The State of the Game: Coaching and Infrastructure

Photo: Daily Post

Photo: Daily Post

In the second part of a new TFN series, James Dutton talks to a coach and a footballer about the state of coaching and the infrastructure of British football..

“I get stray cats recommended to come to me, anywhere from the age of 16 to 19. My side has an average age of 20, which is unheard of in semi-professional football. That’s the problem.”

Sean Rogers is a different breed of football coach. The Mold Alexandra manager has performed miracles on a shoestring budget, winning promotion to the Cymru Alliance – the second tier of Welsh football – after winning the Welsh National League in 2013-14 with a squad whose average age was 20.

His young side is now more than holding its own, sitting 11th in a 16 team league. Remarkable given his assertion in a recent interview with the Daily Post that “based on our budget we should finish bottom three based on expenditure”. Even more remarkable when you take into account that there is “an 88% likelihood that you will finish one place within where you are on the league’s budget list.”

Mold Alexandra play attacking, attractive football under their progressive young Liverpudlian coach, which makes their success even more astonishing when you consider the factors against them. Continue reading

England’s uninspiring Euro 2016 draw could prove costly for FA


Patrick Fletcher shares some thoughts on the FA’s reaction to the recent Euro 2016 draw…

Maybe the Gods were looking down on Greg Dyke as he brought his finger across his throat to indicate his despair at England’s nightmare World Cup draw in December. Maybe they took pity on the hardships he faced that day, and maybe they contrived to right those wrongs on Sunday and give England what could hardly be a more straightforward qualifying group for Euro 2016.

Their work will be no more appreciated, though, and this time Dyke will be turning his throat-slitting gesture away from himself and towards the heavens. Indeed, the draw was seen as too straightforward by FA representatives in Nice, who sat stone-faced as images of empty Wembley seats set alarm bells ringing. Their fear is that the clashes thrown up, against the likes of San Marino and Estonia, will not be enticing enough to fill the £757m stadium, on which £277m is still owed. If the concern pre-draw had been ‘go easy on us this time’, the sentiment afterwards was no doubt: ‘not that easy’. Continue reading

“Brantastic!” – Guy Branston Interview Part 2


In the second and final part of The False Nine’s exclusive interview with on-loan Bristol Rovers defender, Guy Branston, editor, Andrew Belt, gives space to Guy’s thoughts on a number of aspects of the modern game…

Around a fortnight ago, I spoke on the phone to Guy Branston for TFN’s first exclusive interview. Anticipating a limited time with the footballer and All About Ballerz businessman, I was instead afforded close to an hour and a half with Branston and found the chat entertaining and revealing from a football point of view.

Continue reading

The Ballon d’Or 2012 – The False Nine’s Verdict

This week Fifa released the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or 2012. The False Nine team share their thoughts on some interesting nominations and omissions…

The Manager’s Shortlist: The Ones Who Got Away

Ole Gunnar Solskjær Continue reading

Diving Debate No Black and White Issue

False Nine writer, Matt Malone, tackles the issue of diving, which took up many column inches and press conferences this weekend, and asks for more understanding of a trait of modern football that’s increasingly difficult to officiate…

Whilst the issue of diving has always been a serious bug bear of managers across the country, in recent weeks it seems to have gone into overdrive and now, particularly after the incidents of the most recent round of Premier League fixtures, finds itself almost perennially on the back pages of most newspapers. Now so notably in the front of the minds of most people connected with football, it must be addressed and the FA must clarify its guidelines regarding what is described in Law 12 of the Laws of Association Football as an ‘attempt to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled (simulation)’. Continue reading

No Clear-Cut Way to ‘Kick it Out’

False Nine editor James Dutton dissects another controversial weekend in the Barclay’s Premier League and its implications on the wider world…

Rio Ferdinand is conspicuous without the ‘One Game, One Community’ logo t-shirt

An issue that had lay dormant in English football since the mid-1980s has reared its ugly head in the last twelve months, causing the game’s governing body to seemingly lurch from one crisis to another. It just won’t go away. Continue reading

English Football Must Sort Out Scrambled Values

In another dramatic week for the FA, False Nine editor James Dutton questions their priorities…
To coincide with this week’s international break and a dearth of football on the television, attention throughout the media has focussed on the controversies which are wreaking havoc in the game. Dives, elbows and stamps have been universally condemned, individuals, none more so than Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, constantly vilified. Their actions are, however, compounded by the selective blindness coursing through the game’s governing body in this country. Continue reading