David Owen: Cardiff City will always be big men with silky touches playing in blue shirts to me

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Now that I’ve seen the pictures, I am ready to believe it: Cardiff City are playing this season in red shirts (Heiðar Helguson, pictured below left, in the new shirt).

It feels wrong – like archery at Lord’s or Usain Bolt doing the polevault.

My personal image of Cardiff will always be caught up with Jimmy Scoular’s team that so nearly made it into the top tier of “English” football in 1970-71.

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David Owen: A tale of two Euros – why Platini’s Big Idea for one Euro may hinge on politicians’ big ideas for another

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Two years ago, it looked odds-on that the 2020 European Championship would be staged in Turkey.

An impressive campaign for Euro 2016, in which the Turks were edged out by France, many thought unluckily, allied to a vibrant economy and the scale to cope with the tournament’s expansion to 24 teams, left the strong impression that Ankara’s claim to Euro 2020 (pictured below, logo) would be all but irresistible – if they decided that they wanted the competition.

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David Owen: Why the new TV deal promises to strengthen English grip on Champions League

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The latest Premier League television deal may have given some BT and British Sky Broadcasting shareholders the jitters.

But the alarm-bells will have been ringing much, much louder in non-English citadels of European footballing excellence from Barcelona to Munich.

The new tide of money that the £3 billion ($4.7 billion/€3.7 billion) settlement will send flooding into English Premier League club coffers from the 2013-2014 season should do much to restore the competitive advantage of English clubs in the top European competitions.

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David Owen: Au revoir but not goodbye Auxerre

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An era may be about to end in French football.

As I write this, AJ Auxerre sit 20th and last in Ligue 1, the French First Division.

There is still time for them to save themselves, but they are three points adrift, six points from safety and the days are getting longer.

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David Owen: Why football may play a part in the Scottish independence debate

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On February 29 at the bijou Bonifika Stadium in Koper, Scotland take on Slovenia in one of those rather pointless friendly internationals.

The match takes place with Scottish independence high on the UK news agenda and a referendum expected in 2014.

You might think the fortunes of the Tartan Army have little if anything to do with the complexities of Scotland’s constitutional arrangements with the rest of the United Kingdom.

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David Owen: Why English football may need Alan Turing even more than Harry Redknapp

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Here we go again.

England needs a new football manager, setting off a new cycle of speculation, unrealistically burgeoning expectations and disillusionment, as surely as, well 55,000 Twitter-users follow the Anfield cat.

Actually, the speculation bit looks like being much diminished this time, since everyone thinks they know the new man’s identity: step forward Harry Redknapp, cheekie-chappie manager of Tottenham Hotspur, surprise package of the 2011-12 English Premier League season.

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David Owen: FA report on Suarez shines light on lengths players go to gain competitive advantage

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Like other writers, I spent the first two hours of 2012 engrossed not in a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, but the intricacies of the famous October 15 altercation between footballers Luís Suárez and Patrice Evra.

And a right riveting read the 115 pages of findings drawn up by the Independent Regulatory Commission that imposed an eight-match ban – subject to appeal – on Suárez, the Liverpool striker, turned out to be.

It aroused in me all manner of reactions –

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David Owen: When all is said and done, Havelange was one of the towering figures of 20th century sport

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The weekend reports claiming that João Havelange had resigned as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) brought to mind two images from recent IOC Sessions.

The first is from Copenhagen in 2009.

The Brazilian, who as FIFA President once shared with the late Juan Antonio Samaranch the billing of ‘Most Powerful Man in World Sport’, is inviting fellow members of the IOC club to Rio de Janeiro to celebrate his 100th birthday in 2016.

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David Owen: Football and the power of the poppy

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The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Like a high proportion of my fellow Brits, when that moment comes, I shall be standing silently with my head bowed in a gesture of solemn remembrance.

So why does it make me so angry when November rolls around each year and, like snowdrops in January, Premier League football shirts sprout scarlet poppies?

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David Owen: Despite all the hard work, Wembley Stadium is still a huge financial burden on the FA

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The most telling information in the Football Association’s recently published 2010 annual report and financial statements comes on page 24 of the 42-page document.

This tells us that, for all the pain and hard work that went into driving up the body’s overall financial performance, stadium and non-FA event management remained heavily in loss – to the tune of £12.1 million ($18.9 million/€13.9 million) at the pre-tax level, against £15.6 million ($24.4 million/€ million) in 2009.

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David Owen: “There’s only one Karen Murphy”. Why it isn’t just English armchair football fans who should be chanting the pub landlady’s name this weekend

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The first thing to be said about this week’s European Court of Justice ruling – that promises, for a time, to open a path to cheaper live Premier League football for armchair fans in the UK – is that if this doesn’t make the European Union (EU) more popular in famously eurosceptic Britain, nothing will.

But the potential consequences for the future structure of the European game are just as fascinating.

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