30 years? – Some teams have been waiting a lifetime for tangible success

LIVERPOOL have been waiting 30 years for a league title but their fans have finally started to sing, “we’re gonna win the league”. They might even revive Ee Aye Addio and finally remove the psychological “years since…” day counter that’s hung above Anfield since 1990. Manchester United went through the same process between 1967 and 1993, constantly reminding people that it had been an unacceptable … Continue reading 30 years? – Some teams have been waiting a lifetime for tangible success

1971-72 – the title chase to end all title chases

MALCOLM ALLISON, that big, brash, iconic figure from the early 1970s, once said the period between 1967 and 1972 was a golden age for English football. Of course, during that time, Manchester City were very successful, so naturally, Allison would look back on this six -year spell as special. But this was an age where the big prizes were not monopolised, no matter how hard … Continue reading 1971-72 – the title chase to end all title chases

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

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

Arsenal – a great club in urgent need of direction

ARSENAL is a football institution suffering from bad karma and a deep malaise that includes dissatisfaction with ownership, poor team performances, disillusion with the manager, vocalised anger at some players and now, a disappointing set of financials. Nothing seems to be going right for the Gunners. Arsenal’s football club finances showed a loss for the 2018-19 season of some £ 23.5 million. This is hardly … Continue reading Arsenal – a great club in urgent need of direction

61 fouls – the story of triumph over an ideology

IN NOVEMBER 1934, England met World Champions Italy in London in a game that has forever been known as “The Battle of Highbury”. This tag was no accident, however, for whatever was going to happen on that gloomy afternoon in North London, a football match was always going to become a theatre of war. On the road to war Europe in the 1930s was an … Continue reading 61 fouls – the story of triumph over an ideology

Arsenal 1968-70 – Relative calm before the storm

WHEN Arsenal won the “double” in 1970-71, they received very little praise for their considerable efforts. Were it not for Charlie George’s messianic fall to the ground in the FA Cup final, Arsenal would be remembered for merely grinding-out results and out-slugging Leeds United’s relentless machine. But the seeds of Arsenal’s triumph were sown in three seasons leading up to 1970-71. From 1953, when Arsenal … Continue reading Arsenal 1968-70 – Relative calm before the storm

Football makes it easy to become a cynic

LIKE two boxers at the end of their career, Manchester United and Arsenal reminded everyone they’ve both seen better days when they drew 1-1 on a night of mediocrity at Old Trafford. Of the two, Arsenal looked like they have a plan, but the mighty MU, six years on from the departure of the godfather of football management, Sir Alex, don’t look any nearer to … Continue reading Football makes it easy to become a cynic

The sins of Wenger and Pochettino, strangely similar

ARSENAL and Tottenham Hotspur may have something in common other than a shared geography – they have hosted influential and extremely gifted managers who operate on an autocratic basis. Arsène Wenger was well known to be his own man, stubborn and convinced of his own methods and reluctant to change. In the end, Arsenal had to wait for Wenger to decide when it was time to … Continue reading The sins of Wenger and Pochettino, strangely similar

Arsenal ’89 – the drama that changed everything

AFTER such an exhilarating 1987-88 season, Liverpool were hot favourites to retain the title they won in style, especially as they had re-signed striker Ian Rush from Juventus. Arsenal, who had finished sixth, were seen as a team that could chase the eventual champions, but not seriously challenge for top spot. Their success in 1988-89 was a tribute to the talent of their young players, … Continue reading Arsenal ’89 – the drama that changed everything

1989 – what it really meant

EVERY football club has its moment in time that is always a point of reference: Manchester United have Munich 1958, Wembley 1968, Barcelona 1989; Liverpool have Shankly, Rome 1977, Wembley 1965; Chelsea have Old Trafford 1970; Tottenham will always remember 1961. For Arsenal, it could easily be the 1930s, but for their fans weaned on “1-0 to the Arsenal” and Tony Adams’s raised arm, 1989 … Continue reading 1989 – what it really meant

Football has always been about money, but the stakes are now much higher

THERE were around six main football stories in the sports section of the newspaper I was reading as I grabbed an espresso at my favourite coffee bar in my home town. All six had a big emphasis on the financial side of the game: transfers (Gareth Bale), clubs in trouble (Bury), sponsorship and, more modestly, cash support for anti-racism groups. Admittedly, it was the last … Continue reading Football has always been about money, but the stakes are now much higher