Lonely football: Never mind Tuesday night in Stoke, how about Wednesday afternoon in the South Pole?

AS WE all know, football has become a global language to such an extent that you could strike up a meaningful conversation with virtually anyone if they are even vaguely interested in the game. That global language extends beyond the … Continue reading Lonely football: Never mind Tuesday night in Stoke, how about Wednesday afternoon in the South Pole?

Nice try Cambridge, but pre-season’s pre-season

It seemed a little too good to be true: Cambridge United – newly promoted to the Football League – hosting West Ham United, Espanyol and Shakhtar Donetsk. Surely, there was some mistake? And at £ 12 per ticket, it seemed remarkably good value. I was told that Cambridge had pulled off a coup in getting European opposition to the R Costings Abbey Stadium. There was precious little information in the media about the Absolute Sports Travel (AST) Cup, a two-day tournament very much in the style of Arsenal’s celebrated Emirates Cup. But just a day before the first games, I … Continue reading Nice try Cambridge, but pre-season’s pre-season

Back in the USSR – Russia and Ukraine to merge?

Russia are in London next week to play an exhibition game against Brazil – the hosts of the next two World Cups meeting at Stamford Bridge. With many Russians and Brazilians residing in the London area, the game should be well supported. Anyone expecting a Russian team to compare with sides of the past will be disappointed, however. Russian football has never been the same since the break-up of the old Soviet Union. When the old empire collapsed, the big Russian clubs were virtually bankrupt. Only Spartak Moscow had money, largely because they were backed by the ubiquitous Gazprom. Spartak … Continue reading Back in the USSR – Russia and Ukraine to merge?

Europe will be forced to accept a new order

Think of the giants of European football and the names reel of the tongue: Barca, Real, Bayern, the Milans, United and Chelsea. They have dominated European club football for the past few years and in the case of the Spanish and Italians, for many decades. But there is a wind blowing from the East and Chelsea, this week, may find it a very chill one. Shakhtar Donetsk may put a nail in the Blues’ hopes of further progress in a competition they unexpectedly won last season and at the same time, they may also enhance their own chances of shocking … Continue reading Europe will be forced to accept a new order