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Photo by Julian Schiemann on Unsplash

The weekend’s spat between Liverpool FC manager Jürgen Klopp and BT Sport’s Des Kelly has shone fresh light on the complex relationship between football and TV. It reveals fault lines that have been evident for some time but which, somewhat ironically, are now being focused on more widely because they are a broadcast ‘moment’.

Answering Kelly’s question about whether James Milner had a hamstring injury, Klopp said: “Yes, congratulations”, referencing the 12.30pm kick-off time selected to broadcast the game. Kelly took exception and told Klopp he was aiming at the wrong target. …


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Picture from Unsplash by Mari Carmen Del Valle Cámara

I wrote last week about why it was important to seriously consider reform of the way football is run in England, and to get to grips with why football clubs need to be dealt with as unique businesses. I wanted to go into a bit more detail about what measures could be taken to address the concerns many hold about the way the game is run.

Five years ago, with a general election looming and yet another government Expert Working Group asking for views, I wrote an article alongside Duncan Drasdo, CEO of the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust, that attempted…


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Earlier this week, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden gathered the stakeholders of English football together in what was dubbed a Football Summit. The idea was to address the many issues the game is facing, but it was the attendance list that caught the eye. Alongside the league chiefs and the Football Association were representatives of the fans and the players. The fact that the presence of reps of the talent and the people that watch it is noteworthy tells you much about how the game has been run, and why it needs to be run better.

But this, before you draw…


“If Ted Lewis had been born in France or America… he would occupy a place similar to Jim Thompson, Raymond Chandler and the rest of the hard boiled school of writers. I suspect this will never be the case in Britain. The nation is still incapable of facing the deep malaise that blights it from top to bottom. And let’s face it, British literary culture, for what it’s worth, is largely middle class.”

The words of Mike Hodges, interviewed by crime writer Nick Triplow in his biography of Ted Lewis, get to the heart of a complex and fascinating story…


One of the themes quickest to emerge from Paul Brown’s ambitious social history is that, when something goes wrong at a football match, football fans have invariably been the first to be blamed.

After the infamous White Horse FA Cup Final of 1923 — the first to be played at Wembley — when an estimated crowd of 225,000 turned up and had to be cleared from the pitch, Parliament was quick to denounce the “hooligans” involved. In 1946, after 33 people died at Burnden Park when a crush developed at the kick-off of an FA Cup tie between Bolton Wanderers…


There can be no doubt that a full-blown battle of ideas is now raging across the media and political landscape. Its apparent intensity itself indicates how a consensus around a relatively narrow set of ideas had come to be so widely accepted.

I wrote in my last post about how the rules of the game had changed in the wake of the General Election. Since then we’ve seen virtual paralysis at government level as the Conservative Party has struggled to draw up a programme for government and resolve growing splits in its own ranks, and continued discussion on the left…


We are living in remarkable times in the UK after last week’s General Election result. I should establish from the off that I woke up last Thursday more in hope than expectation that the progressive ideas put forward by Labour would gain support. By Friday morning, I was as surprised as many, more delighted than some, but eager to understand what had happened and how. So what follows are some thoughts from someone with an interest in politics and who works in and is fascinated by the media industry and the way communication works.

The introduction from @jonsnowc4 on Channel…


I’ve always been a pub person. Proper pubs, untarted about with but with good beer and good company. If you’re lucky, you sometimes find a pub that becomes a little oasis, a favourite spot that you can sink into and let wash over you. I’ve been lucky enough to find a few like that over the years, but Quinns on Kentish Town Road in north London is one of my all-time favourites.

It’s been a few years since I drank regularly in there, but the memories came flooding back when I read news of the death of Pat the guvnor…


So it’s match day, and can any fan want anything else but a win? For Spurs fans today, if you take soundings in some quarters, it’s one of the strangest and most complicated matchdays ever. According to some, we need to lose, to avoid qualifying for a competition that will damage our chances of qualifying for another competition we didn’t try in this season and probably won’t win next. We need to increase our chances of winning something by losing, so that we are in fewer competitions and can concentrate on not winning the ones that are left, because if…


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As the clock ticks down on Tottenham Hotspur’s time at White Hart Lane, it’s time to draw your attention to a book that I hope captures the essence of what that stadium is all about. The Lane is a lavishly illustrated coffee-table book that tells the story of the World Famous Home of The Spurs, and it’s on sale exclusively from the Club Shop until January, when it goes on general sale.

Publishers VSP brought me @adampowley and @dougcheese back together after Spurs asked them to produce the official commemorative book. We’d all worked together on the award-winning 61: The…

Martin Cloake

Writer and editor using the space to develop thoughts and debate ideas without affiliation, and sometimes just get it off my chest

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