Football didn’t come home, but it’s close to home

ENGLAND’S World Cup adventure may have ended in heartbreak, but if non-league football plays its cards right, it could exploit the goodwill impact of an extraordinarily successful campaign in Russia. There’s no doubt that the nation got behind waistcoated and bearded Gareth Southgate and his young team in much the same way that in Euro ‘96 we all believed that “football was coming home”. Football … Continue reading Football didn’t come home, but it’s close to home

The last Magyars – Hungary’s 1960s revival

WHEN Hungary looked as though they were about to rule the football world, the country had a revolution and the team dubbed the best on the planet all but broke up. In September 1956, Hungary won 1-0 in Moscow in a friendly, an impressive result in front of 102,000 people against a Soviet Union team that included the great Lev Yashin. The Soviets were not … Continue reading The last Magyars – Hungary’s 1960s revival

Hertha’s haunting home: Olympiastadion

THE TROUBLE with most football grounds is you cannot get a true perspective of what they really look like unless you fly over them. Many stadiums are located in areas where you cannot take a step back and admire the structure. Admittedly, today’s new grounds have to work hard to differentiate themselves from each other, but there are some that will stand up well to … Continue reading Hertha’s haunting home: Olympiastadion

Do we really need Olympic football to be just World Cup lite?

THE OLYMPICS are in full swing now and there’s a notable absence from the football competition in Brazil – a Great Britain team. We should not be too surprised, for with the exception of 2012 when the nation hosted the games, we haven’t really taken part, for various reasons,  for some years. The golden age of Great British Olympic football was in the early 20th … Continue reading Do we really need Olympic football to be just World Cup lite?

West Ham won the World Cup….now they can win at the Olympics

At long last, the political and logistical wrangling is over and it’s a little clearer; West Ham United are favourities to move to the Olympic Stadium. This will be good news for West Ham and equally positive for the Olympic legacy. Everyone who attended London 2012 will be glad that the site of the capital’s great achievement will be marked in some shape or form. And for West … Continue reading West Ham won the World Cup….now they can win at the Olympics

Olympic football is alive and well and living in Coventry

A crowd of 28,171 people got a taste of Olympic football in Coventry this weekend for a double bill involving Mexico,  Gabon, South Korea and Switzerland. You got the feeling, however, that Coventry was ill-prepared for such an event – car parking was chaotic and the area around the city had probably not seen such activity since Coventry City were rubbing shoulders with the likes of … Continue reading Olympic football is alive and well and living in Coventry

Why use Wembley when Wycombe will do?

Great Britain’s ladies beat New Zealand 1-0 in their opening Olympic match, but only 24,549 people bothered to turn up in Cardiff. The Olympic football tournaments have not really captured the imagination of the public, but there’s still time for that to happen. But there’s little chance, however,  that the ladies game will catch fire. Why insist on playing these games in huge stadia that … Continue reading Why use Wembley when Wycombe will do?

60 years ago, Puskas and Co. lit up the Olympics

With the Olympics about to get underway, it’s worth recalling that the Helsinki games of 1952 spawned one of the greatest national teams ever to take the football field. Hungary’s superbly talented team, which lit up a gloomy post-war Europe, won Olympic gold in Finland, and were immediately tagged favourites for the World Cup in 1954. In between the two tournaments, Hungary taught England two … Continue reading 60 years ago, Puskas and Co. lit up the Olympics

The focus moves to the Olympics

It’s slightly predictable that the pro-Beckham contingent have started to put-down the Olympic football tournament as meaningless. Is that so? 90,000 people watched the 2008 final, 104,000 the 2000 climax and 101,000 the 1984 final. Olympic football is not a dead duck – it’s just that Great Britain has not played a part in it since the post-Edwardian days. Olympic football can provide a few … Continue reading The focus moves to the Olympics

Beckham’s exclusion – timely and appropriate

David Beckham will not be leading TeamGB in the 2012 Olympic football tournament. This is absolutely the right decision by manager Stuart Pearce, despite the inevitable media circus that will surround the former England captain in the aftermath of the announcement. Beckham is 37, he plays in the US – hardly a premier football tournament – and his day has gone. The Olympic tournament demands … Continue reading Beckham’s exclusion – timely and appropriate