Remake/remodel – United’s task in hand

MANCHESTER did not have a good Champions League this past week, with both City and United tumbling out of the competition. While City’s exit was harsh in many ways, United got no more than they deserved against a Barcelona team that was far too good for Ole Gunar Solksjaer’s charges. The gulf in class was huge, making Solksjaer’s comment, “there’s work to be done” one … Continue reading Remake/remodel – United’s task in hand

River-Cottage-Football: Where it all went horribly wrong

MY year at Craven Cottage didn’t work out as planned on two counts. First of all, I was taken ill in Japan in November and my trips to Craven Cottage were curtailed for a couple of months while I recovered, and then after a setback in early March, I was again prevented from returning to my seat in the Hammersmith End. Secondly, after eagerly awaiting … Continue reading River-Cottage-Football: Where it all went horribly wrong

Just how strong is the Premier?

THERE may be four English teams in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, but judging by the first few months of the 2018-19 season, the concept of a “league within a league” is well and truly embedded in the Premier. This might just be the season that the Premier picks up the Champions League, especially as Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona are … Continue reading Just how strong is the Premier?

River-Cottage-Football: In defence of Fulham

OK, SO THE Premier League is tougher than expected. One hundred million pounds may have been spent, but most of it went on players that nobody had really heard of, and it is taking time to come up with a settled, competitive team. Alright…it is going to be a tough winter. There, it has been said. After a string of defeats and a leaking defence … Continue reading River-Cottage-Football: In defence of Fulham

River-Cottage-Football: When wealth is all relative

JUST imagine, if Chelsea’s founding family, the Mears, had got their way, there might not have been a Craven Cottage and the football world would have been deprived of one of the real pleasures of watching the game in London. Is there a more pleasant experience than walking from Hammersmith, past the Odeon (the theatre where, in 1973, David Bowie killed-off his alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust), … Continue reading River-Cottage-Football: When wealth is all relative

The Etihad experience

NOT everyone appreciates the modern football model – the excess, the hubris, the invasive marketing and the extraordinarily high wages. It’s easy to find fault with it and dismiss the achievements of clubs propped up by the cash of oilmen or oligarchs as an inevitable consequence of inflated investment. Manchester City are one such example, a club that is now part of the City Football … Continue reading The Etihad experience

River-Cottage-Football: Right-on, Brighton

THE American Express Community Stadium is an excellent example of a new-style, modern venue – good sightlines, roomy, comfortable access points, welcoming atmosphere and on a sunny day, with seagulls flying overhead, there’s few more pleasant places to watch football. There is a drawback, though, and that’s the inadequate train service  that serves the stadium. Brighton is not, by any means, alone in having poor … Continue reading River-Cottage-Football: Right-on, Brighton

River-Cottage-Football: Mitro’s definitely on fire

IF LONDON’s often abysmal infrastructure had got its way, I would not have reached Craven Cottage on time for Fulham’s second Premier League home game of the season. Train delays, tube disruptions, over-crowding from the Notting Hill Carnival and to top that, incessant rain. Normally, that wouldn’t bother me, but a damaged knee made the journey all the more challenging. Hopefully, the game would compensate. … Continue reading River-Cottage-Football: Mitro’s definitely on fire

River-Cottage-Football: Sticking £ 100 million where?

AN experiment? An indulgence? Folly? Or merely the search for something new and rewarding? The purchase of a Fulham season ticket, before – I might add – knowing if the club was going to be in the Premier League or the Championship, was a bid to regain something from my lost youth. In the past couple of years, I have been suffering a form of … Continue reading River-Cottage-Football: Sticking £ 100 million where?

Down by the riverside, something stirs

SOME impressive new signings, a significant chunk of cash invested and a healthy amount of continuity. Fulham have embarked on their return to the Premier League with gusto, arguably making more noise this close season than their far more celebrated neighbours along the road. I have to admit I have a vested interest in Fulham doing well having bought a season ticket for 2018-19 when … Continue reading Down by the riverside, something stirs

The right choice – Emery’s arrival at Arsenal

UNAI Emery was not a failure at Paris Saint-Germain, not by any means. But his time in Passy, the 16th arrondissement of Paris, was never going to last long given the impatience of PSG’s owner to become European champions. The taxi to Gare du Nord was ordered as far back as March 8, 2017. Impatience is not a quality you would normally associate with Arsenal, … Continue reading The right choice – Emery’s arrival at Arsenal

2017-18: A new script is needed

NEXT season, the British football landscape is going to have to find a new narrative. “Wenger out” has become “Wenger gone”, and therefore a considerable chunk of pundit and supporter dialogue has disappeared. With VAR likely to remove another slice of conversation – refereeing errors – you have to wonder what “your Linekers and Ferdinands” are going to talk about in a few years. As … Continue reading 2017-18: A new script is needed

Why we shouldn’t yearn for the ultimate team

MANCHESTER CITY are worthy champions, make no mistake. Inevitably, whenever any team is crowned as the nation’s best, comparisons are made with past winners and the new masters of the universe are duly benchmarked. It’s happening at the moment, with some journalists pronouncing the start of a dynastic period of domination, others pointing out the shortcomings of Pep Guardiola’s team of all stars. Some are … Continue reading Why we shouldn’t yearn for the ultimate team