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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

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Stags return home

Mansfield Town will return to their Field Mill ground on Boxing Day when (weather permitting) they will play another former league club Grimsby Town.   Chairman John Radford has reached an agreement with landlord Keith Haslam.

How Barca is changing

Barcelona (both the city and the football club) has a very favourable image among those on the left of the political spectrum in Northern Europe.   For them the Spanish civil war defines their attitude to Spain and they invariably will not follow Real Madrid.   It was, of course, all a long time ago: the small but significant group of Spanish civil war refugees we had in the town in which I live has literally died out and all my current local Spanish friends (one who lives opposite me) are economic migrants.

Adders hit problems

Atherstone Town have announced that they are resigning from the Zamaretto League from the end of this season and dropping down a level in the non-league pyramid to join the Midland Alliance.  They probably have to travel as much as another Warwickshire club in the Zamaretto Premiership, Leamington, and attract much smaller gates. 

Does Arsenal spend enough?

I support a League 1 club which has its own financial problems.   I follow the contest between the Premiership giants with great interest, but as a neutral I do have real doubts about whether Arsenal can win the title which is not that controversial a claim given their recent record.   Chelsea could yet recover ground, Sir Alex could well win the title again for United and you can't write off Manchester City.

SPL meeting is latest weather casualty

A key meeting to discuss proposals to reconstruct the Scottish Premier League (SPL) that was due to be held today has been called off because of the bad weather.   It is now hoped that it can be held on 4 January.

Mr Campbell sees it differently on player wages

It took a minute or two for the penny to drop yesterday when I read the third article in the Financial Times series on football in crisis which looked at player wages and there started to be a series of quotations from a  'Mr Campbell'.   Then I realised that this was none other than Sol Campbell, currently at Newcastle United.

Ecclestone in charge at Super Hoops

Bernie Ecclestone has taken a controlling 62 per cent stake in Queen's Park Rangers.  He has taken over most of the shares held by Flavio Briatore with whom he led a takeover of the Super Hoops in 2007.   The Mittal family, steel billionaires from India, have a 20 per cent stake.   Their representative, Amit Bhatia, is vice-chairman and actively involved on a day-to-day basis.

Winter World Cup for 2022?

Holding the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in the winter is the latest idea to come from Fifa's daft ideas department presided over by chief clown Sepp Blatter.   Well, I suppose it's not quite so daft when you consider that the temperature in Qatar in the summer is around 50 degrees centigrade.   The official evaluation report referred to health risks associated with staging the tournament there in the summer, but they were blithely ignored by the Fifa executive committee.

Hitting the road

It's a long time now since the bottom tier of the Football League in England was regionalised into a third division north and south, although the idea is being considered in Scotland.   Only one team got out of each division per season which meant that teams were condemned to play each other for decades.  But it was thought that it cut down on travelling times and costs at a time before the motorway network was built and teams often travelled by train.

The organised supporter

The latest in the three part Financial Times series on 'football in crisis' focuses on the supporter, but in particular on 'the organised supporter'.   What is an organised supporter?   No definition is offered, but presumably it means someone whose involvement goes beyond attending games and then moaning on message boards and football phone ins about the manager or their favourite scapegoat player.