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|London's Left-Wing Utopian Non-League Ultras Are Reclaiming Football|
at 12:40 6 Jan 2015
On a Saturday afternoon just before Christmas, as Manchester City's diamond encrusted side carved out another seemingly inevitable win, I was at Champion Hill in South London, where 800 Dulwich Hamlet fans are in full voice. "We're the famous Dulwich Hamlet and we look like Tuscany!" they shouted. The Pink 'n' Blues were taking on Witham Town FC in an Isthmian League Premier division clash – it would take three promotions from here to reach the football league and six to reach the Premiership.
As fan alienation with the upper echelons of football grows, many are turning to non-league clubs to watch the sport – and Dulwich Hamlet is one of the most popular. In this part of South London, you're within easy reach of a game further up the football pyramid, so why do hundreds bother with such seemingly inconsequential football? After all, Dulwich are leagues below teams that can be seen as a by-word for lower league insignificance – Accrington Stanley, Dagenham and Redbridge and Morecambe, for instance, are all three leagues above.
For one thing, money. Football ticket prices are increasing at twice the cost of living. At Dulwich I paid £4 at the turnstile, £2 for the match programme and £3 on a locally brewed Hamlet lager. That's another attraction – you can drink and smoke on the terraces. If you plan ahead, you can even sneak in a stock of cheap tinnies from the nearby Sainsbury's for an even more economical experience. Compare this to Arsenal's £97 on the gate and £4.40 for a Carlsberg.
[Post edited 6 Jan 2015 12:41]
|Bookies take hit in ‘weapons grade coup’ on race track|
at 10:14 23 Jan 2014
Anyone get lucky? Would be interested in a word from our resident gambling experts!
Heavily-backed horses win millions for punters in bad day at the races for bookmakers
An extraordinary few hours yesterday saw bookmakers hit for huge amounts after five heavily-backed horses obliged around England, at least four of which were believed to have some link to legendary Irish gambler and former trainer Barney Curley.
But some leading firms were quick to downplay claims of a “multi-million pound bloodbath”, with industry estimates put at around €2.4 million.
Bookmakers had been on red-alert from early morning after latching on to the well-backed quintet, all of which were returning from lengthy absences and struck at Lingfield, Catterick and Kempton...
|Good read - Punk, politics & football|
at 12:44 10 Jan 2014
Punk, politics & football
How did FC St Pauli, a middle-ranking team in Germany’s Bundesliga 2, garner 11 million fans around the world? The answer has a lot to do with punk, politics – and the soul of football.
For those who don’t know what going to a football match is normally like, going to watch FC St Pauli is perhaps equivalent to getting on a plane where they’re playing the Ramones at full-volume, the air stewardesses are wearing leather jackets and ripped jeans, and the messages on the intercom are protests against capitalism.
In these days of highly corporatised all-seater stadiums, FC St Pauli is that unique. It’s a rainy Friday night, and I’m in the Millerntor Stadium, bang in the heart of Hamburg’s lively St Pauli district, known for its docks, its left-wing activism and for the infamous neon-hued Reeperbahn, the bustling street that forms the backbone of Europe’s largest red light district.
In the South Stand, with the team about to take on FC Köln in Germany’s second division, everything’s different to most grounds. There’s no advertising, just entire walls covered in quality street art; the loos are covered in punk and political stickers; just about everyone is wearing St Pauli’s iconic skull and crossbones emblem; and lots of people seem to be collecting money for something, whether it’s clean water for the developing world or a community playground. Before the game, as the crowd launches into the chorus of AC/DC’s Hells Bells, someone unfurls a flag reading “Refugees Welcome”, a reference to a recent fan campaign against immigrant stop-and-searches.
|Scientists Discover New Body Part - Knee Injuries|
at 22:09 6 Nov 2013
What with knees being the talk of the town since Faurlin was stretchered off, this seems vaguely relevant.
Scientists have discovered a new ligament in the human knee, which seems to play an important role in patients who suffer ligament injuries knees continue to 'give way' even after treatment.
The discovery was made by orthopaedic surgeons Dr Steven Claes and Professor Dr Johan Bellemans of the University Hospitals Leuven, who have been conducting research for the last four years into serious anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries.... cont'd
|MP's claim expenses for 2nd home heating|
at 11:13 3 Nov 2013
Remarkable isn't it, how those who don't actually have to pay to heat their SECOND homes, don't see the astronomical rise in energy bills as something they need to do something about?!
"MPs' expenses claims included '£200,000 to heat second homes'"
Sunday Mirror reports that 340 MPs did so up to March this year, with Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi topping the list with £5,822.27
MPs have come under attack for claiming £200,000 of taxpayers' money to cover the cost of their energy bills.
Some 340 MPs, including ministers, have used the parliamentary expenses system to recoup the cost of heating their second homes, according to the Sunday Mirror.
Bills costing more than £1,000 were submitted by 41 MPs while 78 made claims for £500 in the 12 months up to March this year, its analysis found.
The claims do not break any parliamentary rules but come at a time of heightened tensions over the spiralling cost of gas and electricity.
Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi, a founder of market research firm YouGov, claimed the most with a bill totalling £5,822.27 to cover electricity and heating oil for his estate in Warwickshire.
Alan Duncan, the international development minister, claimed £2,750 for electricity bills and £1,250 in heating oil for his home in Rutland, Leicestershire, while universities minister David Willetts claimed £2,596.
Labour MP John Mann, who did not claim for his energy bills, told the Sunday Mirror: "Perhaps the MPs who have submitted the claims should start wearing thicker jumpers.
|Good Time to Shop in France - 75% Tax|
at 10:11 25 Oct 2013
French football clubs to strike over François Hollande's 75% supertax
Clubs say Socialist government's new top-rate of income tax will lead to exodus of top players and 'the death of French football'
François Hollande's 75% supertax on the mega-rich is at the centre of another row after French football clubs said they would cancel all matches scheduled for the final weekend in November to protest at the levy.
The symbolic tax – a 75% tax on income exceeding €1m (£850,000)a year – has caused a headache for the Socialist government since it was thrown out as unconstitutional by France's top court. To avoid the embarrassment of a major policy U-turn, ministers redrafted the tax earlier this year to shift the burden from individuals to employers – a legislative shimmy that has spooked football clubs, which famously pay vast salaries even to bit-part players.
Clubs say they are already under financial pressures and that the tax would spark an exodus of top players to rival leagues abroad, killing the domestic game. In spite of a poll showing that 85% of French people are in favour of the tax being applied to football clubs, the clubs decided to step up their protests.... cont'd
at 11:55 7 Oct 2013
[Post edited 7 Oct 2013 11:56]
|Hughes: "I was wrong to leave Fulham."|
at 15:53 3 Oct 2013
Former Fulham manager Mark Hughes accepts he probably made a mistake leaving the club.
Hughes, who is now in charge at Stoke, resigned as Cottagers boss in the summer of 2011 saying he wanted to "further my experiences". At the time he had been heavily linked with a vacancy at Aston Villa but it was QPR where he was to work next, in what proved a dire spell.
The Welshman spent just 10 months at Loftus Road, narrowly avoiding relegation in 2012 and, despite heavy investment, being sacked just 12 games into the next Premier League campaign.
Hughes, who is preparing to return to Craven Cottage with Stoke this weekend, said: "I left under something of a cloud.
"At the time I made the decision to leave because, given what I knew and what I thought was going to happen in the future, I couldn't commit to a new contract.
"I made the decision to leave but, with hindsight, it was probably the wrong decision.
"When I was there I had a few doubts over what kind of investment would be made available to strengthen the team. I interpreted that as maybe the club didn't want to keep on progressing.
"Obviously, almost immediately after I left they started investing in good players and spending some money, so I probably got that wrong."
Hughes has made an encouraging start as he bids to revive his managerial career with Stoke.
Appointed in the summer, the 49-year-old has earned plaudits for the passing style he has introduced at the Britannia Stadium, football which contrasts with the club's reputation for physical and direct play.
The past fortnight has brought setbacks, however, with defeats to Arsenal and Norwich and Hughes wants to get back to winning ways at his old club.
He said: "I don't think I have got anything to prove there. I am looking to go back there with my team now, which is Stoke, and do well.
"We need to get back on track."
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