Great Reputations: QPR’s total footballers of 1975-76

IN THE aftermath of the 1974 World Cup, English football was fascinated by Dutch and German football. England’s failure to qualify for that competition and the decline of league football into a physical, defensive product that had started to drive people away, meant that a lot of soul-searching had taken place. The conclusion was that English domestic football needed a lift. In 1975-76, there were … Continue reading Great Reputations: QPR’s total footballers of 1975-76

The parachute men

IT’S  a gleaming white stadium is the Liberty, you see it very clearly as the train snakes its way into Swansea station, and it still looks clean enough to feature on a TV advertisement for white emulsion paint. These are hopeful days in this corner of Wales. Hopeful because last season, the club was relegated after seven years in the Premier League, a period that … Continue reading The parachute men

The spirit of ’77 fades away – Ray Wilkins

APRIL 23 1975. A few days earlier, Ray Wilkins had been appointed captain of Chelsea. The Blues had lost 2-0 at Tottenham and the writing was on the wall. I was in the City of London, having an interview with Barclays Bank and decided to visit Stamford Bridge to see Chelsea play Sheffield United. It was looking desperate for the club I had supported since … Continue reading The spirit of ’77 fades away – Ray Wilkins

Vardy shows that non-league still has its place

NON-LEAGUE football used to be a breeding ground for top-class players, but in recent years, the flow of talent has certainly slowed-up. Jamie Vardy has provided a heart-warming story that restores some faith in the notion that players can start at a local level and make their way into the big time. Game of the People looks at some of the players that have made … Continue reading Vardy shows that non-league still has its place

Through the turnstiles: QPR v MK Dons

WHEN YOU HAVE visited state-of-the-art stadiums that reek of the modern corporate ethos and a sterile atmosphere, it takes a trip to a ground like Loftus Road to remind you what football used to be about. Queens Park Rangers’ home may look a little tired, and have a hemmed-in feel of a ground that cannot expand even if it wanted to, but it does have … Continue reading Through the turnstiles: QPR v MK Dons

Memories of ’75: A triple jump at Total Football

The 1974-75 season wasn’t a classic for English football. The country had been suffering a long hangover after the national team’s exit from the World Cup. We were excluded from the 1974 finals in West Germany, pinning our hopes on Scotland and Jack Taylor the referee. While the global audience marvelled at the exploits of Cruyff, Beckenbauer and Lato, we had John Craggs of Jack … Continue reading Memories of ’75: A triple jump at Total Football

Throw me a line, I’m sinking fast* – Harry Redknapp arrives at Loftus Road

QPR’s team of expensive non-entities is going to get a shake up. Harry Redknapp, one of the last bastions of old-tyme football management, has rolled into Loftus Road and given the playing squad a short, sharp message. “You should be embarrassed by having just four points.” Harry’s not wrong, for QPR have spent heavily, but what on? You can play Fantasy Football all you like, … Continue reading Throw me a line, I’m sinking fast* – Harry Redknapp arrives at Loftus Road

West London should thank Dave Sexton

Dave Sexton was one of the most progressive football coaches of his generation. A member of the famous – and self-titled – West Ham academy of players that went on to coach or manage clubs, he was a quietly-spoken, shy man who was never afraid to try new methods. At Chelsea, Sexton provided the antidote to the turbulent era of Tommy Docherty. He harnessed a … Continue reading West London should thank Dave Sexton

Football should call time on Barton and his like

So Joey Barton has let himself, his club and the game of football down once more. Isn’t about time that football decides that it has had enough of the antics of one of the game’s most troubled characters? Indeed, football has to decide whether it is happy to be a form of “care in the community” destination for people like Barton, because in truth, there … Continue reading Football should call time on Barton and his like