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

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

The big six in a time of disruption

LIVERPOOL are top of the Premier by a substantial margin and the odds are they will win the Premier League for the first time and lift the Koppites’ first title since 1990. Six or seven years ago, that would have seemed a fairly unlikely scenario as Liverpool had – temporarily – moved out of the elite bracket. Jürgen Klopp was hired to bring the good … Continue reading The big six in a time of disruption

Haringey v Yeovil shows non-league has a racism problem

FOR YEARS, people have been selling non-league football as a civilised world, “real football for real people”, supported by the theory that this level of the game is one big happy family, a community motivated by the enjoyment of football in a malice-free environment. Just days after England’s players were subjected to racist comments and chanting in Bulgaria, Haringey Borough’s football team walked-off the pitch … Continue reading Haringey v Yeovil shows non-league has a racism problem

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

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?

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?

Everyone loves Chelsea’s reborn Jorginho

YOU’RE ONLY as good as your manager allows you to be. That should sum up the Jorginho story in his two seasons at Chelsea. Last year, Jorginho was less than popular with the Stamford Bridge regulars – he was seen as representative of the so-called “Sarri ball” philosophy of uncomfortable manager Maurizio Sarri. He moved to London from Napoli with Sarri and was, naturally, linked … Continue reading Everyone loves Chelsea’s reborn Jorginho

Hankering for football’s mythical “good old days”

ACROSS social media, people yearn for a return to a time they can more easily understand when it comes to football. A year ago, Emirates Stadium regulars wanted “our Arsenal back” and this season, Chelsea and Manchester United supporters are playing a similar tune. A certain age group longs for a return to “the good old days”, but sometimes, it is a misguided belief that … Continue reading Hankering for football’s mythical “good old days”

Football’s mind games – therapy for mental health

MENTAL HEALTH is very much in the news at present, everyone seems to have suffered from problems at some point in their life. Mental Health has been misdiagnosed as a “cover all” for anything that touches the mind, be it depression, anxiety, paranoia, stress and a whole vast range of other conditions. I have been receiving something called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to deal with … Continue reading Football’s mind games – therapy for mental health

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

Bury may be the first sad domino to fall

FOOTBALL in Bury now depends on the creation of a so-called “Phoenix Club” after the club was expelled from the English Football League. Bury is a relatively tiny club (average crowd 2018-19: 4,044), one that sprung-up when industrial Britain was creating the roots for the people’s game. Football enthusiasts have always known the basic keynote facts about a club that has struggled in the shadow of … Continue reading Bury may be the first sad domino to fall

When will fans realise football is just an incredibly well-paid job?

IT HAS been interesting to hear the criticism of players who left their club in order to move elsewhere. Some clubs and their fans take it worse than others, but ultimately, in the free market that is football, players are like you and me, they have a choice to earn their income from whom they choose to work for. Football is not a vocation, a … Continue reading When will fans realise football is just an incredibly well-paid job?