HOW often have you heard football fans bemoan the fact that the season has ended and that “I don’t know what I’m going to do for the next few months…perhaps I will watch cricket” ? Football is an addiction, but it is also about expectation, forlorn hopes and thwarted ambition. While there’s a close season, there’s this 10-12 week window where dreams can be formulated … Continue reading Why close season breaks are necessary
ANYONE who watched the World Cup 1986 “hand of God” incident will have preconceived views about Diego Armando Maradona. In the space of six minutes in Mexico City, the game against England displayed everything that was good and bad about him. If VAR was in use in 1986, Maradona would have been sent off and Argentina would surely not have beaten England. History would have … Continue reading Fool or hero? Maradona movie shows why he was like no other
THERE’S A LOT of very fine football books in circulation at present, ranging from the fairly disposable “fan lit” to books about some of the trends impacting the game, such as data, tactics, finance and culture. The Club, by Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg, explains how the Premier League rose to become the most disruptive sporting business in the world. The league’s origins, which we … Continue reading Football Read Review: The Club – a book that had to be written
EVERYONE loves Jürgen Klopp, even those that do not especially warm to Liverpool Football Club. The current talk is of the popular German coach presiding over the creation of a “dynasty”, not the first time we’ve heard this from Liverpool or indeed a number of clubs, who can afford to talk boldly when things are going well. However, Liverpool are arguably the only club who … Continue reading Football Media Watch: Klopp, Liverpool and the pursuit of dynastic excellence
THIRTY years ago, it would be nigh on impossible for one country to provide all the European finalists. The only way it could have happened was if the holders of the European Cup and European Cup-Winners’ Cup were English and the qualifying clubs from England were not the holders. In 1971-72, we had a UEFA Cup final between Tottenham and Wolves – a competition where … Continue reading Commentary Box: Into perspective – England’s quartet
A FRIEND of mine left his job with a major investment bank where he had worked for more than 20 years. He was described as a “great servant” to the company. Given the person in question was earning well north of £ 150,000 per annum, plus considerable benefits, somebody quipped, “best paid bloody servant in history”. It raised a laugh or two, but never had a … Continue reading Commentary Box: The game with thrones – legends and servants
FOOTBALL films tend to be a little disappointing, the subject matter very often packed with cliché and the action shots lacking realism and accuracy. However, the film that documents Bert Trautmann’s life is one of the best examples of bringing the beautiful game to the big screen. Not that The Keeper’sopening minutes provides much in the way of beauty, depicting Trautmann and his Wehrmacht colleagues … Continue reading The Trautmann film – gentle, poignant and authentic
THERE WAS a time when buying a programme at a match was absolutely essential. In those days, we were not bombarded with information, didn’t have the internet to fall back on and there was limited coverage of football in many newspapers. You couldn’t even contemplate the prospect of not having a programme, you felt you were missing out on something, if only for the “steak … Continue reading Commentary Box: Programmed for change?
BACK IN 1973, I was lucky enough to see the Three versus Six game at Wembley that heralded Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community or Common Market as we called it at the time. Politics aside, this was supposed to be a celebration of the country’s entry into Europe. It was an exciting prospect, given that at that time, there were some great players … Continue reading Commentary Box: We can see heroes… just for one day
HOPEFULLY, we are a long way from making drastic and knee-jerk decisions around the fear of pitch invasions becoming a new trend in British football. Anyone who remembers the days of fences, threats of electrification, the feeling of being penned-in like cattle and the “us and them” environment where policemen stared into the eyes of the underclass will be hoping the current spate of incursions … Continue reading Commentary Box: The new hooliganism
THE CORPORATE world has long embraced diversity as a strategic tool that attempts to differentiate a company as a caring, sharing employer. It’s interesting that many organisations define this as female empowerment and sexual orientation but seem to forget age as an essential part of this strategy. Football clubs have, with varying degrees of success, grasped the diversity concept, but it is a long game, … Continue reading Football and diversity – do we really mean it?
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 those mythical “good old days”