Poland 1972-1974 – the World Cup’s lost champions

WHEN England crashed out of the 1974 World Cup in the qualifying tournament, considered a major shock at the time, Poland, their conquerors, were seen as also-rans, a relative minnow that had audaciously knocked-out the 1966 champions. Yet if the British media had been as informed as they thought they were, it would have realised that this game, which ended 1-1, was almost as significant … Continue reading Poland 1972-1974 – the World Cup’s lost champions

72 Classic: Lessons from Europe for English football

AT the start of 1971-72, England’s football fraternity was still clinging to the idea that the nation was a major power in the game. The 1970 World Cup defeat at the hands of West Germany was mostly seen as an aberration and partly attributable to the rustiness of poor old Peter Bonetti, the outstanding Chelsea goalkeeper. There was little suggestion that perhaps the English method … Continue reading 72 Classic: Lessons from Europe for English football

All hyped up: Italia ‘90

WE ALL look to the influences of our childhood or formative years as being the “best of times”. The things that informed our thinking, philosophy, social position, relationships and work ethos act as benchmarks later in life. The exception is fashion, where we all cringe at what we used to wear, mainly because what was de rigeur for a teenager will never be acceptable for … Continue reading All hyped up: Italia ‘90

Great Reputations: Poland 1972-1974 – the World Cup’s lost champions

WHEN England crashed out of the 1974 World Cup in the qualifying tournament, considered a major shock at the time, Poland, their conquerors, were seen as also-rans, a relative minnow that had audaciously knocked-out the 1966 champions. Yet if the British media had been as informed as they thought they were, it would have realised that this game, which ended 1-1, was almost as significant … Continue reading Great Reputations: Poland 1972-1974 – the World Cup’s lost champions

Europe’s finest in 1972

TO SOME people, the year 1972 was one of the finest in post-war football. The Football League title race was one of the most engaging of all time, with Derby County coming out on top, beating off the challenge of Manchester City, Leeds United and Liverpool. In Europe, Ajax Amsterdam were in their pomp, winning a second successive European Cup and the European Football Championship … Continue reading Europe’s finest in 1972

The Europeans: 1976 – Not just Panenka

WE all remember the European Championship of 1976 for one thing – the cleverly “dinked” penalty by one of the Czech Republic’s favourite sons, Antonin Panenka. His audacious kick, deceiving the imposing figure of giant West German goalkeeper Sepp Maier, has become part of football folklore and copied by multitudes. But the European Championship of 1976, one of the great forgotten tournaments, had plenty to … Continue reading The Europeans: 1976 – Not just Panenka