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  1. Progress versus tradition in football

    By Steve Sands (AFS Contributor)

    Without embracing change in the game, we wouldn’t have floodlights, improved medical care for players, all-seater modern stadiums and more recently, goal-line technology.

    But the question has to be are some things sacrosanct, and so should never change? Or put another way, what things can a club’s owner alter without alienating the fans and causing resentment?

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    The big story of the year so far on this subject has been the decision made by Cardiff City to revert back to their traditional blue shirts for home games following months of protests from disgruntled fans.

    The club changed their branding from blue to red in 2012 with owner Vincent Tan believing ...

    Updated 31st January 2015 at 07:23 PM by Veritas

    Categories
    History
  2. Birmingham City v West Bromwich Albion – a West Midlands FA Cup showdown

    I originally handed my special FA Cup bloggers baton to Tooting and Mitcham United. My unscientific choice was simply because the name struck a chord with me from the 1970s sitcom Citizen Smith starring Robert Lindsay.

    Tooting’s FA Cup journey had begun back in August last year with a 0-0 draw at home to Three Bridges FC, followed by a 4-1 win in the replay.

    Tooting stormed through the next round against Bishop's Stortford at the second attempt, before losing out to East Thurrock United in the competitions Third Qualifying round.

    East Thurrock had grabbed my hypothetical baton and proceeded to sprint past Bath City, giving them a 7-1 thrashing in the process.

    Hartlepool United then briefly took over ownership by knocking out the Essex ...

    Updated 18th January 2015 at 04:19 PM by Veritas

    Categories
    Competitions , FA Cup
  3. Clean sheet success – four more to ponder

    Last week’s predictions were a long awaited triumph as all four landed safely.

    I’d highlighted four games in which I believed that one or both of the teams would fail to find the net.

    I said that Chelsea would score and win the game but would shut out Newcastle United at the other end, which the Blues did in securing a 2-0 victory.

    I expected Villa to live up to their new nickname of Aston Villa Nil, and they duly obliged by going down 1-0 at Leicester City.

    In the Championship, Nottingham Forest’s poor run of form saw them fire blanks again as they lost 2-0 at home to Sheffield Wednesday.

    Lastly, I called the Southend United versus Plymouth Argyle game to be a tight and cagey affair, which it certainly was as the teams ...

    Updated 14th January 2015 at 03:39 PM by Veritas

    Categories
    Betting , Competitions , Premier League , Football League
  4. Holding on for a zero – a goal shy treble

    Six minutes from glory. That’s how close I came to nailing my pre-Christmas treble prediction.

    I’ve been dabbling in the ‘Both teams to score?’ market. It's a bet where you simply have to answer yes or no to the question will both of the teams in a particular game score, or will one or both of them fail to find the net?

    I have focused on trying to find the games where one or both teams won’t score, the ideal option for fans of teams unable to hit a barn door with a banjo or whatever the expression is!

    My first selection was Aston Villa v Sunderland and both teams obliged by playing out a 0-0 draw at Villa Park. To quote an old football cliché, neither side would have scored if they were still playing now.

    Second up was Bury v Mansfield ...

    Updated 8th January 2015 at 08:41 PM by Veritas

    Categories
    Competitions , Premier League , Football League
  5. Everton's struggles - what's going wrong?

    by illarterate
    At the halfway point of the Premier League season one statistic stands out more than most - Everton's 33 goals conceded. Despite coming close to knocking Arsenal out of the top four last season, and being tipped by experts, pundits and betting news sources, such as Blue Square, to finish high up the table again this year, Everton’s defence is causing Roberto
    Martinez some real headaches. Without significant improvement, they will struggle to make the top ten by May.

    Worst Ever Start
    To contextualise Everton's defensive woes, it is worth highlighting the fact that they currently have the joint second worst defence in the league (along with bottom club Leicester). Only Harry Redknapp's QPR have been more generous at the back. This time last season ...
  6. A FA Cup classic - Blues hold off brave Blyth

    By Steve Sands (AFS Contributor)

    It must have been a half time team talk of Churchill like proportions delivered by Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett to his troops at Blyth Spartans on Saturday.

    With his side trailing 2-0 to FA Cup giant killers Blyth at the break, Rowett sent the Blues out inspired for the second period. Birmingham stormed back to progress through to the Fourth Round of the competition with a 3-2 victory over the plucky Spartans.

    In many ways, the turnaround mirrored Birmingham’s season. Back in October when the former Burton Albion boss was appointed at St Andrews, the West Midlands side were next to bottom of the table with just 11 points from their first 14 games.

    Rowett was given the opportunity at the Championship ...

    Updated 4th January 2015 at 02:44 PM by Veritas

    Categories
    Competitions , FA Cup
  7. Last chance saloon – treble zero needed

    By Steve Sands (AFS Contributor)

    Whilst looking at my ‘both teams to score’ coupon this week, I noticed there was also the option to predict that both team wouldn’t score.

    The perfect option for supporters of those teams firing blanks and shooting duds. Sounds like a tricky one to pull off, especially as clean sheets may be difficult to come by with so many games in quick succession over the festive period - and defenders full of turkey and Christmas pudding.

    With teams also suffering from injuries and suspensions at this time of year, landing any sort of bet is going to be tough this weekend but this is the last chance of the year to get one over your friendly bookie.

    So here’s my shout for those who can’t hit a barndoor....
    ...

    Updated 27th December 2014 at 04:55 PM by Veritas

    Categories
    Uncategorized
  8. Secret Santa – Christmas presents for those in the football spotlight

    Time for me to sneak in a quick and quirky festive blog before the sprouts have to be put on to boil!

    This follows the latest challenge set for me by a former work colleague – “go on find a football link to the topic of Secret Santa” she decreed.

    For those not familiar with the concept, Secret Santa is something of a tradition, especially in office environments, and involves colleagues buying an anonymous gift for a person randomly chosen for them.

    This got me thinking, what would you buy for a famous footballer or personality within the game?

    I hope you’ll join in and use the comments facility to make your own suggestions, hopefully humorous ones. But here are a few ideas off the top of my head to get you started:

    ...
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  9. Goal feast – six to check out

    By Steve Sands (AFS contributor)

    My mate Goal-den Jon swears by the ‘both teams to score’ betting market, so on the theory that if you can’t beat them join them, I’ve tried to identify six matches where there is a good chance of both keepers having to pick the ball out of the back of the net this weekend:

    Manchester City v Everton
    Reading v Bolton Wanderers
    Wigan Athletic v Norwich City
    Bury v Luton Town
    Wycombe Wanderers v AFC Wimbledon
    Colchester United v Peterborough United

    The evidence behind these selections – some of it scanty but some more convincing:-

    Manchester City – Sergio Aguero has 17 goals so far this season so if he’s fit and shows the form he did in scoring a hat-trick against ...

    Updated 5th December 2014 at 10:45 AM by Veritas

    Categories
    Betting , football league , premier league
  10. FA Cup – Giants against minnows; Scunthorpe United v Worcester City

    By Steve Sands (AFS contributor)

    I decided to feature the Scunthorpe United v Worcester City FA Cup game as soon as the balls came out of the pot.

    I remember as a teenager regularly going across the newly opened Humber Bridge on a Friday night, astride my first motorbike, to travel the 23 miles down the A1077 to Scunthorpe’s Old Show Ground.

    This would be in the early 1980s when the likes of Steve Cammack, Chris Cowling and Neil Pointon were playing for the Iron in the old Fourth Division.

    I particularly remember one occasion coming back across the Bridge in the middle of the most stunning of electrical storms - memories indeed.

    And Worcester has always been one of my favourite places to visit, although more for the ...

    Updated 4th December 2014 at 07:59 PM by Veritas

    Categories
    Competitions , FA Cup
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