Saturday, August 31, 2002

Stuart Douglas, who played for Oxford United last season on loan from Luton, is the subject of an interesting article in today's Guardian. Douglas is used as an example of how the new proposed transfer window affects players who are currently without a club, and it doesn't make for a pretty story. The player is hoping to be signed by Rushden & Diamonds (watch him score against us if he does play for them), but is currently living on his last paycheque from Luton, with a bleak future if the Rushden deal falls through.

EDIT - according to the Nationwide site (dated yesterday) Douglas has in fact signed for Boston, leading to that inevitable goal on September 14th.

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The hilarious ramifications of Faustino Asprilla's abortive move to Darlington are explored in full in this article in the Guardian, Apparently Tino was going to be paid £17,000 a week - quite a lot by Division Three standards - and his arrival at Feethams was alleged to have made players such as Nicky Summerbee and Denis Wise consider moving to the North East, as well as a rekindling of the Paul Gascoigne rumours. George Reynolds is going to have to try and think of another gimmick to get the Darlington public to fill the new stadium.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Today's Oxford Mail reports that iron age relics have been discovered on the site of the Cuckoo Lane at the Manor. The director of John Moore Heritage Sites, which is carrying out the archaeological dig on the site, reports that it is part of a much larger community and that there is likely to be a burial site somewhere in the area. It hasn't yet been identified which team these irons supported (presumably Scunthorpe) or which failed United players could be found in the graves (although there are many who could fit the bill).

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Monday, August 26, 2002

Also from yesterday's Observer is a report that the Nationwide League is hoping for exemption from the rules concerning transfer windows, due to the financial difficulties that many of the clubs are experiencing. They are proposing that they be allowed to sign and loan players from the Premier League and each other, although they accept that Premiership clubs wouldn't be able to sign Nationwide players, despite the cash boost that would mean.

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Sunday, August 25, 2002

One or two interesting pieces in today's Observer. Possibly the most worrying is the story that Darlington are hoping to sign Faustino Asprilla, who is apparently a personal friend of chairman George Reynolds. Thankfully we've already played Darlo, so we only have to worry about him when they visit the KasStad, although it is always disappointing to hear of our rivals attempts to climb out of this division ahead of us. It's one way to fill their new stadium, but I'd rather that their problem was how to fill it in the Conference.

There is also an interesting article by Steve Baines, the only referee who used to be a professional footballer. He makes the point that, with so many players (over 550) currently looking for clubs, some of them should consider taking up refereeing as they will have a particular advantage that they can bring to the job. Baines took charge of two Oxford games last season - the win at Hartlepool and the scoreless draw at home to Bristol Rovers.

Wimbledon supporters will be heartened by the news that there is a possibility of their relocation proposal being reconsidered. A report submitted by the Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association (WISA) has shown considerable discrepencies between the evidence submitted to the independent commission by the club to support their application to move and the accounts submitted two months later. If it can be shown that the commission was misled by the club then there could well be a point for having the case reheard.

Finally there is a fascinating story about the problems besetting the Italian League, and the quite Machiavellian influence that Silvio Berlusconi wields over the procedings, being chairman of AC Milan, owner of a couple of media companies, oh, and Prime Minister of the whole blooming country too...

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Friday, August 23, 2002

Astonishingly it appears that the chairmen of the Premiership clubs have demonstrated some good sense for once in their lives (albeit probably for the wrong motives) in dismissing Sven Goran Eriksson's call (backed by the FA) for a mid-winter break. Whilst we don't normally have much interest in how the Premiership conducts itself, you can be certain that if they had voted in favour of a break in December and January then the Nationwide clubs would shortly have followed suit. Presumably (although it's not explicitly stated) their reason for opposing the break is that it would mean an inevitable reduction in revenue, both through the turnstiles (as it would mean more midweek games either earlier or later in the season, and they rarely attract crowds as large as Saturday games) and from TV (why would Sky pay for a two month gameless period?) whereas Rage Online's opposition is based on the principle that football is a winter sport and a spot of bad weather shouldn't allow those with ulterior motives the opportunity to impose their will on over 100 years of tradition. According to this report in the Guardian the Premiership chairmen also dismissed notions of player fatigue, claiming that large squads mean that most players have enough breaks - more common sense from those most notorious for lacking it?

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Thursday, August 22, 2002

Some potentially good news for supporters of Wimbledon FC is the news that the Chief Exec of the FA, Adam Crozier, has said on the FA's official web site that they oppose the proposed move of the club to Milton Keynes. Although apparently powerless to act to prevent the relocation, due to the legally binding arbitration between the Football League and Wimbledon, the opposition of the FA must give some hope that a loophole can somewhere be found to prevent the move (such as not allowing the club to enter all FA competitions, perhaps?), according to the Guardian, anyway.

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The likelihood of Steve Anthrobus playing for Chelsea looms ever closer with the news that the seed of Master Bates has made an "arrangement" with those corporate whores of Llansantffraid, otherwise known as Total Network Solutions, or TNS for short. Whilst this may be good news for Chelsea youngsters who would otherwise be knocking around the youth team or, if they're very lucky, the reserves whilst waiting for the next foreign star to jump ahead of them in the pecking order, as it means that they could get some slightly meaningful match practice, it is much less good news for the TNS players and supporters. United fans might care to cast their minds back to when it looked like we could have become a feeder club for Juventus. If we had gone down that route it is likely that the crop of Italian teenagers who we would have been grooming for future stardom in the Scudetta would have meant that the likes of Chris Hackett, Dean Whitehead, Paul Powell and the other promising youngsters that United quite rightly has a reputation for producing would never have had the chance to come through the ranks. Feeder club status only works for the club that is being fed, not the club that provides the fodder. Read about this latest manifestation of the ruination of football on Ananova.

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Good news for Darlington comes with the news that former Carlisle chairman Michael Knighton has declined an opportunity to work for them. In fact, according to the Nationwide League web site, Knighton (who was at Feethams on Saturday to watch Darlo lose to United) has said that he has no plans to own a football club for at least the next three or four years, although the bad news is that he has threatened always to be involved in the game. Shame.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2002

We have also discovered that, despite rumours to the contrary, the FA has not changed the offside rule.

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To kick off Ananova have the story that Dean Windass is looking for a new club after being told he is surplus to requirements at Middlesbrough.

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Welcome to the new Rage Online Web Log. This is where we will post items of interest from around the internet. These may not necessarily be about Oxford United, and may not even be about football, but it will all be stuff that we think is worth sharing.

Of course, we may be wrong!


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