For JUS News
A proposed bill to prohibit the sale of knives could lead to Sheffield cutlery manufacturers and retailers losing business.
Amid problems with growing knife crime rates, the Offensive Weapons Bill would make it a criminal offense to deliver knives and bladed objects to residential properties, with the exception of bespoke bladed objects used for sporting or re-enactment purposes.
The Bill also looks to impose age verification procedures when selling bladed objects.
Sheffield is seen as the biggest cutlery manufacturing city in the UK, and the new legislation could seriously hamper the business of many of these firms.
John Adams owns J. Adams Cutlery, a family business spanning five generations, and is worried about the impact this may have on his business.
He said: “Knives are made for a purpose, to do a job, not for attacking people. 99.9% of people who buy our knives buy them for industrial reasons or they are collectors. This new rule would not stop crime but it could stop our business.”
He added: “We already do all we can to verify our customers’ name and age, but this law could really run our trade to the ground and we would have to lay off some of our experienced workers.”
Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield has secured a meeting between Sheffield steel manufacturers and a Home Office minister in the coming days.
Mr Blomfield said: “We have a serious problem with knife crime. We need serious solutions, but we need the right solutions.
“Large retailers might well be able to deal with age-verified collection easily and with little impact on cost, but smaller manufacturers which use the internet to reach niche markets will struggle.”
Earlier this year, South Yorkshire Police launched the ‘Sheffield City Knife Crime Strategy’ to combat the rising problem in the city.
MP Paul Blomfield thinks the legislation is the incorrect way to approach the situation and believes the provision has loopholes.
Speaking in Parliament last week, he said: “Under the provisions, a sword could be delivered to a residential property, but one of my local manufacturers’ steak knives could not.”
Blomfield wrote to Home Secretary Sajid Javid to outline that manufacturers in Sheffield make knives that are used for a huge range of legitimate and necessary purposes, including kitchen knives for chefs and cable stripping knives for electricians.
The combined effort of Paul Blomfield and leaders of the manufacturers has delayed the Bill, and they are aiming to alter the wording of the statute, but the issue remains uncertain.
The beautiful game as we know it today was not always so pleasant. While the Italian team of the 1930s played some beautiful football, they were the butt of a desire for collectivism. From monarchy to democracy, to the rule of church and despotism, every European political ideology was ripped up and rewrote in the ‘30s.
Whether it was fascism or Nazism, many ideas shared the same core. Throughout Europe, many nations had a desire for collectivism and the population was seen as ‘the mass’ – everyone would dance to the tune of the state, each person as a tiny screw in the huge machinery of the nation.
For the most part of the 20th century up until this point, sport was just a hobby, and the state were disinterested. In Italy, football was seen as a game of the dreaded inglesi – the English – so although many played it, the government were not bothered about trying to popularise it for national gains, such as health or fitness. It was around 1926, though, that this changed. Benito Mussolini, the Fascist dictator of Italy, thought that he could use sport and football in particular to better his objectives.
The totalitarian regime had to stake out a moral dominion over every citizen’s life, and in the 1920s, powerful European leaders started to realize sport and recreation could be a key part of this.
In Paddy Agnew’s brilliant account of Italian football, Forza Italia: The Fall and Rise of Italian Football, he wrote about Mussolini’s realization that sport could help better his desires. Agnew noted that Mussolini wanted to make football ‘more consonant with the new life of the nation’. It was not an importation from the ‘football’ game of the English, but a different logical development of Italian football.
In fact, if you translate the term ‘football’ in many European languages, they will all be similar: football, fussball, futbol, le football, so on and so forth. Italians, however, refer to it as ‘calcio’, a differing arm of the game originating from Florence.
Il Duce, as Mussolini was known, played a huge part in setting up the Italian football system – Serie A, B, C etc as we know it today. The FIGC, Italy’s governing body, was overhauled in these years and the 1929/30 season was the first round-robin format of Serie A. Ambrosiana – Internazionale in their original form – won the title that season, with Giuseppe Meazza scoring 31 goals.
These early changes in the late ‘20s set in motion a glory decade for the Azzurri, who won two of the first three World Cups. In the history of looking at football through a political lens, it is hard to find one state regime that has directly affected a national team in such a way.
Mussolini wrote at the time: “Sporting achievement enhances the nation’s prestige and they also prepare men for combat in the open field and in that way they testify both to the physical well being and moral vigour of the people.”
He saw football as a way to ready men for war, but more importantly, he saw it as a PR tool, to promote his regime and give him opportunities to put himself at the forefront of international media. 20 years after Italy’s first ever football match – a 6-2 hauling over France in Milan – football in Italy had grown to be a force, and Mussolini had his eyes set on one thing: the 1934 World Cup on home soil.
Before that though was the inaugural World Cup in 1930. Five countries – Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Uruguay – put themselves forward to host the tournament. This list was shortened to just three, with Netherlands and Sweden pledging their allegiance to support the Italians. Jules Rimet, the father of the tournament, opted for Uruguay.
The reason he gave was to globalise the competition. Every game was to take place in the capital of Montevideo, at the home of the 1924 and 1928 Olympic gold winners (which they sometimes use as a claim for being one of the best football nations in history).
Italy were dismayed at the decision to take the tournament to South America and withdrew from the tournament in anger. La Celeste went on to be winners, with Pedro Cea the star man in their final victory over fellow South Americans, Argentina.
Uruguay returned the favour four years later, withdrawing from the 1934 World Cup in Italy. Under the tutelage of Vittorio Pozzo, Italy would go on to be winners on home soil, just like Uruguay four years prior. Strangely though, this didn’t stop Uruguayan nationals playing in the Italian World Cup. One of the stars of the show in Montevideo was Luisito Monti, who ended up playing for Italy in 1934.
This was thanks to the Oriundi policy, which allowed Italy to steal Monti, as well as Raimundo Orsi and Enrico Guaita. The politics of the rule is extremely complicated, but in basic form there were three rules that qualified who was available to switch allegiances and play as a ‘oriundo’: they had to play in the league of their country; they had to be able to determine their family history for their new country for three generations; they couldn’t possibly play against their former nation.
This, as you can imagine, was widely criticized and debated, but boss Vittorio Pozzo summed it up with a counter-argument that is hard to debate: “if they can die for Italy, they can play for Italy.”
As a side note, it is interesting to note that the Oriundi policy is not ancient and had an impact on Italy’s 2006 World Cup win. Mauro Camoranesi, a Juventus icon of that decade, won the World Cup with Italy despite being born in Argentina. The instantly recognizable winger did not sing the Italian national anthem and did make a nod to his blood origin upon winning the trophy in Germany. He said to a camera: “Para los pibes del barrio”, which loosely translates as ‘for the boys from the neighbourhood’.
The likes of Monti, Orsi, and Guaita had a key part in the 1934 World Cup. Italy kicked off their campaign with a staggering 7-1 victory over the USA, followed up by a 1-0 win against Spain after a replay. In the game against the USA, even the goalscorer on the losing side had an Italian feel – Aldo Donelli was the son of Italian immigrants.
It was the semi-final that the world started to stand up and take notice of the Italians, though. Against Austria’s Wunderteam, managed by the great Hugo Meisl, whose brother Willy wrote the revolutionary book Soccer Revolution. On paper, Austria should have walked past Italy, but this was Italy’s World Cup, and Mussolini had written what felt like a script for how the tournament should pan out.
It is strongly believed, though never confirmed, that Mussolini himself had dinner with the referee of that semi-final, the Swede Ivan Eklind. No one made any notes over what happened, but the presumption could be made that they weren’t talking tactics.
Seven days later, Italy triumphed in the final over Czechoslovakia, with goals from Raimundo Orsi and Angelo Schiavio. Both teams lined up in their interesting – yet standard in those days – 2-3-5 formation, more commonly known as the W-M formation.
The tactics were far from revolutionary, but the trailblazing style of one man set in motion the history of Italian football: Giuseppe Meazza – so good, they named the San Siro after him. Rumour has it that Meazza slept at a brothel the night before, and the star also punched a Czech player in the liver during the final.
In short, he was the first incarnation of the mold of striker who could pick up the ball from deep and run at his opponents, but still, have a deep locker of finishes. Vittorio Pozzo, the manager, said: “Having him [Meazza] on the team was like starting the game 1-0 up.”
Italy were champions. In the age of economic depression, Il Duce had used sport as a way to advance his relentless propaganda machine. He used football as a symbol of Italy’s superiority, and other leaders started to take notice – Hitler and Franco included. Mussolini had shown – in his opinion – that fascism was the way forward in the future. In front of the whole world, he had shown how happy Italy as a nation once.
Fascism may not have played a huge part on the pitch, but the four years between 1934 and the next World Cup saw Mussolini build many foundations of Italian football’s glory era in the ’90s and early ’00s. Stadia and mass transport links were built in this era, planting the seeds for a golden generation for calcio.
Four years after the successes on home soil, Italy were ready to do it all again, where fascism was even larger than it was in 1934. Held in France, Italy’s route to the final was fairly uneventful on the pitch. With wins over Norway, hosts France and Brazil, the Azzurri had booked a place in the final over another team of the mid 1900s – Hungary – although not as good as their Magic Magyars of the 1950s. Austria were not at the tournament, due to political tensions with Nazi Germany, and Spain also stayed at home due to their civil war, meaning Italy’s biggest contenders were likely to be hosts – France.
One of the more strange moments, though, was when the Italians wore black shirts. In the quarter-final against the hosts, the Italians sported this politically motivated all-black jersey and performed the fascist right-arm salute before kick off. Simon Martin, the author of Sport Italia, wrote: “The desire to forget saw Mussolini swept under the carpet, and the 1938 black shirt and Roman salute were consigned to one of the World Cup’s and FIFA’s least edifying but overtly political moments.”
The final was won in ease, with Gino Colaussi and Silvio Piola both netting a double in a 4-2 victory. Vittorio Pozzo’s influence was felt more here, with his W-M being slightly tweaked to more of a 2-3-2-3, known simply as ‘the method’ or better known as il metodo.
Before the match, though, a telegram was sent to all players reading ‘vincere o morire!’ or ‘win or die!’ literally. After the match, Hungarian goalkeeper Antal Szabó famously said, “I may have let in four goals, but at least I saved their lives.”
Italy completed back-to-back triumphs and went on to hold the trophy for 12 years due to a break because of the war. Benito Mussolini had used football for political gain, as a propaganda tool. While the two World Cup wins may be barred due to the coercion and corruption at the hands of Il Duce, it would be unfair to question a golden generation littered with talents such as Meazza, Monti, and Piola, who are all seen as legendary figures in Italian football history.
“When you look at the stats of the modern game, I am big on controlling domination of the ball. But against Everton we were able to dominate without the ball.” – Brendan Rodgers.
Igor Akinfeev parried the ball to his side and without breaking stride, he jetted off in euphoric celebration. Hosts Russia had defeated the great Spain in the Luzhniki Stadium, and Akinfeev became the first man to have the whole of a country singing his name since the great Black Spider Lev Yashin. Up in the press box at the extraordinary coliseum formerly named after Vladimir Lenin, match reports were being filed, the postmortem already underway. All around the world, journalists not lucky enough to be in Russia were busy writing headlines and getting them ready for the press deadline: THE DEATH OF TIKI-TAKA. The headline had a nice ring to it, but it was a mass over-exaggeration and ignorance of the facts: tiki-taka was long deceased.
Brendan Rodgers, the all-conquering Celtic boss, brought a possession-based style to the Premier League in the age of the counter attack. Tiki-taka – which I must state, as per my fascination with Pep Guardiola, is boring passing for the sake of it – had died when multiple attacking sides were embarrassed in the Champions League to stubborn defensive outlets. Brendan Rodgers, though, had an exciting philosophy that made Swansea everyones second team in the Premier League.
Sadly for Rodgers, his Premier League legacy is nearly winning the league with Liverpool. As he embarks on potentially joining Leicester City, I’d argue: don’t remember Rodgers for what he did (wrong) at Anfield, remember him for his trailblazing style at Swansea, his desire to play possession based attractive football, and his comeback in Glasgow, where he has more than set himself up for a healthy return to English football.
It will take time for Rodgers to implement his philosophy to a dressing room that is struggling for morale and confidence, but the Leicester board will give him time.
In an interview on Match of the Day 3 in 2012, Rodgers said: “We kicked the ball long [chasing a game] and it would come straight back again into our box. We ended up drawing the game two each. The next week in training I said to the players that we have to retain our composure and relaxation with the ball. Low and behold if it came again, we could manage the game with the ball. The following week, we were playing Bolton at home, and they get a goal to bring it to 2-1. To be fair the players then, for ten minutes, Bolton never got a kick of the ball. We eventually got the third and won the game 3-1.”
In a microcosm, that interview outlined Rodgers’ philosophy: keep the ball. In a way, he is up there with the likes of Guardiola in the way he has redefined ‘seeing out a game’ in the Premier League. He is no innovator, but the typical English way of seeing out a tender lead is to drop a few yards and limit the spaces for the opposition. Rodgers is the opposite, and will defend with the ball.
On the whole, English football pundits and fans seem blind to tactics, judge players and managers too quickly, and change their minds without a second of thought. A good example of this is Eden Hazard: one weekend, he is heralded as the best in the league, whereas the next he could be labelled a ‘fraud’. It was a similar story with Rodgers in England, who was heralded as a tactical genius for leading Liverpool to the cusp of the Premier League title, but then criticised as a flop in the months after, when the whole squad was bereft of confidence.
His time at Liverpool was strange, as despite the heavy metal football that Liverpool played with the likes of Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling, Rodgers’ style failed. His possession based game was not the way Liverpool got so far, it was a more direct style that meant that his side could not control games in the way he wanted. That was demonstrated with that fateful night at Selhurst Park, where Liverpool threw away a three goal lead against Crystal Palace that virtually cost them the league title.
It is not the stint at Liverpool he should be solely assessed on, though.
Rodgers is clearly a tactician, but aside from that, he is a man motivator. If you look at the list of players he has improved in his career, you will quickly sit up and take notice of this mans talents. I won’t name them, because there are so many.
He turned Swansea into an established Premier League club, playing a progressive, vertical style in an era of counter-attacking football that lasted until the likes of Guardiola and Klopp arrived on English shores. He slightly adjusted Roberto Martinez’s system and laid the foundations for ex-Barcelona man Michael Laudrup to restore it. He built the team around Joe Allen and got the best out of multiple young players, which could be crucial for The Foxes, who have a plethora of young midfielders who could thrive, such as James Maddison, Youri Tielemans and Hamza Choudhury.
The general argument at the end of his stint at Liverpool was that Rodgers was too reliant on Luis Suarez, which is probably a fair assumption. He was, but that is because he built the system around him and allowed the Uruguayan to thrive. There will always be an asterix over his time in Merseyside, but part of the blame has to be attributed with the scouting department and ownership. All in all, though, he got the best out of many, including Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge. His signings were well off, and his last half-season a disaster, but he deserves more respect than what some give him for his time at the club.
The Rodgers revival came at Celtic, which yes, is an easy job. Just like Bayern’s decline when Guardiola left the so-called easy job, I wouldn’t be too surprised if Rodgers’ ex-captain, Steven Gerrard, seizes the moment to close the gap on Celtic without Rodgers at the helm.
With a young and talented squad, and a few months to get used to them with the pressure off, Brendan Rodgers has a chance of really making his name again in English football. He has a positive style that could thrive at the King Power Stadium, and while he won’t repeat the successes of Claudio Ranieri, Rodgers could really bring the good times back to Leicester City Football Club.
Let’s leave on a quote from Rodgers himself: “If you are better than your opponent with the ball, you have a 79% chance of winning the game.”
Tony Foulds was just 8-years-old when he witnessed the USA B-17 Flying Fortress, nicknamed “Mi Amigo”, of the 305th Bomb Group, swerve away from a group of children in the park and crash into the nearby woods.
Foulds has maintained a memorial in memory of the ten who lost their lives that day and said that he feels “guilty” for causing the aircraft to swerve away from the field they were planning to make a crash landing in.
Few in Sheffield were even aware of the memorial until recently. The park is a popular destination for runners, dog walkers and families to enjoy a day in the sun, but the fact the memorial is tucked away in the woods means it is it out of sight and many were unaware of it.
Despite this, the whole story came to the forefront of media attention not just in Sheffield, but the world, when BBC Breakfast frontman Dan Walker started spreading knowledge of Tony Foulds’ story. Within weeks, Walker had arranged a flypast from various fighter jets to commemorate the fateful crash on that day in February 1944.
Foulds told Dan Walker of The BBC: “I actually love them like I do my own son and my own daughter, and I will never ever let them down.
“My son has promised that when I go, he will come.
“This means so much to me, so much to me.”
The flyover itself was exceptional, and the scenes of Tony Foulds on the giant screen that was erected on the park to livestream BBC Breakfast brought a tear to the eye of more than one person in the gathering crowd, which grew by the minute.
Foulds said on the tannoy system: “That crowd has doubled since ten minutes ago. It is a good job I am charging you a fiver each on your way out!”
The 82-year-old was in a cheery mood, and he had every reason to do so, as this is something he has been yearning for during the last seven decades he has spent maintaining the memorial.
Foulds was not the only one in a cheery mood. The crowd, with a range of ages, from locations all over the country and even some from America, was full of cheer and enthusiasm as they were waiting in the early-morning Sheffield sun.
Samuel Matthews, 8, enjoyed the final day of his half-term holiday at the flypast.
He said: “It was really cool to see the planes do lots of patterns and shapes.”
On a more serious note, the flypast educated him of the real reasons for the aesthetic plane patterns.
He added: “I think that the people in the jet trying to save all those children and risking their lives instead of trying to save theirs and ending the child’s.”
Richard Bancroft, 79, said: “I have never seen so many people in this park before.
“I’m ecstatic, it has put Sheffield on the map like never before.”
At a time where the country seems in disagreement over most things, the flypast brought the community of Sheffield together for the better, and completed the lifelong dream of one very special individual, Tony Foulds.
Angela Smith, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, is one of seven Labour politicians to resign from the party this morning.
The group of MPs stood down in a protest over “the future of British politics” in order to form the “Independent Group” amid their party’s handling over Brexit, National Security and Anti-Semitism.
Ms Smith, who has been in office since 2010, said in a statement: “I don’t want to be patronised by left wing intellectuals who think being poor and working class constitutes a state of grace.”
Speaking later to BBC Politics Live, she said: “We feel that morally and politically to break free of a party that no longer represents what we stand for.
“The culture of the Labour Party is vicious, it is bullying, it is unpleasant.”
She added: “Not only has Jeremy Corbyn got hold of the machinery to the party, he has changed the locks, we no longer have the keys.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he is “disappointed” with their decision. He said: “I am disappointed that these MPs have felt unable to continue.”
Ms Smith has represented the seat since 2010, and was MP for Sheffield Hillsborough from 2005 to 2010. In November 2018, her Constituency Labour Party passed a motion of no confidence in her grounds of her lack of support for the party leadership.
She said in the statement: “Our politics, in other words, is broken, incapable of inspiring confidence in the future.”
She added: “The level of alienation from the political process on the part of the people is at a record high, with the chaos and conflict characterising Brexit encapsulating perfectly the sense of deadlock and hopelessness which pervades our political culture.”
Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger, who also resigned, led the group in making a statement.
She said: “This morning, we have all now resigned from the Labour Party. This has been a very difficult, painful, but necessary decision.
“From today, we will all sit in Parliament as a new independent group of MPs. From my part, I have become embarrassed and ashamed to remain in the Labour Party.”
Video Assistant Referee. Messi and Ronaldo. Who will win the title race? Three debates that are unavoidable on a daily basis that, if you’re like me, will make your ears (or eyes, in the age of social media) metaphorically bleed. Three torturously annoying debates that have no real answer, but are still discussed on the daily. Another argument that seemingly pops up in conversation nearly as frequent as Brexit does is whether or not young Englishmen making the move to the German Bundesliga – or other foreign top leagues for that matter – is better than sitting on the bench back here.
The best example of this is Jadon Sancho, who was the trend of conversation around the country this week due to his return to Wembley in a Borussia Dortmund shirt. The teenager made the audacious and trendsetting move to Germany in the summer 2017 after failing to see a route to the Manchester City first team and ever since, he has been the example for many pub arguments, as midweek debaters look to backup their point that every English youngster should follow suit.
Yes, he is doing brilliant at Dortmund, who are leading the way in Germany, and Phil Foden may not be pulling up trees for Manchester City, but he is doing it his way, and that is fine too. Like VAR, there is no definite answer over what path is best: stop comparing the two. One size does not fit all, and while Sancho is clearly ahead of Foden (and the likes of Hudson-Odoi etc.) at the moment, it does not mean that all youngsters should quit the club they have grown up with, in search of regular football.
If the rows over VAR and the like weren’t enough of an eyesore for you, the pathetic, shameless clickbait journalism of many clickbait organisations this morning is enough to ruin a weekend.
While it was only Newport County, Phil Foden stood out in a midfield populated with a World Cup winner David Silva, and created more than the likes of Leroy Sané and Riyad Mahrez. Therefore, the ‘it is only Newport’ counter-argument for this will not suffice. Foden possesses a turn of space to leave any defender in their wake, and the ball stuck to him with elasticity on a pitch unfit for a Sunday League game.
This was not the first time Foden has stood out in the FA Cup this season, with the youngster excelling against Rotherham in January.
While Rabbi Matondo became the latest to leave City for Germany in the transfer window just gone, Phil Foden is patient in waiting for his chances, but they are coming. Admittedly, his chances are coming less frequently than others, but the experience of being coached by Pep Guardiola must count for something here.
Jadon Sancho, on the other hand, is thriving at German league leaders Dortmund, with manager Lucien Favre happy to build a team around Sancho as one of the focal points of the attack. Would he walk straight back into Manchester City’s team? No. Sterling and Sané are still ahead of Sancho at this current moment, just like De Bruyne and Silva (either of them) are ahead of Foden.
He may find earlier success than Foden does, but does that mean Sancho will have the better career overall? There is no definite answer to this, so stop comparing them.
The Bundesliga route is audacious, and I admire it all the same, but it doesn’t mean that staying at England means that the player will not ‘make it’. If Foden doesn’t play a single minute for four years, he will still be younger than the likes of many of City’s first-choice eleven including Sterling, Bernardo Silva, etc. If he doesn’t play a minute for four years, obviously then he will move, but in the hypothetical situation, getting regular game time in this star-studded City side will do for 18 months more yet.
By the time Foden is 21, David Silva will have retired or at least moved on from City, while Ilkay Gundogan will likely be of an age where he may leave. Therefore, the path to the first team is clear. He may not be a guaranteed starter, but with City competing on four fronts, that is irrelevant.
Just like the Messi and Ronaldo debate, stop comparing the two and just realise that we are witnessing two era-defining talents. Even though you may have your clear favourite, if you cannot appreciate the greatness of both of them, this sport is not for you. The same argument stands for Foden and Sancho: yes, Sancho may be better, and he may have made the right choice in joining Dortmund, but that does not mean Foden will not ‘make it’ at City. These are two of England’s best youngsters for well over a decade, so we should stop comparing them and get behind them both, as England look to end their half-century of hurt.
In a decade, England may finally win the World Cup again, with a squad full of Bundesliga-bred talent. If that is the case, fair enough. For now though, stop comparing the two different routes to first team action. Just watch Phil Foden for one game, you will see he is more than ready to step up into Manchester City’s team and excel for years to come.