Long time fans of Manchester United are up in arms. For the first time season ticket holders HAVE TO purchase tickets for all cup matches at home, including the Carling Cup, whether they want to go to the matches or not. Lots of fans live in Dublin, Belfast and further afield, and against Coventry City The Reds put out a very weak team and were well beaten 2-0 at home.
They went out in the same 3rd Round last season to a Freddie Eastwood's rocket shot at Southend United. This year they had an announced 75,000 sell out at The Theatre of Dreams, although about 8,000 never showed up, effectively giving away £22.00 or so and telling the club to 'get stuffed'. On the other hand 11,500 Sky Blue supporters were on hand for the shock upset. I remember being at Wembley in 1987 when Coventry shocked the soccer world by beating favoured Tottenham Hotspur at the F.A. Cup Final. The Glazer family from Tampa borrowed heavily to finance their purchase of the club and are even trying to resructure their loan which is costing quite a bit. This is one of the reasons for the change in season ticket rules and there is a lot of opposition.
Up in Scotland, East Fife lost 4-0 to mega club Rangers in the Scottish League Cup. The tiny 3rd Division Fifers with only one stand with a capacity of 1,000, had to play at Dunfermline's East End Park. Their normal crowd is 300 or so, but they probably made some money with an attendance of over 7,000. Their chairman had promised them all a free Caribbean vacation if they had won, but it was not to be.
Hull City went down 5-0 at the KC Stadium in front of 24,000 fans to a relieved Chelsea and new coach Avram Grant in The Carling Cup. Only 800 Chelsea fans made the trip to Humberside.
You have never heard of Lynham Athletic. It's a pub team that wasn't doing very well in the lower level of the South Birmingham Sunday League and named after popular TV soccer commentator Des Lynham. They won a prize on a TV show which was a coaching session with Plymouth Argyle coach Ian Holloway. This week they will play a match with new names. They decided to change all their names by government deed poll. Danny Yeoman is now officially Thierrry Henri, Kevin Alban is now Christiano Ronaldo. We also now have Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Lionel Messi, Kaka, Peter Cech, Wayne Rooney, Jamie Garragher, Cafu, Michael Essien, Hernan Crespo and Fabian Cannavaro.
The 51 match unbeaten run of the USA Women's World Cup team is over, after a 4-0 thrashing from Brazil in the second semi-final of the FIFA Women's World Cup, including a brace of goals from Marta. The day before, Germany, the reigning champions beat Norway 3-0 and will face the South Americans in Sunday's final in Shanghai. Goalkeeper Hope Solo was dropped for 38 year old Brianna Scurry, and with Shannon Boxx getting a red card for a second yellow right at the end of the first half, the American defence was shredded. Brazil doesn't even have a womens soccer league and many of their top players play in minor leagues in USA and Europe. Greg Ryan will take his ladies to a 3rd place match with the Norwegians earlier on Sunday in the same Shanghai Stadium.
Worse off are Austria. The country is co host with Switzerland next summer at EURO 2008 men's tournament in Vienna, Salzburg, Klagenfurt and Innsbruck. A fans organization has been formed to take their national team out of the tournament to save embarassment.
2007 is the 150th anniversary of the world's oldest club SHEFFIELD FC www.sheffieldfc.com. Later this year on October 24th they will host a special dinner at Sheffield's Cutlers Hall with FIFA President Sepp Blatter, Sir Bobby Charlton, Real Madrid President Roberto Calderon etc. as special guests. On November 8th, coach Roberto Mancini will bring INTER MILAN, twice European Champions and holders of 15 Serie A Scudettos, to Bramhall Lane, home of Sheffield Unitedt to play Sheffield FC. THE CLUB normally play at Bright Finance Stadium in Dronfield next to The Coach and Horses Pub, and they currently lie 2nd in the UNIBOND North, Premier League. You can join THE CLUB by logging onto their interesting web site, taking a look at their history and future plans including their BOOTS FOR AFRICA appeal.
For more on THE CLUB read my blog of 8/27/2006