Against the odds: on gambling and football

Against the odds: on gambling and football

Gamble! There was a time that this was my footballing mantra. An instruction and means of approach to the game I not only encouraged of myself, but would do all I could to instil into those around me. But then this was nothing to do with ‘accas’ or spread bets. Instead this was an attempt to get the university football team I managed to take advantage of the unpredictable nature of BUSA Midlands Division 4C level defending. So, each week we gambled on the bounce of long throw-ins, but never on the minute of the first one. Continue reading “Against the odds: on gambling and football”

Editorial: We need to stop relying on football to get us through

Editorial: We need to stop relying on football to get us through

It’s not a particularly funny issue of popular STAND fanzine, this one. It has its moments don’t get me wrong, and I don’t want to discredit those who’ve submitted lighter pieces, but I feel it’s only fair to call it up front. You’re good people, you deserve honesty, and likewise I deserve a break from the inevitable ‘it’s-not-as-funny-as-it-used-to-be’s that greet any request for feedback. It’s still good though, so don’t even think about asking for your pound back. You’ve committed now, roll with it. Continue reading “Editorial: We need to stop relying on football to get us through”

Editorial: When did we become so intolerable of averageness?

Editorial: When did we become so intolerable of averageness?

‘F***ing shit’ shouted the bloke in front of me as we traipsed out of The Valley last Saturday. ‘Absolute garbage’. I wasn’t so sure. Frustrating I’d grant you; disappointing likewise, not quite good enough, sure. But what I’d just watched hadn’t been ‘shit’ – and I’ve supported Rovers long enough to know what ‘shit’ is. Continue reading “Editorial: When did we become so intolerable of averageness?”

Why ‘churnalism’ will be the death of club reporting

Why ‘churnalism’ will be the death of club reporting

Oscar Wilde once wrote ‘there is only one thing in life worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about.’ As Rovers fans filtered out of the Emirates Stadium after last month’s League Cup clash there’s reason to believe we’d just witnessed what Wilde was talking of first hand.

Continue reading “Why ‘churnalism’ will be the death of club reporting”

On visiting markets over cracking markets

On visiting markets over cracking markets

I’m not really sold on the book I‘m currently reading. It was recommended by a friend, so I’m giving it a fair go, but I’m 117 pages in and struggling to empathise with either the characters or the author. The main protagonist is from Yorkshire, but lives in London, yet any references to her life in Yorkshire are made as if written for a middle-class London audience. It’s cliched, dismissive to the point of patronisation, and I can’t get past it. Nor, given that the author is from and indeed lives in Yorkshire, can I begin to understand it. Continue reading “On visiting markets over cracking markets”

Why can’t we just enjoy winning?

Why can’t we just enjoy winning?

There’s a great photo of Liam Mandeville’s free-kick against Grimsby, taken just as the ball strikes the inside of the post. Goalkeeper already flailing, the South Stand is a blanket of expectant faces; rows of mouths all caught in the early stages of guttural roars or yells of acknowledgement of the ball’s inevitable nestling in the back of the net. All that is, except one. Continue reading “Why can’t we just enjoy winning?”

Chris Balderstone, the last great footballing cricketer

Chris Balderstone, the last great footballing cricketer

Records, they say, are made to be broken: I write this on a weekend when Wayne Rooney has equalled Sir Bobby Charlton’s goal tally for Manchester United. Rooney will soon break that record, I’m sure, but in these days of sporting specialisation no-one will match one particular record with a strong Doncaster Rovers connection. I refer to the events of Monday 15 September 1975, when one man became the only one to play in a County Championship cricket match and a Football League fixture on the same day. Continue reading “Chris Balderstone, the last great footballing cricketer”

Reasons to be cheerful

Reasons to be cheerful

It’s been positive start to the season for Rovers, which has in turn brought a surreal matchday optimism to the Keepmoat. For most of us this has been a novel, and rather pleasant, paradigm shift, following the relentless dread and anguish that has plagued recent years. But do remember to spare a thought for those among us for whom such joys bring nothing but grey clouds. Continue reading “Reasons to be cheerful”

Why is everyone talking like a footballer?

Why is everyone talking like a footballer?

In the unlikely event I’d be invited to take part in Room 101, the first object I’d want to be locked away for eternity is the decline of the English language. The nation that spawned the genius of William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Dylan Thomas shouldn’t have to suffer any of its population inserting the word ‘like’ three times into one sentence.   Continue reading “Why is everyone talking like a footballer?”

Where have all the bald, fat footballers gone?

Where have all the bald, fat footballers gone?

‘Who’s the greatest player you’ve ever played against?’ From 90 minutes to Shoot to the matchday programme; a question asked of every footballer in every football interview I’ve ever chanced to read. Its true purpose as conspicuous as its asking; to tee up the interviewee for the biggest name-drop in their sepia-tinged locker. CLANG – Paul Gascoigne in a testimonial; CLANG – Eric Cantona in a beer advert; CLANG – Lothar Matthaus in some charity wheeze. Continue reading “Where have all the bald, fat footballers gone?”