eSports and football clubs – foresight for Fortnite?

EVERY DAY you can read about a major football club establishing an eSports presence or strategy. Clubs like Schalke, Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan, Ajax, Manchester City, Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers have seen the value in creating initiatives around a rapidly growing part of the sports world. For some, the fusion of “real” sport with technology-driven gaming activities, is difficult to understand. It may be a … Continue reading eSports and football clubs – foresight for Fortnite?

Ajax’s stock continues to rise, despite player losses

AJAX’s renaissance last season was always going to be short-lived as Europe’s big clubs were waiting in the wings for their chance to pounce on the best players. Those hung up on presentism expressed their surprise that a team from the Netherlands could compete with the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus, even though the Dutch have provided more European champion clubs than Spain and … Continue reading Ajax’s stock continues to rise, despite player losses

In praise of the simple vimpel

WE ALL love bringing a souvenir back from our travels, from snow globes to sombreros, the British have always overloaded their suitcases with objet d’art or tat from their travels. Look carefully in your own home, is there any evidence of a life spent in airport lounges and beaches on the Med? From my own perspective, I cannot claim to be immune from this addiction … Continue reading In praise of the simple vimpel

New town football – successful, after all

STEVENAGE and Crawley Town are both members of the Football League, albeit the lowest division. Neither are what you might call “traditional” clubs, although football in Stevenage dates back to 1894 and Crawley 1896. When the game was in its infancy as an organised sport, they were merely amateur concerns in the south of England, unable to be truly competitive with the rise of industrial … Continue reading New town football – successful, after all

Hasenhüttl’s house of horror

WHAT CAN you really say after a 9-0 drubbing except sorry? You had to feel some sympathy for pale-faced Ralph Hasenhüttl, facing the TV cameras after a seismic home defeat that extended Southampton’s current run to one point from five league games. Southampton have said they have no interest in sacking Hasenhüttl, but look at the fixture list and see what’s on the horizon – … Continue reading Hasenhüttl’s house of horror

Billy Bremner and Johnny Giles – men of their time

IF YOU’VE watched the film, The Damned United, you don’t necessarily come away with a positive view of Leeds United under Don Revie or the two legends in Leeds’ midfield in the mid-1960s to early 1970s, Billy Bremner and Johnny Giles. Along with Jack Charlton and Norman Hunter, no other players epitomised the stance adopted by Revie and his team in that period. Not for … Continue reading Billy Bremner and Johnny Giles – men of their time

The Champions League and the preservation of elitism

SINCE THE European Cup was introduced in 1955, there have been 22 different winners of the competition. This list includes some of Europe’s biggest names as well as some unlikely champions. The last “new” winner was Chelsea in 2012, and equally telling, the last team from outside the accepted top 20 most powerful clubs was Porto in 2004. It has gradually become a closed shop. … Continue reading The Champions League and the preservation of elitism

Goodison Park – where games for the people are still played

CLOTH CAP nostalgia is a popular pastime among football folk as inner cities continue to be purged of their old football stadiums, replaced by smart, antiseptic structures of white steel and plastic. Horse manure no longer squelches underfoot as fans tramp through the streets and past red brick houses, the mildly eccentric fan with a transistor radio clamped to his ear has long gone. Like … Continue reading Goodison Park – where games for the people are still played

Everton 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 near-celestial nickname. It was Tottenham Hotspur’s double-winning captain, Danny Blanchflower, that coined the phrase in tribute to Young. Ironically, it … Continue reading Everton and the “golden vision”

Haringey v Yeovil shows non-league has a racism problem

FOR YEARS, people have been selling non-league football as a civilised world, “real football for real people”, supported by the theory that this level of the game is one big happy family, a community motivated by the enjoyment of football in a malice-free environment. Just days after England’s players were subjected to racist comments and chanting in Bulgaria, Haringey Borough’s football team walked-off the pitch … Continue reading Haringey v Yeovil shows non-league has a racism problem

AC Milan remain on the sick list

WHEN football people usually talk about “turnaround” it usually refers to on-pitch performance and perhaps a fight against relegation. In the case of AC Milan, the club that was once the most powerful in Europe is in danger of falling even further away from financial competitiveness. AC Milan, despite their vast support and their place in football’s pantheon, continue to be a heavyweight also-ran, struggling … Continue reading AC Milan remain on the sick list

Dressing up in costumes, playing silly games: The football experience

WE ALL like to think that football is more than just 22-28 young men kicking an object around an oblong field – if only because it elevates our interest beyond obsession to something that is more deep and meaningful! Journalists fantasise, marketing and advertising folk commercialise, romantics eulogise and academics intellectualise the importance of the game. Most of all, the people running, playing and promoting … Continue reading Dressing up in costumes, playing silly games: The football experience

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