BBC BLOGS - Dan Roan

Archives for June 2011

Fabregas dilemma highlights tough times at Arsenal

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Dan Roan | 09:28 UK time, Saturday, 25 June 2011

Two weeks ago, Ivan Gazidis, all too aware of unprecedented levels of dissent among his club's fans, promised a stormy meeting of the Arsenal Supporters' Trust that the time had finally come for change.

"We're going to see some turnover of players, some new signings coming in. I expect it will be a busy close season for the club," the chief executive insisted.

Gazidis knew he was under pressure. Having at one stage been fighting for trophies on four fronts last season, the team's prospects fell apart following the shattering Carling Cup final defeat by Birmingham City and they eventually finished fourth in the Premier League, and trophyless for a sixth consecutive season.

That, combined with a controversial decision to increase ticket prices and the uncertainty created by elusive American billionaire Stan Kroenke's effective takeover, left the bond between club and fans as fragile as many AST members could remember.

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Does the Supporters Direct cash crisis matter?

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Dan Roan | 12:06 UK time, Wednesday, 15 June 2011

As @RyanBabel, @Carlton9Cole, @WayneRooney, and @jack_wilshere know all too well, the trouble with high-profile tweeting is that comments forged in the heat of the moment can, when viewed in the cold light of day, appear rash and unwise. Even a 'DM' can come back to bite you, as @RioFerdy5 discovered last week.

Humiliation, condemnation and even a hefty FA fine can swiftly follow.

But spare a thought for @theboyler. His injudicious tweeting cost him his job, and set in motion a chain of events that have now become one of the most emotive issues in the sport and even the subject of a Facebook campaign.

Dave Boyle was, until the weekend, Chief Executive of Supporters Direct (SD), the organisation born out of the policy commitments of the previous Government, and which encourages fan ownership, helping supporters to establish trusts like the one which now owns 20% of Swansea City.

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The Numbers Game - FA facing participation challenge

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Dan Roan | 09:51 UK time, Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The FA has a number of things on its mind at the moment.

Managing its relationship with Fifa; a government inquiry into the way football is run; qualifying for Euro 2012 after England missed out on the last European Championship in 2008; finding a replacement for Fabio Capello next summer; improving standards of player discipline and behaviour; youth development and coaching education; paying for Wembley, and retaining its senior management for longer than six months.

But arguably its biggest headache is the most fundamental of all: actually getting people to play football.

The harsh reality is that the numbers participating in the national game is declining. Sport England reports those playing regular football fell from 2,144,700 in 2007 to 2,090,000 by last year. While the number of small-sided teams has gone up by a thousand in the last five years, the FA admits the number of traditional, adult, male, 11-a-side teams has fallen from 33,568 in 2005-06 to 30,355 in 2010-11, driven by a rapid fall in the numbers of 16-19-year-olds playing the sport.

It is with this in mind that the FA has launched its Just Play initiative. The aim is to arrest this decline by providing a new kick-about format at specialist centres throughout the country as well as an online tool to help adults find a place to play football near them. The target is to get 150,000 more playing for at least 30 minutes a week by 2013.

The truth is the FA is worried.

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