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
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?
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”
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
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?
THE LATEST edition of the yearbook that has forever been known as the “Rothmans” has reached its 50thanniversary, but how long will the doorstop of football data be around? The last two books have been backed by the tabloid newspaper, The Sun – an unlikely partner but nevertheless a welcome one. In 2018, it was revealed that the publication was in danger of ending, just … Continue reading How to save football’s “bible”
BY THE time Diego Armando Maradona was 21 years old, he had played around 200 league games for his employers. Likewise, Pelé, at that tender age, had turned-out around 300 times for Santos. More recently, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the two totems of the modern age, made more than 100 appearances. George Best, by his 21stbirthday, was heading towards the 150 mark. In short, … Continue reading Young lions – overpriced and underused
LOOSEN-up Lioness fans, Alex Morgan was merely poking fun, not hurling an insult to a nation. Football is a game that provokes such gestures of mockery, cricket thrives on “sledging” and players lift t-shirts to reveal messages after they score. It’s a product for the masses, a simple game that has no halfway measures in competitions like World Cups – win or lose. Emotions get … Continue reading Tea – best drink of the day, not a diplomatic issue
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
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
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