Great Reputations: Barcelona 1974 – the Cruyff effect

IT IS difficult to comprehend today, but between 1960 and 1973, Barcelona failed to win Spain’s La Liga. Every major club in history has its occasional lean spell, Manchester United and Liverpool, for example, did not win the English league for 26 and 30 years respectively.  In 1973, Barca were desperate to end their barren […]

Eusébio the great

SEVENTY-NINE years ago, in Mozambique, Eusébio da Silva Ferreira was born. It’s fashionable to liberally throw the word “legend” around, but very few footballers actually achieve that status in their lifetime, let alone when they pass from view and their legacy is grainy video footage or yellowing newspaper coverage. Eusébio was so good he inspired many […]

Colin Bell: Dear Mr. Sexton….sign Nijinsky of Manchester City

BETWEEN 1968 and 1971, the late Dave Sexton, Chelsea’s softly-spoken and erudite manager,  received a string of letters – written with a duck-egg green Osmiroid pen – that highlighted the skills and attributes of a midfielder plying his trade with Manchester City. The young lad who wrote these testimonials was giving Sexton the benefit of […]

McLean’s Dundee United, breaking the mould in Scotland

THE PASSING of Jim McLean will sadden many people in Dundee and right across Scottish football. He was, after all, one of the instigators of the duopoly that was called  “The New Firm” – Aberdeen and Dundee United which broke the Celtic-Rangers stranglehold. For many people, Scottish football had never been more interesting. But it […]

Tottenham Hotspur 1921 – the pride of post-war London

WHEN the year ends with a “1”, Tottenham win things. That’s the old adage, one that may have run its course, although in 2021, it could ring true once more.  Almost one hundred years ago, Tottenham won their second FA Cup, beating Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge in the final. It was the high point […]

Diego Maradona – reluctantly, we worshipped

IF THERE is was one thing remarkable about Diego Maradona, it was the achievement of living to his 60th birthday. Sadly, he barely got beyond that landmark. There was something very inevitable about his premature demise, his lifestyle catching up on him to consign him to legend status. On November 25, 2020, football, Argentina and the […]

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. […]