I’ve been collecting up a selection of liveblogs, or interactive coverage as we called it, from my year covering Crystal Palace. It is not a definitive collection, there are some I just can’t find, but I think it gives a good flavour of what I was writing. We discontinued the coverage when it was clear we could not boost numbers. Unfortunately, Palace Radio’s appeal was too strong for us to overcome. Read the rest of this entry »
The dust seems to have settled on the argument and now it just lays in wait for somebody to pull their fingers out. The Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League spent most of the autumn sounding out fans and the press and launched rival plans for restructuring the professional game in Scotland. Both plans were approved by their members with some small changes and both will press on, seemingly in the complete ignorance that any changes that are made will be just a tiny percentage of the things that need to change. Read the rest of this entry »
After the publishing of the Usada’s findings in the Lance Armstrong case, the most worrying aspect for me is that the Union Cycliste International has continued to pursue a lawsuit for libel against Irish journalist Paul Kimmage. Kimmage, along with David Walsh, was at the frontline when it came to questioning the validity of Armstrong’s claims to be clean, even from his very first Tour de France victory in 1999. One would think that Kimmage would be vindicated by the Usada report, which supports the claim that the UCI covered up a suspect test during the 2001 Tour de Suisse. However, the governing body are continuing with the case. I guess it’s a question of pride for them, though Kimmage maintains they are seeking to silence him.
The problem is that cycling is still in a precarious position. Looking at the UCI’s 2011 financial reports show that shrinking TV contracts and a diminishing number of races are big threats to the sport. Interest is still high, the question is whether the corporations are willing to pay for it. I suppose they’re now paying for the era that precedes this one. Lance Armstrong’s seven Tour wins helped cycling immensely and the UCI needs the stink to come off or else it will not be able to sustain the pro cycling it has right now, let alone expand the sport. However, the stink will come off and the sport will expand because it seems to me that the paying public don’t care enough about drugs cheat to actually stop watching. There’s not enough of an incentive to change. Read the rest of this entry »
With salary-capped sports leagues, there is always pressure to loosen the purse strings a little, especially in minority sports. Raising the cap is the most common way or alternatively allowing cap exemptions for certain players but it’s a balancing act between those teams that want to spend more and those who can’t. In MLS, the solution was to allow teams to spend what they want in a controlled manner. The Designated Player Rule – championed by Anschutz Entertainment Group so their franchise, the LA Galaxy, could sign commercial juggernaut David Beckham – was introduced in 2007 and has been changed and tweaked ever since. However, with the Galaxy the only team to ever win the MLS Cup with designated players and both conferences currently led by teams without them, the question has to be asked; are designated players a waste of time? Read the rest of this entry »
It’s 25 years since Lincoln City became the first team automatically relegated from the Football League. Founder members of the Football League Second Division and ever the trend-setters, the Imps decided the best way to bounce straight back was to stay professional in a semi-professional league. Little did they know that a trend had started which would permanently change the Conference where today, 18 of its 24 clubs are fully professional. It’s time to face up to what the Conference has become and reform it, else it will become a burden. Read the rest of this entry »
If it’s squeaky-bum time in the Championship, it would seem that West Ham have already followed through. Topping the table in February, a dry run of form has befallen West Ham at exactly the wrong time. An eleven-game unbeaten run would ordinarily be something to shout about but with seven draws, five of which on the bounce, West Ham are now four adrift of second-placed Reading, who ended said streak with a 4-2 win at the Boleyn Ground. Early in the season, manager Sam Allardyce was full of 10-game targets and gusto, now he’s fallen back on his favourite trick; turning on the fans. Read the rest of this entry »
Another English Premiership season and it’s another relegation battle for the Newcastle Falcons. The early pace-setters of the professional era have been in decline for several years and thus it is little surprise that the club that escaped the drop last season by points difference are now staring the abyss in the face. Read the rest of this entry »