Busby, Shankly and Stein – the three kings bearing gifts and wisdom

FOOTBALL films invariably disappoint, but the documentary about three legends, Matt Busby, Bill Shankly and Jock Stein, is a chapter from the rich history of the game that reminds us it has not always been about corporatisation and hubris. Three humble men in many ways, confident of their own ability but very clear about to […]

Fear and loathing in the time of Barcagate

BARCELONA’s offices raided by the Mossos d’Escuadra in a week when the club’s presidential elections are taking place. Call me sceptical, but was the timing and staged drama strategically designed to distance candidates from the Bartomeu era, giving an advantage to anyone who was a fierce opponent of the previous president? Barcelona’s multitudes must be wondering how […]

Systemic clubs – who would we save to preserve football?

SINCE the world locked down, there has been an upswing of interest in dystopian novels, films and radical theories from desert-dwelling hermits predicting the downfall of the human race from their caravans as they polish their weapons and count their tinned tomatoes. But what of the football industry? How is this going to look when […]

Don’t assume European football’s hierarchy cannot change

THE last time a team from outside football’s top 20 clubs won the UEFA Champions League was in 2004, Porto beating Monaco 3-0 and launching the career of a certain José Mourinho. Since then, eight clubs have won the competition and the likelihood is that future winners will come from a select band of wealthy, […]

The greatest goal Pelé ever scored

IN RECENT years, the reputation of “football’s greatest-ever player” has been somewhat tarnished, and it is now widely pre-supposed that there’s nothing he won’t lend his name to, whether that’s FIFA’s improbably diverse list of the world’s greatest living players or treatments for erectile dysfunction. David Tryhorn and Ben Nicholas’ new Netflix documentary, simply titled Pelé, […]