Archived entries for

Next Exit

Last night footballing minnows Zambia deservedly won the African Nations Cup, winning a thrilling penalty shoot-out, and upsetting overwhelming favorites Ivory Coast. The Cote ‘Ivoire, with a team built on superstars, exited the tournament, despite not conceding a goal – like a famous African version of Switzerland.

As with many a major final it was a cagey affair, which the underdogs had the better of. Unlike many a Word Cup though, the final was played in good spirits, with Didier Drogba showing compassion to an injured opponent early in the game, and fair play throughout.

No African team has of course yet made the last four of a World Cup Finals yet, Gazza and Gary Linekar combining to overcome Cameroon in 1990, while Ghana were cruelly robbed of a place in the last four by a last-minute handball on the line by Luis Suarez. It was a handball that any professional may have been tempted to commit, but his celebrations, still at the side of the pitch despite being sent-off as the subsequent penalty was missed, were less than dignified, and that, coupled with his own club disciplinary record (he was serving a suspension for Ajax after biting an opposing player when he signed for Liverpool) may have given his new club some doubts about him when he was signed last January. Continue reading…

Where did it all go wrong, Fabio?

After four years in charge of England, Fabio Capello was driven away from Wembley Stadium late yesterday afternoon having no doubt reached a Compromise Agreement with the FA in which, as his son later said, he would stop criticising his now ex-employers. It is unlikely he will be leaving totally empty handed either, but for all the money he has pocketed from the FA in four years, the question has to be, where did it all go wrong? Continue reading…

‘Urry up Harry?

Travelling England fan and co-founder of www.philosophyfootball.com Mark Perryman speculates on what next for England

Last week I argued on this website that via model of indecisive action the FA were creating an unholy mess for themselves and the England team. But even I in my worst nightmares never thought it would come to this. Continue reading…

Danny Blanchflower

Author Martin Cloake, with an extract from his book, accompanied by an exclusive illustration by artist Lilly Allen for The  Substantive.

The legend of a great footballer inevitably tends to fade with the passing of the years. The legend of Danny Blanchflower continues not only to shine brightly, but to illuminate aspects of a modern game which is perhaps more convinced of its own importance than it should be. Blanchflower was in his prime 50 years ago. That’s before most people had a television. He died in 1993. That’s before most people had broadband internet. And yet despite existing in a less connected world he was one of the first football superstars of the modern age, one of the first to become a star entertainer in the public’s mind rather than simply someone who was very good at what was, despite being watched by masses, still a minority interest. What made him not only a great player in his day, but a legend in a much-changed world over half a century later? Continue reading…

Borgen

A programme that begins with a quote from Machiavelli, and is the next Danish drama to follow into the Saturday night BBC4’s timeslot after Forbrydelson, promised much. Borgen, which translates as “Government”, took us into a world where ideals matter, but are inevitably weighed down by requirements of retaining office. Continue reading…

Time for Heroes

The two times England have reached the semi-finals of major tournaments since winning the World Cup in 1966, the Captain has not been greatly significant, as both teams were full of leaders.

In 1990, a squad that included Peter Shilton, Terry Butcher, Stuart Pearce, Steve McMahon and a young David Platt, was partly memorable for the amount of senior players, including Bryan Robson and Gary Linekar, who were involved in the change of tactical shape and selection after the first game in the tournament. The Euro ’96 squad selected by Terry Venables also included Pearce and Platt, as well as Gary Neville, Gareth Southgate, Tony Adams, Paul Ince, Teddy Sheringham and Alan Shearer – strong characters on the field and in the dressing room. Continue reading…

Tyrannosaur

Peter Mullen’s Joseph is an angry old man. He spends daytimes sitting at the bar of one of those pubs that as soon as you walk in, you walk straight back out; he goads, antagonises and terrorises local shopkeepers; and, with a can of Red Stripe in his hand, his screams and swears violently in the street outside a bookies. And that’s all just in the first few minutes. Continue reading…

A Model of Indecisiveness

Mark Perryman is the author of Ingerland: Travels with a Football Nation and co-founder of www.philosophyfootball.com and writes here exclusively for The Substantive on the current handling of John Terry.

The alleged racist abuse of Anton Ferdinand by John Terry took place at a game in October 2011. Almost two months later the CPS decide there is sufficient evidence for a case to answer. Another two months and finally the case came to court this week only for it to be announced that the trial will be delayed until after Euro 2012. Getting on for ten months after the alleged incident. Continue reading…

Morrissey

Musician and Poet Matt Abbott profiles Morrissey, the lyricist.

The year is 2012, and The Smiths are just as vital now as they were when ‘Hand In Glove’ was introduced to the world in May 1983. The single was championed by John Peel but largely ignored by the British public, and as a result it failed to chart. But what those four men were creating in Manchester would go on to change the lives of millions. Their influence and importance can never be dismissed and nearly thirty years later, I genuinely believe that we need them more than ever.

I was admittedly a late bloomer when it came to discovering The Smiths. In the early days of Skint & Demoralised my song-writing partner and producer very much mentored me as a new lyricist and bought me a couple of their albums for Christmas 2007. At the time I was just about to turn nineteen and musically I had a fairly limited collection. Aside from the odd “Best Of…” here and there it was mainly stuff that had been released in my teenage years; dominated by the likes of Arctic Monkeys, The Streets, Eminem and The Ordinary Boys. Through the latter obsession I’d discovered The Jam, but other than that I’d failed to delve into the list of singers that are commonly regarded as the all-time great lyricists. So imagine how I felt when I first listened to ‘Hatful of Hollow’ in my bedroom… Continue reading…



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