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Yorkshire makes its first ‘international’ appearance in world league of stateless peoples

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Yorkshire has officially booked itself a place on the world stage.

You may have heard of YIFA before, but why?
YIFA are Yorkshire’s own international FA, who very recently played Ellan Vannin in a hard-fought 1-1 draw.
Many would have passed talks of the UK’s first stateless “international” football team by a group of Yorkshireman at a pub table as drunken drivel.
But just six months later and Yorkshire is now fully recognised by CONIFA, (Confederation of Independent Football Associations) as an ‘international’ football team associating outside FIFA.
Yorkshire now ranks alongside Tibet and Greenland on the world football stage, and completed  their first official game last week, earning a 1-1 draw against a highly-rated Isle of Man at a local ground in Pontefract.
Having attracted media interest from the BBC, The Guardian, and various other news networks, its easy to see how and why the people of Yorkshire are excited about their own national football team.
But, one question still lingers in the minds of English people. Why would a county in England, need to represent themselves internationally?
Speaking exclusively to The AwayDayBible, Matt Thomas of YIFA stated “Personally I have been a fairly vocal advocate for the devolution of powers to Yorkshire and had spoken to Phil about his vision of a Yorkshire team and fully bought into the idea of giving the people of Yorkshire a voice through football. By joining CONIFA we were able to reach out a world that has already embraced the Tour de Yorkshire, Yorkshire cricket and lots of worldwide Yorkshire brands without having to do so via London. I couldn’t be any more proud than to have been one of the brave few who met in Halifax to sign the YIFA constitution and kick off the project.”

Credit: Yorkshire International Football Association

“Yorkshire obviously has such a noticeable regional identity that we were able to go to CONIFA and put in a very good application to meet their criteria.” Furthermore, “much of the population of Yorkshire on the whole see themselves as Yorkshire, not English. And this is a huge population too, on a par with Scotland and bigger than a number of small nations in Europe.” Matt then went on to say “whether people even realise they are doing it every day a vast number of people in Yorkshire speak ‘Yorkshire dialects’ that include words with direct lineage from old Norse words. This is all evidence of our true heritage and what makes us feel different. The Ellan Vannin And Yorkshire examples show that whilst it isn’t easy to meet the CONIFA criteria the organisation is certainly one which allows regions, displaced people, small nations and so on to compete at a good level if they can meet the criteria.”
When asked what the main aims of YIFA were, and what are YIFA’s plans for the future, Matt said

“We are massively ambitious, after all who would have thought that in a short six months we would have pulled off what we have? And to earn a draw with the Ellan Vannin team too! Of course we have had an army of volunteers and the generosity of so many people to help us along the way. But this is just the start! Our coaching staff share our vision and we are aiming to not only reach the CONIFA tournaments but win them! What would be sweeter than bringing back a World Football Cup trophy back to Yorkshire, where the oldest football club in the world is? Off the pitch we also want to build, not only our hugely impressive fan base but also our partnerships with others. We all know Yorkshire folk have a reputation for being friendly and we hope to one day invite the world to Yorkshire to compete in a major CONIFA tournament here. In the meantime we have a number of friendly fixtures lined up, including hosting our own competition, the Jorvik Trophy.”

What a turnout! 627 people came to watch Yorkshire’s first game at the home of Hemsworth Miners’ Welfare FC!

Now it is not only the Yorkshire team, but people involved with YIFA reacting to all of this high profile media interest.
We’ve already seen the BBC and various English media outlets report on YIFA, but there have been international publications reporting on YIFA too. Is there pressure?
Matt replied with “we have lived and breathed YIFA for the last six months or so, it’s something I know all who are involved are passionate about. Obviously the media attention is daunting but is fully appreciated. So far on our journey I think most of the U.K. media has at some point been to visit us or has commented on our journey and that has given us all a real boost. The lads in the squad suddenly have the world’s cameras pointed on them and I’m sure you will agree they didn’t let the attention get to them yesterday.
How many other non-League players can honestly say they made the number one story in publications like Marca, where the Spanish giants of football for one day at least had to surrender top billing to our Yorkshire players! I can’t thank the media enough for the coverage they have given us, long may it continue.”
He ended with “There are far too many people to mention and I’ll probably forget many but I will be forever grateful to all connected to Hemsworth Miners Welfare Community Football Club for their support and generosity, to Godzown Sports for providing the now iconic Yorkshire kit, to
CONIFA for giving us the chance to represent ourselves on the world stage and of course to our new friends and rivals Ellan Vannin, but most of all I want to give huge thanks to all the hundreds of fans, many of who travelled huge distances to be there to cheer on the team, they made it all the more special.”
Good luck to Matt and the rest of YIFA. From being just an idea to representing a county on the world stage in well under a year is no mean feat. If you are interested in YIFA, and would like to learn more about them, there is a link to their website here.
If you would like to learn more about CONIFA, and the amazing work they do, you can visit them here.

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Liverpool vs Roma – A throwback 1984

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As a Tuesday night unfolded in both Manchester and Rome the watching masses had a feeling that the two triumphant sides on the night were destined to be drawn against each other in the Semi Finals of the Champions League.

Klopp’s Kop had seen off City, following up an impressive 1st leg lead with another victory at The Etihad despite a lot of early home pressure. Over in Italy a modern-day miracle was happening, Roma were overturning a 4-1 deficit and were 3 up against a Messi led Barcelona. They held on and the raucous celebrations began right through until Friday’s draw.

Out came Bayern vs Real and left us with the tie we all just knew was going to happen, all things pointed to it as soon as both final whistles went.
Coutinho knocked out, Dzeko and Kolarov through, A Mo Salah return and of course a replay of the 1984 European Cup Final.

The side have met on 3 previous occasion but none more important than the final of this renamed and revamped competition back in 1984.


On that night Liverpool would go on to secure their 4th title before waiting nearly two decades to once again add to that list with that famous night in Istanbul, also against Italian opposition.
The game was decided on penalties after a 1-1 stalemate through 90min and Extra time. A goal from Phil Neal gave Liverpool the lead before an equalizer from Pruzzo just before half time.
After Nicol’s miss early in the shootout it was subsequent failures from Conti and Graziani that handed the Merseyside club the trophy.


Now if you rewind to the Semi-Finals of that season you’ll see an anticipated battle of Britain on the cards.

Roma were up against then Scottish Champions Dundee United and with the showpiece in their own backyard felt it was their right to line up at the Stadio Olimpico as one of the finalists.

The first leg ended 2-0 at Tannadice Park, meaning that Roma had to win by three clear goals to progress to the final. Roma did indeed score three goals to win the tie 3–0 and progress to the final, by virtue of a 3–2 aggregate victory.
In 1986, it emerged that Roma attempted to bribe referee Michel Vautrot with £50,000 before the match

 

The Italian club were suspended from European football for a season, and their chairman, Dino Viola, was banned from official UEFA activities for four years. The referee maintained that he never received the £50,000 – some claimed that the middleman did a runner with the money – but in 2011, Riccardo Viola, the chairman’s son, shed new light on the mystery. He told of a dinner on the eve of the match, when Vautrot was alleged to have informed them, in coded language, that the deal had been done.

Sadly this potentially historic final never materialised and we’ll never know if history for all of the clubs involved could have been changed forever.

There is still a link that holds this whole thing together in the shape of Andy Robertson, A former Dundee United defender that will line up against the once money paying Romans.
There is no doubt that Liverpool will head into the tie as favourites and perhaps it would be some level of comfort for British or maybe just Scottish football if the Italians suffered just like their Scottish counterparts at the same stage of the competition all those years ago.

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Managers – Are the casualties being looked after?

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The latest high profile manager to go was Alan Pardew at West Brom. He leaves the baggies a country mile from safety having guided them to just one solitary victory under his charge.


Rumours are that Pardew is departing with a £500k golden handshake for his “efforts” and this is not the 1st time that he, like many others, will have received a huge pay out for a performance deemed underwhelming by a board of directors. This of course, is at the highest level and with a guaranteed opportunity at another job in a few months’ time. But what about lower down the chain?

Last week we saw the devastating news announced about former Crawley Town Manager Dermot Drummy’s death back in November 17. An inquest has concluded that the former Chelsea youth coach had taken his own life.


Drummy, 56 had been seeking counselling for his “low mood” after parting company with the League Two side just a few months prior. Now let’s be honest being dismissed at this level is totally different to the riches of the PL or the top end of the Championship for that matter.
Guys like Drummy have been hard working coaches, craving a shot at being a number one and just because it doesn’t work out doesn’t make them poor managers. They are dealing with a totally different set of circumstances that a lot with similar job specs will never understand.
Take a look at this extract from a local journalist following the sacking:-

“The appointment of Drummy, whose background was as a vastly experienced development coach, was an interesting one, not least in terms of the style of football he had pledged to instil.
“The early signs were promising, with the club reaching fifth place by mid-October and fans clearly appreciative of the brand of football on offer.”

A glowing reference for a man just weeks into a role and this story got us thinking, what becomes of some of the under the radar sackings lower down the divisions and what becomes of some of the managers. Just how are they looked after? As this clearly shows that Drummy slipped through the net.
A staggering 45 mangers in the professional leagues in England have lost their jobs this season. A near 50% sack rate and we’re yet to reach the business end where key promotions, relegations and ultimately fates are decided.


The LMA is supposed to play a key role in looking after its members, now they do have a “Mental Health” awareness section… Let’s just inform you that it is situated in the 4th category and the 7th subject down on their list. They do however provide a managerial performance table right there on the homepage. A proper own goal from where we’re sitting!

Some other cases include that of Martin Ling and Neil Lennon both of whom have admitted to having their own personal battles, It also looks like we’ll never know just what triggered Gary Speed’s decision on that terrible day.

With all the money in the game we love, every available penny should go towards protecting the people that actually make the game what it is.
They should be rewarded for their services and utilised accordingly even if that is providing local level coaching to grass roots and their salaries are covered by governing bodies.
We don’t want to be reading more stories like the tragic one of Dermot Drummy.
RIP

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Englishman trying to make amends for fans behaviour in Amsterdam.

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An Englishman living in Amsterdam has gone to great lengths — or depths — to right the wrongs o.

 Lance Roberts jumped into action after seeing the videos of an England fan throwing a bike into one of Amsterdam’s canal.

Amsterdam police chiefs described the England fans behaviour as “appalling” ahead of the friendly match last Friday.

Roberts, who has lived in Amsterdam since 1991, later took his boat on the canal and fished out the sunken bicycle.

Roberts’ good deed was spotted by locals and was later gave an interview with Amsterdam broadcaster AT5.

“It was mainly shame, I felt ashamed and I wanted to do something positive,” said Roberts, 48, talking about what sparked him into action. “It was one of these small acts of diplomacy, I wanted to put the bike back.”

“It’s been a positive reaction from people in Amsterdam,” the father-of-two told Euronews. “I think everyone needed a good news story after that.

“The English people who are living here can feel like they can hold their heads up a little bit higher.

“There’s at least some evidence of another side of the English nature.”

The self-employed carpenter said he was also moved to act because his two-year-old’s creche is near where the incident happened.

“I went down to pull the bike out because my kid goes to a creche there and we’d walked past them the night before on the way home,” he continued. “The bike had a kid’s seat on it and I saw that and thought: ‘that could be someone I know or one of the other parents’. In Amsterdam, that’s a family’s transport.”

The troubles saw 100 England fans being arrested over the two days.

“The behaviour of a large number of England supporters was appalling,” said deputy chief constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) head for football policing. “Any attempts to downplay it are wide of the mark.

“The sad fact is that the drunken mob’s behaviour reinforces the negative stereotype of England supporters, and will impact on the treatment all fans can expect when they follow the team abroad.”

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