The international gap looms again and I have not related on the season so far. First my teams. Sunderland flatter to deceive with good spells followed by a crushing defeat – playoffs if they are lucky as Leicester, Leeds and Ipswich seem to have te top sown up with Southampton snapping at their heels – it looks like 3 or these 4 should be promoted. Bristol City are doing the normal mid table thing and now have a new manager. Plymouth, as expected are struggling just above the drop zone. Bristol Rovers, also with a new manager are also mid table. Forest Green look like heading out of the league unless there is a turn around in their form. Chelmsford City also blow hot and cold with too many draws (lacking a striker??).

In the Premier it again looks like Manchester City will sweep all before them. possibly moving 3 points clear of arsenal if they beat Chelsea this evening. Spurs and Liverpool look good for next 2 places. ManUtd keep winning (badly) so cannot be dismissed. The other team in the mix for top 6 is Aston Villa who are on a role. Brighton and Brentford look to have exceeded their predictions until recently.

Elsewhere – harry Keen is breaking all scoring records in the Bundesliga whilst Jude Bellingham is starring for Real Madrid. Ajax have moved off the foot of the Eredivisie with 2 wins and a draw in their last 3 games.


The FA Cup throws up some romantic stories at times before the state funded behemoths of Manchester City and Newcastle United enter in the 3rd round.

This week Cray Valley Paper Mills of the Isthmian League – South East Division enter the draw for the 2nd Round of the Emirates FA Cup. The Paper Mills closed in 1981 but the club, founded in 1919 eventually found a new ground which they lease from Dulwich Council in Eltham. The ground, which will host 1946 FA Cup Winners Charlton Athletic, has a capacity of 1200 with a stand of 100. Cove are 117 places below Charlton in league terms.

This cup run should guarantee their finacial situation for a while!


A World Cup Final – well done the ladies. Some great games, goals and fouls! Just as it should be! It will be a while before the fan base fully develops due to the inherent sexism of our society. I would guess that 80-90% of fans at the Premier League this weekend were men? Men, many of whom will stop off at the pub before or after the game, and expect dinner when they get home to be put on the table and small children tired after an entertaining afternoon at the park or whatever! The women’s game will not get that following of women so will rely on the support of men?

I hope this is not too pessimistic of me? The quality is good and will improve with greater support and finance. How long before we see the Woman’s FACup at Wembley.

PS. This blog was initiated by Debs! I hope it is not seen as sexist


Sunny – I was up early and watered the greenhouse and made ginger cookies before going to the shop to do the papers.

Football – Arsenal lose 1-0 at Forest despite having 82% possession. So ManC win the league for the 5th time in 6 and 3 in a row.. I know I should begridge the way that their money has bought them success – but their football is so majestic and beautiful! Guardiola really must go down as one of the best managers of all time (other contenders are Herbert Chapman, Alex Ferguson and maybe Brian Clough. PSG have shown that money and buying the best palyers does not = runaway success! Maybe Newcastle will go to buy Mbappe for next season? Who can challenge ManC next season? They do not have an aging squad like Liverpool last season, or one in need of major implants like ManU, Arsenal may be able to strngthen a young squad, Spurs and Chelsea are in a bit of disarray! AVilla have the funding behind them to make a proper impact after a good end to rthe season.

If Luton beat Sheffield Wednesday in the play off final they will have a huge bill for refurbishment of Kennilworth Road to pay that will restrict their expenditure on players. Odds on favorites to go down next season if they make it up. Next season could see all 3 relegated teams looking like favorites for promotion, although Everton might face restrictions on recruitment? How will Plymouth get on in the Championship?

Politics – Sein Fein win in NI council elections with socialist policies. When will NI leave the UK? Will it be before Scotland? Even Wales – heavily populated by the English may leave? Could London become a city state for a while (before its inherent corruption brings it down. Will England then become a pariah state? Are there enough English people who are not racists or fascists?


Wow! We did not see that coming! Newcastle and Spurs losing means Liverpool are back in with a chance for a top 4 finish. At the bottom there is only 6 points between the bottom 9. All in all it is a surprising season. Newcastle did better than expected but have faltered of late, Brighton continue their good form and Brentford have exceeded expectations. Everton are the flops but not surprising as they have sold their best players after years of poor purchases. Fulham have also done well whilst WHU have slumped (they made no new purchases in the summer).


I love the way they play on the pitch and their manager. However if they have breeched the rules they should be demoted and not fined monopoly money! Other clubs must be treated similarly – Chelsea seem to have some dodgy practices, and I suspect others are also feeding their shredders! Is this an opportunity to demand that all clubs pass 10% of equity to a fan base and have a supporter based person on the board. No club should ever be in the position of having a single person in charge, or a foreign government.


£558 million outlay by Chelsea in the years transfer windows. Premiership spending is £815m in the January window. (Cost of living crisis?) Chelsea alone have spent more than the Bundesliga, La Liga, Ligue 1 and Series A combined. Where does this leave the rest? Football is about competition between a league of clubs, not just a few. Will we be de facto limited to a European Cup that will consist of just 10 clubs?

Will clubs like Ajax and Benfica become academies for the rich ones? Like globalisation generally I believe it is getting out of hand. I accept that clubs with grounds attracting 60000 week in and week out should have more finance and be able to perform at the top level more regularly. However it seems to be getting ridiculous. Newcastle have hardly entered the race, having spent £183m in the last year, but have the capacity to do so much more. ManU are reportedly up for sale for a few £billion.

But football is a game of some equality. As a team game, it is not always the best team that wins. May the FA Cup live forever! But even here the wealth comes to the top! So the top of football will continue to be dominated by capitalism’s worst aspects. Lower down teams are hoping for crumbs from the Lords Tables. There is no chance now of a Wimbledon or Northampton rising through the ranks to make the Premiership. What player would would refuse £100 grand a week to continue playing for say Plymouth for say £10grand?

Football’s investment in facilities also needs looking at. It is not just a football thing, but a health thing. Boys and girls are playing football more and more


This season is one of the mist interesting for ages. ManC losing at ManU today leans it is close at the top, and if Spurs beat Arsenal it bunches up at the top. Everton and West Ham bottom! Notts Forest climbing. Wolves, Leicester.and Leeds in danger zone along with Bournemouth and Southampton. Lower down, Sunderland lose at home again to mid-table Swansea, Bristol City gain some points against Birmingham whilst Burnley and Sheffield United seem to have the top 2 spots assured with 10 point gap to Watford. Division 1 was to see Plymouth keep the gap at the top with a draw at Ipswich although Sheffield Wednesday cut the lead to 3, the top 3 slots would seem to be between these 3 whilst at the bottom Forest Green Rovers continue to battle at the very bottom. Another draw means they are 3 points from safety with MKDons, Morecambe, Burton, Accrington and Cambridge all fighting to avoid the drop.. Then Div2 where the top three dropped points whilst Colchester moved away from the drop zone. Chelmsford lost on penalties.

And My footie game is also very close with Adam and Aaron swapping the lead. I have been abysmal this week – next week I will shine!


Edson Arantes do Nascimento – RIP. As a footballer he is amongst the very best there has ever been, but he was more than that. He promoted football in Brazil instead of taking the riches offered elsewhere (yes I know he joined NY Cosmos at the end of his career, but that was to promote football in the USA). In genius he may have some who could get close – Maradonna, Cruyff, Messi, Ronaldo – but when we consider the state of the pitches, the weight of the ball, the absence of protection from referees (1966 World Cup springs to mind) no one is able to make a concerted claim to be the best ever other than Pele.

His longevity as a player, his 1200 goals, the number of moves he instigated, and then his work post playing, make him the undoubted Number One.


We have our first tasty quarter final sorted – Argentina against Netherlands. I am not sure who will win this – Argentina have Messi but the Netherlands could be the team without a real star. No team has shown consistency so far. Traditionally Brazil will be one to beat.

England again looked brilliant going forward but a bit dodgy at the back. But what a test they have coming up – France for whom Mbeppe has looked majestic and ready to take the throne of best player in the world from Messi (although Messi shows no sign of relinquishing the throne yet!). I have Croatia to beat Japan today and Brazil to beat South Korea (defeat for Brazil would be calamitous for them). Then Morocco-Spain and Portugal-Switzerland. Will this set up an Iberian quarter final?

Will we have an all European semi-finals? Or will it be Brazil and Argentina and Morocco with only one European side?

Gutted for Stirling and full praise for him returning home. But pleased that Rashford, Saka and Bellingham have stepped up to the mark – and Henderson.