What was Guardiola trying to say?

WHEN the manager of one of the world’s richest clubs says his team may not be able to compete with its peers, it is hard to have real sympathy with him. Success and failure are all relative and you don’t have to travel far from Manchester City’s glittering campus to find a town that saw its club fail to overcome its problems. How Bury fans … Continue reading What was Guardiola trying to say?

The Club World Cup – creeping in the back door of 2019

WHY have FIFA persisted with their lop-sided Club World Cup, a relatively unloved competition that carries little weight and goes quite unnoticed by most of the world’s footballing audience? This year, the mid-season holiday for blazers moved to Qatar, providing a testing ground for the controversial 2022 World Cup. It’s very difficult to see this competition as anything other than a money-making venture and a … Continue reading The Club World Cup – creeping in the back door of 2019

Oh, Hillsborough – media reaction

FOR the families of the 96 people that died at Hillsborough, there can never be any peace. That seems to be the conclusion from the latest twist in a tragedy that refuses to deliver closure for the mourners. At some point, it may end, when the grieving relatives either gain satisfaction or there simply isn’t anyone left to stand trial, but the acquittal of David … Continue reading Oh, Hillsborough – media reaction

The big six in a time of disruption

LIVERPOOL are top of the Premier by a substantial margin and the odds are they will win the Premier League for the first time and lift the Koppites’ first title since 1990. Six or seven years ago, that would have seemed a fairly unlikely scenario as Liverpool had – temporarily – moved out of the elite bracket. Jürgen Klopp was hired to bring the good … Continue reading The big six in a time of disruption

It may be game over, now City should go all-out for the Champions League

IF YOU believe the misguided narrative, Pep Guardiola and Barcelona won the UEFA Champions League every season. Those that know, know differently. Pep has not won the competition for eight years, nine if he fails to do so this season. After Manchester City were soundly beaten by Liverpool at Anfield, Guardiola and his entourage may just decide to concentrate fully on lifting that enormous and … Continue reading It may be game over, now City should go all-out for the Champions League

The Champions League and the preservation of elitism

SINCE THE European Cup was introduced in 1955, there have been 22 different winners of the competition. This list includes some of Europe’s biggest names as well as some unlikely champions. The last “new” winner was Chelsea in 2012, and equally telling, the last team from outside the accepted top 20 most powerful clubs was Porto in 2004. It has gradually become a closed shop. … Continue reading The Champions League and the preservation of elitism

Goodison Park – where games for the people are still played

CLOTH CAP nostalgia is a popular pastime among football folk as inner cities continue to be purged of their old football stadiums, replaced by smart, antiseptic structures of white steel and plastic. Horse manure no longer squelches underfoot as fans tramp through the streets and past red brick houses, the mildly eccentric fan with a transistor radio clamped to his ear has long gone. Like … Continue reading Goodison Park – where games for the people are still played

John Barnes – realistic, or out of touch?

ONE OF the most iconic photographic images of the 1980s is of Liverpool’s John Barnes back-heeling a banana at Goodison Park after a fan threw it his way during a Merseyside derby. The photo says a lot about an outstanding, gifted footballer trying to ignore a bout of racism by nonchalantly and intelligently using his skill to dispose of an offending item. Barnes received plenty … Continue reading John Barnes – realistic, or out of touch?

Liverpool slipped up, but trademarks are important

WHATEVER next, trademarking the air? Liverpool’s bid to trademark the name of their city has, appropriately, been rejected, and supporter groups such as “Spirit of Shankly” have expressed their relief. It must be something of an embarrassing situation, for this is a club that has long aligned itself to the city’s culture, the very meaning of being “scouse” and regional identity. To trademark the name … Continue reading Liverpool slipped up, but trademarks are important

Liverpool’s Toshack and Keegan – big man, little man

FOOTBALL is a universal currency. The first world war demonstrated just that when troops climbed out of the trenches to kick the ball around on Christmas Day. Germans and Englishmen have always debated the great game, usually centred on 1966 and the infamous “over the line, or not” argument. In 1978, on holiday in Spain, a group of teenagers bumped into a bunch of Germans, … Continue reading Liverpool’s Toshack and Keegan – big man, little man

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

The script has been drafted – Liverpool will [probably] win the title

FIVE POINTS is a substantial gap after five games, in fact it is, apparently, a record margin at this fledgling stage of the season. Such was the miniscule gap between Manchester City and Liverpool last season, Norwich City’s 3-2 win over Pep Guardiola’s treble winners that it may well be considered as one of the decisive moments of the title race. In an age when … Continue reading The script has been drafted – Liverpool will [probably] win the title

Everton’s chance to regain status

THIRTY years ago, if you named the top six clubs in England, Everton would have been among them, despite the era belonging to their neighbours Liverpool. Traditionally, Everton were one of the blue riband institutions, but in the Premier League era, they have been unable to compete for major honours. In fact, the last piece of silverware won by the Goodison Park-based club was in … Continue reading Everton’s chance to regain status