The Grey Neutral: The northern soul is hurting

HOW the Class of 92 must be wishing they bought Bury instead of Salford! Interesting that Phil Neville has been pleading for Bury to be saved, a club that has strong links to his family. Like so many cases, it is only when a crisis comes that people really start to rally behind the stricken club. It’s the Woolworths syndrome, with everyone getting emotional about … Continue reading The Grey Neutral: The northern soul is hurting

La Liga: Barcelona may be even stronger

CAN ANYONE end Barcelona’s recent dominance of La Liga? After a summer of big signings and the announcement of record revenues, Barca look stronger than last year and with Real Madrid enduring a miserable pre-season and Atlético Madrid in transition, it could be a third consecutive title – and nine in 12 – for the Blaugrana. Of course, Barca will be hoping for a barnstorming … Continue reading La Liga: Barcelona may be even stronger

Football Media Watch: Neymar’s Lament

DEPENDING on which newspaper or website you read, Neymar looks set to leave Paris Saint-Germain in the coming weeks. Or maybe not. There are rumblings from the French capital that Brazil’s troubled talisman has had enough of life in Ligue 1, that he’s longing for a move back to Barcelona. It has been a fractious few months for Neymar, whom Barney Ronay of the Guardian … Continue reading Football Media Watch: Neymar’s Lament

Only in Liverpool

JÜRGEN Klopp has his legend, his place in Kop mythology. Whatever happens over the next few weeks, be it gallant failure in the Premier League title race and Champions League final in Madrid, Liverpool have their moment, a comeback that outstrips Saint-Etienne (1976-77) and Istanbul (2004-05). Just how much this drama was carved out of a keep ‘em awake firework display, Barca capitulating for the … Continue reading Only in Liverpool

Cold water from the continent: The Champions League first legs

FOR Premier League advocates, the first legs of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals must have been a huge disappointment. The chances of an all-England final look very remote now, although those that enthuse over the essence of European club competitions will be thankful – there is nothing so anti-climatic than a European final between two clubs from the same country. The smart money, however, is … Continue reading Cold water from the continent: The Champions League first legs

Great teams take the treble chance

SURPRISINGLY, only eight teams have managed to win a comparable trio of competitions, although many have gone close. Some of this select group have been built around outstanding individuals, such as Lionel Messi and Ajax’s Johan Cruyff, while others – like Celtic in 1967 –  were founded on the team ethic. Inevitable comparisons will be made about “who is the greatest?”, but it’s an impossible … Continue reading Great teams take the treble chance

Football Media Watch: Barca still the team to beat

IT MAY be wishful thinking that a team is coming to the end of a period of dominance or the desire to see someone else at the summit of European football, but Barcelona may not be getting the credit they deserve this season as they close-in on another La Liga title and the UEFA Champions League. Inevitably, when a team keeps winning, the current batch … Continue reading Football Media Watch: Barca still the team to beat

La Liga’s big challenge

SPAIN’s La Liga may have lost Cristiano Ronaldo to Serie A, but it is well placed to deal with the inevitable transition that will take place once the other member of the celebrated duopoly, Lionel Messi, also moves on. KPMG Football Benchmark’s latest paper looks at how the league has been internationalising itself to broaden the appeal of Spanish football. Ronaldo and Messi have dominated … Continue reading La Liga’s big challenge

Football Read Review: The Barcelona Legacy – the story of our footballing time?

IS THERE a more prolific writer of quality football books than Jonathan Wilson? There are others who write a lot of books, but few that can match the depth of content, useful insights or accuracy. His latest tome, exploring how the current football paradigm owes its roots to Dutch football philosophy and Johan Cruyff at Barcelona, also examines the dynamic of two of the modern … Continue reading Football Read Review: The Barcelona Legacy – the story of our footballing time?

Why a super league could work if handled properly

NATURALLY,  nobody is happy about the clandestine discussions that may or may not have taken place over the past few months involving certain clubs to create a closed football league comprising the wealthiest names across the top five nations. A “super league” is what they are calling it, but effectively, it is a cartel of the “super rich”, a group driven by greed and entitlement. … Continue reading Why a super league could work if handled properly

GOTP Notepad: Barca in the money

BARCELONA have announced their financials for the 2017-18 season and they’ve reported record revenues of € 914 million, the highest ever by a football club. Revenues were obviously boosted by the vast sum (some € 200 million) received by the club from the sale of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain a year ago. The La Liga champions made a net profit of € 13 million in … Continue reading GOTP Notepad: Barca in the money

2017-18: A new script is needed

NEXT season, the British football landscape is going to have to find a new narrative. “Wenger out” has become “Wenger gone”, and therefore a considerable chunk of pundit and supporter dialogue has disappeared. With VAR likely to remove another slice of conversation – refereeing errors – you have to wonder what “your Linekers and Ferdinands” are going to talk about in a few years. As … Continue reading 2017-18: A new script is needed