Another weekend of glorious football beckons, but ignore the Moneybags League and focus on the grassroots – the BBC is showing Ansty Nomads v Chesterfield live at 1230pm Saturday in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round. Get the big comfy chair, chicken wings and some IPA to watch this game Ansty v Chesterfield
Last weekend saw Nick top score with 83 points, four players each scoring more than ten points for him, followed by Tudor (79) and James S and Lee (75). Sasha leads the haranguing for October’s MoTM award on 175, with Ron (169) and Ben (165) chasing. By some continuing fluke which may merit an investigation into points gathering malpractice, Ron continues to sits top of the league on 640 points, with Scott (615) and Michael (611) chasing his shadow.
This week’s photo is of Jack Leslie, a Plymouth Argyle player who was the first black player to be called up by England before he was DROPPED when the selection committee realised he was black and his father was born in Jamaica. He has recently been honoured with a statue in Plymouth, crowdfunded by fans. The statue is adorned with images of his life and a tale of the cap that never was. He is a Plymouth legend, having scored 137 goals in 400 games.
It wasn’t until Viv Anderson became the first black footballer to win a senior England cap that the incident came to light. When Leslie died in 1988 aged 87, his true place in history was not widely known, and it remained obscured until a group of Plymouth supporters launched a campaign to create a statue in his honour. The unveiling was attended by thousands of fans, including 96-year-old Charlie Trevethan, who can recalls seeing Leslie in full flow.
Perhaps most impressive of all, the campaign has forced the FA into action. Less than five years ago, they were adamant there was nothing they could do to acknowledge the treatment of Leslie almost a century before beyond a statement of regret. This week, however, the FA awarded a posthumous cap to Leslie. It might have been nice had it come sooner, in time to be savoured by his only child Evelyn, who died in April, aged 94. But better late than never. A long overdue tribute to one of English football’s great pioneers.
Last Saturday marked the first anniversary of the Saudi takeover of Newcastle, an event that prompted scenes of unbridled jubilation from hundreds of fans outside St James’ Park after their club had endured 14 years of largely crushing tedium under the stewardship of Mike Ashley. They seem to be shaping up well under Eddie Howe, and haven’t emptied the cashpoint as much as expected. But in Spain, Oh, Barça! This was supposed to be the season when football’s bastion of sanctimony and fiscal eccentricity returned to former glories.
Instead, after Wednesday night’s 3-3 versus Internazionale, they have a first-class ticket to the Europa League in the post and in danger of becoming a Thursday-night regular on the TV. President Laporta gambled the farm by spending £130m in the summer, pulling a series of financial strokes that Kwasi Kwarteng would have admired. Barça have budgeted to reach the quarter-finals of this year’s Big Cup, so this is not good news. It doesn’t help that they are still paying off transfer fees for players long since discarded, including Philippe Coutinho. The upshot is that one of Europe’s finest are in serious financial straits.
Also in the Big Cup, Liverpool romped to a 7-1 victory, allegedly against Rangers but it looked more like a team from the Galapagos Islands to me. When will commentators learn that saying ‘the all-important first goal’ often backfires on them? Darren Fletcher uttered this nonsense on BT Sport when Scott Arfield scored to put Rangers ahead. We also had Unhappé Mbappé moaning about lack of ambition at PSG.
More tech is on its way folks – bodycams on referees: The aim of the trial, the first globally of this nature, would be to explore whether their use improves participant behaviour, while providing additional safety for match officials in the adult grassroots game. This the latest dismal note of where we all are with local football, an FA spokesperson confirms that it is planning to help referees by rolling out the use of bodycams in men’s football. Grown adult men’s football. What is going on with this country?
Meantime Everton’s auditor is considering walking away from its role signing off the club’s accounts, raising questions over its financing and ownership. Can we just get back to having football teams for fans and not some plaything of a rich and powerful billionaire? Keep an eye on Todd Boehly’s Chelsea All Stars, I think there’s stuff afoot there with an unpaid tax bill unearthed.
In lighter news, Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson have had two of their phrases added to the Oxford English Dictionary, as part of 15 football terms added including Cruyff turn, False nine and Gegenpressing. Park the bus was Mourinho’s entry, originally after his Portuguese version estacionar o autocarro. It’s defined as To play in a very defensive way, typically by having the majority of outfield players close to their own goal and showing little attacking intent. Mourinho claimed that this is what Spurs had done against Chelsea in 2004, playing in such a negative way that they might as well have put their team coach in the goalmouth.
Ferguson’s Squeaky bum time was his entry. The term was coined by Ferguson in 2003, with reference to his team challenging for the title in the closing stages of the season. The OED wording is: A particularly tense period of time, esp. one leading up to the climax of a competition or event.
Wigan could face FA punishment after their defeat at home against Cardiff was played with one goal BIGGER than the other. Cardiff staff found that one goal was taller than eight feet to the referee but told it would take two hours to sort. Cardiff went on to win the game 3-1 with one goal going off the taller crossbar. Wigan could face an FA probe.
Having lost four on the bounce after spending £150m, discussed at length in newspapers, on podcasts, radio phone-ins and assorted social media platforms, after several days of speculation, Forest’s owners released the inevitable statement, prompting reporters to scramble in a bid to cut-and-paste the news that Steve Cooper had left his role at the club, been thanked for his hard work and would always be welcome at the City Ground.
Except in a turn of events of so unexpected it might have been written by Anne Cleeves and featured a housewife who bludgeoned her philandering husband with a frozen leg of lamb she subsequently served up for dinner to the policemen searching her home for the murder weapon, Forest announced they had offered Cooper a new and improved deal until 2025. With news of what could prove to be the most expensive vote of confidence now made public, the uncertainty surrounding Cooper’s future has at least been nipped in the bud for another few weeks. After their abject 0-0 with Forest on Monday Night Football, Steve Gerard is looking forward to a similar outcome soon.
Transfer deadline is 630pm tonight. Will it be 4-4-2, is it 4-3-3 or is it 4-5-1, 3-5-2 or 4-2-3-1? We don’t want to make it more complicated than it is. Get people who take free kicks in your team, but let’s end with a smile, you need a better free kick routine than this Free kick
Enjoy your weekend