Matthew Handley

Oxford history student, Debate Mate mentor, football fanatic

Matt Handley is studying History at Oxford University, and is a mentor for the Debate Mate programme, having been a member of the England Schools' Debating Team in 2010 and 2011. He debates competitively for Oxford, and has reached the semi-finals of the World Universities Debating Championships. He is heavily involved in student journalism, having been News Editor of The Oxford Student newspaper. Most importantly, he's a football fan (particularly Liverpool FC, obscure 00's footballers and the politics of the Beautiful Game).

From Russia With Hate: The Case for Sporting Boycotts

Sporting boycotts has been effectively used in the past. The refusal to allow apartheid South Africa to participate in international sporting events was effective in showing international disgust against the de Klerk regime.
14/08/2013 12:41 BST

The Premier League Can't Afford to Just Wait for Its Own Jason Collins

The ultimate encouragement for a player to come out, would probably be that there were sufficient other gay peers for it not to be such an issue, or at least enough to be able to offer support. As it stands, that day seems a long way off. If the Premier League is to wait for its own Jason Collins, it may be waiting a very long time.
30/04/2013 10:32 BST

Margaret Thatcher's Legacy to Liverpool FC

Ninety-six fans, sons and daughters never made it home, and it was all the fault of their fellow Liverpool supporters. This was the narrative that Margaret Thatcher played a crucial role in perpetuating. There will have been few tears shed on Merseyside on Monday evening at her demise.
09/04/2013 17:51 BST

Stop Trying to Make Andy Murray Smile

The British sports fan is like a child beauty pageant mom, thrusting our not overly-pretty little girl in front of the baying flashbulbs when she'd much rather just be getting on with being a kid.
10/07/2012 09:54 BST

England's Squad Selection: If I Were a Roy

I'm willing Hodgson's side to prove me wrong, and like Denmark and Greece before them confound all expectations and march to European glory; unfortunately however, this squad selection doesn't give me much hope.
16/05/2012 14:31 BST

An Apologia for Diving in Football

Players are employed by their clubs to do a job. They're given outrageous salaries to churn out results, win trophies and gain their clubs further success and revenue. What they're not there to do is to uphold abstract Corinthian values of sportsmanship and fair play.
17/04/2012 22:44 BST

Why 'Squeaky Bum Time' is Manchester United's Best Friend

For fans of Manchester United, last night's 2-0 win away at Blackburn was a cause for delirious joy, taking their team five points clear at the top of the table. For everyone else it was a cause for grudging admiration and jealousy of a side that, despite being incredibly average at points this season has an unparalleled ability to produce results.
03/04/2012 13:49 BST

When It's Right to Punish Football Clubs for Their Fans' Behaviour

On Friday, the Egyptian football team al-Masry were suspended from competition for two seasons. The ban was the national football authority's response to the explosive riots in which 74 people lost their lives following the side's February match against Cairo rivals al-Ahly.
24/03/2012 16:23 GMT

Why Abramovich Was Wrong To Sack AVB

It's a saddening indictment of the state of football today that someone who could've been a new 'Special One' was never given the chance to shine at Stamford Bridge.
05/03/2012 10:08 GMT

What Winning the Carling Cup Would Mean to Liverpool

Liverpool FC's second period under Kenny Dalglish has thus far mimicked the relationship between a petrol-head and his first car; it's stopped and started, sometimes cruising and looking like reaching top speed, only to stutter to a stop with tedious inevitability, but in spite of this, he still loves the old girl.
25/02/2012 09:21 GMT

Fabio Capello's England: An Obituary

The record will show that Fabio Capello, with a win percentage of 66.7%, is one of England's most successful managers ever. For anyone who has followed the national side over the last four years, those figures serve to mask what has been a reign characterised by mismanagement, disappointment and controversy.
09/02/2012 12:47 GMT

Why the FA is Right to 'Strip' John Terry of the England Captaincy

John Terry stands accused of racially abusing QPR centre-half, Anton Ferdinand, brother of the man who replaced Terry as captain, Rio. The trial was initially scheduled to take place in February, but, as was announced this week is now to be suspended until July, removing the ability of the FA to put off making a decision on Terry's future until his guilt or otherwise was affirmed.
03/02/2012 12:11 GMT

Where Did the Interesting Footballers Go?

There was a time when a dip into any Premier League line-up would produce a veritable smorgasbord of stars who you'd not only want to cheer to victory, but could imagine sharing a pint with. Whatever happened to the 'characters' of football? And can we get them back?
27/01/2012 22:01 GMT

The Avoidable Tragedy of Suicide in Football

"I have cried every day for two years. I took an overdose and, when that didn't work, I tried to hang myself." Words which alarm in both their tragic content and disarming honesty. More surprising than the words themselves though is the source; former footballer, Dean Windass.
16/01/2012 21:59 GMT

Are We on the Cusp of Kicking Racism Out of Football?

The ability to see the effects of racism on a very human level makes one more attuned to the seriousness of the issue. This, coupled with a dedication to punish those who breach the rules, can, is and will continue to change perceptions.
08/01/2012 23:39 GMT

Why Kim Jong-Il's Death Got Me Thinking Of Football.

With Kim Jong-Il's death part of the seemingly impenetrable opacity of North Korea may have just been breached. Maybe one day the world will get to see 'the real Korea'. Until then however, we have to find alternate ways of understanding this most complex of regimes; I'd argue that football isn't a bad place to start.
19/12/2011 16:56 GMT

What Next For Manchester City's European Aspirations?

City's footballing difficultiesin Europe may just be down to a lack of experience. The scale of their prospective financial woes are largely exaggerated. My advice for Mancini's men? Keep calm and carry on (and, for the banter, erect statues of Mpenza and Musampa).
12/12/2011 11:22 GMT