The convenience of supporting football: Why the establishment made friends with the game

WHEN football hooliganism was at its peak, culminating in the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985, the game appeared to have played into the hands of the British government. Repeated incidents during the 1970s and 1980s meant football was already considered to be a pastime for louts, an outlet for working class yobbery. The government, led […]

You don’t have to spend if you’re champions, but it helps

EARLIER in the summer, Liverpool were receiving some criticism because they had decided not to spend to reinforce their title-winning team. Jürgen Klopp made a public statement about the club not being run by an oligarch or a country and a few people got a little bent out of shape. Sceptics suggested Klopp was making […]

Crap kits: An explosion in a paint factory and other accidents

IT’S clear that kit companies and football clubs are desperate to shift more units this season, perhaps making up for a 63% drop in demand for Premier League shirts over the past year. Given the economic damage done to club balance sheets during the pandemic, the need to drive commercial revenues has meant that the […]

Park football: Whatever happened to Ockendon United?

THE MUDDY, laced ball, resembling Barnes Wallis’ bouncing bomb, rolled into the net, careering over worm-casts and divots. A gaggle of schoolboys, wearing their Gola or Co-op boots, tried to kick the ball back in play from behind the goal. The goalkeeper, white spindly legs, Peter Bonetti –style hair and an ill-fitting, gaping-at-the-neck green jersey, […]

1968, the year it came together for English clubs

ENGLISH football was not quick to warm to the prospect of pan-European football and, it had no representation when the Coupe des Clubs Champions Européens kicked off in 1955, an early post-austerity attempt at sporting integration and collaboration. The author, James Walvin, in his seminal work, The People’s Game, remarked that “few areas of European […]