Râducanu, the mystery entertainer in black

IN the days when any team from behind Communist Europe was treated with a great sense of curiosity, any player resembling a larger-than-life figure contradicted all preconceived ideas about football in countries such as Bulgaria, Czechoslavakia and Romania.  Eastern European Communists were meant to be dour and mechanical and prioritised function over artistry. That was […]

Brazil’s 1970 triumph sowed the seeds for the global football market

WHEN Brazil captivated the world in 1970 with their wonderful football and charismatic team of all talents, all 22 members of their squad were playing in Brazil, half coming from São Paulo-based clubs. Of the 22, only one, Jairzinho, went on to play in Europe, and that was towards the end of his career. Others, […]

Mordechai Spiegler – a star in the Middle East that never got to shine

IN 1970, West Ham United’s manager, Ron Greenwood, a student of the global game, returned from Mexico with what he thought was a trump card. He was interested in signing  Israel’s captain and star player, Mordechai Spiegler. His fascination with overseas talent preceded the late-1970s trend, which gained fresh legs through Tottenham’s audacious acquisition of […]

Brazil, Chelsea and England 1970 – Why the perception of “iconic line-up” still misleads us

THE BBC recently published a story that highlighted how rarely some clubs’ iconic line-ups actually played together. It showed that football carries many myths in its rich heritage, but also confirmed that our perception of the component parts of great teams rarely takes into consideration injuries, suspensions, loss of form or just being “out of […]

Mexico ‘70: Peter Bonetti and England’s capitulation

CHELSEA’S Peter Bonetti was a fine goalkeeper: agile, occasionally flashy, brave and consistent. But for World Cup winner Gordon Banks, he would have won more than his seven England caps – and this was in an age when decent English-born custodians came off the production line like Ford Cortinas. Unfortunately for Bonetti, he will be […]