Martin Cloake

  • 'Anti-social' Premier League fixtures criticised by supporters' groups

    Supporters’ groups at 15 of the 20 Premier League clubs, backed by the Football Supporters’ Federation, have expressed concern over the impact on fans after the fixtures for the 2017/18 season were announced this morning (Wednesday). A statement issued alongside analysis of the fixture list says: “Packed stadiums and a vibrant atmosphere are key parts of the ‘product’ the Premier League sells to broadcasters. Drawing up the fixture list is a complex business.

  • Premier League: Progress and tradition must coexist for new stadiums to become homes

    When Tottenham Hotspur press-launched the top end offering of its top end new stadium last week, it was the room offering specially-sourced cheese at half time to those fans able to fork – I’m resisting a cheese utensil wordplay here – out £30,000 for a pair of tickets that caught the eye, while failing to whet everyone’s appetite. A cheese room! Most self respecting fans couldn’t give Edam (sorry but, you know, open goal).

  • Costa and Payet disloyal? Premier League is just being played at its own game

    Some clubs in the English Premier League are a bit miffed because a foreign league with oodles of cash is trying to waltz in and buy up its best players. This is, of course, an affront because it is the Premier League clubs that are supposed to buy up everyone else’s players. Chelsea manager Antonio Conte went so far as to say the amount of money being spent on players by the Chinese Super League was “not right”.

  • Yahoo book review: Daniel Gray’s Saturday, 3pm

    Daniel Gray’s Saturday, 3pm is a little bagful of stardust that can remind us. Gray’s careful eye and evocative prose have already been used to great effect in his book of travels through football’s provinces, Hatter, Railwaymen and Knitters, and here he supplies us with what are essentially 50 love letters to the ordinary beauty of football. The way Gray writes about each sliver of delight lifts the book above being simply a quirky treat.

  • Yahoo book review: It’s a wonderful life – My Story, by Cliff Jones

    You’ll find none of that in the story written by Spurs Double-winner Cliff Jones – the club’s Welsh wing wizard long before a certain Gareth Bale rekindled memories. Jones’s story is of an ordinary lad from Swansea who ended up a star of the team many still say was the finest of the 20th century. Again, unlike many footballers who write their life story, Jones has much to draw on.

  • Fans an afterthought as TV fixtures announced

    When you settle down to watch a televised midweek fixture this week, spare a thought for the away fans at the game. Not one fixture offers away fans the chance to return home by train, and not one involves a round trip of less than 260 miles. Those traveling back by car will arrive home well after midnight. Merry Christmas one and all.

  • Premier League: Don't believe all you read about falling ticket prices - and here's why

    Last week the Premier League published its conclusions from a survey conducted alongside accountancy giants EY that claimed the average price of a top-flight ticket was £31. All 20 Premier League clubs provided data on “the cost of every ticket sold or available this season” that was analysed by EY in what is claimed to be “the most comprehensive analysis of what it costs fans to attend Premier League games”.