Monday, May 14, 2007

Town And Out (And Other Stories)

Well, what a busy day. In fact, it has been sufficiently exciting for me to have to put up one of those posts that is in the form of bullet points, so that I can say everything that I need to say. Best get started then, hadn't we?

Town And Out: I reported on the state of Conference South club Farnborough Town on here before, and the news isn't looking good for them. Their application for a second CVA has been rejected, and it now seems likely that they will be wound up in the next couple of days or so. I hope that Graham Westley, who tried to merge Farnborough with Stevenage Borough (eighty miles away and to the north of London) and, when the rest of the board vetoed him, ran off to Stevenage with the money from their best ever FA Cup run and the majority of their players, is proud of himself. The club were mis-managed then, and they have been mis-managed ever since.

To be completely honest, their financial woes have dragged on now for such a long time that there is an extent to which this feels a bit like an animal being put out of its misery. The good news for their supporters is that they will definitely have a team to watch next season, most likely playing two divisions below where they are now in the Southern League. There is talk of them playing under the name of Farnborough FC or Farnborough United FC, returning to their traditional colours of yellow and blue (Westley changed them into red and white, declaring that yellow is for "losers"), and talk is already turning to ground improvements that they can make over the course of the summer. Good luck to them - they'll be back soon enough.

Blunted: The Premiership season ended hilariously yesterday, with Carlos Tevez scoring West Ham's winner at Old Trafford, and Sheffield United being relegated after a home defeat by Wigan Athletic. It was really worth resting your first team and playing the stiffs against Swansea in the FA Cup in January, wasn't it, Neil? Of course, this saga is set to run and run, with The Gang Of Four making all manner of legal threats, even though the consensus amongst sports lawyers seems to be that the FA don't even really have a case to answer. It's the thin end of the wedge, I tells ya. We'll have Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson issuing weekly writs if their teams don't get three penalties by this time next year.

Jewell Theft: Paul Jewell quit as Wigan's manager today, and the talk is now of a managerial merry-go-round, with him going to the City Of Manchester Stadium to replace Stuart Pearce, who was been lobbed out by Manchester City. Am I alone in thinking that this would demonstrate a remarkable lack of ambition on behalf of Manchester City FC? They're looking at being bought up by some plutocrat or other during the summer, and play at a 47,000 seater stadium which, if things are going okay, they're more than capable of filling. Paul Jewell's biggest managerial achievements are keeping Bradford City in the Premiership for a year and keeping Wigan in the Premiership for two years. Manchester City's long-suffering supporters deserve better, to be honest. Mind you, Wigan have shown even less ambition than City. They've appointed Chris Hutchings to replace Jewell. No further comment required. I rather suspect that we might not see Stuart Pearce back in the Premiership for a while.

Allardyce 'n' Freddie 4eva: Newcastle United might have done themselves a favour by taking on Sam Allardyce, but Newcastle fans that hold aesthetics in high regard will be sobbing quietly into their brown ales tonight. Still, considering the vertigo-inducing height of the stands at St James Park, at least those at the very top will get a close up view of the ball, for once. It would appear that Allardyce's first signing will be Manchester City's own persona non grata, Joey Barton. I can forgive Barton almost anything for his, "I played shit, here's my book" comment earlier this season, but I can't help but wonder if a player of Barton's, um, "unpredictable" temperament will be what they need. Meanwhile, Freddy Shepherd appears intent on chasing Michael Owen from Tyneside just as he has got fit again. Honestly. Newcastle should probably just change their name to "Hollyoaks United" and have done with it. They're fooling no-one.

And Finally.... Massive announcements at two clubs near to my heart tomorrow morning, as St Albans City and AFC Wimbledon are both holding press conferences to unveil their new managers. It says something that I am almost certain that I know the identity of the new Wombles' boss, whilst I have absolutely no idea whatsoever who the new Saints boss will be. The way things have been at Clarence Park lately, I'm half expecting a phone call about the job myself.


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