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Lost in Secondary Ticketing Market

Last October, The Substantive Football Column wrote about the contempt English Football Clubs seemed to have for their own supporters with unreasonable price rises. Today The Substantive puts its name to the letter below from Tottenham Hotspur fans to the club who embarked on a partnership with secondary ticketing agency StubHub without consultation of fans and which has directly led to an unregulated market with tickets going on sale up to 1000% of face value via links on the official Spurs website.

This Saturday Spurs play Chelsea in a London derby that is a top of the table Premier League match at White Hart Lane; it has been officially sold out for some time yet on StubHub, four days before the game, 276 tickets remain on sale at up to £1265 each. 

The letter below highlights the concerns of Tottenham fans and can be supported by fans of all clubs by signing this Stop Stubhub Petition. Continue reading…

Sound of the Crowd

Sound of the Crowd 1882 Book Cover

Martin Cloake’s latest book on Tottenham Hotspur, Sound of the Crowd, takes in the sub-culture of the football fan, from fanzines, independent organisation and protest, while giving a first-hand insight into past battles from the late eighties with the club he loves to the parallels of a new Spurs supporter movement.

Continue reading…

Gucci Little Piggy

The lazy journalists, part-time football fans and rolling sports news programmes in England got what they wanted when Jose Mourinho returned in the summer, a character who omits an attitude that suggests he believes he is bigger than the game. He has already given them what they want in under ten days of the new season, disingenuously saying David Moyes was the reason Wayne Rooney wanted to leave Manchester United and revelling in agreeing the transfer of Willian for what looks to be the primary purpose of stopping Spurs having him. He has created talking points from hot air while on the pitch the rest of us see the old traits, from the unspoken influence over refereeing decisions that led to an undeserved win against Aston Villa last week and negative tactics in yesterday evening’s goalless draw at Old Trafford.

Reputation is everything to Mourinho, visible from the pictures he tries to paint in his interviews to his image on the touchline (last night in pullover and jacket despite the seasonal warm climate); but legacy is more than an honours list, it is created in the manner success is achieved. Introduced as “the man himself” in his post-match interview on Monday Night Football, he left both Real Madrid and Chelsea the first-time round with dissatisfaction within at someone who caused internal unrest and tried to kill games and grind out results on the biggest stage despite having a wealth of talent at his disposal in both cases. Continue reading…

Top of the Lake

Top of the Lake

With cottage chemical industries, underground bunkers, broken heroes, lost souls, power, corruption and lies, Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake with an excellent lead performance by Elisabeth Moss was an inspired commission by the BBC.

An outsider coming into a desolate setting and trying to solve a mystery and fight for justice amidst secrets, corruption, crime and unique characters gave Top of the Lake the feel of a modern day merger between Twin Peaks and The Wicker Man. Continue reading…

Sports Books Summer 2013

Red or Dead

Mark Perryman rounds up the Sports Books of summer 2013.

The Lions series victory in Australia, Murray’s triumph at Wimbledon, Froome making it two British Le Tour wins in a row, Mo in Moscow, a home Ashes win as well. Summer sporting success is something the Brits are starting to become accustomed to.

Two new books help us to understand the meaning of sport’s enduring, and huge popularity, as well as how economic and social change impacts on the organisation, consumption and performance of sport. Sport in Capitalist Society by Tony Collins is a highly readable historical account from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day of how capitalism has served to shape sport. Victorian morality, Empire, the Cold War, globalisation and much more are each detailed in terms of how they served to change sport. Add all the insights together and a comprehensive picture of today’s marketisation of sport is provided. Edited by Michael Lavalette Capitalism and Sport has a more activist-based approach to the subject. The range is amazing, including cycling, cricket, rugby league, tennis, football and more. The tone is angry yet never fails to be appreciative of the sports the authors clearly hugely enjoy despite their opposition to the economic structure that frames their fandom and participation. An invaluable guide for sporting summers past, present and future. Continue reading…

Favourite Worst Nightmare

A return for the Football Column with a brief piece to start the 2013-14 domestic season on the opening weekend of top flight football in England and Spain.

Whereas the 2011/12 season had drama to the end with Man City snatching victory from another humiliation and Chelsea’s anti-football playing out like a realistic depressing thriller on the main stage in Munich, the following 2012/13 season was an anti-climax, with only Wigan and Swansea winning the domestic cups in England, Bayern Munich’s dominance of Europe and consistent sensational individual performances by Gareth Bale standing out. Continue reading…

Recess Reading

Undercover by Rob Evans and Paul Lewis

Mark Perryman of Philosophy Football latest book reviews of reading with popular culture including music, travel, food and history, all with a bit of politics thrown in. 

The silly season? For the Westminster bubble it would be hard to identify a month in the year when ‘silly’ isn’t too soft an epithet to describe what most MPs get up to, supposedly on our behalf. But with Parliament in recess the commentariat like to spread the idea that politics is taking a break too. A politics reduced to the Cameron v Miliband knockabout is something plenty of us can’t get to the beach quick enough to escape from. A broader definition of politics, one that engages with the everyday, the popular, the cultural is something that subverts and is the starting point for a political summer books list that would liven up any reading to be done on the beach, or anywhere else for that matter.

One of the sharpest critics of popular culture is surely the inestimable Paul Morley. For those of a certain age we began reading him in the late 1970’s in the then vital weekly fix that was the New Musical Express at the height of punk , and after that post-punk too. In his new book The North Paul returns to his geographical roots, mainly though not exclusively in the North-West, with a sparkling account rich in history and insight to bring light to a region traditionally regarded by those down south as a bit on the grim side. Continue reading…

Anniversary Games Diamond League Athletics

Usain Bolt London Anniversary Games Diamond League

Twelve months on from London 2012, the Athletics Diamond League London Grand Prix, with the adopted name ‘Anniversary Games’, had many of the elements of last year’s great Olympics; everyone was nice to each other again, and the crowd was a large mix of people, across all ages, male and female and of both different races and nationalities. Contrary to the pre-Games cynicism from some, it turned out the achievement of bringing the Olympics to London by Tony Blair’s New Labour Government and Seb Coe created not just community spirit, but gave Great Britain the nearest feeling to socialism there has been in generations. Continue reading…

British Sporting Success

After more British success in the 2013 Tour de France, Mark Perryman, editor of a new book on last year’s London 2012 looks at what it means to a collective national identity.

A British encore in the Tour de France. Not even a sniff of winning the yellow jersey for 99 years, now we have two in quick succession. On the same day England pile up the runs at Lords to go 2-0 up in an Ashes series, for the first time since 1979. Add Andy Murray at Wimbledon ending the 77 years of hurt since the last British man won the singles title at our ‘home’ Grand Slam and the Lions tour victory down under, their first since 1997. Plus golfer Justin Rose winning the US Open, the first Englishman to win a major since 1996. 2013 already has all the signs of repeating what seemed to be an unbeatable 2012 summer of sport, topped of course by Team GB finishing third in the London 2012 Olympic medals table. Continue reading…

The Machine

The Machine

A play about chess and computers doesn’t, on the face of it, sound as if it would provide much potential for nailbiting drama. But those who decided on these grounds to give The Machine a miss should be kicking themselves. It’s a gripping piece of theatre, brilliantly written and featuring outstanding performances from the two leads.

Running for 11 nights at the Manchester International Festival before it transfers to New York, The Machine focuses on the famous 1997 six-game chess match between the charismatic Russian Garry Kasparov and IBM’s Deep Blue, designed by Taiwanese computer scientist Feng-hsiung Hsu. With the audience playing the role of the studio audience for the televised show-down, the action begins with the first game, and we return to the match repeatedly throughout the play, alternating with perfectly paced flashbacks that explore each man’s past and the immense personal and emotional sacrifices each made in the build-up to the historic contest. Continue reading…



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