Great Reputations: Slovan Bratislava 1969 – just a touch of irony

IN the late summer of 1968, Russian troops rolled into Czechoslovakia in response to the so-called “Prague Spring” that took place between January and August of that year. The Cold War was raging and the sight of tanks in the picturesque capital city raised fears that the world was on the brink of a global […]

Dynamo Kiev 1975 – the Soviet school of science

YOU ONLY need see pictures of Chernobyl to understand what happens when science goes wrong. The world’s greatest nuclear disaster took place 150km from Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine and in 1986, part of the USSR. Science and the Soviets went hand-in-hand and a scientific approach, needless to say, was also applied to its […]

Great Reputations: Dinamo Tbilisi – Georgia’s on our mind

IN 1980-81, Dinamo Tbilisi put on a scintillating display when they met West Ham United at Upton Park in the European Cup-Winners’ Cup. They won emphatically by playing a brand of fast, attacking football that stunned the London crowd. “Those Russians, bloody marvellous football,” said one Hammers fan as he left the stadium. “I’ve not […]

Great Reputations: Anderlecht mid-1970s, trusting in purple

BELGIAN teams never made much of an impact in Europe in the early years of UEFA’s club competitions, the country was largely seen as an also-ran when it came to football. Teams like Anderlecht and Antwerp sustained very heavy blows in the first European Cup tournaments, often suffering double figure aggregate defeats. But the dynamic […]

Great Reputations: Dynamo Kiev 1974-75 – the Soviet school of science

YOU ONLY need see pictures of Chernobyl to understand what happens when science goes wrong. The world’s greatest nuclear disaster took place 150km from Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine and in 1986, part of the USSR. Science and the Soviets went hand-in-hand and a scientific approach, needless to say, was also applied to its […]

Reviving a romantic vision of the “cup for the sake of it”

IN POST-WW2 Europe, the idea of unity was eagerly embraced by those that had been most affected by the world wars that had torn the continent apart. Equally, the concept of healthy competition among nations was welcomed, especially in the 1950s when the iron curtain threatened to create the sort of divisions that sat at […]

Two-legs good, six games bad – how to change the face of European club football

WITH ANOTHER ROUND of European matches completed, the bloated nature of the UEFA Champions and Europa leagues comes to the fore once more.TV money drives the structure of these competitions, but with so many meaningless games and teams that are ill-equipped to compete, is it not time to start trimming down both, especially the unloved […]

Great Reputations: West Ham 1963-66 – forever blowing bubbles

On the London Fenchurch Street railway line out to Essex there was a building that resembled a mill of some sort, alongside a canal. On the wall of this mill was scrawled, “West Ham United – World Cup winners 1966”. It may still be there today, but it’s doubtful given the amount of building and […]