How to save football’s “bible”

THE LATEST edition of the yearbook that has forever been known as the “Rothmans” has reached its 50thanniversary, but how long will the doorstop of football data be around? The last two books have been backed by the tabloid newspaper, The Sun – an unlikely partner but nevertheless a welcome one. In 2018, it was revealed that the publication was in danger of ending, just … Continue reading How to save football’s “bible”

Commentary Box: The new hooliganism

HOPEFULLY, we are a long way from making drastic and knee-jerk decisions around the fear of pitch invasions becoming a new trend in British football. Anyone who remembers the days of fences, threats of electrification, the feeling of being penned-in like cattle and the “us and them” environment where policemen stared into the eyes of the underclass will be hoping the current spate of incursions … Continue reading Commentary Box: The new hooliganism

FA Cup: Homage to the spot

AS EVER, a built-up game failed to deliver, but both Hitchin Town and Leatherhead left the field knowing they are still in the FA Cup and the prospect of a plum tie in round one was still possible. If Hitchin do end their 23-year wait for first round action, they may thank the heavens for the invention of the penalty spot. This blob of whitewash … Continue reading FA Cup: Homage to the spot

Commentary Box: Edge of your seat?

IN RECENT weeks, I have visited Brighton and Swansea and I stood and watched out of necessity. As soon as the referee’s whistle started the game, the fans in my section stood up and had no intention of using the seats they had paid for. Fine, if you like terracing, but having parted with £30, I wanted my seat and owing to a damaged knee, … Continue reading Commentary Box: Edge of your seat?

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

In pursuit of proper ultras

VISIT any continental European club and you’ll find evidence of the valuable contribution fans make to the football experience. Invariably, the highlight of a trip abroad is the sight of a well-choreographed crowd – lots of smoke, banners and the inevitable man with a loud-hailer at the front urging the masses on. For a while now, it has become clear that English crowds are somewhat … Continue reading In pursuit of proper ultras

Football Read Review: Dissecting the football fan experience

SAVAGE ENTHUSIASM by Paul Brown is another take on the history of football fans and how they got to where they stand, or rather sit, today. People like Dr. Desmond Morris, a trailblazer in this genre, and James Walvin have contributed major works on the social relevance of the game, but Paul Brown provides an accessible – arguably the most readable – and enjoyable chronicle … Continue reading Football Read Review: Dissecting the football fan experience

Should we be that surprised about Paris?

People are rightly outraged about the behaviour of a gang of Chelsea fans on the Paris Metro. Some commentators are expressing genuine surprise that this sort of thing still goes on. Even old players such as Brendan Batson are expressing their disbelief that in 2015, football can still act as the host for malignancies like racism. It’s Kenco time. I can only assume that those … Continue reading Should we be that surprised about Paris?