Kempes and Luque, the brilliant bandoleros

WE remember the litter-strewn pitches of Argentina 1978 as well as the military presence, the controversy and, from a footballing perspective, the left foot and cavalier approach of Mario Kempes, the player of the tournament and leading scorer. Kempes was the only player in Cesar Luis Menotti’s squad for the World Cup that did not play in Argentina. He moved from Rosario Central, where he … Continue reading Kempes and Luque, the brilliant bandoleros

For Ajax, it could be 1974 revisited

THE UEFA Champions League knockout stages never disappoint – they represent the very best football in the world, more engaging than the World Cup, more exciting than the Premier and more dramatic than an episode of Line of Duty. Where else can ecstasy turn to agony, grown men openly weep, higher orders get called upon and TV pundits abandon all decorum and reserve? The competition … Continue reading For Ajax, it could be 1974 revisited

Koeman has a tough job…and here’s why

RONALD Koeman was recently appointed coach of the Netherlands national team and was given a contract that runs up to 2022. It is a tough task for the man who won 78 caps for his country and played his part in the Dutch European Championship triumph of 1988. But there will be hurdles. The country which gave us Total Football is having a total nightmare … Continue reading Koeman has a tough job…and here’s why

Cruyff, a 50-year fascination

  WHEN YOU ARE 12 or 13 years old, you have heroes. You have infatuations. You want to emulate and imitate. In 1972, that might have meant sticking platform shoes on or glitter in your hair. Or pretending to be Dutch. To most people, the Netherlands was a flat country with windmills and people wearing clogs. But in the early 70s, perceptions of the land … Continue reading Cruyff, a 50-year fascination

GOTP featured in The New European – From Total Football to Total Nightmare

FOR all the pessimism surrounding English football and the gaping void that exists between its current state and its golden era of global domination in 1966, there are some positives. The national team has at least qualified for the next World Cup; England is home to a much-admired and widely-followed domestic competition; and its best club sides can usually expect, at least in a good … Continue reading GOTP featured in The New European – From Total Football to Total Nightmare