1927: A Look Back At Our Last Semi Final

April 16, 2015

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“How long ago was Reading’s last FA Cup semi final? So long ago that the name of the country we live in was still the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The acknowledgement that the Irish Free State was no longer part of the Kingdom was only to take place a month after our defeat to Cardiff. In January that year the BBC as we know it came into existence. Amazingly it was November 1927 when traffic lights first appeared on our streets. If you were looking for excitement in the 1920s then there was only one place you would head: Berlin. The German capital was enjoying its decedent vibrant heyday whilst Germany as a whole looked to be slowly rebuilding itself as a democracy having joined the League of Nations a year before.” SBN (Video)


Italy at Argentina ’78 – Bearzot leads the renaissance

April 3, 2015

“When the Romantics of Brazil imploded in Barcelona’s Sarria Stadium against an unfancied Italy in the second group phase of the 1982 World Cup, the purists’ dreams died, and Italy’s eventual triumph in Madrid just days later was greeted with largely grudging acknowledgment. Italy’s victory in Spain is often advanced as some kind of immoral victory of Roundheads over Cavaliers. In truth, it was no such thing.” backpagefootball


Golden goal: Paolo Di Canio for West Ham v Wimbledon (2000)

March 22, 2015

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“If you came here looking for a brief recap of Paul Weiland’s 2006 film, Sixty Six, then you are in luck. The story of a Jewish boy whose Shabbos spirit was dampened by his barmitzvah tragically falling on the same day as the World Cup final between England and West Germany in 1966 (spoiler alert: England win in controversial circumstances) was a niche topic that was met with mixed reviews, but it struck a resounding chord with me.” Guardian (Video)


In Search Of Eusebio

January 9, 2015

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“As one year ends and another begins, the football world looks back on the marvels of Atletico Madrid’s La Liga triumph and Germany’s 7-1 rout of Brazil. Here in southern Africa, the landmark event of 2014 was the death of our region’s greatest-ever player. I did not think about Eusebio when I used to go to Mozambique. In the mid-nineties the country, wearily emerging from years of civil war, seemed far removed from the world of football stars. Skull-and-crossbones signs, tacked to trees, marked the margins of the Beira Corridor, the Tête Corridor, and the spectacularly cratered road from Ressano Garcia to the capital. The signs declared, not a country devoted to Orlando Pirates, but one riddled with landmines. It is a short distance from South Africa to Maputo. Still, having reached the Indian Ocean, it could take a week to clear a load from the Frigo customs yard in the city. While one waited, there were chances for exploring. Much remained from the old LM, the place Eusebio knew in his childhood.” In Bed With Maradona


Happy Birthday Paul McGrath: Reliving Giants Stadium

December 10, 2014

“To celebrate the 55th birthday of one of the greatest of them all, Paul McGrath, we’re reposting Reliving Giants Stadium. The 1994 World Cup in America was the first for Luke Constable of the brilliantly named RGSOAS (Ruud Gullit Sitting on a Shed). His native England hadn’t qualified but thanks to his Irish grandfather, Luke was rooting for the Republic. Having missed the full game with Italy, the myth around the match had grown. Houghton’s goal and McGrath’s performance became legendary as the years went on. Luke has never seen the game in its entirety…until now.” Póg Mo Goal


Maracana Upset Brings Robson Breathing Space

October 6, 2014

“If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same… A Kipling today might have been tempted to add: You’ll be a successful football manager. For his words possess a sympathetic ring for England boss Bobby Robson. He took his battered, depleted England squad off to South America under round condemnation for the manner — rather than the size — of a 2-0 Wembley defeat by the Soviet Union. He returned with a balanced record of three games played, one won, one drawn and one lost. Respectable by any light. Doubly so in general, international opinion because of that 2-0 victory over Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. Yet critical echoes accompanied Robson and Co on the long flight home from Santiago because the ensuing displays and results against Uruguay and a dismal Chilean Olympic team didn’t match up to the expectations raised in Maracana.” In Bed With Maradona


Lament For A Lost Scotland

September 21, 2014

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“Only those who have to take off their shoes when they want to count to twenty will ever believe Scotland will one day win the World Cup. There is more chance of Ronald Reagan being voted Man of the Year by the Russians than Scotland achieving total global success. This line of thinking, of course, will shock no one. Just over five years ago Ally MacLeod brainwashed the Tartan Army into actually believing the world was about to be conquered in Argentina and Bruce Rioch was only a fortnight or so away from claiming a very expensive and coveted chunk of gold. Let’s not dwell on that nightmarish episode. Scotland’s balloon wasn’t so much punctured as blown to smithereens. There was an eruption of eggs on the faces of the Scottish fans who genuinely believed Scotland would overcome all the obstacles that stood in the way of their heroes. Peru and Iran changed that state of mind.” In Bed With Maradona (Video)


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