to penalties.” World Soccer