Will Leeds be the next member of the uber-rich?

IF ALL goes to plan, Leeds United should soon be benefitting from a big cash injection from Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), the people who have made Paris Saint-Germain one of Europe’s wealthiest and high-profile clubs. The news has had a mixed reception, Qatar’s human rights record has been pointed out, along with the morality of inflated investment in football as a tool to enhance reputations, … Continue reading Will Leeds be the next member of the uber-rich?

England’s 1,000 – it hasn’t always been grand

BBC RADIO FIVE has selected its all-time England XI and the results are, perhaps predictably, a little influenced by “presentism”. This is what makes the fun exercise of picking “best ever” teams somewhat flawed – the past is often so deeply buried that the merits of ancient players often get forgotten. You’ve also got to consider that different eras create contrasting styles of football and … Continue reading England’s 1,000 – it hasn’t always been grand

When Saturday Comes – why we should help the trailblazer

BACK in the 1980s, football was in a miserable place. Plagued by hooliganism, supporters taken for granted, falling crowds, a poor product on the pitch and dreadful spectating conditions. From catering to care, the industry was a second-rate pastime followed by people who were almost embarrassed to admit they watched football on a regular basis. What’s more the government didn’t like football and with each … Continue reading When Saturday Comes – why we should help the trailblazer

Norwich City count the cost of promotion

NORWICH CITY are one of football’s yo-yo clubs, bouncing between divisions with regularity, mostly without a sense of panic that grips many clubs when they suffer reversals. The club is also one of those football institutions that people genuinely like – unthreatening, unassuming and surviving on a diet of little victories and the ability to periodically mount a successful promotion campaign. In the modern game, … Continue reading Norwich City count the cost of promotion

Cagliari 1970, thundering to the Scudetto

AS in England, there’s always been something of a north-south divide in Italy. The industrialised northern cities of Turin and Milan are a marked contrast to the rural south and islands like Sicily and Sardinia. The big money in Italian football came from business families such as the Agnellis and the Morattis, giving Juventus, AC Milan and Inter a big advantage over lesser clubs. Hence, … Continue reading Cagliari 1970, thundering to the Scudetto

It may be game over, now City should go all-out for the Champions League

IF YOU believe the misguided narrative, Pep Guardiola and Barcelona won the UEFA Champions League every season. Those that know, know differently. Pep has not won the competition for eight years, nine if he fails to do so this season. After Manchester City were soundly beaten by Liverpool at Anfield, Guardiola and his entourage may just decide to concentrate fully on lifting that enormous and … Continue reading It may be game over, now City should go all-out for the Champions League

Why non-league isn’t doing it for me anymore

NON-LEAGUE football has been part of my DNA for the past 30 years, but I’m sad to say that I no longer get the buzz I used to experience from this level of the game. There are a number of reasons and none of them imply that non-league is less important than it used to be, indeed there is an upturn in interest at some … Continue reading Why non-league isn’t doing it for me anymore

Chelsea v Ajax – the spectacle that nobody wanted to end

BACK IN 1970, one of the most captivating games of an outstanding World Cup, Italy’s 4-3 win over West Germany, was so exciting that the final whistle left you disappointed that the match had ended after 120 pulsating minutes. The same feeling was evident at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea and Ajax shared eight goals on an evening that reminded the near-40,000 crowd that the UEFA … Continue reading Chelsea v Ajax – the spectacle that nobody wanted to end

Despite the losses and plateaued crowds, MLS is big business

TORONTO and Seattle Sounders go head-to-head in the 2019 Major League Soccer (MLS) final, the third time in four seasons the two clubs have played each other in the season’s finale. MLS is growing in popularity and media prominence. Although attendances at games seem to have plateaued and are still relatively modest in some cities, there is no lack of investment in the game. Furthermore, … Continue reading Despite the losses and plateaued crowds, MLS is big business

1915: When football seemed unimportant

IT HAS been known down the years as “The Khaki Final”, owing to the vast number of soldiers in military uniform watching the game. While the event is well known, the outcome of the match has been largely overlooked in history. Many people will struggle to name the two finalists: Sheffield United and Chelsea. But this game, coming at the end of the 1914-15 season, … Continue reading 1915: When football seemed unimportant

Soccer City: Caracas – amid the chaos

VENEZUELA is one of South America’s least successful football nations, but most importantly and of greater concern, it is currently one of the world’s most troubled places. Once an oil-rich country with one quarter of the world’s proven oil reserves, a period of reckless financial and political policy-making has left Venezuela in absolute chaos, an example of social breakdown and a reminder of what can … Continue reading Soccer City: Caracas – amid the chaos

Gladbach smiling, Bayern hiring

THE EUROPEAN landscape has barely changed this season: PSG, Juventus, Barcelona, Ajax, Benfica, Liverpool and City all at the top. The once exception among the top leagues is Germany, where Borussia Mönchengladbach lead the Bundesliga and Bayern Munich are struggling to hit their best form. Bayern’s recent 5-1 defeat in Frankfurt proved to be the final straw for the Bayern politburo and just 24 hours … Continue reading Gladbach smiling, Bayern hiring

Digital detox and the football fan

CAN anyone remember when they had to actually wait for a football result? Did the life of a fan lack enrichment exist before the age of smart phones, apps and SKYTV? Instant gratification and constant connectivity is what it’s all about, from up-to-date football scores and the obsession of being forever in touch with your “friends”. Yesterday, at Hammersmith tube station, I was knocked flying … Continue reading Digital detox and the football fan