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

Manchester United 1968 – triumph before the fire went out

WE’VE ALL seen the footage of George Best rounding the keeper, of Bobby Charlton weeping, of Matt Busby embracing the players, remembering the fallen of Munich, and of Eusebio congratulating Alex Stepney on a superb save. It’s an episode in the history of the game that is as vivid as the unfamiliar blue shirts that Manchester United wore on May 29, 1968. Manchester United’s European … Continue reading Manchester United 1968 – triumph before the fire went out

Manchester United, the religious argument

ACADEMICS somewhere in the world are probably debating right now whether football has replaced religion as a defining element of society. To some people, football is the prominent feature of their life, the opium that drags them away from the mundane. The importance of the game, to those who have little else to lift their lives, was highlighted in the press a year or so … Continue reading Manchester United, the religious argument

Football’s top brand – Real Madrid

REAL MADRID is, arguably, the most famous football club in the world. The queues of people that snake their way around the club’s impressive Bernabéu Stadium, even on days when the team is not in town, makes Real one of the Spanish capital’s major landmarks. Real Madrid is also the most valuable football brand in world football. Valued at €1.65 billion, the club is ahead … Continue reading Football’s top brand – Real Madrid

Europe’s Champions: 1957-58 Real Madrid

REAL MADRID completed a hat-trick of European Cup wins in 1958, but they had to work hard for the top prize in a gruelling final with AC Milan in Brussels. In doing so, Real also completed the double of domestic league title and European Cup for the second successive season. Nevertheless, football historians have always wondered if Real would still have been crowned champions of … Continue reading Europe’s Champions: 1957-58 Real Madrid

Manchester United, the religious argument

ACADEMICS somewhere in the world are probably debating right now whether football has replaced religion as a defining element of society. To some people, football is the prominent feature of their life, the opium that drags them away from the mundane. The importance of the game, to those who have little else to lift their lives, was highlighted in the press a year or so … Continue reading Manchester United, the religious argument

Football’s top brand – Real Madrid

REAL MADRID is, arguably, the most famous football club in the world. The queues of people that snake their way around the club’s impressive Bernabéu Stadium, even on days when the team is not in town, makes Real one of the Spanish capital’s major landmarks. Real Madrid is also the most valuable football brand in world football. Valued at €1.65 billion, the club is ahead … Continue reading Football’s top brand – Real Madrid

City overtaking neighbours on and off the pitch

MANCHESTER CITY are the most valuable club in the Premier League according to a new study by the University of Liverpool Management School’s Centre for Sports Business. City’s valuation of  £ 2.4 billion is around £ 300 million higher then neighbours Manchester United (£ 2.1 billion). The paper, led by leading football finance expert Kieran Maguire, underlines how the so-called big six clubs are way … Continue reading City overtaking neighbours on and off the pitch

Remake/remodel – United’s task in hand

MANCHESTER did not have a good Champions League this past week, with both City and United tumbling out of the competition. While City’s exit was harsh in many ways, United got no more than they deserved against a Barcelona team that was far too good for Ole Gunar Solksjaer’s charges. The gulf in class was huge, making Solksjaer’s comment, “there’s work to be done” one … Continue reading Remake/remodel – United’s task in hand

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

English success no surprise and overdue

FOUR clubs in the last eight of the UEFA Champions League is a welcome sight for the Premier League’s grandees, particularly as a couple of years ago, people were quick to write-off England after a string of sub-optimal seasons in Europe’s premier club competition. Is it really so remarkable given the financial power of the Premier? You could say that, hitherto, underperformance has characterised English … Continue reading English success no surprise and overdue