League title winners – passing the baton on

HOW OFTEN have you heard someone explain away a poor title defence with a comment like, “They needed to turn things over….they needed to rebuild”? It is true that nothing lasts forever in football and sometimes, a title winning team burns itself out in lifting the big prize. A manager gets the best out of a group of players and then they’re done. The fact … Continue reading League title winners – passing the baton on

The best bridesmaids: 10 teams that should have been champions

THE STATISTICS suggest that Liverpool 2018-19 are the best-ever nearly men in English football history. Certainly, 97 points is a phenomenal record, but the figures only tell part of the story. Liverpool’s performances, the charisma of Jürgen Klopp and the attacking power of the team will forever be remembered, and not just by Reds’ fans. Putting rivalries aside and taking an objective look at the … Continue reading The best bridesmaids: 10 teams that should have been champions

Europe’s Champions: 1957-58 Real Madrid

REAL MADRID completed a hat-trick of European Cup wins in 1958, but they had to work hard for the top prize in a gruelling final with AC Milan in Brussels. In doing so, Real also completed the double of domestic league title and European Cup for the second successive season. Nevertheless, football historians have always wondered if Real would still have been crowned champions of … Continue reading Europe’s Champions: 1957-58 Real Madrid

Homage to Brian Glover – my life as a coach

BRITAIN is a nation of football experts. Watch any game at, say, Anfield, Griffin Park or Stamford Bridge and there will be 35,000 football managers in the crowd. It has always been the same, but in recent times, the talent pool has got bigger due to computer games such as FIFA and Football Manager, all of which convince the addict that they can manage a … Continue reading Homage to Brian Glover – my life as a coach

The best bridesmaids: 10 teams that should have been champions

THE STATISTICS suggest that Liverpool 2018-19 are the best-ever nearly men in English football history. Certainly, 97 points is a phenomenal record, but the figures only tell part of the story. Liverpool’s performances, the charisma of Jürgen Klopp and the attacking power of the team will forever be remembered, and not just by Reds’ fans. Putting rivalries aside and taking an objective look at the … Continue reading The best bridesmaids: 10 teams that should have been champions

All hyped up: Italia ‘90

WE ALL look to the influences of our childhood or formative years as being the “best of times”. The things that informed our thinking, philosophy, social position, relationships and work ethos act as benchmarks later in life. The exception is fashion, where we all cringe at what we used to wear, mainly because what was de rigeur for a teenager will never be acceptable for … Continue reading All hyped up: Italia ‘90

72 Classic: London’s lost cup

LONDON’s top clubs had a mixed start to the 1971-72 season. Not everyone was surprised, however, for despite the capital city scooping all the domestic prizes and a European trophy, the football establishment still looked to the north of England as the hub of the game in the early 1970s. “I wonder sometimes if the London lads are as dedicated,” commented Huddersfield Town manager Ian … Continue reading 72 Classic: London’s lost cup

The hallowed double – those that went missing

WHEN Arsenal won the double in 1970-71, it was the first time since Tottenham’s much heralded success of 1960-61. Everyone thought it was an astonishing achievement, yet it was only a decade after their North London rivals had swept up the major prizes. Prior to Bill Nicholson’s side won the double, you had to go back to 1896-97 (Aston Villa) and 1888-89 (Preston North End). … Continue reading The hallowed double – those that went missing

When programmes really meant something

SITTING ON a coach going to an away game can often be tedious for those who struggle to sit still for a few hours. Having done precisely that for the best part of 30 years, the ordeal of travelling on motorways, and visiting the purveyors of poor quality food that are service stations no longer appeals to me. However, the trip to Barwell in Leicestershire … Continue reading When programmes really meant something

1971: Geoffrey and Gordon

ONE OF the privileges of being born in the late 1950s was that your formative years, from a footballing perspective, were the late 1960s and early 1970s. This was a great time for English football as the nation basked in the glow of World Cup 1966. As the passage of time moves on, and history plays tricks with the memory, sometimes you have to remind … Continue reading 1971: Geoffrey and Gordon

72 Classic: A tale of two Uniteds

GEORGE BEST was still considered to be the best player in the country, of any country, in fact, in 1971. Manchester United were still the biggest draw in town. But Best was a troubled soul, increasingly getting into hot water and commanding the wrong kind of headlines, and United were still trying to negotiate the post-Busby era. The empire was crumbling and United were no … Continue reading 72 Classic: A tale of two Uniteds

72 Classic: Kevin Keegan and the art of the shrewd purchase

NOBODY had really heard of Joseph Kevin Keegan before August 1971. He had previously tried his luck with Coventry City and Doncaster Rovers before signing for Scunthorpe United and had barely appeared on the radar screen of the big clubs. Apart from Liverpool, who had something of a track record in unearthing lower division gems. Bill Shankly liked nothing more than getting value for money … Continue reading 72 Classic: Kevin Keegan and the art of the shrewd purchase