My Second Team: Rayo Vallecano

October 27, 2016

“In architectural terms primary sporting allegiances are a bit like the single sweep of the modern football stadium, while second teams are more akin to the old Dell ground at Southampton. Just as you could reconstruct much of Southampton’s history from the joyously variegated collection of oddities crowding the touchlines, so secondary allegiances reflect changes in location, interests and influences.” thetwounfortunates, thetwounfortunates – My Second Team

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Book Review: When Football Came Home

April 12, 2016

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“In June this year, Henry Winter will publish Fifty Years of Hurt , a volume that will use England’s 1966 World Cup victory as a springboard to examine the fortunes of the national XI over the subsequent half century. We’ll have to wait and see as to whether Winter can manage to get through the exercise without spinning a specific narrative – be it about Charles Hughes, too many league fixtures, penalties and the practising thereof, foreign players in English football or the antiquated nature of the FA – but suffice to say, it’s often easy to use vague patterns and trends to shoehorn an argument. As Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski displayed in Why England Lose, later rechristened Soccernomics , England actually punch at about the weight they should do given the raw materials they have to work with and Hartlepool United fans might argue with the use of the word ‘hurt’ to describe a period that has actually come with more than a few high points.” thetwounfortunates, amazon, Guardian – When football came home: England’s rapture against Holland at Euro 96


The Argument: Time to Stop Assuming Football Fans are all Thugs

February 17, 2016

“A few days ago, the Football Supporters’ Federation who, along with doing great campaigning work on issues like safe standing and ticket prices, have a solicitor who tries to help fans who get into trouble with the law, tweeted thanks to a legal firm ‘for successfully representing two fans in civil claim against police for false imprisonment & assault. Compensation paid.’ It was the latest in a long line of similar cases. Sometimes supporters have contravened the rules, on other occasions the problem has been caused by over-zealous stewarding. Often they are situations that should be sorted out without resorting to the courts. A brief review of how football supporters are treated by this country’s legal system, and their own clubs, reveals a catalogue of unfairness that wouldn’t be tolerated in any other context.” The Two Unfortunates


The Argument: Is There Too Much Football on TV?

January 13, 2016

“When did being a football fan start to feel like such hard work? It’s not that there’s more football in the world than there used to be. What’s changed is the availability and exposure of it all. Anybody with the right sort of television package, mobile phone contract or internet connection should never go more than 24 hours without a game to watch. Live football dominates the sports channels’ schedules throughout the weekend, from Friday evening to Sunday night and into Monday. Then the Champions League and Europa League pick up the slack between Tuesday and Thursday along with cup ties, replays, and seemingly endless midweek rounds in the Championship.” thetwounfortunates


The Argument: In 2016, Football is as Political as Ever

January 6, 2016

“‘Write a piece about something that is bugging you’ about the game. Blimey, where do you start? Footballs on plinths, rampant corruption, automatic bookings for taking your shirt off, the pointlessness of football phone-ins, York City in the mire of sub-mediocrity? The choice is endless and picking just one thing out is a thankless task. And yet… The notion that football and politics do not mix is absurd. Not just football, to be fair, but sport generally. And it’s a trope that comes around with alarming regularity. It needs to be stopped. There’s little in life that isn’t political, and football cannot escape.” thetwounfortunates


Football Cities: Exeter

November 21, 2015

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“When football writers talk about provincial footballing sides and cities a few familiar names crop up, such as Nottingham and Derby. These definitely fall into the category of ‘not London’ and smaller than the UK’s other major conurbations, but are still relatively large in size and success. When you start heading out to the geographical margins, however, life as a football club is a little less illustrious and more of a battle for interest and survival. As a modestly-sized city with a team that has only occasionally threatened the third tier of English football, Exeter is firmly in the latter camp. Where a football club takes root and grows can be due a number of factors.” thetwounfortunates, W – Exeter City F.C.


Football Cities: Nottingham

November 8, 2015

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“The sixth part of our Football Cities series sees long time contributor Steve Wright analyse the footballing landscape in Nottingham. As a companion piece to Steve’s post, I’d like to direct you to a recent edition of the outstanding We Are Going Up podcast in which presenters David Cameron Walker and Mark Crossley took a trip to Meadow Lane and reflect on many of the issues discussed by Steve in written form below. … Nottingham is only a small provisional city but it manages to sustain two historically significant football clubs. Maybe it would be easier for one of them if the other did not exist and the city could focus its whole footballing attention on a single point, as they do in Leeds, Newcastle and Derby, but it is because both clubs have significant individual history that it is impossible that either could secede to the other or that they could merge.” thetwounfortunates