Archived entries for Football

Graham Taylor

Watford fan and blogger Tom Bodell looks at what Graham Taylor did for his Club.

Every football club has a Graham Taylor, the kind of figure who has gone far and beyond the call of duty for a club with which they have a genuine, undying affinity. When Watford lose you get the feeling that Taylor genuinely hurts inside and when the club is struggling or in danger, Taylor feels that pain within him too. Continue reading…

European Football Round-up: 20 March

Events on and off the pitch in England and Spain in the past week have shown that despite what Bill Shankly may have said, football really isn’t more important than life and death. Football is just a game; albeit one that evokes tremendous passion and partisanship. Sometimes however events happen to unite the footballing family. On Sunday night Real Madrid put years of rivalry and bitter enmity to one side to show support for Barcelona’s Eric Abidal. They also demonstrated the global support for Fabrice Muamba. Continue reading…

Street Spirit

After Swansea beat Manchester City, a picture that was widely shared last week was the one of the fan in tears, which may have been slightly premature with a quarter of the Season still left. It was an emotion though that was still preferable to the glib reaction that football doesn’t matter from those without allegiance, the ambivalent shrug of the shoulders from fair-weather fans to whom their plastic flags are a fashionable accessory or the cowardice cynicism of those who resent the Great Game.

There are plenty in the chattering classes who like to disparage football at every opportunity, citing the money earned by the very highest paid players with a venom not displayed for any other professions in a free-market economy, with the barely concealed resentment coming either from their feelings of exclusion due to being soulless and having no love of sport, or worse, the fact that the football is largely a meritocracy, allowing both escape and excitement on and off the pitch, regardless of class.

The values of loyalty and passion that came through from that picture are decent ones, and the general decency of the collective football fan was also evident in extremely serious circumstances at White Hart Lane on Saturday evening, when it quickly became clear that Bolton Wanderers’ Fabrice Muamba had stopped breathing on the pitch after collapsing. A sizeable number of Tottenham fans sung the ex-Arsenal player’s name, with an immediate recognition of the importance of life that is not seen in the sub-cultures many are exposed to, from computer games based on killing to big-budget action films. Continue reading…

Football Writing – More of the not-so-same

 

Mark Perryman of Philosophy Football reviews 2012’s early crop of new football writing

In early March BBC Radio 4 broadcast Fever Pitched, the first of many, and well-deserved, retrospectives to mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch. This was a book that both sparked a trend in football writing, the fan confessional, while reflecting a whole range of changes in the way the game is consumed in the wake of the huge success of Italia ‘90. Continue reading…

European Football Round-up/CL Preview: 13 Mar

Last Wednesday Juventus played their game in hand in Serie A. The Old Lady of Turin went to Bolgna, but in true style this season could only draw. This left them 2 points behind Milan whilst still being unbeaten.

This past weekend proved to be another good one for Milan, the defending champions hosted Lecce and put in a strong performance to run out 2-0 winners. Zlatan Ibrahimovic set up the first goal and scored the second, propelling him to the top of the Capocannoniere charts with 19 goals in the process. That Ibra’s quality is still questioned, especially in England, is beyond baffling. For the past eight years whichever club he has played for has finished top of their respective league (the two with Juventus were revoked after Calciopoli); the man is a born winner and he has a better than 1 in 2 goal to game ratio across his career. Continue reading…

The Short Answer

As Sir Alex Ferguson approached his recent 25th year anniversary in charge at Manchester United, profiles revealed he had team selection for six games in advance in his mind, like a chess player going in for the kill. It was news that wasn’t really a surprise to anyone who has noted his use of squad rotation, particularly in the last fifteen years, where United have often had two games a week in the final third of the season. Every Manager, like a supporter, has an eye on the fixture list, and that is even more true when a Manager is about to accept a job midway through the season.

When Mark Hughes looked at QPR’s fixtures in January, he would have seen a number of winnable games at the start, which he would have no doubt thought would get his new club up the table. He would have also seen that his final game of the season is away to his former club Manchester City, where his treatment at the end, after months of speculation – a sacking ahead of a final game he won while his replacement sat in the stands – was a reminder that for all a club’s wealth, money can’t buy class. With that in mind, it would be totally understandable if Hughes had even the briefest of visions of stopping City win the League. Two months later though, it seems more likely then ever that QPR could be relegated that on that last day, in front of not just a packed stadium, but a worldwide television audience, as matters at both ends of the table come to a climax. Continue reading…

GB Football Team: Stuart Pearce?

The circus that is the England national side came to town last week, led by ringmaster Stuart Pearce, the unfortunate man charged with the thankless task of stopping Wayne Rooney putting his head in a lions mouth, or something like that.

Since the 3-2 defeat by the Netherlands, Pearce has been sidelined somewhat, forced out to manage the coconut shy with most punters paying their money to pelt a handful of wooden balls at his stylish new side-parting.

The gist of that metaphor is that Pearce has been hit by a barrage of criticism since taking charge of England in a caretaker capacity last week. The criticisms levelled at him have, by and large, been accurate and fair. However, this isn’t the last we’ll see of Pearce in the Wembley dug-out as he leads the Team GB men’s side this summer at London 2012. Continue reading…

Tony Fernandes

‘QPR: Four Year Plan’ documented the chaos at the club before Tony Fernandes bought the club. Fan Anthony Hassan fills in the gaps and looks ahead to a new style of Management.

On the 18th August 2011 Tony Fernandes completed his takeover of Queens Park Rangers Football Club, having bought Bernie Ecclestone’s 66% shares of the club to become the majority shareholder. He was also named as the Chairman of QPR Holdings Ltd. Finally, a welcome change after four years of chaos. Continue reading…

European Football Round-up/CL Preview: 6 March

Jurgen Klopp is likely to be a man in demand this summer. He’s being linked with jobs at Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur and is also seen as the heir apparent to Joachim Loew as Germany’s national boss. Borussia Dortmund however will be fervently hoping they can keep their inspirational coach. This weekend saw Dortmund take a massive step towards a second successive Bundesliga title as they overcame Mainz 2-1 at Westfalenstadion. With perennial title favourites Bayern Munich falling to a 2-0 loss at Bayer Leverkusen, Dortmund now have a 7 point advantage with 10 rounds to go. Meanwhile former giants of the German game, Hamburg fell even closer to the relegation trap door after being humbled 4-0 at home to Stuttgart. There are probably enough teams worse than Hamburg to ensure they stay up, but fans who in recent times have seen the likes of Rafael van der Vaart, Vincent Kompany and Nigel de Jong strutting their stuff will demand significant improvement. Continue reading…

Words and Pictures

In an age where media accessibility is such a big part of football, what a Manager says in public is a good indicator of their judgement. In his post-match interview yesterday, Sir Alex Ferguson was honest in his assessment that a Tottenham side, despite being weakened with big absentees, were better than his Manchester United side for the majority of the match and he got his tactics wrong in the first-half. Continue reading…



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