Non-league can still be a stakeholder concept

THE NON-LEAGUE football world often lives within a false economy that does little to dissuade clubs from flirting dangerously with financial ruin. Some clubs live way beyond their means, paying out everything they accrue and agreeing players’ wages that are totally unrealistic when one considers the earning power of the clubs. It’s a questionable  business model – often a club is propped up by a … Continue reading Non-league can still be a stakeholder concept

How Real Madrid became the first super club

REAL MADRID and the UEFA Champions League are indelibly linked and always will be. Thirteen times winners of the competition – in its various guises – Real will, for the time being at least, hold a trump card over their national and international rivals, Barcelona. The fact that a number of those 13 victories were achieved before Barcelona had not allowed regional priorities to cloud their … Continue reading How Real Madrid became the first super club

Arsenal, the Art Deco club

IN THE 1980s, a television series called The Thirties highlighted a turbulent and exciting decade. An entire chapter was devoted, quite simply, to “The Arsenal”. The 1930s was the age of the Gunners, a time that the club has strived to replicate ever since. Arsenal were as 1930s as Crittall Windows, British dance bands, mock-Tudor housing and Bakelite. They were thoroughly modern in every way, … Continue reading Arsenal, the Art Deco club

Making football clubs global

WALK around the market in central Marrakech and, as well as traditional items such as leatherware, hand-beaten metal objects and various exotica, you will find stalls devoted to football shirts, with Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, among others, fighting for customer attention. If you venture into the back streets, you will undoubtedly come across a young boy on a scooter, weaving through … Continue reading Making football clubs global

This Tottenham may have peaked

WE’VE been waiting for Tottenham to win something for quite some time, in fact, it’s been a decade or more. For all the praise, all the admiring glances and appreciation of Tottenham’s style, commitment to younger players and English swagger, Leicester City, Wigan Athletic and Swansea have won more since the Spurs last went marching on to their trophy cabinet. Some managers have been sacked … Continue reading This Tottenham may have peaked

Brazil’s Flamengo dancing to success

THE COPA LIBERTADORES has reached the last four stage and there’s some real continental heavyweights in there: Boca Junior, River Plate, Flamengo and Grêmio. The semi-finals include two domestic clashes which will guarantee an Argentina v Brazil final, the 15thtime the region’s two biggest football nations have met to decide the destination of the trophy. The all-Brazil semi-final is between Flamengo and 2017 winners Grêmio. … Continue reading Brazil’s Flamengo dancing to success

Major football clubs need to create the right climate

RIGHT NOW, climate change is a very topical issue, and rightly so. If the scientists are correct, we may all face some serious issues in the relatively near future, issues that cannot be ignored or dismissed as scaremongering. Football has to ask itself what role it can play in combating climate change. We are told that there are three things that we most certainly do … Continue reading Major football clubs need to create the right climate

In search of Willie, the Giant Custodian

ANYONE who knows anything about the early history of Association Football will have heard of the name Willie Foulke. At 24-stone, Foulke, who played in goal for Sheffield United, Chelsea and Bradford City, and made a fleeting appearance for England, holds the record for the heaviest professional footballer in Britain, if not the world. I came across some ancient, although surprisingly clear, footage of Willie … Continue reading In search of Willie, the Giant Custodian

Manchester United, Porto, Arsenal, Sevilla, Roma – the Europa has some big guns

THE EUROPA League struggles to win public acclaim until the very last stages, but one look at this season’s list of entrants is a reminder that some big names are among the contenders. Wolverhampton Wanderers may have been playing in the competition since early summer, but they have clearly been stimulated by European football coming back to Molineux. Wolves have successfully negotiated three rounds, scoring … Continue reading Manchester United, Porto, Arsenal, Sevilla, Roma – the Europa has some big guns

UEFA Champions League: The gulf at the gate

THE UEFA Champions League draw has become an event in itself and provides a curtain-raiser to the next 10 months of action involving Europe’s elite working their way towards the final stages. For half of the entrants, the competition will end in December, but we can expect the usual suspects to qualify for the knockout stages when things really do get interesting. While the Champions … Continue reading UEFA Champions League: The gulf at the gate

Regional football leagues in Europe – a solution to polarisation?

THE RICH are getting richer and moving out of reach of the rest of the football world. They’re not only teams, they are sporting conglomerates, wealthy beyond the imagination of the bulk of clubs across Europe, indeed the world. Very soon, we shall have a European Super League, a competition that may well be “closed” and the jealously-guarded territory of institutions like Real Madrid, Paris … Continue reading Regional football leagues in Europe – a solution to polarisation?

The Grey Neutral: Bernie the goal, Bury and Belgium

NON-LEAGUE football has its heroes and Hitchin Town lost one of its legendary figures this past week when it was announced Bernie Gogan had passed away. Gogan was a member of Hitchin’s 1968-69 team that finished runners-up in the Isthmian League. Hitchin had a very decent team in those days and Gogan, along with his striking partner Roy Cutler, were known as the “terrible twins”. … Continue reading The Grey Neutral: Bernie the goal, Bury and Belgium