Celtic under pressure as Rangers open up the title race

IT HAS been a long time coming, but Scotland has a truly competitive Premiership title race in 2020. After Rangers’ 2-1 win against Celtic at Parkhead at the end of the year, the reigning champions have a fight on their hands. Celtic fans won’t be feeling too comfortable, but the rest of Scotland will probably welcome the prospect of an exciting finale to the season. … Continue reading Celtic under pressure as Rangers open up the title race

Despite the current era, Sexton’s Chelsea stand the test of time

IF Chelsea had not got off to a miserable start in 1969-70, they may well have gone much closer to winning the Football League instead of their first FA Cup. Not that the Cup was a consolation, because in 1970, it really meant something and for the Blues, it was their first ever FA Cup triumph. Until 2004-05, the team that overcame Leeds United over … Continue reading Despite the current era, Sexton’s Chelsea stand the test of time

The FA Cup: It all started with the Daily Mirror

THE FA CUP used to be VERY special. The final was listed as part of the social season in Letts diaries, a status that didn’t mean much to the man on the Highbury terrace, because “social calendar” meant the blazered types that turned up at major sporting events such as test matches, Ascot and Wimbledon without having too much interest in the sports themselves. The … Continue reading The FA Cup: It all started with the Daily Mirror

Liverpool are actually the best in the world

REGARDLESS of their recent FIFA World Club Cup triumph in Qatar, Liverpool have every right to claim they are the best team in the world at the moment. It may be a subjective title given the halfway stage of 2019-20 has only just been reached, but 2019 will go down as the year of Liverpool’s resurgence and come May, the project will surely be anointed … Continue reading Liverpool are actually the best in the world

VAR: It wasn’t meant to be this way

WHEN the geeks of Silicon Valley told us about the oncoming revolution around 20 years’ ago, they said technology would make our lives easier and more enriched. The many gadgets and gizmos they were developing in Californian garages and science parks would allow us to have more leisure time. Technology would bring more precision to our lives and eradicate the mundane. Anyone who disagreed with … Continue reading VAR: It wasn’t meant to be this way

Chelsea complete a north London double, but the window has to be used wisely

WITH seven minutes remaining at the Emirates stadium, Chelsea must have been getting their chequebook ready for action, but two goals later, the shortcomings of the first hour of the game were brushed aside. Recent Chelsea performances have shown that they are very short of experienced talent. The energy and enthusiasm of their young players has carried them through the first half of the campaign, … Continue reading Chelsea complete a north London double, but the window has to be used wisely

Tottenham Hotspur 1970-73 – Bill Nick’s final flourish

IT IS hardly surprising, but when Tottenham Hotspur’s great teams and players are discussed, the conversation rarely moves beyond 1951 and 1961. The latter’s achievement, the then-hallowed double, would be something of a millstone round the neck of the club and its long-serving manager, Bill Nicholson, but 10 years on, Spurs did manage to rekindle some of the lustre of old and put together a … Continue reading Tottenham Hotspur 1970-73 – Bill Nick’s final flourish

Another title, now Ghangzhou look ahead to the opportunity of 2021

THERE’S LITTLE doubt that China’s most high-profile and successful club is Ghangzhou Evergrande Taobao, who lifted their eighth Chinese Super League title at the start of December 2019. Ghangzhou are not only China’s most celebrated club, they are arguably the noisiest across the Asia Pacific region. The 16th Chinese Super League championship race was a tense, problematical affair, probably the hardest title win Ghangzhou have … Continue reading Another title, now Ghangzhou look ahead to the opportunity of 2021

Football’s top brand – Real Madrid

REAL MADRID is, arguably, the most famous football club in the world. The queues of people that snake their way around the club’s impressive Bernabéu Stadium, even on days when the team is not in town, makes Real one of the Spanish capital’s major landmarks. Real Madrid is also the most valuable football brand in world football. Valued at €1.65 billion, the club is ahead … Continue reading Football’s top brand – Real Madrid

Peter Osgood: The King may be dead, but he’s never been forgotten

ONE DAY in January 1993, my telephone rang at work. “Hello, mate, it’s Peter Osgood here.” I hesitated, gasped and was a little nervous with my reply. “I used to have a poster of you on my bedroom wall,” I uttered. “I hope you still haven’t got it up,” he quipped. Here was my boyhood hero,  Peter Leslie Osgood, born Windsor, February 20 1947, 6ft … Continue reading Peter Osgood: The King may be dead, but he’s never been forgotten

Racism and bigotry in football – the disease that won’t go away

IT is not easy to warm to some of today’s footballers, especially those that find it hard to resist conspicuous consumerism or consider that with enormous wealth comes permission to misbehave. That aside, in an age where many of the sins of the past are being addressed, racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, sexism and other isms are, rightly, no longer tolerated. Once again, football has let itself … Continue reading Racism and bigotry in football – the disease that won’t go away

AZ Alkmaar and the A to Z of player development

THIS IS a club that has called on the methods of Billy Beane of Moneyball fame. A club that has a reputation for bringing on home-grown talent. They’re also dynamic data wizards and come from a town best known for cheese. AZ Alkmaar have a playing budget that amounts to around 25% of the mighty Ajax’s wage bill so they have to find ways to … Continue reading AZ Alkmaar and the A to Z of player development