July 2010
I've just picked my team of npower Championship players on Texaco Fantasy Football 2010/11, and created us a league so we can find out who really knows their football!

Enter your own team today, by registering at Texaco Fantasy Football 2010/11. Then come and join my Private League (League PIN: 1599).

The game's easy to play, free to enter, and there are loads of great prizes up for grabs if your team does well.

Prizes include npower Championship Playoff Final tickets and the chance to meet your favourite club's manager, so get involved today!

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In 2004, Barnsley FC Manager Paul Hart made one of his most astute acquisitions; by taking Michael Chopra on loan from Newcastle United initially for one month.

Chopra was just 20 years old and went on to score 17 goals in a period with the Reds which extended to a stay for the full season.

Unable to compete with the lure of returning to his home town club and later interest from Cardiff City and Sunderland, the striking talisman has never returned to play for Barnsley FC despite the bond he had built with the Oakwell faithful.

All clubs are seeking to procure goal scorers and we hope we are no different. The rumour mill has two further Premier League reserves linked with a gig or two in front of the Ponty End.

Could either player replicate the goal tally achieved by Chopra?

Paris Cowan-Hall, signed for Portsmouth FC in 2007, having spent time on trial previously as a 16 year old with Manchester United and Chelsea. Whilst he has not yet surfaced in a senior game with Pompey, the evidence from this 19 year suggests that a glittering career may be just around the corner.

Take a look at this ...

Frank Wiafe Danquah, is Ghanese in origin, played in the Ajax academy and has been top scorer for Newcastle reserves. At 20 years of age, his previous two year contract appears to be coming to an end, having made no senior appearance yet for the North East outfit.

Sadly, there's no video out there presently to justify his talent. However the similarities in age and his record with the Magpies is conspicuously similar to Chopra.

Admittedly, this speculation is hardly a scoop, but would a similar post pre-August 2004 be written in a similar vein?

Keep dreaming folks!
During the last four weeks or so, Uruguayan football has been in spotlight for many reasons, not least because of their impressive performances in South Africa.

Across football, the scouting search light will no doubt attempt to find every whiff of talent, now this South American Republic can claim "top-dog" status once again over their close neighbours.

The Reds snare their man in capturing (Uruguayan International) Diego Arismendi, on a season long loan via Stoke City.

OnThePontyEnd turned to our friend, the former Barnsley FC defender, Mateo Corbo, to learn a little bit more about our new arrival and his fellow countryman.
I'm gathering support for an event that is being held to raise funds for Bluebell Wood (The Childrens Hospice).

A friend of mine has launched a campaign The Jean Genie - a competition which leads to an event in Barnsley during September 2010.

One of the planned activities is to shoot a calendar which will also be sold at this event. All of the images will be professional photographs of the 12 best entries (models, photographers, hair stylists and make-up artists are all on standby).

All that is needed is 12 sponsors to help to cover the print costs (around £100 each) or a Printer to do it for £FOC - which is probably impossible!!

So, what's in it for the sponsors ...

A free "Barnsley Halo"

One month's exclusive advertising or One Year (dependant upon the Calendar End-User)

The event is being featured in Barnsley Eye, The Chronicle & Dearne FM, plus sponsors could be featured on the Jean Genie site before the event.

Within the Alhambra, a shop has been donated to be used as the campaign headquarters from mid-July onwards, so this could also be a great way for Sponsors to align themselves with a high profile and worthy cause!!

For further details, please contact me via On The Ponty End.


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Could synchronicity be playing a trick on me?

England crash-out of the World Cup after numerous apathetic displays, whilst during the close season, clubs appear to be acquiring competitive talent on seemingly fewer resources than Barnsley FC.

Does the FA & the Football League act like the proverbial ostrich. Are things really getting worse? Is it my singular opinion that football is now so far removed now from the sport and institution it used to be?

Despite the continuing work from Mr Cryne et al (and much credit is deserved) in running a secure and profitable football business, the playing field continues to look more uneven.

Doesn't the whole English game need revising?

Here's my argument. Particularly now, how can any player or club justify a playing contract worth an estimated £200k per week or even half that figure?

The response is always similar and is justified in terms of its commercial rationality. It is often along the lines that the total revenue returned and the "good" it generates throughout the game will be greater than the sum being invested.

Now I'm crap at finance, but if I ran my household budget this way, pretty soon I would be sleeping in a tent on a ration of a bean a day - if I was lucky (cue Monty Python). However, the facts are simple, we all suffer in some way from the lack a proper financial control in football and the resulting effects.

If you follow your team home and away, you may find yourself at the mercy of an egotistical chairman. Your (and our) club may be safe at the moment, but who knows when the next capitalist is about to strike?

Okay, so you don't watch the matches regularly, but probably get drawn to the purchase of the odd item of merchandise. You only have to look at the end-of-season sales to understand that no item could ever be sold at a loss and do the math.

Maybe you've gloated at the ill-fated club whose circumstances force their inevitable slip in to administration. Perhaps though, you have never considered the suppliers whose business have folded or been seriously compromised by the debts the club had accrued and failed to pay.

Club owners, the FA and the players wipe the slate clean and begin again.

At its pinnacle, "England FC" are unable to field a comprehensive squad capable of assuring us that personal player wealth = superior professional skills. You feel herded in to feeling that our "rich league" should illustrate, but fails to show, the deficiencies that ought to plague "lesser" all-comers.

Even in abject failure, the sponsorship will continue to flow and contracts will remain protected, whilst agents scream for more .. more .. more, and get it. After all, its down to market forces isn't it?

At the same time, we hear ....

Regional Development will be axed
Government plans to axe school rebuilding
Cuts to social services will effect the most vulnerable
Austerity measures are inevitable and unavoidable for our long term benefit ...

An email arrives in my inbox. Take a look at Oi! FA.

This group is concerned with the lack of control on ownership of our football clubs and the pitfalls this creates. If you feel strongly about their cause, sign their petition in support.

Interestingly, there is a host of other statistics and figures concerning the financial performance at the top to the bottom tier of English Football and its a fascinating read.

This must be just the tip of the iceberg though. When the supporting public are still making the biggest investment in football (directly or indirectly), it is they who bear the consequences of failure in all branches and levels of the sport. Surely they deserve to be heard.

Do you feel like me? Did the World Cup debacle feel like the whole commercial machine mugged you? Do you expect former ethics to be restored or did they never exist in the first place?

Surely a reality check is both timely and seriously overdue. The public deserve their faith to be restored in the people's game!

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