Category Archives: Football

Isn’t this a bit racist?

Professional Footballers' Association
Image via Wikipedia

Annoyingly (and bizarrely) I can’t find reference to the story I heard on BBC 5 Live on their website anywhere. Partly because the search facility on the BBC News website is complete crap.

Anyway… the story in question. Apparently there is talk about forcing through some kind of legislation to make football league clubs interview at least a handful of black candidates when the position of manager becomes available. This announcement comes from the PFA who are a little peeved that there are only two “home-grown” black managers working anywhere in the football league.

While I’m 100% for equality, isn’t this a pointless exercise? There are many reasons why black players may not progress into management when they finish their playing careers, but is employer racism really one of them? And is forcing clubs to interview them really going to help when there’s nothing forcing them to employ a black manager anyway? Surely if they’ve decided on one or two candidates (who may happen to be white), interviewing a third who they’ve already decided isn’t in the running is a waste of everyone’s time.

I don’t have figures to hand, but at any one point in time how many players are employed in the football league? And of them how many – regardless of race, nationality, colour, whatever – go into management? I’m thinking a tiny percentage. Now it may be that 25% of players (number off the top of my head) are black, so some would expect that 25% of managers would also be black. But any player is just a human being with their own aspirations and preferences.

A large number of ex-players don’t go into management because they don’t want to. Simple as that. There are other things out there for them. Punditry is one, or simply retiring and enjoying life with their families now they have the time. Management is hugely stressful so surely isn’t going to suit everyone.

As a Newcastle supporter, we’ve had two black managers in fairly recent years. Ruud Gullit didn’t make any friends, but not because of his colour. On the other hand, we went mental when the board flung Chris Hughton out on his ear and hired one of the club owner’s little toadies in his place. Nobody cared about their background, just on the results they could give us.

Simply, I want my club to hire the best man for the job. I’m sure every fan wants the same, regardless of what team they follow. Why should we be aiming for a certain percentage of people of different colour in the role, when it’s completely irrelevant. Experience, drive, education, ability to lead… these are individual qualities all completely unrelated to skin colour.

By forcing clubs to interview black candidates, the PFA would surely be breaking discrimination law by showing favouritism? If there is racism endemic in the hiring process, then by all means lets tackle it. But this isn’t going to do it. A candidate for a job has to sell themselves and a sensible employer will look at what is best for their business. If a candidate is in the interview seat because someone told the boss that they had to interview them (and not because of an impressive CV), then they’re hardly likely to be given the job.

In the worst case, this kind of thing inflames racism. It gives the “white power” numpties more ammunition to use by claiming that favouritism is being shown to the people they want to cause problems for. If a black manager gets appointed, questions will immediately be raised – is he the best for the job, or did they just hire him to bring the number of black managers up in line with what the PFA want?

Stupid idea, stupid policy.

Remember, the aim is for equality. I just, personally, don’t see how that can be achieved by giving anyone an unfair advantage.

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Ashley Out! (t-shirts for sale)

Ashley Out
Also available in white!

Well, that was a surprise. Not that Mike Ashley‘s stupid enough to sack a perfectly able manager, but the timing. I’d not put it past Ashley to do anything – the guy is a complete fuckwit. I guess he’s just proved to everyone, including the neutral press, what an utter and complete cockend he is, deserving no place in the football world at all.

Chris Hughton deserved better, and he’s been let down by a board as weak-willed as they come.

Still, in a bid to try and make something positive of the situation, I’ve whacked some “ASHLEY OUT” t-shirts up on SpreadShirt. They’re £15, of which £4.10 (all profits) go to the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation.

Great present for any Newcastle United fan!

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Greasing palms

St James' Park, Newcastle
We don't need no - advertisements!

Well, despite over 500 objections being listed on the council’s website Fat Mike Ashley has been given the go-ahead to drape adverts for his dodgy merchandise all over a landmark in Newcastle city centre – to whit, St James’ Park. I mentioned the story a few weeks ago.

One wonders who’s getting a few free tickets for the executive l0unge in exchange for this travesty. And, yes, I am insinuating that someone on the council is corrupt. Much as I assume someone was getting backhanders to shut the Mayfair to allow construction of The Gate all those years ago.

Permission has been granted “subject to conditions” but the website’s down right now so the link to this information isn’t working.

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Hands off our stadium!

St James' Park, Newcastle (2)
As it is and should remain

Thanks to the guys at nufc.com for bringing this to my attention. And lots of other people judging by the comments on the planning department’s website.

What am I on about? Well, late last year the money-grabbing lunatics in charge of Newcastle United decided it would be a great idea to rename the stadium. This was universally met with derision and scathing comments… and seemed the be dropped. After one week stating that from that point henceforth, the ground would be (and must be by all press agencies doing so) referred to as “Sports Direct @ St James’ Park”, this reference was dropped in all the official press releases and it seemed as if the muppets had seen sense.

Apparently not.

Currently under review with Newcastle Council’s planning department are plans to hang several enormous signs from the stadium with the new branding on them. This would turn one of the best-known stadia in the country – which can be seen from miles around due to its elevated position – into an advertising hoarding for one of the tackiest “sports” shops in the country.

Please, take the time to visit the link below. At the time of writing, there were 56 objections to the plans, most of which had been entered today after the news was released on nucf.com. It takes a couple of minutes to register and you don’t need to be a Newcastle resident to do so (though given that locals will vote for councillors, I feel their opinions will be given more attention).

Once you’ve done so, comment on the plans and object. All comments are forwarded to the relevant planning officer. Let’s swamp his inbox!

The links in question:

Application summary and links to plans etc

Application comments posted to date

Pass this information on so as many people as possible know what’s going on. Thank you.

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Lies, damn lies and Rangers’ statistics

The Rangers club crest
Not as good as the papers make out

I just happened cross the back page of the local rag on the way in tonight and there’s an utterly pointless headline regarding Glasgow Rangers‘ match tonight. Basically, they’re defending the best defensive record in British league football.

They’ve conceded fewer goals in league play than even the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester United. If I recall correctly, 14 in 26 games. Apparently this is a huge thing to crow about.

However, saying this means they have the best defence in British football is like saying that Switzerland have Europe’s best navy as they’ve never been invaded by ocean-borne attackers. It’s simply not just a matter of numbers.

You can’t publish a statistic like that without taking into account what Rangers are up against on a footballing basis. Drop them into the EPL and does anyone really think their defence would still only have leaked 14 goals? A quick check as of 20:46 this evening and the goals scored in the EPL are as follows:

  • Chelsea – 60
  • Manchester United – 61
  • Arsenal – 60
  • Liverpool – 43
  • Manchester City – 47

And so on.

Compare this to the SPL:

Tails off a lot faster, doesn’t it? It’s not wholly to do with Rangers’ defence being good. It’s also the fact that SPL teams aren’t as free-scoring as their EPL equivalents. Drop below half way and SPL teams are barely managing 20 goals – and that’s against other teams of their calibre, not just Rangers and Celtic.

As a little aside that made me smile, at the time of publishing this Rangers were losing 1-0 at Motherwell.

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