This Tottenham may have peaked

WE’VE been waiting for Tottenham to win something for quite some time, in fact, it’s been a decade or more. For all the praise, all the admiring glances and appreciation of Tottenham’s style, commitment to younger players and English swagger, Leicester City, Wigan Athletic and Swansea have won more since the Spurs last went marching on to their trophy cabinet. Some managers have been sacked … Continue reading This Tottenham may have peaked

UEFA Champions League: The gulf at the gate

THE UEFA Champions League draw has become an event in itself and provides a curtain-raiser to the next 10 months of action involving Europe’s elite working their way towards the final stages. For half of the entrants, the competition will end in December, but we can expect the usual suspects to qualify for the knockout stages when things really do get interesting. While the Champions … Continue reading UEFA Champions League: The gulf at the gate

Perhaps only technology can unseat City

RIGHT now, Manchester City must feel that the rest of the football world is against them, that the establishment has decided the only way to stop Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering team is to use technology to depose them. And the establishment is London, Tottenham, the FA and the media. Twice VAR has upset City against Spurs and although the result didn’t prove fatal (yet), the ruled-out … Continue reading Perhaps only technology can unseat City

New stadiums for old – reinventing a club

FOOTBALL fans consider the club stadium as an extension of their personal space. They go misty-eyed when they talk about the terraces they once stood on, the end of the ground they occupied and they stick very close to a long-established ritual of going to the match. The stadium is “home”, integral to the club’s image, identity and culture. Any attempt to relocate often meets … Continue reading New stadiums for old – reinventing a club

UEFA Champions League: King Klopp or Crown Prince Mauricio?

THIS year’s UEFA Champions League is not just about two teams battling for the right to stand astride the European game, it is also about a clash of ideals and a journey of affirmation. Liverpool, of course, have been here before, all too often if you ask the fans of clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea, but the premier European trophy has defined the club … Continue reading UEFA Champions League: King Klopp or Crown Prince Mauricio?

Commentary Box: Into perspective – England’s quartet

THIRTY years ago, it would be nigh on impossible for one country to provide all the European finalists. The only way it could have happened was if the holders of the European Cup and European Cup-Winners’ Cup were English and the qualifying clubs from England were not the holders. In 1971-72, we had a UEFA Cup final between Tottenham and Wolves – a competition where … Continue reading Commentary Box: Into perspective – England’s quartet

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

Cold water from the continent: The Champions League first legs

FOR Premier League advocates, the first legs of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals must have been a huge disappointment. The chances of an all-England final look very remote now, although those that enthuse over the essence of European club competitions will be thankful – there is nothing so anti-climatic than a European final between two clubs from the same country. The smart money, however, is … Continue reading Cold water from the continent: The Champions League first legs

72 Classic: London’s lost cup

LONDON’s top clubs had a mixed start to the 1971-72 season. Not everyone was surprised, however, for despite the capital city scooping all the domestic prizes and a European trophy, the football establishment still looked to the north of England as the hub of the game in the early 1970s. “I wonder sometimes if the London lads are as dedicated,” commented Huddersfield Town manager Ian … Continue reading 72 Classic: London’s lost cup

Spurs move into the bulge bracket

IT HAS been an exceptional week for Tottenham Hotspur, despite the comments made by their England defender, Danny Rose, that he cannot wait to see the back of football due to the racism that has emerged over the past few weeks. Spurs opened their excellent new stadium – innovative beer filling mechanism and all – and announced a world record profit for a football club. … Continue reading Spurs move into the bulge bracket

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