Je suis prétentieux : The fascination of foreign media

THOSE of us who like to venture abroad to watch the beautiful game will be aware of the difference in the way football is chronicled by the media in France, Germany, Italy and other countries. There’s something quite fascinating about a foreign football newspaper and although coverage in Britain has improved dramatically since the miserable 1980s when you struggled to even find a team line-up … Continue reading Je suis prétentieux : The fascination of foreign media

Commentary Box: Why we grudgingly tolerate international breaks

NO MATTER how well Gareth Southgate’s team performs and how much good progress was made in the 2018 World Cup, many football fans still find international break weekends tedious and an unwelcome distraction. Southgate and his immediate predecessors got what England managers, going way back as far as Sir Alf Ramsey and Don Revie, wanted – a decent preparation period for important international matches. I … Continue reading Commentary Box: Why we grudgingly tolerate international breaks

72 Classic: Lessons from Europe for English football

AT the start of 1971-72, England’s football fraternity was still clinging to the idea that the nation was still a major power in the game. The 1970 World Cup defeat at the hands of West Germany was mostly seen as an aberration and partly attributable to the rustiness of poor old Peter Bonetti, the outstanding Chelsea goalkeeper. There was little suggestion that perhaps the English … Continue reading 72 Classic: Lessons from Europe for English football

Everton’s chance to regain status

THIRTY years ago, if you named the top six clubs in England, Everton would have been among them, despite the era belonging to their neighbours Liverpool. Traditionally, Everton were one of the blue riband institutions, but in the Premier League era, they have been unable to compete for major honours. In fact, the last piece of silverware won by the Goodison Park-based club was in … Continue reading Everton’s chance to regain status

The 1982 Brazilians – football’s last cavaliers

SINCE JUNE 21 1970, football fans have been longing for Brazil to gift the world the spirit of samba, the ball-juggling artistry that encapsulated jogo bonita, the romantic, natural brilliance that delivers entertainment and excitement. Brazil’s 1970 World Cup winners did not represent the start of something, that team was actually the culmination of a process that began amid the despair or Rio 1950. By … Continue reading The 1982 Brazilians – football’s last cavaliers

Non-league can still be a stakeholder concept

THE NON-LEAGUE football world often lives within a false economy that does little to dissuade clubs from flirting dangerously with financial ruin. Some clubs live way beyond their means, paying out everything they accrue and agreeing players’ wages that are totally unrealistic when one considers the earning power of the clubs. It’s a questionable  business model – often a club is propped up by a … Continue reading Non-league can still be a stakeholder concept

How Real Madrid became the first super club

REAL MADRID and the UEFA Champions League are indelibly linked and always will be. Thirteen times winners of the competition – in its various guises – Real will, for the time being at least, hold a trump card over their national and international rivals, Barcelona. The fact that a number of those 13 victories were achieved before Barcelona had not allowed regional priorities to cloud their … Continue reading How Real Madrid became the first super club

Arsenal, the Art Deco club

IN THE 1980s, a television series called The Thirties highlighted a turbulent and exciting decade. An entire chapter was devoted, quite simply, to “The Arsenal”. The 1930s was the age of the Gunners, a time that the club has strived to replicate ever since. Arsenal were as 1930s as Crittall Windows, British dance bands, mock-Tudor housing and Bakelite. They were thoroughly modern in every way, … Continue reading Arsenal, the Art Deco club

Making football clubs global

WALK around the market in central Marrakech and, as well as traditional items such as leatherware, hand-beaten metal objects and various exotica, you will find stalls devoted to football shirts, with Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, among others, fighting for customer attention. If you venture into the back streets, you will undoubtedly come across a young boy on a scooter, weaving through … Continue reading Making football clubs global

This Tottenham may have peaked

WE’VE been waiting for Tottenham to win something for quite some time, in fact, it’s been a decade or more. For all the praise, all the admiring glances and appreciation of Tottenham’s style, commitment to younger players and English swagger, Leicester City, Wigan Athletic and Swansea have won more since the Spurs last went marching on to their trophy cabinet. Some managers have been sacked … Continue reading This Tottenham may have peaked

Brazil’s Flamengo dancing to success

THE COPA LIBERTADORES has reached the last four stage and there’s some real continental heavyweights in there: Boca Junior, River Plate, Flamengo and Grêmio. The semi-finals include two domestic clashes which will guarantee an Argentina v Brazil final, the 15thtime the region’s two biggest football nations have met to decide the destination of the trophy. The all-Brazil semi-final is between Flamengo and 2017 winners Grêmio. … Continue reading Brazil’s Flamengo dancing to success

Major football clubs need to create the right climate

RIGHT NOW, climate change is a very topical issue, and rightly so. If the scientists are correct, we may all face some serious issues in the relatively near future, issues that cannot be ignored or dismissed as scaremongering. Football has to ask itself what role it can play in combating climate change. We are told that there are three things that we most certainly do … Continue reading Major football clubs need to create the right climate