VAR: It wasn’t meant to be this way

WHEN the geeks of Silicon Valley told us about the oncoming revolution around 20 years’ ago, they said technology would make our lives easier and more enriched. The many gadgets and gizmos they were developing in Californian garages and science parks would allow us to have more leisure time. Technology would bring more precision to our lives and eradicate the mundane. Anyone who disagreed with … Continue reading VAR: It wasn’t meant to be this way

Chelsea complete a north London double, but the window has to be used wisely

WITH seven minutes remaining at the Emirates stadium, Chelsea must have been getting their chequebook ready for action, but two goals later, the shortcomings of the first hour of the game were brushed aside. Recent Chelsea performances have shown that they are very short of experienced talent. The energy and enthusiasm of their young players has carried them through the first half of the campaign, … Continue reading Chelsea complete a north London double, but the window has to be used wisely

Tottenham Hotspur 1970-73 – Bill Nick’s final flourish

IT IS hardly surprising, but when Tottenham Hotspur’s great teams and players are discussed, the conversation rarely moves beyond 1951 and 1961. The latter’s achievement, the then-hallowed double, would be something of a millstone round the neck of the club and its long-serving manager, Bill Nicholson, but 10 years on, Spurs did manage to rekindle some of the lustre of old and put together a … Continue reading Tottenham Hotspur 1970-73 – Bill Nick’s final flourish

Another title, now Ghangzhou look ahead to the opportunity of 2021

THERE’S LITTLE doubt that China’s most high-profile and successful club is Ghangzhou Evergrande Taobao, who lifted their eighth Chinese Super League title at the start of December 2019. Ghangzhou are not only China’s most celebrated club, they are arguably the noisiest across the Asia Pacific region. The 16th Chinese Super League championship race was a tense, problematical affair, probably the hardest title win Ghangzhou have … Continue reading Another title, now Ghangzhou look ahead to the opportunity of 2021

Football’s top brand – Real Madrid

REAL MADRID is, arguably, the most famous football club in the world. The queues of people that snake their way around the club’s impressive Bernabéu Stadium, even on days when the team is not in town, makes Real one of the Spanish capital’s major landmarks. Real Madrid is also the most valuable football brand in world football. Valued at €1.65 billion, the club is ahead … Continue reading Football’s top brand – Real Madrid

Peter Osgood: The King may be dead, but he’s never been forgotten

ONE DAY in January 1993, my telephone rang at work. “Hello, mate, it’s Peter Osgood here.” I hesitated, gasped and was a little nervous with my reply. “I used to have a poster of you on my bedroom wall,” I uttered. “I hope you still haven’t got it up,” he quipped. Here was my boyhood hero,  Peter Leslie Osgood, born Windsor, February 20 1947, 6ft … Continue reading Peter Osgood: The King may be dead, but he’s never been forgotten

Racism and bigotry in football – the disease that won’t go away

IT is not easy to warm to some of today’s footballers, especially those that find it hard to resist conspicuous consumerism or consider that with enormous wealth comes permission to misbehave. That aside, in an age where many of the sins of the past are being addressed, racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, sexism and other isms are, rightly, no longer tolerated. Once again, football has let itself … Continue reading Racism and bigotry in football – the disease that won’t go away

AZ Alkmaar and the A to Z of player development

THIS IS a club that has called on the methods of Billy Beane of Moneyball fame. A club that has a reputation for bringing on home-grown talent. They’re also dynamic data wizards and come from a town best known for cheese. AZ Alkmaar have a playing budget that amounts to around 25% of the mighty Ajax’s wage bill so they have to find ways to … Continue reading AZ Alkmaar and the A to Z of player development

So Leeds were in town

THE mounted Police were out in force. “I think they use horses to calm the fans down,” said one Fulham fan walking through Bishops Park as a large, Shire-esque creature plodded through the waterlogged pathway. “This is how they control football crowds in England,” he added to his foreign guest. A police horse has never introduced a calming effect on football fans, far from it. … Continue reading So Leeds were in town

Yuletide football, as idealised as a white Christmas

IT was the day after the day after Christmas Day and Chelsea were playing West Ham United at Stamford Bridge. 40 years ago. Chelsea had won 2-1 and the West Ham fans had been kept in the ground, the usual post-match ritual. This was, after all, the heyday of football hooliganism, tribal battles and non-stop taunting and posturing in London derbies. At Earls Court that … Continue reading Yuletide football, as idealised as a white Christmas

Mishi Morath, a reminder that non-league relies on unsung heroes

DULWICH HAMLET, one of non-league football’s most celebrated names with a rich and colourful history, unusual strip and a modern social movement that has seen crowds soar from a very lowly position, will be weeping this weekend. The club’s most devoted fan, Mishi Morath, died this week after enduring ill-health for much of 2019. A larger-than-life character, Mishi was a great lover of non-league football … Continue reading Mishi Morath, a reminder that non-league relies on unsung heroes

Arteta’s background makes his appointment exciting

SOME Arsenal fans may be a touch disappointed that their club has not hired a marque manager, a black-suited, designer-stubbled touchline acrobat with heaps of attitude. Such people feel that an elite club needs to have an elite manager to match. But the top-name coaches, who go from club to club in a game of musical chairs, are few and far between, and what’s more, … Continue reading Arteta’s background makes his appointment exciting

The hypocrisy of the Özil saga

JUST how much control should an employer have on its employees when it comes to their viewpoints, opinions or feelings? Mesut Özil spoke out on social media about the plight of Muslims in China and his employer, Arsenal, felt moved to distance themselves from his twitter posting. At the same time, Arsenal claimed they were apolitical. Arsenal were, in effect, doing what most companies with … Continue reading The hypocrisy of the Özil saga