Shankly’s last league title: Liverpool 1972-73

IN 1972,  Maurice Golesworthy published a book that celebrated the league champions from 1888-1972. Game of the People is taking up the story from where he left off. After going close to winning the championship in 1971-72, finishing just one point behind champions Derby County, Liverpool clinched their eighth Football League title in April 1973. […]

Râducanu, the mystery entertainer in black

IN the days when any team from behind Communist Europe was treated with a great sense of curiosity, any player resembling a larger-than-life figure contradicted all preconceived ideas about football in countries such as Bulgaria, Czechoslavakia and Romania.  Eastern European Communists were meant to be dour and mechanical and prioritised function over artistry. That was […]

Great Reputations: Slovan Bratislava 1969 – just a touch of irony

IN the late summer of 1968, Russian troops rolled into Czechoslovakia in response to the so-called “Prague Spring” that took place between January and August of that year. The Cold War was raging and the sight of tanks in the picturesque capital city raised fears that the world was on the brink of a global […]

Dynamo Kiev 1975 – the Soviet school of science

YOU ONLY need see pictures of Chernobyl to understand what happens when science goes wrong. The world’s greatest nuclear disaster took place 150km from Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine and in 1986, part of the USSR. Science and the Soviets went hand-in-hand and a scientific approach, needless to say, was also applied to its […]

Liverpool’s Toshack and Keegan – big man, little man

FOOTBALL is a universal currency. The first world war demonstrated just that when troops climbed out of the trenches to kick the ball around on Christmas Day. Germans and Englishmen have always debated the great game, usually centred on 1966 and the infamous “over the line, or not” argument. In 1978, on holiday in Spain, […]

Everton 1963 and the “golden vision”

TODAY, players’ nicknames lack imagination. There are no “Black pearls”, “Nijinskys”, “Maradonas of the Carpathians” or “Ghosts” (for the uninitiated, these players were: Eusebio, Colin Bell, Georgi Hagi and John White). In the 1960s, Alex Young of Everton was dubbed “The Golden Vision” – a very celestial nickname. It was Tottenham Hotspur’s double-winning captain, Danny […]