Mühren and Thijssen, taking totalvoetbal to Suffolk

IN the mid-1970s, there was a certain fascination for all things Dutch among the football fraternity. Some managers, such as Dave Sexton, Ron Greenwood and Bobby Robson, were students of the European game and attempted to bring elements of the continent to England. It didn’t always work, for English players were not schooled in the same way as their European counterparts, but these managers at … Continue reading Mühren and Thijssen, taking totalvoetbal to Suffolk

What was Guardiola trying to say?

WHEN the manager of one of the world’s richest clubs says his team may not be able to compete with its peers, it is hard to have real sympathy with him. Success and failure are all relative and you don’t have to travel far from Manchester City’s glittering campus to find a town that saw its club fail to overcome its problems. How Bury fans … Continue reading What was Guardiola trying to say?

Arsenal – a great club in urgent need of direction

ARSENAL is a football institution suffering from bad karma and a deep malaise that includes dissatisfaction with ownership, poor team performances, disillusion with the manager, vocalised anger at some players and now, a disappointing set of financials. Nothing seems to be going right for the Gunners. Arsenal’s football club finances showed a loss for the 2018-19 season of some £ 23.5 million. This is hardly … Continue reading Arsenal – a great club in urgent need of direction

Recession and Premier League clubs – factors to consider

FOOTBALL is an industry awash with cash, but as economists and analysts continue to speculate about the possibility of a downturn in 2020, how will clubs cope with the economic uncertainty that could compromise their financial stability? Football business news site Off the Pitch reports. If anyone wants a reminder of how a serious global recession can impact professional football, just visit Valencia in Spain … Continue reading Recession and Premier League clubs – factors to consider

World Football League – driven by greed, not excellence

WHEN  a financial institution becomes involved in discussions about the future of football, it doesn’t sit very comfortably. It will undoubtedly be good for accountants, lawyers, bankers, intermediaries and the main protagonists (in other words, the clubs in the driving seat) but for the future of the game and the eco-system that supports it, questions have to be asked about the intentions of the parties … Continue reading World Football League – driven by greed, not excellence

Saunders’ champions – Aston Villa 1981

SEVENTY-PLUS years had passed since Aston Villa had last won the Football League Championship, their six title triumphs ended in 1910. In the intervening decades, Villa had known despair at times, spending  two years in Division Three at the start of the 1970s. In 1975, under the ultra-disciplinarian, Ron Saunders, Villa returned to the top flight, also winning the Football League Cup in 1974-75. Villa … Continue reading Saunders’ champions – Aston Villa 1981

Football and the military: An uncomfortable alignment

IT SEEMS impossible to avoid some form of military presence when any major football event is taking place. Whether it is a game old cock rattling a tin or somebody dressed in khaki bringing a trophy onto the pitch, there seems to be a deep desire to attach the game to Britain’s armed forces. Football continues to be used as an opportunity for mass engagement, … Continue reading Football and the military: An uncomfortable alignment

Now may be the time for PSG to repay the backers

WHAT will motivate Paris Saint-Germain when they get tired of winning domestic trophies at a canter? And despite their huge wage bill, growing revenue base and ability to snare any player they choose, how can PSG become more competitive where it really matters – in European competition? Given the amount of cash their owners have spent on player transfers and remuneration, should the French champions … Continue reading Now may be the time for PSG to repay the backers

The past was orange and European, the future grey and isolated

I SPENT much of the mid-1970s walking around in an orange adidas t-shirt, a tribute to the Dutch national team of the period, and in particular, Johan Cruyff. In some ways, I was ahead of my time, because donning sportswear was not the fashion statement that it is today. However, I thought it was cool. In fact, I considered that the Netherlands was something of … Continue reading The past was orange and European, the future grey and isolated

The Club World Cup – creeping in the back door of 2019

WHY have FIFA persisted with their lop-sided Club World Cup, a relatively unloved competition that carries little weight and goes quite unnoticed by most of the world’s footballing audience? This year, the mid-season holiday for blazers moved to Qatar, providing a testing ground for the controversial 2022 World Cup. It’s very difficult to see this competition as anything other than a money-making venture and a … Continue reading The Club World Cup – creeping in the back door of 2019

Aberdeen wary of the Glasgow gap

ABERDEEN may be Scotland’s third club at the moment but their financial figures for 2018-19 highlight the chasm between the Dons and the Old Firm, Celtic and Rangers. Derek McInnes’ team plays host to Rangers this week with nine points separating the Gers from Aberdeen. This is only one aspect of the difference between the two clubs – Aberdeen’s turnover may be close to £ … Continue reading Aberdeen wary of the Glasgow gap

Oh, Hillsborough – media reaction

FOR the families of the 96 people that died at Hillsborough, there can never be any peace. That seems to be the conclusion from the latest twist in a tragedy that refuses to deliver closure for the mourners. At some point, it may end, when the grieving relatives either gain satisfaction or there simply isn’t anyone left to stand trial, but the acquittal of David … Continue reading Oh, Hillsborough – media reaction

Juve’s crown seriously under threat from Inter

INTER MILAN went back to the top of Serie A after beating SPAL 2-1 while Juventus surprisingly slipped-up against Sassuolo, relying on a penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo – his first goal since the end of October – to maintain their unbeaten record. While Juve still haven’t been beaten, Inter’s resilience under Antonio Conte underlines that they are genuine contenders for the first time in years, … Continue reading Juve’s crown seriously under threat from Inter