Roy McFarland and Colin Todd, the best defensive duo of the 1970s?

DERBY COUNTY’s golden age was between 1971-75, during which time, they won two Football League championships during an incredible time for a club very few people would call “fashionable”. The teams that Brian Clough and Peter Taylor built created a legacy that no Derby side has been able to live up to. Derby had some excellent players in every department of their two title-winning team: Kevin … Continue reading Roy McFarland and Colin Todd, the best defensive duo of the 1970s?

CV-risky jobs: Managing an elite club

MANCHESTER UNITED are going through what amounts to something of an identity crisis. The astonishingly high standards set during the Ferguson era meant that whatever followed him would be an anti-climax, but the club has made a series of poor judgement calls, partly in desperation to return to winning ways – and that means league titles – and partly because of the need to maintain … Continue reading CV-risky jobs: Managing an elite club

Cancel games and take the teams off – the only solution to combat racism

WE live in extremely troubled times, a confusing era where it often feels as though the lunatics have been handed the keys to the asylum. Powerful leaders that appear to behave like Bond villains, placard-waving crowds baying for blood, the re-emergence of anti-semitism, that most symbolic of prejudices, and bull-necked extremists spouting faux-nationalism and militaristic sentiments. Although we’re more than a decade on from the … Continue reading Cancel games and take the teams off – the only solution to combat racism

Rangers 1963-64 – a final flourish for the 60s

THE mid-1960s through to the 1970s was Celtic’s time in Scotland, Jock Stein’s side winning almost everything on offer. Before the tide turned in Glasgow, Rangers completed a memorable treble in 1963-64. Ibrox Park regulars would have found it hard to believe if anyone had told them, in 1964, that the Gers would not be crowned Scottish champions again for 11 long years. The Rangers … Continue reading Rangers 1963-64 – a final flourish for the 60s

Arsenal 1968-70 – Relative calm before the storm

WHEN Arsenal won the “double” in 1970-71, they received very little praise for their considerable efforts. Were it not for Charlie George’s messianic fall to the ground in the FA Cup final, Arsenal would be remembered for merely grinding-out results and out-slugging Leeds United’s relentless machine. But the seeds of Arsenal’s triumph were sown in three seasons leading up to 1970-71. From 1953, when Arsenal … Continue reading Arsenal 1968-70 – Relative calm before the storm

Neville, Neville, how could they know?

THE WALLS are starting to close in a little on Phil Neville as he faces his first mini-crisis as manager of England’s Women. After a poor run of results, Neville reacted badly to increased scrutiny of his methods by the media, lashing out at journalists and developing something of a siege mentality. Neville, according to Suzanne Wrack of The Guardian, just cannot take criticism. “Sometimes, … Continue reading Neville, Neville, how could they know?

Non-League should throw carrots, but to the right people

INCREASINGLY, non-league football clubs have adopted a tactic they hope will entice fans of football league clubs to drop-by on a more frequent basis – the act of discounting admission if the fans have a season ticket of a Premier or Football League club I question this generous, and somewhat misguided approach, which does seem rather odd – cutting the price of seeing a non-league … Continue reading Non-League should throw carrots, but to the right people

Borussia Dortmund still chasing Bayern – on and off the pitch

BORUSSIA Dortmund (BVB) may have posted solid revenues for 2018-19, but their net total (excluding transfers) of € 377 million is dwarfed by rivals Bayern Munich’s revenues for the same period of € 750 million. While BVB will be ranked among the top dozen clubs in terms of their revenues, the gap between the Bavarians and the rest of the Bundesliga is underlined once more. … Continue reading Borussia Dortmund still chasing Bayern – on and off the pitch

John Barnes – realistic, or out of touch?

ONE OF the most iconic photographic images of the 1980s is of Liverpool’s John Barnes back-heeling a banana at Goodison Park after a fan threw it his way during a Merseyside derby. The photo says a lot about an outstanding, gifted footballer trying to ignore a bout of racism by nonchalantly and intelligently using his skill to dispose of an offending item. Barnes received plenty … Continue reading John Barnes – realistic, or out of touch?

Inter’s benchmarking exercise shows why Juve are champions

THEY CAME, they saw, they rained on Inter’s parade – and how it frustrated the home fans in the 75,000 San Siro crowd!  It was Serie A champions against pretenders to the throne and once more, Juventus, perpetual wearers of the crown of Italian football for almost a decade, demonstrated they are still the big occasion team. Neutral Italy, indeed neutral Europe, has been hoping … Continue reading Inter’s benchmarking exercise shows why Juve are champions

Fulham and Charlton show why the Championship is so compelling

HOW OFTEN does a crowd filter out of a football stadium feeling they haven’t really been entertained? All too frequently, there’s a collective shrug of the shoulders, comments like, “not bad” or “they tried”, although supporters of the winning team console themselves with the result, a case of points over performance, function over form. Not so the 18,500 people who witnessed Fulham against Charlton, a … Continue reading Fulham and Charlton show why the Championship is so compelling

Saint-Etienne in the 1970s – painting the town Vert

BEFORE PSG got rich and threatened to join the uber-clubs of Europe, French football had only spasmodically made an impact on the big stages. True, Stade de Reims reached a couple of European Cup finals in the nascent years of the European Cup, and Marseille won the competition in the 1990s, but the team that captured the hearts of European football watchers was Saint-Etienne of … Continue reading Saint-Etienne in the 1970s – painting the town Vert

Ajax show they’re still potent

EVERYBODY expected Ajax’s renaissance in 2018-19 would come to a shuddering halt as they started to lose their key players to Europe’s elite band of clubs. When Ajax were beaten in the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League, thanks to a heartbreakingly late goal, the conclusion was that an exciting young team had probably lost its chance of immortality. Ajax certainly lost two of their … Continue reading Ajax show they’re still potent