Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We continue our series on the disappearing world of things you don't see at the football anymore:

#2 - THE TRANNY MAN:

Another casualty of the technological advancement that has now taken over the game.

Every club had at least one. Usually every section had at least one. Some found him annoying, but to many he was a vital part of the game. The Tranny Man provided a free service to his fellow fans.

Now for the young uns reading this, this Tranny Man wasn’t a cross dresser (apart from at Starks Park and the free services offered there are better not gone into), no he was the proud owner of a transistor radio and it was more often than not glued to his ear for all to hear or a pair of old style foam headphones were stuck on his head with regular score updates forthcoming. It was like having your very own talking vidiprinter standing next to you.

Forget your ipods, it was a time of MW and LW frequencies. A time when you had no other way of finding out what was happening. The Tranny Man had power and at those vital promotion and relegation times his fellow fans hung on his every word. When the scores were announced or put up on the scoreboard at half time, you could see the pride on his face that he had already let everyone know them long before.

As the years have moved on, so has technology and the Tranny Man is pretty much a thing of the past. In an age where you can sign up to get scores, goal highlights and Jeff Stelling telling you how the other games are going in real time direct to your mobile, you don’t need some old guy with a pair of headphones on blurting out that Brechin have taken the lead somewhere.

I have been known to be a Tranny Man myself in the past. Last time I can remember was the last day of the 1998/99 season where we needed a win against Clyde and the results elsewhere to go our way to stay in the Second Division. I still have horrific memories of turning off the radio and removing the headphones from my ears long before our game was anywhere near finished, resigned to the fact that the news I’d just heard meant that the Third Division beckoned.

For other Fife fans in the 90’s the famous crisp muncher from Dunfermline (who shall remain nameless!) was our regular Tranny Man and he’s disappeared from our world completely! Maybe they’ve all formed a Club somewhere and every Saturday they take turnabout updating each other about what’s happening at Glebe Park.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I have a confession here.

Despite the Whitecaps being about to join it and writing about it for the East Fife programme, I find the MLS a little boring. I watch few games.

It's hard to get excited about teams you don't really care about and a footballing environment that still doesn't quite feel like it's the real deal.

Now I don't want to do a disservice to the many hardcore fans out there from MLS Clubs, but there is so much wrong with the League to many who have followed the beautiful game for years in every other continent on the planet. It still feels at times that they are playing at being a "proper" League.

What they can do to change that opinion that is held by many "Eurosnobs" is difficult to pinpoint but things like reserve sides and youth development would be a start.

A lot of it is down to the fact that the game is not seen as been a natural choice for sports fans in the US. It can be argued that the game has been forced upon a generally disinterested sporting public, with little to no decent media coverage to help promote the game.

There's no doubting that football is huge at grassroots level. It's the biggest participation sport amongst kids. There is also a big ex pat market from many passionate areas of the world: Europe, Mexico, Central America, South America.

Now I can only speak personally from now onwards. What I want to see from a growing MLS is a real football watching environment at games. Standing terracing, away fans, no fucking cheerleaders, a real atmosphere.

And I have to say it's coming.

What's prompted today's post is one of the MLS games I caught the end of on Saturday.

Toronto FC visited Columbus Crew and took 2,000 fans with them. Fans who sang and chanted for the whole 90 minutes and were given the whole standing section behing one of the goals. Yes, the MLS is creating sheds!

That's impressive enough but when you realise that those couple of thousand fans travelled around 430 miles across the border to take in the game, it's even more so. To put that into perspective for East Fife fans, that's nearly three times the distance from Methil to Stranraer or Dingwall. Wow!

Toronto and their fans have been a breath of fresh air to the MLS and the kickstart atmosphere wise that the League was needing. All new and exisitng Clubs now want to match , if not exceed, what has been achieved there.

The sight of away fans at MLS games has been increasing of late and it's great to see. As someone who has travelled home and away to games for many years, it's an important fundamental to me of being a football fan. It makes you have a greater sense of belonging to your Club. It's not always going to be practical on a continent the size of North America but it's encouraging to see what the game and their Club means to some of these fans.

With Vancouver and Portland joining recent newcomers Seattle in the MLS in 2011, this is going to be something we will see more of.

I've been told of stories from the NASL days of the 1970's when thousands of fans of each club would travel across borders to take in the away matches. If this can continue in a couple of years time then the buzz and excitement will be amazing.

Maybe it is going to feel like watching in a real football atmosphere after all, but most importantly, by creating such an atmosphere, the many doubters out there will start to realise what a passionate and fantastic game football is.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Buried in amongst all the International games yesterday, East Fife's season finally ground to a halt.

In a season that had promised so much hope, optimism and enthusiasm, another lacklustre display in a 2-0 defeat at Stirling Albion basically sealed the team's fate for the year.

Next season (bar an amazing collapse that I don't even think Dave Baikie could mastermind) Second Division football will be on show once again at Bayview Stadium.

From all accounts, the Stirling loss was more powderpuff stuff from the black and gold. No fight. No commitment. No hope on show. It was a performance that left the Fife faithful very subdued and certainly not enjoying the silence.

From watching the highlights on Stirling's website (Watch Them Here), it's hard to take anything positive or optimistic from the game.

I'll be honest though. I'm glad we didn't go up as we would have been murdered next season. We don't have the current infrastructure at the Club to survive at that level. I don't want to go through another season like our last First Division experience in the 90's.

What we're left with now is meaningless games, but let's not make them that. Let's make them count for something by starting the rebuilding now.

Get rid of the management team. Don't rush in with a permanent replacement. Let Lee Makel run the team till the end of the season and see if we have a potential future young management star on our hands.

Most importantly though, get rid of the deadwood and play some youth. Bring in the players out on loan. Let's see what they've got. Run with Div Muir for the rest of the season. Drop the ones that are likely to go anyway.

The rebuilding HAS to start now. Without it we don't have any hope of moving forward and building a solid base for the future.

There's a Board meeting tomorrow evening. Let's just hope that the powers that be also see it this way and that the changes start now.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

After what seemed like an endless amount of time, the European World Cup qualifiers kicked back into gear today for Scotland, although after today’s performance, it’s difficult to see if Scotland were in any gear at all. Holland certainly didn’t seem to have to move out of first at any rate.

It was a very lacklustre performance and you got the impression that if Scotland had been playing all weekend then the Dutch goal wouldn’t have faced many threats.

The lack of a serious and consistently dangerous attacking threat is starting to look like a big worry.

Yes, if Kenny Miller had done better early on then it could have been different blah blah blah, but let’s be honest here, it would just have given the more skillful Dutch the kick up the ass they needed and then they could have gone on to emulate the six they hit past us a few years back.

We were totally outclassed today and that’s not unexpected. It would have taken the most optimistic of Scotland fans to think we were going to leave Holland with three full points, but many of us dreamed of getting one. High goals we set!

When you look at the teams that the Dutch players turn out for at Club level, then compare that to our lower level guys, it would have taken a monumental effort to take anything from the match. We don’t bring subs on that play for Real Madrid.

But where was the passion, the flair and attacking edge of our boys? Even the fans were more subdued than usual. It might have been too many visits to the cafes but it was more likely to have been the lack of fire on the pitch to ignite them.

George Burley is in danger of undoing all the good work that Walter Smith and Alex McLeish did for the side. He’s not quite heading into Bertie Vogts territory but time will tell.

Wednesday’s game against Iceland has always been a must win game. Today’s result would have changed nothing even if we had pulled off a shock win. We need Burley to get the players totally up for it. To attack from the word go and to give the fans something to get behind and be proud of once again.

We may not have the top world class players but we do have some good guys out there.

Of course it may all be for nothing anyway. Only the top 8 of the 9 runners up will go into the play offs. Even finishing second looks unlikely to be good enough unless we win pretty much all of our remaining games.

It’s been too long since we could watch Scotland at the top table. We need to be there for the good of the game throughout the country.

But then, the whole game in Scotland also needs a major overhaul, but we’ll save that for another day.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Well at least East Fife have won something this season!

Everyone involved with it had been awaiting the results, secretly daring to hope that we would take the crown, and today it's been confirmed: the East Fife matchday programme is the Scottish Second Division Programme of the Year for 2008/09.

It's a fully deserved accolade. Everyone involved with it has put a lot of hard work and manhours into producing a top quality read, week in and week out. Top marks in particular go to Liam Anderson for pulling it all together.

In recent seasons, before the East Fife Supporters Trust took over producing it, the programme at Bayview has been an embarrassment at times. Some of the programmes of the late 1960s and 1970s were great reads, with some fascinating and fun articles in them, but they went downhill in the late 70's with very few seasons where they picked up to provide an interesting read and were just little more than an advertising booklet.

You can see some of the more off the wall highlights from early Fife programmes on the AFTN website HERE.

One of the most important aspects to the current success is the eclectic mix of well written articles that focus not just on East Fife but on football in general. Going back to the original "The Bayview" name and typeface was also an inspired choice.

I personally feel we were cheated out of the award last season due to some of the politics involved in the whole awards but we've more than made up for it this year. Beating our nearest rivals by a considerable margin.

Of course, the hard part now is keeping the standard and quality as high, if not higher and I don't doubt that with the team involved this will be very easily done.

I'm very proud to have played a part in the success. It's been fun being involved and I'm looking forward to continuing help with it next season.

In the words of old Mr Grace "you've all done very well"

Thursday, March 26, 2009

THE DAMNED UNITED opens in cinemas in the UK tomorrow.

Ever since I’d heard that it was being made I’ve been looking forward to seeing it. The clips I’ve seen on TV have whetted my appetite no end, so hopefully I’ll get a chance to see it asap somehow.

For the few of you who still have no idea as to what I’m talking about, but it’s the film adaptation of David Peace’s controversial book of the same name chronicling Brian Clough’s 44 day reign as manager of Leeds United.

It’s a book I have no interest in reading. It seems trash and crass. It’s fiction based on fact, with the writer playing out what he think happened in a real situation but with so many inaccuracies as to render it laughable but also very offensive to Brian Clough’s memory.

So why so keen to see the film? Well a true biopic of Cloughie is still overdue so this is the next best thing for starters, but also the film makers have promised a more rounded and warm and accurate portrayal of the footballing genius. Michael Sheen looks to be amazing in it and to cast Timothy Spall as his right hand man Peter Taylor is inspired.

To get people in the mood for the film release (or to unashamedly cash in on the buzz?!), ITV aired a fascinating documentary dedicated to the great Cloughie last night. What a joy to watch and a must see for all football fans (if you missed it catch it on ITV’s catch up player HERE).

I’ve heard a lot of the history, the stories and the myths surrounding Brian Clough over the years, and he was one of the first managers I remember watching and admiring growing up, but my knowledge was certainly sketchy and far from complete. The ITV documentary though was phenomenal at filling in those gaps and for bringing the younger ones in the audience fully up to speed with his iconic achievements.

Chats to his family, friends and colleagues revealed some extraordinary details about what being close to Cloughie was like and what it was like to work under him and these were all interspersed with some great clips and quotes from Brian as a TV pundit and at press conferences.

Peter Taylor used to tell the players that they had to win on the pitch because of the things that Brian said off it!

The interview after his sacking from Leeds in the studio with Don Revie is footballing commentary gold. The England manager debacle baffling and the end, which just touches on his later troubles, very moving.

His rise to legendary status and his self belief that got him there were well detailed. You have to wonder what he would do with some of the super paid prima donnas that you find in the Premiership these days. How we he deal with a Cristiano Ronaldo?!

At the same time, what achievements would he have gone on to with the money and talent that would have been at his disposal?

Different times and circumstances I know, but it’s always one of those great sporting conversations that you can’t help but having.

His man management skills and his ability to develop players and adapt tactics are missing from so many managers in today's game. Oh to have a Brian Clough style figure at East Fife now and for the future. The football would be a joy to watch and what a fun ride it would be!

"It's only opinion. It makes the world go round"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm going to run a feature I've been writing for the East Fife programme on the blog. It's also going to appear on the AFTN website, but I thought I'd stick it on the blog first for those that haven't already seen it. This is Part One:

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The ice caps, the rain forests, endangered species. All part of our disappearing world.

As football fans though we’re part of our very own disappearing world. For older fans especially, many of the things we have grown up to associate with a day out at the football either no longer exist anywhere or are close to extinction. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for worse.

As East Fife supporters, spending so many recent seasons in the lower levels of Scottish Football has meant that we’ve seen some of these things disappear at a much slower rate than say fans of teams in the SPL.

In these days of shiny new, all look the same, plastic lego built stadiums by numbers, we’ve been “lucky” to have had visits to Albion Rovers’ Cliftonhill and East Stirling’s old Firs Park. Truly football grounds from a bygone age. Grounds where you can stand on terracing, lean on a crash barrier, go to an actual pie hut and not a concessions stall and, in the case of old Firs Park, use mens toilet facilities that wouldn’t look out of place in a third world country in the 1920‘s.

For the older ones, it’s a blast from the past, for the younger ones we take with us, it’s a chance to show them what their parents and grandparents grew up with as the norm. Things they wouldn’t believe if they didn’t see it with their own eyes and certainly not things you would see in the stadia shown on the Match of the Day or Sportscene, apart from perhaps on FA Cup minnows day. Is that perhaps part of the reason why people find their participation in the competition so romantic?

These were real football grounds and the things that comprised them were what helped all of us older ones want to go back to watching our team week in, week out. So as you sit in your characterless plastic seat, reading your glossy programme, let us take you back to look at a couple of these things that are now part of this disappearing world:

#1 : HALF TIME SCOREBOARDS

A 1-1 B 1-0 C 0, what’s that? A 2?! The crowd gasps. That’s a shocker. Who’s D again?

Long before even the most basic of electronic scoreboards were invented, people relied on the old traditional manual method of score updates. From people putting up numbers. Pah, who needs computers or Caroline yelling them at you?!!

I’ve always felt that the half time scoreboard at Bayview Park was one of the most characteristic features of the old ground. It used to have pride and place beside the advertising hoardings at the School End of the ground. Right by the corner flag. I seem to remember it moving into the far corner of the away end later on, which may just be my memory playing tricks on me, but then one day it was gone, never to be seen again.




East Fife Bayview Park Scoreboard

It was nothing fancy, but I always felt an important and charming feature of Bayview was missing. For those of you who have no idea what I’m slavering about, check out the photo. For those that do remember it, check out the photo and remember!

They were at all grounds and for them to have any meaning, you, or someone near you, had to have a copy of the programme at hand. Listed in there were all of the day’s fixtures and each fixture had a letter assigned to it. The old Bayview scoreboard had 15 spaces on it. No I or O or Q to avoid confusion, just a straight A to R.

Every half time a couple of lads would trot round to the scoreboard and put the numbers up against each letter to let you know what was happening in each game. A time consuming event I’ll agree, especially as there was a tannoy system to tell you, but it was a vital and traditional part of your day at the fitba. It also helped when they actually put the scores up against the correct letters! And if you were away to the loo or for a pie, they were there for all to see for the second half.

As electronic scoreboards came along in the bigger grounds, the old fashioned half time scoreboard became a thing of the past and of course nowadays the top clubs have super duper computer screens with instant replays and all sorts. A long journey from wooden letters and plastic numbers. I can’t remember exactly when the Bayview one disappeared but someone obviously forgot to order our plasma screen replacement.

I wonder if people will look back in the future and say “remember when that wifey used to yell the scores at us from her hand held mic?”!! You never know!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

If it wasn't for it feeling freezing outside and the constant rain and drearyness, you'd think it was the summer. Actually, scrap that, that IS like a Scottish summer!

Anyway it's nothing to do with the weather, it's due to the lack of midweek football on the TV this week.

With the Champions League, Cup replays and just general League games filling our midweek footballing stomachs for months on end, when you have a blank midweek like this it feels strange. Our appetites have been spoiled.

What do you do to fill that gap? Well for me, I've actually rediscovered an old love, the football magazine WHEN SATURDAY COMES.

When I was doing AFTN as a printed fanzine, all us editors had swap deals going on. Spreading the word of our club and getting loads of free fanzines from all over the UK in return.

I'd bought When Saturday Comes for a few issues and once AFTN was up and running, WSC sent free copies of every issue of the magazine to me (and most others). It was a key network for them. Fan friendly journalists available to them at the drop of an envelope. This enabled them to be fresh and have their fingers on the real fans pulses way before the papers got on board.

I had various things published in their esteemed pages and even a feature article in their "Twelve Inches High And Made Of Solid Gold" book.

Even in the lean AFTN years and the initial days of the website, the free issues still came until a few years back.

I hadn't read it for a couple of years and actually hadn't really given it much of a second thought. I even threw out all my old issues about 18 months ago after unsuccessfully trying to sell them on ebay. I do regret that now.

Whilst trying to do some research for an article for AFTN I stumbled across their website last week and instantly remembered what I loved about the magazine and have resubscribed.

So with a football free week I got round to reading their latest issue today. It's still as fresh and fun as ever and it's easy to see why it's reached 266 issues already. It's great stuff and it covers so much and so many different clubs. The humour is still as sharp as ever as well.

For those of you that have never seen it, or even heard of it, I recommend you start by checking out their website HERE.

It's a "half decent football magazine" and I can't wait for my next issue already. Just wish I'd kept all my old ones now!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The first 5,000 deposits for the Vancouver Whitecaps MLS season tickets have now sold out and in under 48 hours, with none of those 5,000 including current season ticket holders who are already guaranteed their tickets without having to pay a deposit. There's going to be a 16,500 cap on the amount of season tickets they will sell in their first year and I think it's already safe to say that that's going to be reached in no time.

It's been a phenomenal success and when you consider that Toronto FC (the team held up as the model for all future MLS expansion teams) took months to reach this level, it's all the more impressive.

With the Whitecaps current season due to start next month it should also see a knock on effect on their USL games for the next two years. I would be expecting to see near sell outs in their approx 5,500 current home at Swangard Stadium and should see the key supporters group, the Southsiders, grow as well.

"We're here, we're there, we are the atmosphere, Southsiders, Southsiders" is one of our chants and this is so true. Without the Southsiders, watching football in the city at the moment would have a lunar atmosphere and be as exciting as watching paint dry, as the sweetie rustlers and soccer mums would be all that you would have. You can see some Southside action below and more on AFTN's You Tube channel HERE.



The Club realise the importance of the group and in the current climate of international football, this is a joy to behold.

I've had my fair amount of run ins with football management over the years. I'm sure most of us that are vocal have. At East Fife the Brown years, and the 2005/2006 season in particular, almost killed the Club and was close to driving away lifelong fans for the rest of their lives (you can read all about that HERE for those who don't know all the ins and outs). Thankfully that had a happy ending. Well at least so far.

It looked liked the Southsiders and the Whitecaps were going to have some major hassles last season, but clear the air talks led the Club to realise just how important fans can be, even in North America, and the relationship is unbelievably good at present. Winning a Championship of course helps all that, but it's continued thereafter. So much so in fact that there's even going to be a sponsor of the section, with the best radio station in Vancouver (the Fox) coming on board.

With two years until the Caps go into the MLS, it's important to keep the buzz and the hype constant. That's not going to be forthcoming in the media so it's the fans that have the biggest part to play.

It's nice when a Club gets it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Well that's another weekend of English Premiership action over and despite how it was looking at one stage, both ends of the table are now starting to look really exciting!

With most teams having 8 games left now, the run in is already a mouthwatering prospect.

Man U looked to have had the League sown up a few weeks back as we all know and although it's still very hard to see past them, at least Liverpool have made it interesting now.

With all that is made about skillful passing football, getting the ball down on the deck etc etc, is it just me or is there something really satisfying about seeing a route one goal these days like Riera's for Liverpool against Aston Villa?

I know it's "not how football was meant to be played" and yeah, it would be boring to watch that week in, week out (trust me, I know from experience!) but when you see such a direct goal as that, it brings a smile to my face. Who needs European flair when you have a goalkeeper that can kick the ball out 72 yards?!

There's so much at stake in the monetary sense between being in the Premiership and the Championship now that the pressure at the other end must be unbearable if you're associated with a team down there.

Looking at the Sheffield United - West Ham compensation saga, and the amounts involved, tells you all you need to know about that.

That pressure can certainly hit good football being played or any football at times, with teams just not wanting to make a mistake. The Stoke - Boro game yesterday was a great example of that.

A lot of the EPL games are just not interesting to watch and I've found that the Championship has produced the far better games for the last two seasons and that can only continue.

Hull and Stoke have been a breath of fresh air to the Premiership this season, with their no nonsense, attack minded style of play. I just hope that they can both survive and stay up. It would be great for the game and a huge boost for fans of similar unfashionable teams who hope to make it to the big time. When these teams go back down straight away it's saddening as the money men have won again.

Maybe not this year though. For me, I'd love to see three of the bigger teams take the plunge and if Blackburn, Newcastle and the perennially boring Boro can continue their struggles and fill those three places then I'll be a very happy bunny come May 24th.

It's going to be an exciting two months.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A lot of teams right now would love a 4-0 victory.

East Fife achieved that today but it's still not lifted the cloud of despondancy that's hanging over Bayview these days.

It seems that it was four that could have been more but yet the team's performance left a lot to be desired. It was only Stranraer that we were playing say some. Why was it not more say others. It was a confidence booster others still.

Whatever it was it keeps our play off hopes clinging to an ever thinning thread. Seven games to go. 8 points off the last play off position. It's not looking good.

Dave Baikie said in the papers recently that the future is looking bright. I can only assume that he has a summer holiday planned in some sun haven.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm proud to be an East Fife supporter. Supporting a small club to me is what football is all about.
Anyone can support a team that wins all the time.

What's the worst thing that can happen to you if you support Rangers or Celtic? You might finish second in the league but you're still qualified for the Champions League. Boo hoo.

I like that there's not much of us any more. It's a shame but also somehow satisfying in a strange way. You feel more personal and attached to the Club. You really feel that you are part of the Club. That it's your Club. Prior to tomorrow's game our average home attendance for this season is 941. Disappointing when you think what we achieved last season but at the same time not really surprising. Gone are scenes from old Bayview like this:

Looking back at the troubled times we had at the Club under Chairmen like Julian Danskin and Derrick Brown, there were a number of people who said "I'm not going back till he's got nothing to do with the Club". Both men have long departed but where are all these fans from before?

That's the trouble. Once people find a different pursuit for a Saturday afternoon it's hard to get them back. Once they're out of the swing and the buzz of cheering on the Fife every week it's hard to get that swing going again. In other words it's getting easier and easier for many to find something else to do on a Saturday.

That's why it's important that fans at clubs like East Fife, and other lower league Clubs, stick together. We need to stay unified.

It's been disappointing for me to read on the AFTN forum fans falling out with each other and turning really abusive at the same time just because we disagree on the best way forward for the Club.

There's not a lot of us and turning on each other is not the way forward. We need all the support we can get.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"Bring on the Major Leagues
Bring on the Major Leagues
Bring on the Major Leagues
Bring on the Major Leagues"

You can't beat a bit of Pavement!

Well, it's all official now. We've hoped and expected it for weeks but it's nice when it's all signed , sealed and delivered. Vancouver will host a MLS team from 2011.

Hopefully that team will be the Vancouver Whitecaps. I say hopefully as the Club have to go through the formality of market research apparently to see if that's the name they'll go forward with when everyone knows that will be the final picked option!

Seems like a waste of money that could be better spent in my opinion but hey, let's not let any small gripe take the shine of what is wonderful news.

Vancouver has an amazing footballing legacy. The Vancouver Whitecaps are the longest continuing football team in North America. This year they will celebrate their 35th year anniversary so a fitting time to return the team to the big show.

Once the news was announced yesterday the reaction has been nearly 100% positive. You'll always get a few snipers, usually those that don't "get" the sport or those that are jealous that their own sports team is an underperformer, success starved entity. The news was carried as the lead story on yesterday's news bulletins and the front page of today's papers.

The Club have handled the announcement very professionally and threw a celebratory party for season ticket holders last night with free t-shirts, badges, drinks and appetisers flowing freely for those present.


It's great to see the passion amongst the fans and what the announcement means to them. It's almost like legitimising their choice to follow a great sport. It shouldn't have to be like that but it is. The Club announced that their phones have been ringing off the hook with people keen to ensure season tickets and be part of it all.

The Club will be playing at a renovated BC Place. A capacity of 20,000 should see a season ticket limit set at 14,000. Very similar to Toronto FC and they have a waiting list of 13,000. The demand is going to be phenomenal and it's a great time to be a football fan in the city.

Although the printed media are onside at the moment, once the Whitecaps current USL season starts it's going to be a struggle for them to gain the column inches yet again so it's important for all connected with the Whitecaps to keep the interest and enthusiasm alive.

Considering the new MLS season kicks off today and not one TV station in Vancouver is carrying the game, it's going to be a long slog ahead but it's a battle worth winning. One day football will be THE talked about sport in Vancouver. That's my dream and it's up to all of us to make that happen.

You can find out more about Vancouver's plans and bid at the official website: http://vancouvermls2011.com/

Bring on the Major Leagues indeed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One of the great things about football is the emotions it creates. Two people can be standing side by side, watching the same game and leave with differing feelings.

I know that can be true of so many things in life but the highs and the lows that football creates is a truely wonderous thing.

Sure the bad times can be really bad but when the good times come around there's no better feeling.

I used to take the bad times pretty bad sometimes. A defeat on a Saturday afternoon would put me in a foul mood all weekend. Not the best company to be with. I'm not as bad now. I put that down to getting older as opposed to losing the passion and interest. It still hurts though. It's still depression inducive.

As a follower of a small time Club you see the bad times way more often than the good. This is particularly true with being an East Fife fan. It's an old gag but I've supported them through thin and thinner.

That's half the fun. What pleasure can you really get watching a team deliver trophy after trophy?!

Winning the Third Division Championship was something I'll never forget. The first time I've actually seen the Club lift silverware that wasn't the Fife Cup or some bizarre trophy given to the team at a friendly in Wick.

That euphoria lasted over the summer and carried myself and many others on a wave of optimism that we would soon be sweeping all before us once again and be First Division bound in no time at all.

Of course, football being football and tactical disasters being tactical disasters, things haven't quite worked out like that as we've seen our promotion hopes sink faster than UK banking shares. Currently lying in sixth place, our match tonight against League leaders Ayr United was a must win game.

Well, I say a must win game, but many down Bayview way have long given up on us having any hope of making the playoffs. I still linger on until Carol Vorderman can prove it to be mathematically impossible. After a 1-0 lacklustre defeat, she won't have too many calculations to do.

Four defeats on the bounce would do it. Pushing all those depression buttons. It is truely a season of missed opportunities, aided and abetted by some woeful team selection and tactics shown by our manager Dave Baikie.

Oh the lows.

Having two teams that are close to your heart though can cure all (sometimes).

Can you love two teams? Well maybe not entirely 50-50 but I've found out that you can be brought to ecstasy by them both.

My other love, the Vancouver Whitecaps, managed to snap me out of my sadness with the great news, and possibly the worst secret in North American football, that come 2011 they would be a MLS side.

The euphoria amongst football fans in the city is unsurpassed in a non Championship winning sense. It feels like things are going to take off big time in a city that's just needs their football passion reawakened.

More about that announcement tomorrow but it was nice to have my football high and low today almost simultaneously.

It really is a funny old game.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

AFTN has been in existence in various forms since August 1989. We've shared our views and opinions as a fanzine and as a website, so I guess a blog is the natural next step.

This blog will be about football. From all around the world. Things we see, things we hear, things that have made us cheer, things that have broken our hearts and things that we just want to get off our chest.

As an East Fife website this blog will obviously have a black and gold tint but as many already know, we now have an international flavour and will soon be launching our sister Canadian website dedicated to Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

As our logo says though, football is always in our thoughts so this blog will be about everything and anything.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy putting it together.

GoF
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