Thursday, January 31, 2013

Most played bands of January 2013


January 2013 tunes by jim_bomb on Grooveshark Nothing to with football but here is what I have been listening to this month.

1 I am Kloot - Over my shoulder
I haven't listened to this band for a while, but for some reason I had a run on them this month. I think that they have a new album out, but this is taken from 'Gods and Monsters'

2 Charles De Goal - Synchro
Track from the French post rock band who are still going strong after 33 years.

3 The Bodines - Synchro
C86 band who made some nice tunes, but never got much commercial success even by C86 standards

4 Metro Luminal - Ainult Rottidele
An Estonian punk rock ditty that translates as 'Only Rats'

5 Aphex Twin - Didgeridoo
A bit of what they call IDM nowadays from back in the day

6 Tequilajazzz - Воздушный шар
A song called 'Hot air balloon' by one of my favourite Russian indie rock bands

7 Mixel Pixel - You're the kind of girl
Poppy track from New York weirdos

8 We are Scientists - The scene is dead
A indie track from a few years back. I've been enjoying their album called 'Crap Attack' which is mainly cover versions later

9 Океан Ельзи - Online
Track about being on the Internet from Ukraine's top indie band

10 Kompakt - the International loner
Yep, I know it is a German techno label rather than an artist, but they seem to release every track under a different name even if it is the same person

11 Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Grey Cell Green
Another track from back in the day

12 Velikije Luki - Afganistan
I think you can guess the translation of the name of this track by another Estonian punk band

13 The Field - Over the ice
A very apt track for this month by Swedish techno type

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Highlights from Ely City v Spalding United

A game at last, but out the vase

The cold snap finally finished and despite a few games in the area being off because of waterlogged pitch the hard work at Ely on Saturday finally paid dividends even if it didn't quite work out on Saturday. Finally the much awaited 4th round match of the FA Vase against Spalding United was on.

Ely got off to a good start and started off by taking the game to the visitors. Attack was definitely going to be the best way forward for the Robins, as although their opponents play in a league at the same level most of their players had experience at a higher level and their budget is about ten times more than Ely's. The Robins' first chance came on 6 minutes when Austen Diaper put the ball just over the bar. On 10 minutes he had the ball in the back of the net when a well worked move saw Ely take the lead.

Ely continued to dominate for the first 20 minutes, but a misplaced back pass from Darren Coe saw Ely put under pressure for the first time. After this they lost the momentum for a while and what looked like a soft penalty on the half hour mark saw the away team grab an equaliser. Things were about to get worse for the home team as they struggled to dominate as they had in the opening passage of play and just 4 minutes later when Spalding took the lead. For the rest of the first half Ely found their feet again and Claydon and Diaper came close to finding an equaliser, but the half finished with the visitors in the box seat.

At the start of the second half Ely started to press for the equaliser and Spalding seemed to be happy to sit back and allow the home team to come at them and try and hit back on the break. On a few occasions it looked like this policy was going to work as the Tulips definitely looked dangerous on the break. Ely on the other hand despite the amount of pressure that they were heaping on the visitors were finding it hard to deal with the offside trap. The first real chance for the Robins coming on 62 minutes when Nick Impey came close with a free kick.

As the game progressed and Ely started to get more desperate for an equaliser they started to create more chances. Claydon drew a save from the keeper on 69. On 77 Taz should have perhaps got the teams on level terms when the keeper spilled the ball, but unfortunately the touch he got on it saw it ricochet out off the post. Diaper also came close on 82 but a defender cleared his shot off the line. That's not to say that it was all Ely though, Spalding who remained a threat on the break created a couple of good chances, for example a slip by Ben Lawrence on 80 minutes almost allowed Spalding in, but Pacey did well to save and on 85 they really could have put the game beyond doubt if they hadn't been denied by Pacey again.

So, Ely will have to wait another year for a chance to get to Wembley, but it was a good performance by the team. There is no doubt that Spalding are a very good team and Ely were missing key players including both of their left sided players with both of the Parkinsons being suspended, so they can take some positives from the match. There's still the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup to look forward to with a semi-final against CUP whenever there is a Tuesday free again.




Saturday, January 26, 2013

No football again

I am beginning to regret not going to Thetford a couple of weeks ago, as since then there has been no football at all locally. Football God has been punishing me with a vengeance.

On that day Ely drew with CRC away, Thetford went down to Wisbech and King's Lynn crashed out of the FA Trophy against Southport. There hasn't been any local football since then after freezing conditions, snow and now probably waterlogged pitches nothing has been going on. The vase game between Ely and Spalding was off last week and despite a gargantuan effort to get the game on today it's now been postponed until Tuesday. I really hope that they can get it on on Tuesday, as next Saturday will also be football-less as I'm at work.

Things have been going from bad to worse at Villa too. After surrendering a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with West Brom, they crashed out of the League Cup against Bradford and then lost 2-1 to Millwall in the FA Cup last night. It certainly looks like it will be the Championship for us to next season.

I've tried getting into the African Cup of Nations, but the games haven't been that inspiring and it certainly hasn't got the same buzz about it as last year's tournament. I've been getting my sporting kicks from the NHL, which as it started 3 months late has been very busy with the games coming thick and fast. The Senators got off to a good start beating Florida Panthers home and away and winning at Winnepeg, but they went down at Tampa Bay last night (I'm just about to watch the highlights now). Elsewhere Vladimir Terasenko has been impressive at St.Louis Blues, but there is a long way to go yet.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Club focus - Spalding United


Next up at the Unwin Ground, if the weather permits are Spalding United in the FA Vase. It is going to be one of the biggest games in Ely's history after they reached the 4th round for the first time ever. Hopefully there will be a big crowd and some of the people who turn up will actually bother turning up to some other games. Anyway, that's enough of that, as it's supposed to be a look at Spalding United.

The Tulips (their nickname reminds me of C86 types 'the Fat Tulips')play in the United Counties League, which to be honest is a bit stronger than the Eastern Counties, and are currently second. They are probably favourites for the tie and their officials at the Histon game seemed quite confident despite a good performance by the Robins.

The club were formed in 1921 as Spalding Town and started life out, like a lot of teams in the UCL, in the Peterborough and District League. In 1954 they tried to join the Eastern Counties League, but weren't accepted. However, they did go on to win the double in the United Counties League. The performance was enough to see them get entry to the Eastern Counties League. However, they transferred to the Central League in 1960 and then the Midlands League in 61. Things didn't go that well in the Midlands League and after finishing bottom in 1967-68 they left for the United Counties League again.

They won the league in 1974-75 and went back to the Midlands League and also spent time in the Northern Counties East League after the Midlands League and Yorkshire League amalgamated. They were the first champions of the new league winning it in 1983. They went back to the UCL in 1986 after several problems in the Northern Counties East. They won the UCL in 1988, which gave them a chance to play in the Midlands Division of the Southern League. It seemed to be a bridge too far though and in 1991 they returned to the UCL after finishing bottom.

After averting bankruptcy in the 1990s they finished the decade with another league championship. They then embarked on a career of yo-yoing and due to geographical location they were able to have a go at both life in the Southern League and the Northern Premier. After their league championship brought them promotion to the Southern League again they started to struggle. In 2001 they finished bottom, but weren't relegated. The season after they were relegated after finishing bottom. In 2004 they won the league again and this time chanced their arm in Division 1 of the Northern Premier League. In 2006 they moved back South and 2007 they went back North. In 2010 they finished bottom, but avoided relegation again, but it was a short stay of execution and the next year they were relegated back to the UCL.

So, it's going to be tough against a team who seem to be too good for Step 5, but not quite good enough for Step 4.



Fairweather fan

It's not often that I miss a chance to watch some football, but in an uncharacteristic sign of wimpiness,that's exactly what I did on Saturday. I went to kids' football in the morning and it was bloody freezing, so I shelved my plans, which may have been foolish. After complaining about the lack of football recently due to weather and work I had the choice of a couple of games on Saturday. The most logical one was CRC V Ely at the Shabby Abbey. However, there wasn't the chance of a lift and the thought of messing around in Cambridge on a day when I wasn't getting paid to mess around in Cambridge was a bit off-putting. The other option and was to go to Thetford for the first time this season, but with the mercury hovering around zero and the fact that they were playing Wisbech, who were likely to win didn't exactly excite me either. Ely drew 2-2 and Thetford lost 4-1. It might have been a mistake missing out on the opportunity to go, as the snow has now started to come down and it looks like a fair few more games are going to be victims of the weather over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ely up for the cup again


Ely were back in action at the Unwin last night when they took on Histon in the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup. The Robins won the cup last season, so they were given a bye all the way to the quarter final where they were drawn at home to the Blue Square North team. It was always going to be a hard game and Ely as they are accustomed to doing made heavy work of the cup tie. Put it this way I spent ages there last night, but as I hadn't been to a match at the Unwin for 2 months, mainly due to work and the weather I couldn't complain.

The first 15 minutes were a pretty uneventful affair and not much happened. Ely had the better of it and the Histon defence seemed to be determined to make things difficult for themselves, but there were no real chances. The first real chance came on 18 minutes when Josh Bridgeman had a couple of shots cut out, but made sure with the third shot as he put the ball into the back of the net to give Ely the lead.

Ely seemed content to contain Histon and hit them on the break. Histon meanwhile weren't really creating anything and it soon descended into a stalemate. The only other real chance of the half came just before the break when Darren Coe came close to extending the host's lead with a glancing header from a Luke Parkinson corner.

The Robins came out firing on all cylinders and top scorer Porky Claydon was soon introduced into the fray. The first minute of the half saw Taz beat a couple of players and provided a perfect cross for Nick Impey, but his weak header was easily saved. Histon continued to mess around with the ball too much in defence and on 58 Ely got a throw in when the visitors should have cleared. Ben Lawrence threw the ball into the box and Claydon headed just over.

However, it wasn't to be Ely who were to score next, as just after the hour mark Histon were awarded a corner and a bullet header put them back in the game with what was their first real chance of the game.

Ely's response was to up the tempo and Histon replied in kind. The Robins clearly wanted to finish the game in normal time, and you would probably have had to have fancied the full-time team against the part-time Robins if the game was to go past 90. On 68 minutes an uncharacteristic soft shot, which he should have buried by Claydon was nearly punished when Histon nearly scored on the counter. On 75 minutes a much better shot by Claydon was stopped by the finger tips of the Histon keeper. However, it looked like Histon might nick it at the end when Pacey was beaten, but Lawrence saved his bacon by clearing off the line.

So, extra time... despite what I said it looked like Ely were the most likely to get the win as they upped the tempo even further for one last push. Stoppage time started with Impey fluffing his lines and Gammon, who had just come on just missing the target. However, despite all the Ely endeavour they weren't able to finish off the job before it went to penalties.

Penalties are always a lottery, but despite a fairly terrible record with penalties in actual games I have never seen them lose a shoot out, and I've seen quite a few. Apart from that due to absences and forced substitutions Ely must have had every attacking player on their books on their pitch, so I had a good feeling. I had an even better feeling a moment later when Histon took their first penalty and hit the post with it. Next up was Josh Bridgeman, who put the penalty right down the middle and although the keeper got his hand to it, it went into the back of the net. Histon then scored with a fairly similar penalty. Next up was Luke Parkinson, who went for sheer power and there was no way anybody would have got in the way of his penalty, as the Robins went back into the lead with a shot in hand. Histon scored their next 2 penalties and Porky Claydon and Chadders also converted for Ely. This meant that Histon had to score their next penalty, but once more Pacey was the hero of the shoot out as he saved the shot and Ely were in the semi-final.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Heroes and Villains


A few years ago when I wasn't living in Britain, I wrote about fanzines and the importance they had played and speculated about their decline: (http://footballrambles.blogspot.co.uk/2008/03/football-culture-fanzine-culture.html)

However since my return I hadn't bought a fanzine until yesterday. Back in the day I read them pretty religiously and never missed a copy of 'Heroes and Villains' or later 'Never loved Ellis'. In fact I went as far as to write my dissertation on it and with the social change that was going on in football they had an important role to play culturally as a whole or dealt with issues affecting certain clubs, i.e. 'The Mag' (Newcastle), 'Not the View' (Celtic) and 'King of the Kippax' (Manchester City) or were just plainly hilarious 'A love Supreme' (Sunderland), 'Forever Blowing Bubbles' (West Ham) and 'Bernard of the Bantams' (Bradford City). Nowadays football fanzines are less in evidence, perhaps because of the rise of the Internet and also probably because of the rise of the Middle Class fan. The only reason that I'm saying this is that I noticed that 'the Oatcake' was selling like hot cakes at Stoke, where their brand of football and culture isn't exactly to the taste of the oxymoronic 'Guardian' reading Sky TV watchers. Another reason that I hadn't bought a fanzine was that the clubs that I tend to watch can hardly justify the programmes print runs that they are under duress to produce never mind an independent fanzine. The other and final reason was that the only Villa fanzine left is 'Heroes and Villains'.

I got a bit sick of H&V back in the day, mainly because I thought that it was excessive in its moaning and kind of fed the stereotype of the miserable Villa fan. It seemed to me that they would find anything to be disgruntled about, for example when we had a decent team they spent the most of one issue moaning about a deviation in the kit design from claret with blue sleeves. However, I picked up a copy yesterday and was pleasantly surprised and for the amount of stuff packed in it £2 didn't seem too excessive. Sure, there were some page fillers and the joke about the defence on the back cover is a bit of an easy target and having a go at Doug Ellis seems a bit irrelevant now, even if he still is a dispeakable old git. And having a go at Stoke, well we've heard it all before, it's all true, but I need to hear it again about as much as I need to hear Gangnam Style again.

There was some stuff that I enjoyed though and the stuff that is negative mainly justified and they try to put some perspective to some of the stuff that is going wrong at Villa Park. There's an interesting article on players who had their Villa careers cut short and of course Gary Shaw features heavily there. A decent article about why the media have it in for the Villa (OK, that's negative, but well written). An article on one of the things that I like tub thumping about - how good the German model of football is - ; I have to admit though I've gone on it that much myself I didn't enjoy it that much! An interesting look back at the 1989-90 season that really took me back. And also another article on wins over Man United that took me back to Didier Six's explosive debut back in 1984. There are also a load of other articles, but those were the ones that I enjoyed the most, and there's plenty of positivity about Lambert's young lions despite the disastrous Christmas period and the fanzine finishes with a look at where Villa have missed out on the FA Cup and why 2013 may be our year.

So I am a convert back to 'Heroes and Villains' after about 20 years of not rating it or ignoring it and it has whetted my appetite to keep a look out for other fanzines in the future.

Aston Villa 2 Ipswich Town 1


Yesterday we went to see Villa take on Ipswich in the FA Cup. Things haven't been great for Villa of late, so the wisdom of getting the tickets after Villa won at Anfield looked like we might have wasted our money. It wasn't the ticket prices that were a problem, but the price of getting their by train, as train tickets went up in price again.

Anyway, the morning started off on a train full of Norwich fans, who had got on the pop early in the morning. We had thought that we would have had to share a train with the Ipswich fans, but the Norwich fans had decided to get an early start despite the 3 o'clock kick off and thankfully things were a lot less eventful once they got off at Peterborough. That said my phone gave up at Peterborough, so finding out the football news from Ely was put on hold, but never mind.

We were in the North Stand Lower, a place in the ground I've never been in the ground before. In the old days I had a season for the Holte End and since the North Stand has been only for the home fans I've only been in the Upper. My dad didn't seem to be that pleased with the tickets, but I thought they were good enough.

After Villa put out the youngest team in the history of the Premier against Swansea a few days ago they were able to call on some more experienced heads in this game. Darren Bent was back to give Christian Benteke a well earned rest. Shay Given came in for Brad Guzan and Charles N'Zogbia was in for El-Ahmadi who joined up with Morocco for the African Cup of Nations. Stephen Ireland and Gabby were also on the bench to be called upon if needed, which they were. There was also a call up though for another youngster in Jordan Bowery who came in for Andi Weimann.

Villa started off the better of the two teams, which you would hope, as Ipswich are having a mixed season in the Championship and seem to be a bit of a ragtaggle bunch of loanees, kids and past-its. However, if anyone can get them out of trouble it has to be Mick Mc.Carthy, although I somehow doubt he'll bring the exciting football back to Portman Road that they used to be famed for. Joe Bennett, despite being a full back, and Charles N'Zogbia were providing some good service to the forwards. Jordan Bowery had a couple of good chances, but he is definitely far from the finished article.

It wasn't all good news for Villa though, and although Ipswich didn't really threaten Villa looked like they could be their own worst enemies. There was a lot of messing around in defence and with Vlaar and Dunne out they are definitely lacking a leader. In midfield Delph and Bannan were giving it their all, but some of the passing was wayward. Given looked confident and did a good a job as could be expected of marshalling the young defence, however I've never been that impressed with the way that he deals with crosses, so it was a good job Ipswich weren't putting too many in. When he was called upon to kick the ball up-field he wasn't doing a great job and the ball came straight back to him. In fact a great one handed save that he made in the closing moments of the game was directly due to him not clearing the ball properly in the first place.

There was a slight feeling of the inevitable when Chopra put Ipswich ahead just after the half hour mark despite Villa's early dominance the wayward passing and general messing around saw them feel behind, as Chopra carved the defence apart.

The goal led to Ipswich galvanising and Villa playing with more urgency. Chopra caused a decen save from Given; and for Villa Clarke came close from a Bannan corner and Bowery fired just over.

Paul Lambert must have had a word at half time as Villa came out firing on all cylinders and after just one minute of the second half N'Zogbia cut the Ipswich defence apart and Bent finished clinically to get the equaliser. Villa sensed blood and Weimann who was on for Albrighton after he picked up an injury was causing the visitors all sorts of problems. The introduction of Agbonlahor on 62 saw Villa up the tempo further and a cross from Gabby was met by Weimann to hit the crossbar. Gabby had the bit between his teeth and was determined to score, although perhaps he should have been less greedy. He definitely shouldn't have upended Reo-Coker, but it was a laugh and you wondered how the two got on when they were both at Villa.

Finally with 7 minutes left Joe Bennett provided a cross for Weimann, whose powerful header beat Loach in the Ipswich goal and Villa were in the next round.

Villa still need a defender with experience and a central midfielder with a bit of bite in my opinion, although Lambert will probably just go out and buy a couple of forwards if he can prise Uncle Randy's wallet open, but a wins a win. It has been a long time since we have been back from Villa Park with a win and even having to share a train with drunk and noisy Ipswich fans and then (fortunately not at the same time) Norwich fans we were in high spirits.

Joe Bennett, Villa's man of the match.




Thursday, January 3, 2013

A history of football in Washington DC


The first professional football team in Washington DC were the Washington Darts. They were originally formed as Washington Britannica in 1963 by Scottish immigrant Norman Sutherland. In 1967 the team went professional, became the Darts and joined the American Soccer League. They won the title twice and then moved to the NASL in 1969. They spent 2 years there before moving the team to Miami where they became the Miami Gatos. After this they had several reincarnations as different franchises in different cities including Fort Lauderdale and Minnesota.


While Britannica were becoming the Darts and turning professional in the American Soccer League across the city some other Scots were up to shenanigans. In the rival United Soccer Association in 1967 Aberdeen masqueraded as the Whips and won the Eastern Division. In the short league which was a forerunner to the NASL, where it was expected the Whips would continue with a 'proper' team they lost in the Final to LA Wolves, who were actually Wolves.


The next team to become regulars at the Robert F Kennedy Stadium were the Washington Diplomats who were one of the expansion teams who entered the NASL in 1971. In the first four years they failed to qualify for the play-offs and then in 1976 when they finally made the play-offs they went out straight away to New York Cosmos. The next 3 seasons were much better for the Dips and attendances started to rise.

The Dips had a number of high profile players in their more successful seasons including Johan Cruyff who was there from 1980-81, Gus Hiddink and Ray Graydon in 1978 and Bobby Stokes from 1978-80.

In 1980 the Dips folded and then a new Diplomats club was formed after Detroit Express moved to the town. However, they only lasted and the end for the Diplomats and for that matter of fact the NASL was nigh.


There was one last attempt at professional football in the NASL in Washington when Team America, who sound suspiciously like a dodgy cartoon were formed in 1983, they also played at the RFK Stadium too. Their ambition was to have a professional team of all American players to make the foundation of a football team. They failed and in their one season the club finished bottom of the pile. They also failed to win the minds of the public and only drew in 12,000 fans on average,



The next and more successful attempt to introduce football to the States came with the formation of the MLS in 1996 and one of the original 10 teams was DC United. They have been one of the most successful clubs in the MLS having won US Open Cup twice and the MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield each four times. They have also had some success on the international field having won the CONCACAF Champions Cup in 1998 and subsequently the coppa Interamerica.

The strange case of the United Soccer Association

The United Soccer Association as the name suggests (look at the initials)was a professional football league in the USA. It employed a somewhat strange model, which took franchising to the max,although it only operated for one year,in 1967 before merging with the National Professional Soccer League to format the NASL. What was so unusual about the league was that all of the teams were imported from overseas and just took the names of the cities that they were playing in that season. Some of the teams like Dallas Tornado went on to get their own teams together for the NASL and others managed to reinvent themselves as new clubs, for example Washington Whips laid down the foundation for a franchise that later entered Washington as the Diplomats, but many of the teams from that era have disappeared into the ether.

One of the main reasons for this rather odd model was that the founders of the league wanted to start the league in 1968, as they had the franchises ready, but not the squads. However, CBS, the television company wanted it to start. In 1967, so it had to start in 1967.

Things got off to a good start for the league, with a sport that was struggling to take off in the country even more so then than in recent years. The first game at Houston Stars attracted a crowd of nearly 35,000 for example. However, attendances didn't manage to hold up and the average for the league over the season was just under 8,000.

The eventual champions were Los Angeles Wolves, who were basically Wolverhampton wanderers, who beat Washington Whips (Aberdeen) in the final. Wolves won 6-5 after extra time in front of a crowd of just under 18,000.

The teams that participated in that single season and their final positions were as follows.

EASTERN DIVISION
1 Washington Whips (Aberdeen)
2 Cleveland Stokers (Stoke)
3 Toronto City (Hibernian)
4 Detroit Cougars (Glentoran)
5 New York Skylines (CA Cerro)
6 Boston Rovers (Shamrock Rovers)

WESTERN DIVISION
1 Los Angeles Wolves (Wolves)
2 San Francisco Golden Gate Gales (Den Haag)
3 Chicago Mustangs (Cagliari)
4 Houston Stars (Bangu)
5 Vancouver Royal Canadians (Sunderland )
6 Dallas Tornado (Dundee United )

Next up Villa v Ipswich









Next up is Villa v Ipswich in the much maligned FA Cup. I caught a couple of FA Cup games in the qualifying rounds when Ely destroyed Rothwell Corinthians and then came up short against Bugbrooke. However, this week is what was traditionally one of the biggest weekends of the calendar when the teams from the top 2 divisions join in. The cup has lost a lot of its shine over the last few years, which hasn't been helped by the fact it has now lost its traditional slot at the start of the season and with more Champions League finals scheduled at Wembley it could be a while before it gets back. Mind you with discounted ticket prices (this one was £10 for adults and £5 for kids) at least it gives people a chance to see their team who don't normally get the chance.

In this game Villa, who also have a Semi Final against Bradford in the League Cup to look forward to will be looking to put a miserable Christmas behind them, but with the number of injuries accrued they are going to find it hard. Meanwhile, Ipswich who had a bad start to the Championship season now seem to be rejuvenated by Mick McCarthy. However, after suffering a reverse on Ne Year's Day and Villa getting a creditable draw at Swansea. It is going to be a tough one to call.

I would give some more info on the teams, but if you follow the tags there is plenty on both of them on this site.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Summer League anyone?

A New Year, but the same old story as far as football in Winter is concerned. Today Ely's game against Wisbech was off. In the morning the game looked like it was on, but then after another day of rain the game was off. Christmas is often billed as a football bonanza and for the higher leagues it is, but once you get below the Conference it seems that nearly all the games are off and even higher up in the pyramid the games are at the mercy of the gods.

Enough has been printed about Premier League clubs wanting a Winter break, probably mainly because their foreign players would like one and I once read an interview with Platini, where he stated that he once turned down a move to Spurs as he didn't want to play over Christmas! However, after a fourth year of games being called off all over Winter I reckon that it is time for a change lower down. Firstly, the bad weather can punish success; for example, King's Lynn a couple of years ago ended up playing 12 games in April due to a hard Winter and an impressive run in the Vase, and it could easily be similar for Ely this year.

Another problem that the teams below the Conference suffer from is a lack of attendances, so a Winter break or even a move to Summer League might make sense. With a game on Sky and cold weather in some ways you can't blame the less than hardcore from not turning up, but if there wasn't a game on TV and it was a nice sunny evening, wouldn't they be more tempted to turn up at the local club? If you want any evidence that this would work you only have to see the way attendances grew in the Republic of Ireland after they switched to the Summer.

I don't know whether it will ever happen, but there has to be something better than having to check Twitter every couple of hours to see if the game is on and it inevitably not being and then seeing knackered players playing every Tuesday and Saturday in Spring.