Archived entries for Football

Born to End – Stop StubHub

Yesterday, Sky Sports, when previewing Tottenham Hotspur’s trip to Swansea City, spoke about the club making history if they repeated something they had done before, albeit half a centuary ago. As if 50 years ago doesn’t count. But perhaps not surprising from the outlet that perpetuates the notion that football was only formed 20 years ago.

Younger fans must think yesterday’s pundit Greame Souness played in a parrallel universe, like a modern day version of Melchester Rovers when Bob Wilson, Emlyn Hughes and members of Spandua Ballet teamed up with Roy Race. Footage exists of goals Souness scored, but as they weren’t in the top flight Mark II, aka the Premier League, they must seem like a piece of fiction, dramatised in grainy cinematography with a thousands of extras and a voice over from an actor called Brian Moore.

Football history, with packed terraces, such as when Spurs last won five away games, is now only partially recognised. In the mind of Sky Sports, Souness’ League Cup winner in 1984, was really in the Year 8BEPL. Continue reading…

Bang and Blame

After another less than fluent performance earlier today by a Tottenham side during his tenure, Head Coach Andre Villas-Boas decided to openly criticise the club’s own fans in his post-match interviews, which brought up the theme of self-entitlement – the self-entitlement of the football industry which allows leaders of businesses to believe they can blame their most loyal customers for their under-performance.

This is an arrogance virtually unique to football, although as slopping shoulders go in public life it follows hot on the heels of the coalition Government’s Energy Secretary, determined to bury his head in the sand regarding unregulated privatised companies, unsubtly suggesting the poor and elderly whose living standards have fallen might want to wear a jumper in order for them to keep escalating bills down.

Villas-Boas’ deliberately directed comments took the shine of an important win against a Hull City side set-up to frustrate and time-waste. His delivery in the interviews with both BBC and Sky suggested it was an excuse he had built up in his mind as it looked Spurs would huff-and-puff but fail to break Hull down, with a lack of guile, despite a wealth of talent and riches at his disposal. Even more worrying, he is giving his players a ready-made excuse for future failure at home. Continue reading…

Lost in Secondary Ticketing Market

Last October, The Substantive Football Column wrote about the contempt English Football Clubs seemed to have for their own supporters with unreasonable price rises. Today The Substantive puts its name to the letter below from Tottenham Hotspur fans to the club who embarked on a partnership with secondary ticketing agency StubHub without consultation of fans and which has directly led to an unregulated market with tickets going on sale up to 1000% of face value via links on the official Spurs website.

This Saturday Spurs play Chelsea in a London derby that is a top of the table Premier League match at White Hart Lane; it has been officially sold out for some time yet on StubHub, four days before the game, 276 tickets remain on sale at up to £1265 each. 

The letter below highlights the concerns of Tottenham fans and can be supported by fans of all clubs by signing this Stop Stubhub Petition. Continue reading…

Sound of the Crowd

Sound of the Crowd 1882 Book Cover

Martin Cloake’s latest book on Tottenham Hotspur, Sound of the Crowd, takes in the sub-culture of the football fan, from fanzines, independent organisation and protest, while giving a first-hand insight into past battles from the late eighties with the club he loves to the parallels of a new Spurs supporter movement.

Continue reading…

Gucci Little Piggy

The lazy journalists, part-time football fans and rolling sports news programmes in England got what they wanted when Jose Mourinho returned in the summer, a character who omits an attitude that suggests he believes he is bigger than the game. He has already given them what they want in under ten days of the new season, disingenuously saying David Moyes was the reason Wayne Rooney wanted to leave Manchester United and revelling in agreeing the transfer of Willian for what looks to be the primary purpose of stopping Spurs having him. He has created talking points from hot air while on the pitch the rest of us see the old traits, from the unspoken influence over refereeing decisions that led to an undeserved win against Aston Villa last week and negative tactics in yesterday evening’s goalless draw at Old Trafford.

Reputation is everything to Mourinho, visible from the pictures he tries to paint in his interviews to his image on the touchline (last night in pullover and jacket despite the seasonal warm climate); but legacy is more than an honours list, it is created in the manner success is achieved. Introduced as “the man himself” in his post-match interview on Monday Night Football, he left both Real Madrid and Chelsea the first-time round with dissatisfaction within at someone who caused internal unrest and tried to kill games and grind out results on the biggest stage despite having a wealth of talent at his disposal in both cases. Continue reading…

Favourite Worst Nightmare

A return for the Football Column with a brief piece to start the 2013-14 domestic season on the opening weekend of top flight football in England and Spain.

Whereas the 2011/12 season had drama to the end with Man City snatching victory from another humiliation and Chelsea’s anti-football playing out like a realistic depressing thriller on the main stage in Munich, the following 2012/13 season was an anti-climax, with only Wigan and Swansea winning the domestic cups in England, Bayern Munich’s dominance of Europe and consistent sensational individual performances by Gareth Bale standing out. Continue reading…

Confederations Cup: The Final

In his final piece on the 2013 Confederations Cup, Tom Bodell reflects on a stunning 3-0 victory for host Brazil over reigning World Champions Spain.

Just shy of one month ago, Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Brazil hosted Roy Hodgson’s England in the grand re-opening of the famous Maracana stadium in Rio De Janeiro. The build-up had all been focussed on Brazil and stressing just how out-of-form the Selecao were. Twenty-eight days later and the same Brazil under the stewardship of the same wily old coach have hosted and won a successful Confederations Cup, with just over a year until the World Cup kicks off next summer. Continue reading…

Confederations Cup: Semi Finals

Tom Bodell’s on the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

After two more thoroughly enjoyable matches of the this year’s Confederations Cup, we have our finalists: hosts Brazil and World and European Champions, Spain. This should be an excellent tussle between arguably the two most impressive sides at the tournament, even if it means staying up into the small hours of Monday to watch the game. Continue reading…

Confederations Cup 2013: Stage 1

Tom Bodell looks back at the footballing highlights of an unexpectedly exciting first stage of the Confederations Cup 2013 played against a backdrop of an uprising in Brazil.

The Confederations Cup. It’s hardly a tournament to set the pulses racing; it rarely produces the kind of must-see matches that you plan to sit down and watch in advance and yet I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed and international tournament so much. Continue reading…

England U21s: Big Exit

Tom Bodell looks back at the aftermath of England’s poor showing at the European Championships in Israel.

The Under-21 European Championships in Israel might have provided some of the most uncomfortable viewing for England fans since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but they did at least serve one purpose: alleviating Stuart Pearce of his role as head coach. Continue reading…



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