Blade for a Day: Sheff United vs Charlton

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The Cricketer’s Arms, at the stadium’s Bramall Lane end

This weekend saw me take in a League One game between two former Premier League teams at Bramall Lane, Sheffield United and Charlton Athletic, who were both relegated from the top flight in 2006-07. That was the infamous season when Carlos Tevez scored at Old Trafford on the final day of the season to keep West Ham up and sink Sheffield United, condemning them to the Championship. The controversy surrounding the Tevez deal, and the registration rules it broke, still rankles with the Blades faithful. Four years after the that the club dropped into the third tier where they have competed ever since. Fortunately for them, things appear to be looking up this season, with the club eight points clear at the top of the League One table going into the game. Only a major capitulation between now and the end of the season would prevent an almost certain promotion.

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Tales from Bucharest

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Bucharest’s National Arena before kick-off

As a lifelong City fan, who had yet to travel away in Europe and with a long overdue holiday needed, I’d planned to take a trip to see the Champions League play-off game should it be a place worth visiting. I had my fingers crossed for Rome or Monaco. Bucharest was far from my mind.

As Giorgio Marchetti unfolded the UEFA branded paper with Steaua Bucharest the pragmatist in me realised that it would be draw worth taking, even if I couldn’t attend. Alas, City were next out of the bowl. With the draw and the date set in stone I was slightly disappointed it wasn’t quite the glamour tie I wished for. If there could be such a thing as a glamorous qualification game!

Within a few minutes I received a text which simply said “Bucharest?” – it was a call to arms. I did a little research and booked the flights and hotel knowing that a ticket for the game wouldn’t be too difficult to source given the time of year, venue and ten days turnaround time. This was a game for hardcore away fans.

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U.S. Football Tour: New York Cosmos

New York Cosmos, famous for fielding Pelé and Franz Beckenbauer in the 1970s under a previous incarnation, now ply their trade in the North American Soccer League (NASL), classed as the second tier of soccer in the United States. Cosmos beat Jacksonville Armada 3-0 in front of a crowd just under 4,000 to maintain their perfect start to the season. Mike O’Neill went along with his camera.

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The home fans look on from the stands

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A Wet and Stormy Night in Penang

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A view of Penang, including the stadium

On Saturday 23rd July, Penang played host to Selangor in a Malaysian Super League encounter, the top tier of Malaysian football. The setting was the 20,000 capacity Penang City stadium which is situated in Georgetown, Penang state. Georgetown is famed for the range of food they have to offer as well as the street art which brings the city to life. However, the art of football in Penang perhaps needs resurrecting.

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England at the Etihad, May 2016

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Selling pre-match tat

I’ve not followed England, or been too bothered about their results, for well over a decade. But when, on Friday afternoon, my girlfriend won free tickets at work and suggested taking my little brother I thought “why not?” He’s only ten-years-old and too young to be bitter and cynical about football like his older brother and he was to thoroughly enjoy the day.

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