Outside The Box: Croydon go down, then former owner Mazhar does the same

 

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The Independent Online

Croydon Athletic say it is business as usual despite the prison sentence handed out on Thursday to their former owner Mazhar Majeed for his part in the Pakistan cricket spot-fixing case.

The problem is that business is not currently very good. Champions of the Ryman League South two seasons ago after local property developer Majeed had become the new owner, they lost their manager and most of their players once his assets were frozen after becoming involved in the allegations a year ago. Relegation followed last season and a new group of Danish owners went bankrupt. This season the team are hovering just above the relegation zone in League One South and the last home game was watched by a "crowd" of 80. The club are now appealing – again – for new investors and/or owners.

Bayern reserve judgement

What news of Dale Jennings, the young Merseysider involved in one of last summer's more unexpected transfers when he moved from Tranmere Rovers to the multiple European champions Bayern Munich? Not much really. Performing a search on Bayern's official English website reveals the melancholy line "There are no results gefunden [found]". But the 18-year-old has not disappeared entirely. He is a squad member for Bayern II, the reserve team who play in the fourth tier of German football. So far this season Jennings has made eight appearances without scoring, and collected two yellow cards. Released by Liverpool aged 15, he is understood to have come to Bayern's attention after an admiring report from their former midfielder Dietmar Hamann, who saw him close-up when making his last appearance for MK Dons. Jennings duly moved for an initial fee of £600,000, which could eventually rise to three times as much. His earthy Tranmere manager Les Parry, celebrated in the fans' couplet "Who needs Mourinho? We've got the physio", was sorry to see him go but confident of his young charge's ability to adapt to Bavarian life and language: "He's a quiet lad," said Parry. "He can mutter in German as well as he can mutter in English."

Golden age of Silva

English football's equivalent of hearing the first cuckoo of spring is a first mention of a potential Player of the Year – an award that, despite its title, is supposed to be based on the whole season. It was still October when the name of David Silva surfaced in a couple of newspapers, then in John Motson's Match of the Day commentary last weekend. The only other sighting had been of a recommendation for Luis Suarez, which had to be hastily qualified by reference to his involvement, strongly denied, in accusations of racism by Patrice Evra. The bookmakers, never slow to pick up on a market, soon sniffed betting money, and William Hill installed Silva as 7-4 favourite from Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero, Robin van Persie and Suarez.

Stokies are paying lip service

Bolton's Reebok Stadium is today expected to witness the first evidence of an epidemic of facial hair sprouting from the Potteries. Stoke City fans are trying to grow everything on their top lips from a Fu Manchu and a Pancho Villa to horseshoes and handlebars, and the entire playing squad are growing moustaches in support of The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. Led by Robert Huth, who did the same with Jon Walters and Thomas Sorensen last year, Stoke are one of several clubs getting behind the Movember campaign. Fans – presumably male – register at www.movember.com, where they are challenged to start the month clean-shaven and grow a "Mo"; the most impressive tash will win its owner tickets for Stoke's Europa League match against Dynamo Kiev next month and a trophy. Women and youngsters can support the scheme when Stoke stage a Movember Day versus QPR – they can buy stick-on tashes.

s.tongue@independent.co.uk

www.twitter.com/@stevetongue

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