72 Classic: Lifting Leeds

AFTER winning the 1969 Football League Championship, Leeds United pursued every trophy possible in the only way they knew how – with intensity, with total focus and with little regard for how the rest of football saw them. They were supremely “professional”, using every trick in the book to gain an advantage over their rivals. Some considered them a “dirty” team, sly in their approach … Continue reading 72 Classic: Lifting Leeds

72 Classic: Clough, Allison, Keegan and co. – why it was special

MALCOLM Allison, one of the pivotal figures of the 1970s, once said that the period between 1967 and 1972 was one of British football’s golden ages. Anyone who lived through that half decade of action will doubtless recall some outstanding players and personalities, memorable teams and the outlandish fashion and hairstyles of the age. This was, after all, a period that desperately clung to the … Continue reading 72 Classic: Clough, Allison, Keegan and co. – why it was special

Derby days: Chelsea, Tottenham and the 1970s slump in London football

THREE suedeheads sat on the London tube train at Tower Hill station chanting: “We’re the Tottenham, we’re the Tottenham, we’re the Tottenham, from the Lane.” There I was, with a Chelsea scarf tucked into my coat, on my way to Stamford Bridge to see Chelsea play Manchester City on October 10, 1970. I had just seen Keith Weller quickly jump onto the next carriage, also … Continue reading Derby days: Chelsea, Tottenham and the 1970s slump in London football

61 fouls – the story of triumph over an ideology

IN NOVEMBER 1934, England met World Champions Italy in London in a game that has forever been known as “The Battle of Highbury”. This tag was no accident, however, for whatever was going to happen on that gloomy afternoon in North London, a football match was always going to become a theatre of war. On the road to war Europe in the 1930s was an … Continue reading 61 fouls – the story of triumph over an ideology

Ken Shellito, the England regular that never was

KEN SHELLITO never had the best of luck. As a player, he was cut down in his prime, turning out for his last competitive game in December 1965 at the age of 25. As a manager, he had the misfortune to take over from his former team-mate, Eddie McCreadie, who had become a folk hero as he took Chelsea to promotion in 1977. Ken Shellito … Continue reading Ken Shellito, the England regular that never was

Often overlooked – the Jewish influence on world football

THESE are troubled and uncertain times for Britain’s Jewish population. With accusations of anti-semitism aimed at the country’s biggest political party, the mere mention of which sends a shiver down the spine of anyone with knowledge of the Holocaust, there is an underlying fear that history could be repeating itself. From that dreadful period, the tale of a hugely influential football figure has emerged, written … Continue reading Often overlooked – the Jewish influence on world football

Europe’s Champions: 1955-56 – Real Madrid

REAL MADRID made their international reputation in the first five years of the European Cup, in fact the club were firm advocates for its introduction. Since 1955-56, Real have rightly been indelibly linked with the premier football club competition. The idea of a pan-European tournament had first been mooted in the 1920s, but the lack of infrastructure to support such a venture was a hurdle. … Continue reading Europe’s Champions: 1955-56 – Real Madrid

Spiegler – a star in the Middle East that never got to shine

  IN 1970, West Ham United’s manager, Ron Greenwood, a student of the global game, returned from Mexico with what he thought was a trump card. He was interested in signing  Israel’s captain and star player, Mordechai Spiegler. His fascination with overseas talent preceded the late-1970s trend, which gained fresh legs through Tottenham’s audacious acquisition of Ardiles and Villa, by some eight years. But 1970 … Continue reading Spiegler – a star in the Middle East that never got to shine

Picture Post: How we used to live – stadiums from the 80s

THESE photos, taken in the period between 1988 and 1991, demonstrate how football has changed in the past 30 years. Mansfield, circa 1989. A notable main stand, similar to Arsenal’s Highbury stands. Also notable is the attire of the locals. On the right is Rochdale’s Spotland, taken before the home team’s game with Scunthorpe in February 1988. Rochdale won 2-1 in front of 1,455 people. … Continue reading Picture Post: How we used to live – stadiums from the 80s

Peter Bonetti and death in the afternoon

CHELSEA’S Peter Bonetti was a fine goalkeeper: agile, occasionally flashy, brave and consistent. But for World Cup winner Gordon Banks, he would have won more than his seven England caps – and this was in an age when decent English-born custodians came off the production line like Ford Cortinas. Unfortunately for Bonetti,  he will be remembered by fans from most clubs for one career-defining and … Continue reading Peter Bonetti and death in the afternoon

Remembering past heroes

VISIT a city like Paris and one of the most unusual and interesting activities is to visit one of the city’s many cemeteries. In such an historic and influential city as the French capital, it is no surprise that you come across some pretty famous and notable names, ranging from Nijinsky, the famous ballet dancer to Jim Morrison of the Doors. There’s something quite mind-blowing … Continue reading Remembering past heroes