Thursday, November 18, 2010

Well it's been in the planning stage for what seems like months now, but I'm finally flying home to Scotland today for a couple of weeks, with the aim of seeing as many football matches as possible in that time.

If things go according to plan, although the long range weather forecast ain't looking too cheery at this stage, I should be taking in 5 or 6 games on the trip, with games at East Fife, Cray Wanderers, Metropolitan Police or Crawley, Ayr United or Glenrothes Juniors, AFC Wimbledon and maybe a.n. other if the fixtures fairy is good to me and the weather gods even more so. Had to rule out Kingstonian at home due to some commitments elsewhere sadly, but hey, 5 or 6 games ain't bad going.

It's funny, when I lived in the UK, the thought of having a footballing holiday or groundhopping excursions never really entered my thoughts. Now, as an exile, I can't get enough and with my growing love of the non league scene in the last few years, I really regret not having seen more grounds and teams when I had the chance.

I've been to a lot of Highland League grounds and northern English non league clubs following the Fife pre-season for all these years and in Scottish Cup games, but I really should have made the effort to take in more. I've been up to Wick, I should try and get down to Cornwall too.

It's hard of course when you are following your own team week in, week out, home and away. Now that I am this exile though, I'm determined to chalk up more grounds, more teams, more leagues and love every minute of watching real football in the process.

First up though is my old haunt of Bayview and East Fife's Scottish Cup Third Round tie against Forfar Athletic. Not been to a Fife home game since April 2008 and I can't wait.

Looking forward to seeing all my old muckers and hopefully cheering the Fife on to a glamour Fourth Round tie. Then my football travels can really begin.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

They were undoubtedly dancing in the streets around Wimbledon and Kingsmeadow this evening.

Franchise FC went crashing out of their FA Cup First Round replay at home to Stevenage, saving Dons fans the heartbreak and anguish of having to "welcome" the club killers to their new home in the second round.

Although some Dons fans were relishing the prospect of putting one over on the club that forced them to start from scratch again, many, if not most, were dreading the potential day.

The best option for them was for Stevenage to win their replay against MK. The second best, that AFC Wimbledon lost theirs to Ebbsfleet.

Thanks to a Darius Charles late late equaliser for Stevenage in normal time and Mathias Doumbe's penalty shoot-out miss for the Franchise, option 1 came in.

It wasn't an exciting match to watch on the whole and it looked like Milton Keynes would indeed be advancing to the possible showdown after Lewis Guy put them into the lead four minutes after the interval.

Darius Charles became an instant Wimbledon hero though when he bundled home the Stevenage equaliser five minutes into stoppage time to send fans of the non league side, and another non league side not that far away, into raptures.

MK had the chance to win the shootout when it was tied at 4-4 but Chris Day in the Stevenage goal brilliantly saved from Peter Leven and the Franchise eventually crashed out 7-6 on spot kicks.

So a huge sigh of relief for all connected with AFC Wimbledon, as a potential meeting with the club that they don't even want to acknowledge exists is put off for another season.

All the Dons have to do now is to make sure that they keep their focus and win their replay at Ebbsfleet to keep their own FA Cup dream alive.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Airdire United are scum. Let's get that out of the way first.

They killed Clydebank FC to save their asses. They seem to avoid relegation due to many series of unfortunate events. They have some of the worst supporters in the Scottish lower leagues.

They've managed to sink to new lows though. I didn't really think that was possible.

Have a look below at the cover from their programme for Saturday's game against fellow club killers Livingston.

This was their special Rememberance Day cover with "Lest We Forget" emblazened on it.

Notice anything unusual about the picture? Yup, that's right, it's of Nazi soldiers!

I know it was clearly a genuine mistake, unless some neantherthal Union Jack waving Section B Nazi skinhead has infiltrated their programme now, but seriously, FFS how can you let that one slip through. As soon as I saw the picture I knew it was Nazi soldiers.

They're being crucified in the press for it and have apologised profusely. Their Chairman seems mortified. Honest mistake guvner and all that and I do feel sorry for the poor numpty that let that go through but still, what fuckwits. Having the phrase "Supporting Our Heroes" under the picture of the Nazi troops just added to the embarassment of it all.

On the plus side, that's one less programme that East Fife need to worry about for "Programme of the Year!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Watching East Fife from afar isn't easy. Mind you, watching them first hand isn't at the best of times either.

Waking up this morning to find your team two goals up, the opposition reduced to ten men and only minutes remaining is a nice feeling.

Checking back in moments later to find your team has then somehow managed to draw 2-2 just gets your weekend off to the worse possible start. At least I didn't have to leave the comfort of my living room to suffer the anger and anguish of the defeat.

It's no revelation that our defence has been shocking at times this season but to squander a two goal lead to ten men with three minutes remaining has to go down as a new low.

The Fife fans who made the hellishly long journey north should have their expenses reimbursed.

Seemingly coasting after goals from Kurtis Byrne and Craig Johnstone, either side of the Blue Toon's Paul Emslie receiving his marching orders ten minutes into the second half, East Fife managed to blow it big time.

John Robertson and Gordon Durie must be wondering just what the hell they've gotten themselves in to.

Full marks to ten man Peterhead for the spirited fightback though. Martin Bavidge's 87th minute strike must have seemed like scant consolation for an afternoon to forget, after East Fife had dominated without taking their chances and killing the game off.

Stuart Anderson's 35 yard screamer in the final minute though was just something else on all levels.

Michael Brown had no chance with the shot. I don't think any goalkeeper would have to be fair. It should never have come to this of course.

So we're back to the inconsistancy that cost us so dear both last season and so far this one too. Robbo needs to get some of his contacts going to plug these holes and get us some players that can also take the chances afforded to them. With two former internationals at the helm, surely that can only lead to good things in the player department.

Of course they still then have to play as a committed, cohesive and hungry team. That's where our big gap is currently.

Well at least I'll get to see the next two games up close and personal. What the hell is going to lie in store for me? Cup glory? Taking Ayr to the races? Or just a belated Halloween horror show.

We know to expect the unexpected as East Fife fans. That doesn't make it more palatable though.

C'mon the Fife.

FINAL SCORE: Peterhead 2 - 2 East Fife

EAST FIFE: Brown, Durie, Campbell, Smart, Ovenstone, Linn, Sloan, Muir, Johnstone, Hislop, Byrne (Crawford 76) [Subs Not Used: Collier, Murdoch, Young, Tansey]

ATT: 594

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Joey Barton is back in the news again and as we've come to expect from the player, it's not for good reasons.

Watching "Match of the Day" last night, I couldn't quite believe what I saw Barton doing to Blackburn's Morten Gamst Pedersen. So I watched the numerous replays and each time you found yourself asking "was he really that fucking stupid?".

And of course, yes he was.

I'm sure you'll all have seen it in it's horrible glory by now.

Barton's punch into Pedersen's chest wasn't the worst thing you'll ever see on the football pitch but it was certainly one of the most unsavoury. From the look on his face (red mist if ever you'll see it), to the punch itself, to his pleading of ignorance immediately afterwards (open hand slap my ass). It all just left a horrible taste in your mouth.

How many times can he get away with being a thug before he's stopped from playing top flight football, either by managers or the FA? A three game ban is hardly going to have a huge life changing effect on the player.

Of course he's come out and apologised, at least being man enough to admit what he's done now:

"I hold my hands up, I reacted badly to the situation on Wednesday night and I deeply regret it.

"I have been working very hard to keep that side of my game under control and I think it has showed in the way I have been able to get on and enjoy my football this season.".

How many more times will he trot this out though and how many more chances will he get.

He's a disgrace. Plain and simple. Balance that with Pedersen, whose reaction to the media after the match was class personified.

Not a phrase you're ever likely to hear in the context of Barton.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I often get asked why I'm more fascinated in lower league and non league football than say the Premiership.

When football fans find out that I'm Scottish, the inevitable question follows.

"Which team do you support?"
"East Fife"
(Pause)
"No, I mean Celtic or Rangers?"

The conversation Scots all over the world will have no doubt endured.

To those that are fans of the "big" teams, it's quite unfathomable to them that you don't really support one of them and that you can get any real joy from watching football on a freezing cold night, in piss poor facilities and featuring players that even some of their relatives would find it hard to recognise.

I'm sure many of the FC United of Manchester fans felt like this when they were at Old Trafford for years before discovering the joys of lower league football. I'm sure many of them wish they'd discovered these joys a little bit earlier in life.

If you're living in a non traditional footballing country like the US or Canada, that bafflement becomes even greater.

Frankly, people think you're mad.

Having watched this evening's Manchester derby between United and City, I would have to ask who the mad one is.

As mentioned before in this blog, and as has happened on so many occasions now, the big game you were all hyped up and looking forward to watching was a huge letdown.

In fact it was more than that. It was pish and negative pish at that.

Where was the passion? The commitment? The flying tackles and flying bodies? The justification of the huge admission fees the fans paid and the wages the players are picking up?

Not at the City of Manchester Stadium anyway. Man City's starting line up cost £170 million to assemble. United's cost £113 million. You'd never have known.

I'd rather have been able to watch a game like last night's Johnstone's Paint Trophy match at Adams Park between Wycombe Wanderers and Bristol Rovers. A nine goal thriller.

Yup, give me lower level football any day of the week after what I saw tonight. I wonder when others will start to get wise?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It was hardly a surprise when it was announced today that the possible FA Cup tie between AFC Wimbledon and Franchise FC will be ITV's pick for their televised second round match on November 27th.

The media interest has been enormous, even though the possibility of Ebbsfleet v Stevenage still hangs large. No one's going to let that prospect get in the way of a good story after all and The Wombles first round replay at Ebbsfleet will be shown live by ESPN.

For many that were too young to take in the debacle or just wonder what all the fuss is about MK Dons, read this post from "poultog", a member for over 4 years on the Franchise FC forum "The MooCamp":

"dont know about anyone else but this tie has really caught my interest and whetted the appetite once again. things were getting really stale and i was beginning to doubt my interest in the club...i was getting to the stage where i could take it or leave it."

Ah the classless Franchise fans and to think a Club died for these assholes.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Yesterday's FA Cup ties produced some good shocks, some spectacular goals and some fanatstic goalkeeping exploits (Dover's goalie was on fire!).

The headlines in Monday's papers though are more likely to come from a tie in today's second round draw, as the fourth matchup out of the hat threw up the possibility of AFC Wimbledon hosting the club killing evil that is Milton Keynes.

Both sides have to win their respective replays against Ebbsfleet United and Stevenage for this to happen, but the mouthwatering prospect of the FA Cup grudge match of all time is a very real possibility, although I do fancy Stevenage to turn over Franchise FC in the replay.

The offical AFC Wimbledon website was quick to react to the draw:

"Depending on the outcome of two replays, we have been drawn against Milton Keynes in the FA Cup 2nd round to be played on 27 November.

Most people know the way that Milton Keynes obtained their football club. It was wrong then and it is still wrong now, which makes this fixture very painful for us. However, when we entered the FA Cup we understood that this might happen and we will go about our business professionally and complete the fixture. But we would have preferred that it hadn’t happened. We have no further comment to make at the moment.".

A very classy statement from a very classy Club. We should expect nothing less.

As a Wimbledon fan and Dons Trust member I can't wait for the possible match up and the fact that it's happening when I'm back in the UK excites me no end. I'll be at the Dons game v Luton a few days later, so if there's any chance of getting a ticket for the Cup game as well, I'll be there in a shot if I can. Will even miss East Fife away to Ayr if need be!

But that's my view of the situation. I'm an East Fife first and foremost and not only am I an exile now, my main support of the Club only came after AFC were formed in 2002. I've followed their fortunes from the start and their support of our campaign to oust Derrick Brown as Chairman at East Fife was very welcome (they even ran a two page feature on our plight in their programme).

I'm not a dyed in the wool Wimbledon fan though. I didn't watch the team win the FA Amateur Cup in 1963 then rise up the non league ladder and take the Football League by storm. I wasn't at Wembley to see them complete their ultimate triumph in winning the FA Cup in 1988 (although I did cheer them on from the comfort of my living room!). I didn't see my Club basically die before my eyes like the true fans of Wimbledon FC did. I didn't have that heartache of losing my love and my home and having to rebuild my life from scratch.

I can only imagine what it must have been like for the Dons fans at that time. The idea that someone could buy East Fife, move them to the new town of East Kilbride and call them EK Fifers is mind boggling if you look at it that way (thanks to The Russian for that analogy on the AFTN forum).

Football fans the world over were appalled by what happened, many will never set foot in Milton Keynes or give Franchise FC a single penny. Many have been appalled that the FA included Milton Keynes in their potential venues for their 2018 World Cup bid. That in itself is enough reason for it to fail for me.

The real Wimbledon fans view the prospect of playing the team that put them through all that heartache as sickening and unpalatable. Many don't even want to acknowledge the existence of Franchise FC let alone play them. Now they have to.

There was a brilliant article on When Saturday Comes earlier this month, explaining why any game against Milton Keynes is really the nightmare scenario for long time Wimbledon fans. You can read the piece HERE.

It was bound to happen at some point, as it will surely only be a matter of time before Wimbledon are a League Club once again, but it doesn't make it any easier for the hardcore Dons fans.

It's great that the game is going to be at Kingsmeadow though. At least the home tie gives the Wimbledon fans the chance to see the game live, as very few would have made the trip to franchiseland. The risk of violence and anger spilling over too far is also reduced a little but the hostility will still be clearly there.

Public attention will also be raised to what happened once again. There will be a whole generation that will have no idea about the relationship between the two sides and why we must never let such a thing happen again.

It may be the potentially mouthwatering tie of the round for the casual fans and neutrals but for those that lived through all that heartache, it brings it all to the forefront once again. Although it will never truly be that far away.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New East Fife manager John Robertson has notched his first win as boss at Bayview in his second match in charge, in what was a very assured and positive team performance.

Last week's 4-1 debacle away to Dumbarton, that saw East Fife finish the game with 9 men, was quickly brushed aside and it was a thumping by the same scoreline that was handed out to Alloa Athletic at Bayview this afternoon.

Things started brightly when Bobby Linn hit a 30 yard curler after 16 minutes to give the home side the lead at the break. Fears were there of another collapse though after losing the lead when Scott Walker hit the equaliser five minutes into the second period.

Any fears were unfounded though when East Fife took over and Steve Hislop fired us back into the lead on 55 minutes. A brace from Robert Sloan completed the rout and it was happy faces all around Bayview. A rare site at times so far this season.

What was also good to see was the reception that ex boss Stevie Crawford got when he came on as a sub late on. As "there's only one Stevie Crawford" echoed around lower Methil, it must have been reassuring to the ex gaffer that the fans were still on his side and hadn't wanted him to leave the post so soon and with work still for him to do.

Not many managers would have the guts to stay on as a player after resigning. Stevie is a class act.

The win has given the Fife 12 points from 12 games with a goal difference of zero in the topsy turvy start to the season. It also moved them up to 7th place and with a firm rebuilding strategy beginning to take shape we may still have some promotion playoff matches to look forward to in May.

C'mon the Fife.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I love the early rounds of the FA Cup.

I'm looking forward to all of this weekend's action and have been following the tournament from quite an early stage this season for a change, which has been a wonderful breath of fresh air.

The Cup loses a bit for me usually around the fifth round when most of the smaller clubs have gone out and the moneymen basically take over. It's been great to have unfashionable and non Premiership teams make the final in recent seasons both sides of the border. Keeps part of the top flight game fresh and interesting.

A lot is made of the romanticism of the FA Cup, so I won't go down that well trodden path. It's real passion, real commitment, real football and what the game should be all about it in these early rounds.

You're not going to get much of a better example of that than in tonight's epic encounter between League One side Rochdale and FC United of Manchester from the Evostick Northern Premier League.

95 places and five tiers of the English football pyramid seperated the two teams but watching the game you would never have known.

I've followed FCUM's fortunes with interest since they founded, surprising seeing as how much I despise Manchester United. It's a feel good, success story. The kind that you don't see too much of in these depressing times in football, where every week seems to see another Club in money troubles, administration or going out of business altogether.

It's also two fingers up to the money men and overseas buyers that are slowly killing the modern game, basically eliminating all bar a few clubs from success at the top. The message is simple. Kill our club or change it beyond recognition and we'll go and set up another one that is not only more fun but one which you actually feel like a real part of and not simply a commodity.

The fans that shunned their old love, or worship at another church as has been a chosen analogy of many, have shown the true spirit of the game as they rise up the levels. The sheer ecstasy shown on the faces of the FCUM support this evening was a joy to behold. It was enough to make even a man with a glass eye shed a tear.

They've worked hard to get where they are and deserve every minute of their success.

The atmosphere at Spotland for the tie was incredible. I don't think the FCUM fans were quiet for a second and that includes pre match and half time. It was electric as the commentators like to tell us. This time that came across very loud and clear. The singing, the bouncing, the flares, even the pitch invasions were TV gold.

Despite being under intense early Rochdale pressure, with the Dale having an excellent penalty claim for handball waved away, FCUM fought back and when Nicky Platt put the non league side ahead on 42 minutes you sensed you were watching something special. An apt description also for Jake Cotterill's screamer that put the visitors two up four minutes into the second half.

Rochdale fought back and two set piece headers looked like being FCUM's downfall, as the League One side tied proceedings up with twelve minutes remaining.

A replay at Gigg Lane was looking on the cards, with both sides seeming tired towards the end. It was a proposition that had me licking my lips to be honest but Michael Norton's controversial goal four minutes into stoppage time saw the Evostick side through to round two.

Norton clearly kicked the ball out of the hands of Dale keeper Josh Lillis, but only certain angles of the TV replay showed this so you can't blame the referee for giving the goal and it shouldn't take any shine off FCUM's victory. It's a real shame that Rochdale were on the end of it though as they are a Club I admire and who I've been rooting for last season and this. Hopefully this will let them follow that old cliche of concentrating on the League as Dale in the Championship would be the joy that their long suffering supporters deserve.

As an AFC Wimbledon fan, and Dons Trust member, it's been great to see both them and FC United of Manchester flourish in recent seasons. Both fan owned, the 2010/2011 campaign is shaping up to be one of the most memorable for both teams short histories.

Let's hope that the Dons can match their northern counterparts achievement in reaching the second round.

The dream ties of AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons and FC United of Manchester United still remain possibilities and that's what the FA Cup is all about.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

For many years now football fans in the UK have argued that the game has forgotten it's roots. It was the sport of the working class and was priced accordingly so that young, old and everyone inbetween could get along on a Saturday and see their heroes.

Then things changed.

Football became fashionable. Spurred on by the success of fanzines, television companies embraced the fan culture. Comedians like Baddiel and Skinner became household names with their televisual equivalent to the fans printed tomes. Footballers became celebrities and the game the new rock and roll.

The Premiership exploded into the nation's consciousness, then came big names, the more corporate side of the game, the hike in ticket prices, the pricing of ordinary fans out of the market and the money men running and ruining the game across Europe.

Football is almost unrecognisable from the sport that gave me hours of pleasure as a little boy in Fife.

But that's the UK. As an exile living in a country now where football struggles for column inches alongside college sports and curling, I was under the impression that I was back in the heart of proper football with my support of Vancouver Whitecaps FC. A club with values and a true understanding of how important ordinary fans are to the games growth in Canada and throughout North America.

The Caps as an organisation seem to have their head screwed on when it comes to footballing matters on the park. As they prepare for their debut season in Major League Soccer next year, the enthusiasm amongst the small, but hardcore, supporters of the current Division 2 level side grows by the day, with announcements of management, players and plans for the step up to the "big league". It's an exciting time to be a Whitecaps fan.

Or at least it was. Now it's just become an angry time as the Club seem keen to show that although they get it ON the pitch, OFF it, they haven't a clue.

The Caps announced their season ticket prices today for their inaugural MLS season and whether it's greed, ignorance or just sheer stupidity, they seem to have scored a massive own goal before a MLS ball has even been kicked.

Vancouver is a football city (or market as the ad men would like you to call it). It always has been since the Caps made their way into the NASL in 1974. When the team won the 1979 Soccer Bowl in New York, over 100,000 fans lined the street to welcome their heroes home and the Whitecaps were the hottest ticket in town.

Times may have changed with football in North America but the passion for the game in the city of Vancouver is still huge, with 15,000 $50 season ticket deposits being snapped up and crowds of over 20,000 expected for the Whitecaps first MLS season.

You have to wonder though just how many of these deposit holders will actually be converting their deposits into full season ticket packages now that the pricing of them has been released.

To say the prices are a shock to the Southsiders supporters group is an understatement. Fuck knows how the rest of the the Vancouver public will greet them. You know, the ones that don't live and breathe football. The ones that will cite hockey's Canucks or the throwball Lions as their main team in the city.

The Caps advertised ticket prices from $319. They have honoured this with approximately 10% of these tickets available in shitty corner seats. Many will have put down season ticket deposits expecting to be paying this amount, especially in any designated supporters section. The more realistic amongst the support expected to be paying a bit more.

Yes, a bit more. Not hundreds more.

The next pricing tier is a very small number at $418, followed by the behind the goal supporters section tickets at $494. Fancy a seat along the touchlines? Try forking out up to $969 for that privilege. You then have to add on a 12% sales tax on top of these and then a service charge as well. They are amongst the highest in the whole of the MLS and for a club that hasn't even kicked a ball in anger yet, that's just plain crazy no matter what spin you put on it.

The package is for 17 MLS home games and two Canadian Championship games. No playoffs. No friendlies. No seemingly added bonus at all in fact.

Fucking scandalous in these recession hit times and whoever came up with these final prices in the Whitecaps front office needs to take a good, long hard look at themselves.

The Club will argue that they are not a normal new MLS Club. They are successful in other Leagues throughout the years, they have history, they have a current fanbase, they plan to be amongst the best in the World.

To reach that latter goal they obviously need to go with top players. They don't come cheap, especially those in their prime. They do need money for this, that I accept, but I would have thought that their recent mega money deals with Bell and Bank of Montreal would have gone a long way towards that. I'm sure both corporate giants won't like the prospect of them sponsoring a team with many empty seats dotted around the stadium or unhappy fans.

At these prices the Whitecaps will also have to have instant success otherwise renewals will be a very hard sell and the prices hard to justify.

Now they may be marketing geniuses and sell the bulk of tickets at these prices. I personally will eat humble pie if they do this with no struggle whatsoever. They'll be lucky to get 10-12,000 season ticket holders at those prices though in my opinion and part of me hopes they do fail as they need a fucking wake up call and a kick back not only into reality but into the world of proper football not fantasy football.

It would appear that it's some of the most loyal fans that have been shafted in the process. The Vancouver Southsiders supporters group has been a key asset to the Whitecaps organisation in the last couple of years.

That group has created the only football atmosphere at their current ground, taken part in advertising campaigns for the Club, have earned the media's ear and been the best promotional tool the Whitecaps have in their arsenal for attracting proper football fans.

The Euro ex-pats who sneer at the Caps current level may just give MLS a look in when they see that there are fans in Vancouver bringing a European flair to the terraces and it's not just soccer mums and family friendly sections sucking the life out of the atmosphere. Not that I expect to see too many families come out to watch the MLS Caps at those prices of course.

How has the Southsiders loyalty been repaid? By more than doubling the amount that the group currently pay for their D2 season tickets, charging the third pricing tier when the second would have been barely more palatable and giving them one of the worst views they could have of the game for that money. Behind the goal, through the net was the view the fans wanted to cheer their boys on to victory - just not at those prices.

The new Vancouver supporters section in MLS will now be the costliest of any other team's supporters section in the entire league and in many cases, hugely so. That's what loyalty gets you apparently in Canada.

To put this into context with other MLS clubs we need to compare and most certainly contrast the $565 that's expected to be shelled out for the Vancouver supporters section (all fees included there).

The other new Club for 2011, Portland Timbers, have looked after their fanatical Timbers Army with a cost of $360 for their season tickets and group branding of their section. The Whitecaps other Cascadian rivals, Seattle Sounders with their ECS supporters group, have upped their prices to $436 for newbies and those who have just held season tickets for one year. Those who have been in from the start get it for $351.

Beckham's crowd in LA pay between $400 and $500 but also get 5 bonus matches as part of their package, but Thierry Henry's faithful in the New York supporters section pay only $320. Last year's expansion team in Philadelphia charge their supporters section $275, San Jose $204, Chivas USA $180, Colorado $180 and Dallas $170. The successful DC United are more to the top end at $460 but at least you get a jersey included for that price.

In fact from what I can see, apart from narrowly at Kansas City, EVERY other MLS club rewards their loyal and most fanatical fans with the lowest prices in the supporters section.

For a front office that seemed for so long to "get it" their actions smack of an organisation that is no different from the football clubs that many despise in England and elsewhere in Europe. The ones who forget what creates a proper football atmosphere is football fans. Supporters, not attendees.

It would seem that even in Canada, a country far from being described as a footballing hotbed, and in the MLS, a league which let's face it is a fucking joke with very low standard players, "top" names that have had their day and so many unfootball-like regulations in place, money still seems to be the god for those in charge.

Vancouver Whitecaps have set their stall out that they want to be one of the world's top 25 football clubs. Sadly, it would appear that they've gone for a top 5 club pricing structure and it's a structure that will rule out many of the ordinary supporters. The ones that could really make a difference, that could create an atmosphere to rival elsewhere in the League and the world and most importantly, help grow the game of football in Canada and North America.

Shame.

Football the world over it appears is no longer the domain of the working man.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Many apologies to everyone for AFTN basically having October off.

It's been a busy time for us here at AFTN Towers and unfortunately something had to give so we thought better to have a little break than to do a half assed effort.

Normal service of daily blogging will resume this month, along with some blogs we did and but didn't post in October.

Thanks for bearing with us.
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