The Beautiful Game

Not specifically County related, but still pretty relevant to those of you who love football.

A good piece by Amy Lawrence for The Guardian, who discusses with Arsene Wenger whether players are fed into the system too early, coached too much and lack the normality present in the average young person.


Congratulations to Leicester City, a beacon of hope for football fans: 

Leicester City’s domination this season in the premier league has shown to the rest of the footballing world that any achievement is possible given you have the right formula for success.


Something that will no doubt provide comfort to County fans, who only as recently as 7 years ago, were facing Leicester in the league. Since this time, the two clubs have clearly gone in opposite directions but with James Gannon in charge, the 12th man will be hoping they have a similar spell of success over the next decade.

Petition for a 3 up, 3 down Promotion System in Conference/League 2:

This is something that County fans should be fully getting behind now. Considering the conference is basically a 4th football league division, it seems unfair that only 2 teams can get promoted and relegated between the two leagues. Sign this petition to make your voice heard on this matter.

For those of you who are still not keen on signing, here’s an extract on what the petition is saying:

The Conference Premier is no longer the poor relation of the Football League – and cannot continue to be treated as the distant cousin that is simply tolerated rather than embraced.

Over 47,000 fans were in attendance for Sunday’s Conference playoff final – a record crowd for the top flight of non-league football – which saw Bristol Rovers beat Grimsby Town to become the first team since Carlisle United a decade ago to return to the Football League at the first time of asking.

This bumper turnout meant that the number of those inside Wembley Stadium on that day eclipsed four of the last five League Two playoff attendances, and also the last two playoff finals in League One.

Interest and exposure for non-league football is undoubtedly at an all-time high, a fact likely to be only further enforced by recent news coming from BT Sport headquarters. The broadcaster is set to extend their live coverage of matches, and will also host a weekly highlights show – ensuring that the coverage the division is afforded edges closer to what is received by much of the Football League.

Here’s a link for those of you eager to sign:


Black Managers in Football

This is something I’ve got quite a strong opinion on, so despite it being non-County related content I thought I’d talk about it anyway. BME (black & minority ethnic) coaching levels in football is something that has been spoken about a lot in the media recently and causes quite a split in opinion. Half the people seem to think there’s nothing wrong and the other half believe the opposite. County fans can relate, Carlton Palmer took over the reigns at Edgeley Park over a decade ago with disastrous consequences, and there will be many arguing that Palmer was a sh*t manager regardless of colour.

But there have been a number of high profile (black) ex players and managers arguing that something further is amiss, John Barnes mentioned that it is tricky for black managers to get more than 1 job, whereas their white counterparts can get job after job despite failing in more than one of them. There are exceptions to the rule, Paul Ince was re-employed at 3 different clubs after his failure at MK Dons, Keith Alexander managed a number of different clubs before his death in 2010. Despite this, the numbers of black managers and coaches in the football league is shocking when compared with the amount of BME players in the game. From 552 coaching positions in the football league, only 19 are filled by BME coaches (just over 3%). When you compare this to he number of BME players in the game (25%+), it’s quite an appalling statistic. Even when comparing this figure to the amount of BME individuals who have completed their coaching badges, the numbers still don’t add up.

So what’s the reason for it? Is there something wrong with the game here, or are a lot of people getting worked up over nothing? I personally think there is something amiss, and it probably comes down to a number of different factors rather than one single point. The first, and potentially most damaging, is the conscious and unconscious racial bias that some individuals may hold. Key power brokers in the game probably still hold misplaced assumptions on the behaviours and competencies of black managers. Ron Noades, a former Crystal Palace manager and chairman, noted in an interview once that black players were good for flair, but you needed white players to make sure that the team had common sense and brains. With people like this making key decisions at the top of the game, is it a wonder that some black would-be managers are annoyed? Whilst opinions such as these would never be expressed out loud anymore, there is no doubt a continued existence of these stereotypes in people’s minds. There are certainly other reasons which may contribute to the figures, a lack of role models and negative experiences may put some potential managers off the job. In what is an already tricky profession, why put up with something which makes it even more tough? A lack of networks and unintentional bias by the media also could contribute (you’ll always see the media and FA tip a white ex player for a managers job after their career has finished (Steven Gerrard, Gary Neville and even David Beckham have all been tipped for a role, but players like Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand are never mentioned).

What can be done about it? Should anything be done about it? People are split on this, many believe the Rooney Rule (black manager has to be interviewed) is unnecessary and unfair, whilst others believe it is the very least that should be done and that the FA and football clubs should be educated on the problems. Whatever you think, I’m keen to hear your views on it as I know it’ said topic which always sparks a serious debate.

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