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The Harlem Globetrotters

The New York Yankees, Real Madrid, Boston Red Sox, the New Zealand All Blacks, Manchester United….these are all names that every sports fan dotes upon. They all represent the biggest and best of sport. The Harlem Globetrotters are mentioned along these great names. You may not know their story, but the name and their colours are emblazoned on every sports fans mind. But where did it all start?

The Beginning

The Harlem Globetrotters, an all black basketball team, were a manifestation of America’s segregation laws. All American sports were racially segregated up until the mid 20th century. In basketball specifically, racial segregation lasted until 1950 when the National Basketball Association (NBA) finally became racially integrated. Up until that time ‘Negro leagues’ existed; these leagues allowed black athletes to play sport while separated from white athletes. The best black players played for the Harlem Globetrotters.

Professional basketball caught on in the early 1920’s when towns established flamboyant teams that played to make money. Most of these teams, like the city they hail from, shared an ethnic identity. The Jews had a team in one city, the Irish had a team in another city and the Blacks had a team elsewhere. Teams really developed from within small, ethnic communities and as such each team represented wider cultural, political and religious values.

During the 1920’s the city of Chicago was experiencing a black renaissance. Jazz music was taking over the windy city, and dance halls were looking at new and exciting ways to entertain the crowd. Basketball was that new and exciting entertainment. The Savoy Big 5, a local team, was brought in to entertain the mass at the Savoy dance hall in Chicago. The team performed in exhibitions before dances. Unfortunately, this lasted less than a month so in 1928 the Savoy Big 5, led by player Tommy Brookins, re-formed under the name ‘Globe Trotters’ and toured the state of Illinois. Shortly after, a man called Abe Sapersteain became the manager and promoter of the ‘Globe trotters’. In 1929 Saperstein worked his magic; he created a brand that is now known the world over. Initially Saperstein named the team the ‘New York Globe Trotters’, he believed that by creating the impression that these athletes were from, what is considered, the greatest city on earth then he could book out local gigs. His ploy did not work due to racial tension in the mid west, so he turned to plan B. Abe Saperstein made a decision to name the team The Harlem Globetrotters. He chose the city of Harlem, in New York, because it was considered at the time as the epicentre of African-American culture. Saberstein wanted the world to know that his team were black. This avoided the shock when white people attended exhibitions.

In this day and age it is strange to imagine that people were so shocked to see black skin. But in the early 20th century in America, and in most Western countries, it was not common to see non-white people. In these early days the Harlem Globetrotters played in venues and cities that were all under the jurisdiction of the Jim Crow Laws. Racism in America was rife, and the players were susceptible to it every day.

On the court, the Harlem Globetrotters were revolutionary. They were doing things that had never been done. They were dunking the ball, creating plays, making trick shots – they were simply unstoppable. As black players the Harlem Globetrotters may not have had power off the court, but on it – sheesh! It was through this camaraderie and skill that the white spectators began to admire the black athletes. They simply made people laugh!

Reece “Goose” Tatum

Perhaps the greatest every Globetrotter!

Reece “Goose” Tatum was born in May 1921 in El Dorado, Arkansas. He is considered to be the original “clown prince”. He is recognised as the man who established the use of comedy in Globetrotter play and is best known for his own tremendous comedic routines, these routines made Tatum a cult figure in basketball.

Tatum created the ‘magic circle’, this was a warm-up routine inspired by a baseball warm-up called ‘pepper’. Tatum and the Globetrotters revolutionised the warm-up and decided to incorporate music to their own version of the routine. The ‘magic circle’ is now a tradition played out at every Globetrotter exhibition to date. The players warm-up to Brother Bones – Sweet Georgia Brown, and if you haven’t seen it please refer yourself to YouTube, worth a watch.

Marques Haynes

The Messi of Basketball.

At a time when basketball players rarely dribbled the ball, this kid was doing it 6 times a second. He could dribble standing up, sitting down, crouching, dancing – you name it! Opposition would quite literally fall at his feet.

It is really sad that due to the injustice of racial segregation throughout American policy and particularly in sport, that this magnificent talent never got to express his skills in the NBA.

1948: The Harlem Globetrotters vs Minneapolis Lakers

People began to be intrigued by the comparison between the white and black players. This was the game to end all speculation and put the rumour to bed, and show that the black players were not merely clowns of the game but that they had a real competitive edge.

The Minneapolis Lakers had won everything in their sights.

On the night, the Harlem Globetrotters left their class clown reputation behind. They walked out and played straight laced basketball, and won. In the dying seconds with the score tied 59 – 59, Ermer Robinson scored a basket. That night, 20,000 people within the stadium witnessed that the Harlem Globetrotters could play the best in the land and win.

The result sent a message to the nation, and to everyone involved in American sport, that black people and black players were here to stay. The victory echoed around the 50 states, and it was time to lift the segregation on sport.

Indeed it was a Harlem Globetrotter who would break the chains of racial segregation. Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton was the first African-American to play in the NBA. Clifton became a Harlem Globetrotter in 1947, and signed for the New York Knicks in 1950.

Popular Culture

During the 1950’s the newly established National Basketball Assocation (NBA) struggled to draw crowds, unlike the Harlem Globetrotters who were selling out week by week. Due to the dwindling interest in NBA games the association asked the Globetrotters to open with an exhibition before official matches thinking this would help to draw crowds which it did, until the Harlem Globetrotters left the court and just like that the stadiums emptied.

Whilst the NBA was struggling to get its feet of the ground, the Harlem Globetrotters starred in two of their very own Hollywood movies. ‘The Harlem Globetrotters’ and ‘Go man go’ was enjoyed by thousands of new fans throughout the world. So in 1952 it was time to live up to the name and travel the globe.

Anniversary

The Harlem Globetrotters are now 90 years old. Tonight they will be in my home town Glasgow to celebrate what has been an astonishing sporting story.

I have mentioned only some of the key events that have sparked such an illustrious tenure in sport. I have mentioned but a few characters that have been fortunate enough to grace a Harlem jersey. Since 1952, the Harlem Globetrotters have entertained the masses with sporting prowess and comedy. They have travelled from Rome to Tokyo, London to Zurich, Balboa to Bratislava, Ostrava to Istanbul. It is remarkable to think that a group of black men and a Jewish manager, Abe Saperstein, in segregated and ethnically divided America could create a force so strong that it has reached every corner of the earth spreading sheer joy and laughter around the globe.

I am proud to be a small part of the 90th Anniversary celebrations tonight. Long live the Harlem Globetrotters and the good work they do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gender in Sport: What’s the problem?

Gender is difficult to categorise. Masculinity and femininity balance on a spectrum that ranges from one extreme to another, which can create confusion and uncertainty. Yet there are dominant representations of both masculinity and femininity expressed through mediated sport. These popular representations, conveyed through the dominant narrative, construct a binary definition of gender. Women are expected to behave in a feminine manner and men are expected to act in a masculine manner.

The dominant representation of masculinity defines men as being powerful, vigorous, assertive and courageous. Male athletes who achieve great success embody the dominant and popular understanding of masculinity. Male heroes within sport are worshipped for possessing these masculine traits.  The athletes chosen to represent and reaffirm the dominant masculine ideology are typically white, middle class and heterosexual.

Femininity is defined in stark contrast to masculinity. A female sports person is “required to be both heroic – superior or exemplary in some way – and female – inferior by definition” (Thompson, 1997:397). Furthermore, female athletes are expected to express certain nurturing qualities which reaffirm the dominant narrative which portrays women as being protective, attentive, and tender, compassionate and unselfish. Female athletes who are chosen to represent hegemonic femininity are typically white, middle class and heterosexual.

Within both masculinity and femininity there are marginalised groups, who are excluded from the mainstream media and the popular narrative. These sub groups form a part of the individuals’ identity which is not fully accepted in society for a number of reasons. Additionally, these undesirable representations have been excluded from narrative and are perceived as ‘others’ and outsiders within society. As a result, these ‘others’ have been restricted in terms of participation, they have been misrepresented, deemed improper and stigmatized.

Stigmatized gender groups may include homosexuals, ethno religious identities, racial groups, class and people with a disability. Particular to men, stigmatized gender groups could also include “anti-sexist masculinities, men who don’t like sport, pacifist masculinities” (Whannel, 2002: 28). These marginalized groups are identified as being unalike and contrasting to the dominant gender ideology.

Modernized sport, which integrates standardised rules and specialisation, was created in Britain in the late 19th and early 20th century “by and for white, middle class men” in order to boast a dominant masculine ideology of innate primacy and supremacy, especially above women. Furthermore, sport has been used to instill the principles of hegemonic masculinity, whilst inflicting the stigmatized and marginalised sub groups to a silent existence. This dominance was, and continuous to be, a social construction.

At the present time, male sport is given precedence within the media, while female sport is given less attention. The disproportional media coverage manufactures a distinct divide between what women and men should and should not do. Importantly, the media appears to control and preserve the dominant masculine ideology by influencing the types of sport that each gender participates in.

The type of sport men and women participate in is important. It is important because each sport requires different bodily movements and different roles and responsibilities. Therefore to construct a popular narrative that describes gymnastics as a girl’s sport, would suggest that female athletes are better suited to individual sports that are elegant, technical, avoid contact and are aesthetically pleasing. Consequently this narrative, as well as encouraging women to participate, could deter men from taking part.

Mediated sport has constructed discriminatory and preferential coverage, which has resulted in a society dominated by patriarchy. The media, and the narratives it constructs, possesses the power to reaffirm the differences between masculinity and femininity within the realms of sport, moreover the media can belittle female athlete success and reaffirm hegemonic masculine ideology. The importance of this narrative is the construction of myth surrounding such sporting events and athletes, and the implications of these constructed symbols on gender identity. Narrative constructs an ideological discourse which seeks to either oppose or approve gender ideology. Fundamentally, the main purpose of mediated sport narrative is to nourish common and ill informed beliefs and identities relative to gender.

Narrative within mediated sport gives rise, predominantly, to a hegemonic masculine ideology that reinforces and re-imagines a society ruled by patriarchy. As a consequence of this constructed ideology gender differences and definitions of gender are difficult to locate. There is confusion within what it means to be masculine and what it means to be feminine, and importantly under what circumstances. What is known within this dominate imagined masculinity is that it is characterized within the media narrative as being white, heterosexual, aggressive and wealthy. Furthermore, it is perceived that masculinity is characterized in contrast to its significant other, femininity. Contrary to masculinity, femininity is characterized as being submissive and disproportionately delicate. Additionally within mediated sport female athletes are framed as sexual objects. Importantly, both gender ideologies display an explicit stance against homosexuality. It is almost forbidden within all media narrative. Furthermore, racial identities are restricted within the narrative upon the basis of the athlete being both successful and capable of financial gain. These assumptions created by the media narrative construct gender as a binary configuration, whereby an individual is either masculine or feminine. This is not the case. Especially while it remains unclear as to the definitions regarding both genders. What should be noted is that this is done within mediated sport in the most subtle of forms. The narrative is merely a product, and a re-submission, reproduced over time that constructs presumptions and imagined gender ideologies which lend to a chosen hegemonic power.

 

 

 

 

Reference List

 

Hargreaves, J. (2000) Heroines of Sport: the Politics of difference and identity. London, Routledge

 

Boyle, E. (2014). ‘Requiem for a “Tough guy”: Representing Hockey Labor, Violence and Masculinity in Goon’, Sociology of Sport Journal, Vol. 31, No. 3, pp. 327-348.

 

Scraton, S. & Flintoff, A. (2002) Gender and Sport: a reader. London, Routledge

 

Whannel, G. (2002) Media Sports Stars: Masculinities and Moralities. London, Routledge

 

Kennedy, E. and Hills, L. (2009) Sport, Media and Society. Oxford: Berg

 

Archetti, E. (1999) Masculinities: Football, Polo and the Tango in Argentina. Oxford, Berg

 

Allain, K. A. (2011). ‘Kid Crosby or Golden Boy: Sidney Crosby, Canadian national identity, and the policing of hockey masculinity’, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, Vol. 46, No. 1, pp. 3 – 22.

 

Atencio, M. Beal, B. and Yochim, E. C. (2013). “It Ain’t Just Black kids and white Kids”: The Representation and Reproduction of Authentic “Skurban” Masculinities’. Sociology of Sport Journal, Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 153-172.

 

Boyle, E. (2014). ‘Requiem for a “Tough guy”: Representing Hockey Labor, Violence and Masculinity in Goon’, Sociology of Sport Journal, Vol. 31, No. 3, pp. 327-348.

 

Cooky, C. Dycus, R. and Dworkin, S. L. (2013). “What makes a woman a woman?” Versus “Our first lady of sport”: A comparative analysis of the United States and the South African Media Coverage of Caster Semenya’, Journal of Sport & Social Issues, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 31-56.

 

Ho, M. H. S. (2014). ‘Is Nadeshiko Japan “Feminine?” Manufacturing Sport Celebrity and National Identity on Japanese Morning Television’, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Vol.  38, No. 2, pp. 164-183.

 

Khomutova, A. and Channon, A. (2015). ‘Legends’ in ‘Lingerie’: Sexuality and Athleticism in the 2013 Legends Football League US Season’, Sociology of Sport Journal, Vol. 32, No.2, pp. 161-182.

 

McDonald, M. G. and Birrell, S. (1999). ‘Reading Sport Critically: A Methodology for Interrogating Power’, Sociology of Sport Journal, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 283-300.

 

Mwaniki, M. F. (2012). ‘Reading the career of a Kenyan runner: The case of Tegla Loroupe’. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, Vol. 47, No. 4, pp. 446-460.

Fan Ownership: What’s the Problem?

Fan Ownership is one of footballs biggest talking points at the present time. With dwindling attendances, rising ticket prices and teams going bust left, right and centre it is surely time to take action!

In the season 2011/2012 the then Scottish Premier League experienced a collective loss of over £10 million. Only two of the 10 teams analysed within the PWC report calculated a profit. Since then British football fans witnessed the collapse of Hearts of Midlothian and Rangers Football Club, two of Scotlands biggest names. During the football seasons from 2009 – 2014 Scottish footballs’ top tier has experience a loss of almost £40 million. Scottish Football has generated substantial losses in contrast to the other European football leagues. There have been similar cases of financial loss in England with regards to Leeds United, Portsmouth, Hereford, Wrexham and most recently Bolton Wanderers.

There are clearly problems with the ownership models largely in use at this current stage. The predominant models are split into two different types. There are ownership types; examples of this include benevolent family ownership and individual ownership, and there are company types; examples of this include public limited companies and private limited companies. These models share a common advantage towards either a single individual or a group of select individuals. There are obvious problems with the current models in place, therefore alternatives must be encouraged.

There are significant benefits to fan ownership. Fanatics, individuals who express a life long devotion to their club, and most supporters in broad terms provide stability and continuity in relation to financial backing. In most cases it is unlikely for a supporter to switch alliance to another club. Supporters, for the most part, remain constant. The benefit of this continuity is that the supporters are, for the most part, key investors in the company and have a significant impact on revenue. Supporters, and devoted fans, will not turn their back on their clubs. Private investors are known to let clubs, fans and communities down by mismanaging business; this is most notable in the case of Manchester United Football Club with the takeover of the Glazer family, similar cases have occurred at Liverpool and Rangers Football Clubs. To resolve this, supporters must be encouraged to own their clubs.

“Results don’t matter; I mean you’re always going to support

your football club no matter what.”

(Cork City fan, 2015)

Supporters influence their club massively. Even with the absence of fan ownership supporters engage in and influence all aspects of their club, including the clubs culture and identity. For most supporters the clubs stadium is the epicentre of their cultural expression and regional pride. It is within the realms of the football ground that supporters will express their undying support for their team. Importantly, the financial influence of the supporters comes predominantly from gate money. It is clear from a number of reports that supporters’ involvement is crucial to the financial gain of any football club. Supporters’ are fundamental to the process which allows football clubs to maximise their potential returns. The loyalty of supporters is often exploited to generate finance for the club. Merchandise is tailored to fan interests and supporters are given no choice but to pay extortionate ticket prices. This is not in the best interest of those who devote all their efforts to the club they love: the fans. There surely has to be a resolution.

FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT

A contemporary example of supporter mistreatment is the case of Leeds United Football club. The Yorkshire side have experienced financial plight for the worst part of 15 years. Despite having a unified Supporters Trust (Leeds Fans United), chairman and majority share holder Massimo Cellino has halted the supporters’ bid for their club. After agreeing to sell the club to the Leeds United Fans trust in October 2015, the controversial Chairman changed his mind a month later and withdrew his interest. The Leeds supporters were subjected to further financial and managerial mistreatment in early December 2015, when Cellino imposed a £5 increase in ticket price. This inflated price included a food voucher to be used at half time, which would be used as an incentive to encourage supporters to use the clubs catering facilities regardless of whether the loyal supporter wanted the half time pie or not. This incentive provides support for fan ownership in football. Leeds United is one case out of a multitude of others. Supporters and their clubs are experiencing a complete lack of communication and consultation. Supporters are being completely disregarded and ignored with regards to decisions that affect them. Importantly, the more fans continue to be excluded from ownership the more they become disenfranchised from their football clubs. To discourage the club from fan ownership is to discourage the club from gaining any form of stability and transparency.

“It’s now all about the football. It’s not even the case of like; I don’t go around the place saying ‘oh I run a football club’, because you know that’s not part of it.

But just for me as a fan, who’s gone through all the shite with bad owners, for me knowing that my club will never be in that situation again because its fan owned is fantastic.”

(Cork City fan, 2015)

HAPPIER TIMES

There are certainly indications that fan ownership is met with a positive response from the majority of fans. In my opinion football will only be better when owned by its supporters. However there are certainly negatives amongst the positives. There is a huge question as to whether or not supporter associations can control, or at least affect, the power within the board room. Can the representative individual, or individuals, successfully engage in important decisions especially when these representatives are likely to be the ‘outsider’ on the board. Furthermore, supporter associations have even been accused of exploiting their own clubs by forming unfavourable alliances with board members who possess majority shares in order to strengthen their own authority. When instances like this have occurred it has naturally caused distrust amongst supporters, which has a negative effect on transparency and assurance.

However, there are too many positive examples of supporter ownership that greatly outweigh any such negatives. Hereford FC dropped out of the Football League through relegation in 2012 and since then the supporters were made to endure three seasons of financial mismanagement under two different owners in David Keyte, who refused to sell to the Hereford United Supporters Trust, and Tommy Agombar. Under Agombar’s rein Hereford was ejected from non league football due to large sums of debt and in December 2014 Hereford FC collapsed. Since 2015 under fan ownership, Hereford FC, have created a sustainable future attracting no fewer than 2,000 members, the club have acquired kit sponsorship and have even obtained possession of Edgar Street stadium, the ground the original club used since 1924. Fan ownership has brought sustainability, democracy, inclusion and continuity to the club. There are many examples of this positive change in the light of supporter ownership at other clubs, such as FC United of Manchester and Portsmouth FC, which is why I strongly believe supporters’ should be given the right to own their club.

FAN OWENRSHIP: THIS IS OUR TIME! 

Majority ownership has led to the collapse of many British football clubs. Supporters’ loyalty and devotion to their clubs have been exploited by owners, and the common aspiration for success has been employed as a rational explanation for groundless, unreasonable and unmanageable economic abuse.

There are successful cases of fan ownership at both the bottom and top end of professional football. Importantly, there are far too many cases of bad ownership.

Football, is about community. British football must regain this sentiment.  The supporters, the people who invest time and money into their club, should be the ones who own it and make decisions in regards to what is best for their club. A great man once said “Football without fans it nothing.”, and never have those words resonated more with football supporters than right now. Everyone who loves this game has a responsibility to take a good hard look at themselves and ask, ‘What am I doing to make a difference?’.

 

 

References

BBC Sport (2015a) ‘Massimo Cellino: Leeds chairman calls off plan to sell club to fans’, BBC Sport website  http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/34721028 accessed on 7 December 2015

BBC Sport (2015b) ‘Hereford FC: New club to play in Midland Football League’, BBC Sport website http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/32740977 accessed on 8 December 2015

BBC Sport (2015c) ‘Hereford FC supporters crucial to future of phoenix club’, BBC Sport website http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/33500060 accessed on 8 December 2015

BBC Sport (2015d) ‘Hereford FC shirt sponsor deal agreed for new season’, BBC Sport website http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hereford-worcester-33067824 accessed on 8 December 2015

Beech, J. (2010) ‘Finance in the football industry’, in S., Hamil and S., Chadwick (Eds.), Managing football: An international perspective, Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford.

Begbies Traynor (2015) Begbies Traynor Red Flag Alert Football Distress Report: Scottish Football League – March 2015, University of Stirling website https://succeed.stir.ac.uk/webapps/blackboard/execute/content/file?cmd=view&content_id=_712405_1&course_id=_10330_1 accessed on 3 December 2015

Fitzpatrick, C (2013) ‘The struggle for grassroots involvement in football club governance: experiences of a supporter-activist’, Soccer and Society, Vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 201 – 214.

FourFourTwo (2015) ‘“Come on both teams!” Westfields vs Hereford’, FourFourTwo. November 2015, pp. 60 – 64.

Garcia, B & Welford, J. (2015) ‘Supporters and football governance, from customers to stakeholders: A literature review and agenda for research’, Sport Management Review, Vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 517 – 528.

Giulianotti, R. (2002) ‘Supporters, followers, fans, and flaneurs: a taxonomy of spectator identities in football’, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 25 – 46

Kennedy, P. (2012a) ‘Supporters Direct and supporters’ governance of football: a model for Europe?’, Soccer and Society, Vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 409 – 425.

Kennedy, P & Kennedy, D. (2012) ‘Football supporters and the commercialisation of football: comparative responses across Europe’, Soccer and Society, Vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 327 – 340.

Kennedy, D. (2012b) ‘Football stadium relocation and the commodification of football: the case of Everton supporters and their adoption of the language of commerce’, Soccer and Society, Vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 341 – 358.

Margalit, A. (2009) ‘“You’ll Never Walk Alone”: On property, community, and football fans’, Theoretical Inquiries in Law, Vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 217-240.

Morrow, S. (2015) ‘Football finances’ in J., Goddard and P., Sloane (Eds) Handbook of the Economics of Football. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.

Morrow, S. (2015) ‘Power and logics in Scottish football: the financial collapse of Rangers FC’, Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 325 – 343.

Morrow, S. (2012) ‘The financial collapse of Rangers: lessons for the business of football’, Perspectives, Vol. 33, pp. 15-18.

PWC (2013) Turbulent times ahead: Scottish Premier League Football, The University of Stirling website https://succeed.stir.ac.uk/webapps/blackboard/execute/content/file?cmd=view&content_id=_712403_1&course_id=_10330_1 accessed on 2 December 2015

Szymanski, S. (2015) Money and football: A soccernomics guide, Nation Books, New York

 The Guardian (2015) ‘Leeds fans up in arms at imposition of £5 pie tax in South Stand, The Guradian website http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/dec/02/leeds-united-pie-tax-massimo-cellino accessed on 7 December 2015

The Independent (2015) ‘Massimo Cellino will not sell Leeds United until next year’, The Independent website http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/live-match-centre/championship/massimo-cellino-will-not-sell-leeds-united-until-next-year-a6743241.html accessed on 7 December 2015

The Scottish Government (2015) Consultation on Supporter Involvement in Scottish Football Clubs, The Scottish Government website http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0048/00486130.pdf accessed on 2 December 2015

The Telegraph (2015) ‘Leeds United’s pie tax is an abuse of supporters’ loyalty’, The Telegraph website http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/leeds-united/12032063/Leeds-Uniteds-pie-tax-is-an-abuse-of-supporters-loyalty.html accessed on 7 December 2015

 UEFA (2015) The European Club Footballing Landscape: Club licensing benchmarking report financial year 2014, The UEFA website http://www.uefa.org/MultimediaFiles/Download/Tech/uefaorg/General/02/29/65/84/2296584_DOWNLOAD.pdf accessed on 2 December 2015

Working Group Report (2015) Supporter Involvement in Football Clubs, The Scottish Government website http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0046/00469245.pdf accessed on 2 December 2015

Working Group Report (2014) Key Messaging Document – ownership and governance in Scottish Football, The Scottish Government website http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0045/00453211.pdf accessed on 2 December 2015

Copa90 (2015) Cork City FC – The Rise of the Rebel Army, YouTube website https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9t-Iq-2uiTU accessed on 19 January 2016

 

 

 

Challenge Cup Quarter Final 2nd Leg – Braehead Clan v Nottingham Panthers

First of all, for anyone living in the Glasgow area a visit to the Braehead Arena to watch the Clan is a must! The atmosphere is electric (at times!) and friendly (always!), it is a great spectacle of sport and one which I highly recommend you go and see.

THE CHALLENGE CUP QF

The game began in typical Clan fashion, lights out; the arena is coated in darkness as the spotlights circle around the expectant fans, over the tannoy the crowd is psyched by the familiar sound of Escala by Palladio which explodes into the Joker and the Thiefs popular Wolfmother track, the fans are excited, the hands and are going and the Clan enter the arena one by one, each player is given a heroes welcome onto the ice. Truly a spectacular scene to behold, and the game hasn’t even kicked off yet (pucked off – not sure if that’s quite correct)

To set the scene, the Clan are a goal down having lost 5 – 4 to the Nottingham Panthers in the first leg of the Challenge Cup Quarter Final. This was a dramatic affair in itself. The Clan showed great determination at the National Ice Centre to come back from 4 – 0 down to keep their cup run alive. Although they finished the game with a 5 – 4 defeat, they left Nottingham optimistic that they could overturn the one goal deficit on home soil (ice). The scoreboard at the Braehead Arena displayed Clan 0 – 1 Panthers. The pressure was on, the stage was set, time for the face off.

THE FIRST PERIOD

The Clan started the game looking very sharp, and the crowd was right behind their Purple Army. Braeheads positive start was rewarded with an early goal for number 16 Chris Bruton. An early equaliser had the crowd buzzing! It seemed like this could be the Clans night, but the Panthers had other ideas and with 6 minutes left to play in the 1st period the Panthers scored to take the lead at 2 – 1. Nottingham struck again, 2 minutes later, to pile on the Clans misery; two goals in the 1st period, 3 – 1 up going into the first break – devastation for the Clan. There was a missed opportunity in the final minutes of the 1st period when the Clan failed to capitalise on an important power play when the Panthers number 45, Steve Lee, served a 2 minute penalty.

To summarise, it was a great start by the Braehead Clan but they found themselves on the back foot for much of the 1st period. It’s not quite mission impossible yet though, they did come back from being 4 – 0 down in the first leg.

THE SECOND PERIOD

It was a rather uninspiring 2nd period. The first bit of excitement came with 9 minutes to play when the Panthers Steven Lee found himself in the sin bin for the second time of the evening. This was an opportunity for the Clan to claim a goal back but they were unsuccessful in gaining from the advantage. With 5 minutes remaining in the period the Clans number 6, Scott Aarssenn, was made to serve a penalty leaving Braehead with 5 men on the ice.

There was some entertainment towards the end of the 2nd period when a controversial ricochet helped the puck land at the heel of the netminder (that’s the guy in the goals) who hadn’t a clue it had crept up behind him. The crowd gasped and were instantly relieved when the puck was directed far away from the goal mouth. One move and it could have gone horribly wrong for netminder, Travis Fullerton.

Shortly after this incident the Panthers further increased their lead with their third goal of the night. The goal scorer was King of the Sin Bin, Steven Lee. The Braehead fans were put through the mill towards the dying minutes of the 2nd period; 4 – 1 down and 5 men on the field as Chris Bruton was made to serve a penalty – things were not looking good. Alas, the Clan endured and their number 5 Ben Davies gave us a laugh and entertained the crowd with his terrific left peg after he lost his stick to the ice. Good effort from Davies who continued to defend despite the fact his stick lay flat on the ground.

The laughter didn’t last long, and in the final minute of the 2nd period the Panthers secured their fourth goal of the night taking a 5 – 1 lead.

As one Clan fan put it, “Time to wake up!”

Overall, a timid and uninspiring display from the Purple Army.

THE THIRD PERIOD

Despite a strong start, the home side lost another goal at the hands of the ruthless Nottingham Panthers. Their fifth of the evening and the score was 6 – 1. The home fans remained in good spirit, and continued to chant for their beloved Purple Army in spite of the disastrous result.

The Clans pattern of play was far more direct and aggressive in the final period. But it was too little, too late for Braehead. Still, they soldiered on and continued to entertain the fans.

CLAN GOAL!!! Number 49, Brendan Brooks! Restoring some faith to the Clan crowd! The score was now 6 – 2.

CLAN GOAL!!! With seconds remaining the Clan score their third goal of the match. Captain Keith Matt gets his first and the last goal of the match. The game finished 6 – 3.

If only Braehead started as they finished. It wasn’t to be, but what a terrific night!

THE PURPLE ARMY

I have been to the Braehead Arena on many occasions, and it never fails to impress me. Crowd attendance is magnificent, the chants are great, the people are friendly and the camaraderie is second to none, as is the entertainment. Even with tonight’s dreadful defeat, consequently leading to cup elimination, it was yet again an outstanding night.

This truly is one of Glasgow’s greatest weekly events. Please get yourself along, I promise you’ll be hookeed!

PS. You can have a wee drink at the game! (If you’re 18 and over of course)

IMAG1741.jpg

 

Australian Open 2016, British success.

Johanna Konta has continued her remarkable run of form and has reached the semi finals of the Australian Open by beating China’s Zhang Shuia.

Andy Murray also had success in the quarter finals beating David Ferrer, to reach his 6th Australian Open semi final.

It has taken 39 years for two Britons to reach this stage of the competition. Sue Barker (semi finalist) and John Lloyd (runners up) were the last British tennis players to do so.

Good Luck Andy and Jo!

SD Eibar: Eskozia la Brava (Scotland the Brave)

SD Eibar was founded on the 1st January 1940. Formed by the merger of Deportivo Gallo and Unión Deportiva Eibarresa, the club was originally known as Eibar Fútbol Club, before changing to Sociedad Deportiva Eibar. The city of Eibar has a relatively small population of 27,000 (even Airdrie has a bigger population).

In 2014 SD Eibar, the Spanish football side affiliated to the autonomous Basque region, gained back to back promotion from Segunda B to the Liga Adelante to the promised lands of La Liga in a matter of two years (1 of only 6 teams to achieve the mighty feat).

The club at this time were met with a monumental challenge and faced imminent demotion back to the Segunda B, if they were unable to produce the necessary €1,724,272 to stay in the top flight. To the Eibar faithful and Eskozia la Brava (Scotland the Brave), this was simply unacceptable.

 

Eskozia la Brava

This SD Eibar supporters group was formed in 2001, when the Basque side were competing in the Segunda B.

The head of the supporters group, Joseba Combarro, spoke with Copa90 in 2015 and stated his adoration for Scotland saying:

“It’s a country where we admire their passionate support and the colour and the atmosphere that they bring to the ground. But the most important thing whether you win or lose, there’s always time for the post match activities.”

I think the Eibar fans appreciate that we Scots love a good drink!

Eskozia la Brava have taken Scotland to their hearts, and have extended their love to one Scottish team in particular, the Glasgow Celtic.

SD Eibar invited the Hoops to their home ground, Ipurua Stadium, in July 2015 to celebrate the clubs 75th anniversary. Despite receiving an absolute hammering, Eskozia la Brava and the supporters of Eibar cannot get enough of Scotland. The Eibar supporters have taken in the fitbaw’ at Hampden Park, Tynecastle, Easter Road, Ibrox and Celtic Park.

SD Eibars’ connection to Caledonia originated after a trip to watch the Scots play rugby at Murrayfield in Edinburgh. John Stewart, the piper invited to the 2014 promotion celebration in Eibar, explained the connection to the Sunday Post:

“They loved the way the Scots continued to support their team even though they were losing. In Spain it’s very different. If a team is 1-0 down, the fans tend to get on their backs. The guys from Eibar came home with a new way of supporting their team and with some souvenirs of Scotland kilts and ginger ‘See You Jimmy’ wigs!”

 This trip changed the identity of the small town club. Now, etched into the very fabric of the Armeros (Gunners) are proud Scottish traditions and values. The Eskozia la Brava group bleeds tartan, and as such the SD Eibar fans where depending on their Scottish friends to correct an injustice by raising the money to lawfully compete in the Spanish La Liga.

 

Defiende al Eibar (Defend Eibar)

The supporters sent out an SOS when their club faced administrative demotion to Segunda B in 2014. The clubs, and its supporters, launched a huge social media campaign. Essentially, Eibar attempted to raise €1.7 million through selling club shares at the minimum price of €50. The campaign successfully saw the clubs shareholder count rise from 1,800, based in Eibar alone, to 10,000 in 69 different countries worldwide, raising the necessary funds and then some. Through the social media campaign the proud club had raised a budget of €16m.

SD Eibar are competing in their second season in La Liga and are currently sitting 8th in the table, merely a single point away from a Europa League spot. This astonishing little club has shocked the world! And its supporters are proudly at the forefront of this incredible story.

Alba gu bràth. Eibar gu bràth. On yerself Eibar!

 

 

 

https://www.sundaypost.com/sport/football/spanish-minnows-bank-on-fans-scottish-spirit/

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SD_Eibar

 

http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2014/may/27/eibar-la-liga-promotion

 

http://www.insidespanishfootball.com/109917/sos-sd-eibar/

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuS82pCBUas

 

https://twitter.com/EskoziaLaBrava

 

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13526170.Ezkozia_La_Brava__Basque_fans_of_Celtic_seek_audience_with_SNP_s_Sturgeon/?ref=twtrec

 

http://www.thebasquepass.com/sd-eibar/eibar-to-host-celtic-75-anniversary-match

 

http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/fans-of-basque-club-eibar-adopt-scottish-spirit-1-3613135

 

http://www.theguardian.com/football/video/2015/sep/03/eibar-model-another-kind-of-football-is-possible-passport-video

 

THE SACKED ONE.

So Mourinho has been sacked, and the world wants to know – who will fill the special one’s boots?

The Blues, and Abramovich, have a great history of sacking. No seriously, it works!

MOURINHO GOES, GRANT IN (THE FIRST TIME)

Lets go back to 2007, the first time Mourinho was sacked. Under the Portuguese manager, from 2004 – 2006, Chelsea won their first league title in half a century, and followed it up with another, and had claimed the FA Cup and League Cup. Yet tension has been mounting as Mourinho’s relationship with owner Roman Abramovich became increasingly irritable. The manager caused further quarrel over the appointment of Avram grant as the director of football, a role that Mounrinho opposed. The hierarchy were infuriated over the managers’ behaviour and, with Chelsea fifth, Mourinho was sacked after a disappointing Champions League draw against Rosenborg.

Avram Grant replaced Mounrinho and despite losing to Manchester United in his first league game, Chelsea would go on to lose only one game in 32 under Grant in the Premier League. That season under Avram Grant, Chelsea finished 2nd in the Premier League, were runners up in both the League Cup and the Champions League.

SCOLARI LOST THE DRESSING ROOM AND THE DUTCH MAN FOUND IT

The Brazilian, Scolari, never got to grips with club management at Chelsea. Fan favourites John Terry and Frank Lampard were the biggest names amongst the sceptics that were confused by the managers’ methods. Scolari barely lasted 7 months. The final straw was a nil nil draw against Hull City at Stamford Bridge where the Blues had only won 6 in 13 home matches. Chelsea, at the time, were 4th in the table and still remained in the FA Cup and the Champions League. The Brazilian was gone.

Dutchman, Guus Hiddink, would replace him as interim manager. He is the favourite to take the job again following the sacking of Jose Mourinho this afternoon. Under Hiddink, Chelsea lost only once in 23 matches. He lead the team to a successful Champions League campaign, reaching the semi final only to be put out by FC Barcelona. The Light Blues finished 3rd in the league and won the FA Cup.

THE INEXPERIENCED BOAS, REPLACED BY HIS APPRENTICE DI MATTEO

It all seemed too much for André Villa – Boas. The manager attempted to revamp the squad, while facing constant challenges and opposition during his first taste of Premier League football. The clubs experienced players were quickly dissatisfied with Boas methods’ and the teams’ performance suffered because of it. Results began to decline, Chelsea slid down the table while others moved up. Villa – Boas suffered a 3 – 1 first leg defeat to Italian side, Napoli, in the knock out stages of the Champions League. Soon after, his team would slump to a 1 – 0 away defeat at West Brom. This was the final nail in the coffin. The decision was made, and Boas was gone.

His replacement, and club assistant, Di Matteo would make a lasting impression on the West London club. The Italian had a great relationship with the Chelsea players, and this helped restore some faith amongst the experienced players that were heavily criticised during Boas reign. The league form never really recovered and Chelsea finished in 6th place – the lowest position under Abramovich. However, Di Matteo will forever be remembered for his magnificent cup double. After a poor start Chelsea finished he season as FA Cup winners and under Di Matteo the club won their first European Cup beating Bayern Munich on penalties. Perhaps, Abramovich should have sacked Mourinho sooner – you never know!

SO WHO IS NEXT?

Juande Ramos and Guus Hiddink are the favorites to succeed Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, but Pep Guardiola is the long-term bet. Carlo Ancelotti, Rafael Benitez and even Brendan Rodgers have been named as contenders for the job.

Whoever it may be, the replacement for the most successful manager in the club’s history must ensure safety in the Premier League and hope for a prolonged and successful Champions League campaign.

Chelsea will return to domestic competition when they play Sunderland on Saturday at Stamford Bridge (3pm KO).

 

THE GREAT ESCAPE: Champions League Preview

Olympiakos v Arsenal, Wednesday 9th December (7.45pm KO)

 

Arsenal require a win against the Greek outfit this evening to progress through to the last 16 of the Champions League knock out stages.

 

Last night Manchester United crashed out of Europe’s elite football competition after a 3 – 2 away defeat to VfLWolfsburg. This sent shockwaves around Britain. How could a club of this stature be prematurely KO’d from the Champions League, a competition they won merely 7 years ago?

 

Will the Gunners suffer the same fate?

 

Arsenal can only qualify for the last 16 as Group F runners-up if they better Olympiakos 3-2 win at the Emirates.

 

A 1-0 or 2-1 win will not be enough. The Gunners require 3-2 or a higher score line to give them a better head-to-head record than their Greek rivals in the group.

 

With this score line, Arsenal would then finish above Olympiakos on overall goal difference.

 

The Stats

  • In Greece, Arsenal have drawn one and lost four of their last five games

 

  • The Gunners have won seven and lost four of their last 13 European away fixtures

 

  • Olympiakos are aiming to progress to the knock out stages of the Champions League for the second time in three seasons.

 

  • Olympiakos are currently unbeaten in six home Champions League ties against English opposition; winning five of those games

 

YOU GOTTA HAVE FAITH!!

 

There have been many great escapes in Champions League folklore, from which Arsenal can draw strength.

 

Here are some of the best.

 

FC PORTO 2003/2004

 

FC Porto after being crowned UEFA Cup winners in season 2002/2003 began their attack on the UEFA Champions League under the leadership of a young, Jose Mourinho.

 

The Portuguese side did not get off to a good start in their first group game against Partizan. Porto drew one all with the Serbians in their away fixture. There home leg against Real Madrid seen Jose Mourinho’s side hammered 3 – 1. All seemed lost, until the young Mourinho wielded his magic and defeated French side, Marseille in a double header (3 – 2 away then 1 – 0 at home). Porto would later go on to win 2 – 1 at home against Partizan and draw with Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

After the home defeat to Real Madrid left the Portugese side one point from two games all seemed lost. But eventually, Porto stormed through the competition taking a staggering 10 points from a possible 12.

 

Porto went on to reach the final in Germany, and were crowned the Champions of Europe defeating Monaco 3 – 0.

 

LIVERPOOL 2004/2005

 

In their opening group match Liverpool comfortably won 2 – 0 against Monaco. The Reds struggled to pick up points in Greece however, and Olympiakos finished them off with a 1 – 0 win. Liverpool again struggled to make the grade, and drew 0 – 0 at Anfield against Deportivo La Coruna. That meant Liverpool had only taken four points in three games.

 

In the return leg against Deportivo away, Liverpool won 1 – 0. However defeat at Monaco meant that Liverpool required a victory by two clear goals against Olympiakos (sound familiar?).

 

Liverpool initially went behind after a well worked Rivaldo free kick. This set piece set the stage for one of the most dramatic comebacks in Liverpool’s and Champions League history.

 

Liverpool scored two minutes after the game restarted through Florent Sinama-Pongolle. The second goal came from Neil Mellor who scored in the 81st minute. The Reds needed a goal, and who better to pop up and deliver it than Captain Fantastic himself – Steven George Gerrard.

 

25 yards out, dying minutes of the game, in front of the Kop and boom – GOAL!!

 

3 – 1 Liverpool.

 

Of course, if you know your history, the Reds later went on to produce arguably the greatest Champions League final ever. Does anyone remember the certain heroics of one Jerzy Dudek? Simply unforgettable.

 

WERDER BREMEN 2005/2006

 

The German side collected merely four points from five games during their Champions League campaign. Going into their final fixture against Greek side Panathinaikos they needed a victory, of four or more goals and Barcelona to beat Italian side Udinese. To summarise, they needed a miracle. And by God, did they get one.

 

The Germans battered Panathinaikos 5 – 1, they has done their bit. Barcelona however left it late to seal a victory over Udinese, scoring twice in the final 5 minutes of the match.

 

Bremen would later be knocked out by Juventus in the last 16 but they gave us a hell of moment to remember.

 

OLMPIAKOS V ARSENAL 2015/2016

 

Will there be another great escape?

 

Arsenal awaits their fate this evening. If they do drop out of the competition it will be the first time in 16 consecutive seasons.

 

The Gunners will have to progress without star striker Alexi Sanchez and midfielder Santi Carzola. Arsenal did secure a comfortable 3 – 1 at home against Sunderland at the weekend taking the London side to 2nd place in the Premier League. They will have to build on that confidence and their success in domestic competition to give them any sort of chance of completing the great escape.

 

“Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be.

The Future’s not ours to see. Que sera, sera!”

 

Have Chelsea lost the keys to the bus?

Substitute, Glenn Murray, has just scored one of the most memorable goals in the history of AFC Bournemouth and in the history of the English Premier League.

 

AFC BOURNEMOUTH: The Premier League Rug Rats

 

The Cherries have just defeated the current champions of England’s top flight division in their own back yard. A headed goal on the 82nd minute has shocked the football world! This is a game they will never forget!

 

There were heroic performances all over the pitch today. The Cherries played the Blues off the park at times, and matched them in every way. Artur Boruc, who has been under a lot of criticism since the start of the season, produced a memorable performance between the sticks and managed to successfully preserve his clean sheet. Manager Eddie Howe has Bournemouth supporters gushing over the cherries style of play. The team have struggles to produce positive results, but their performances have simply been a breath of fresh air this season.

 

CHELSEA FC: The Premier League Pensioners

 

Chelsea Football Club, the current league holders, are now sitting 14th in the league merely 3 points away from the relegation zone. AFC Bournemouth, a team who are competing in the top flight of English football for the first time in their history, is now only 2 points away from the league champions. This is a massive result for AFC Bournemouth, and these crucial 3 points have lifted the club out of the dreaded relegation zone.

 

The Blues have attained only 15 points in 15 games, and have lost a total of 8 games this season. This places Chelsea 11 points away from 5th place Tottenham Hotspurs (minimum European place)  and 17 points away from current league leaders Leicester City, who have had a phenomenal start to their season.

 

CHELSEA FC: The Collapse

 

The Special One, Jose Mourinho, is now under tremendous pressure from the fans. It seems he has misplaced the keys of the old Chelsea bus. The team have conceded 24 goals in the Premier League this season. Last season the Blues only conceded 32 goals over the entire season.

 

There is no question that the challenge for the top four is over for Jose Mourinho; a fall out with your captain and team doctor are sure signs of turbulence at any football club. The Chelsea captain, John Terry, has offered 20 years of service at Stamford Bridge and this season has been shut out of the team by Frenchman, Kurt Zouma. His substitution at half time against Manchester City at the beginning of the season seemed to “shock” the Chelsea captain, yet he backs manager Mourinho to return the London based club to form. As much as the captain may back his boss, his boss has not returned the favour. Terry has only made 8 league appearances this season.

 

Chaos has surrounded Chelsea Football Club and manger, Jose Mourinho, since the beginning of the campaign 2015/2016. A stadium ban from the Football Association prevented The Special One from entering the Britannia Stadium back in November. This ban was issued after being dismissed to the stand during a 2 – 1 defeat to West Ham United in October. Furthermore, Mourinho was issued a £50,000 fine by the FA for comments he made about ‘cowardly’ English officials. These comments followed after a defeat by Southampton in October.

 

Mourinho found himself in more trouble after former club doctor Eva Carneiro filled a legal claim against the Chelsea gaffer. Carnerio has claimed that Mourinho used derogatory language against her and that the manager was instrumental in effectively demoting her by having her dropped from first-team duties. This row between the manager and his staff has cast a cloud that has overseen the worst title defence in Premier League history.

 

There have been positive signs for the manager. Club owner, Roman Ibramovic, has stated that he has complete confidence in Mourinho and that the manager has the full backing of the clubs owner. Furthermore, despite the scepticism of the mainstream media the manager and his players insist that there is no unrest in the dressing room.

 

Overall, Mourinho has had to deal with a plethora of headaches this season. The injury of first choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois back in August has certainly not been ideal. Mourinho has also been let down by key players in Eden Hazard and Diego Costa.

 

Costa has proved to be nothing of a nuisance for Mourinho. A fight after a win against Tel – Aviv and a refusal to warm – up before a game against your London rivals in not the best way to impress a manager, or indeed the fans of your club especially when you are struggling to find form. These antics have led to Costa being dropped for games, and rightly so. But it begs the question: has The Special One lost the dressing room?

 

Eden Hazard had a phenomenal season last term, however this year the Belgian international has struggled to find form. Last season in the Premier League Hazard found the net on 14 occasions. This year he is yet to score in any of the 4 competitions he has been involved in with Chelsea this season.

 

CHELSEA FC: What’s next?

 

Well in 4 days time Chelsea will return to their home ground, Stamford Bridge, to face Portuguese side Porto in the Champions League. A side Jose Mourinho knows all too well, having previously led the Portuguese outfit to European success. Chelsea needs to avoid defeat to advance in the competition. After that there is the small task of facing current league leaders, Leicester City.

 

We shall have to wait and see whether the so-called ‘The Special One’ manages to find his keys before facing Jamie Vardy and Co at the King Power Stadium on Monday 14th December. Set your watches, this could be an absolute Christmas cracker!!