The peaceful invasion that London feared – England vs. Germany, 1935

October 14, 2015

“The mid-1930s was a time of growing fear in Europe, indeed the world. Germany, in particular, was a major concern for the rest of the continent. In 1935, a number of events pointed the way towards the conflict that was World War Two. This was the year that the German air force, the Luftwaffe, was formed. A few days later, Adolf Hitler ignored the Versailles Treaty and announced that Germany would re-arm. And in September, the Nuremberg Laws, an anti-semitic doctrine that made it illegal for Jews and non-Jews to have any form of relationship, came into effect. The rest of the world was scared of Germany and its intentions.” Football Pink


The top ten fan owned clubs in English football

October 9, 2015

“An enticing concept has been quietly incubating within English football in recent years: supporter ownership of clubs. While it may be the norm in places such as Germany and Argentina for football fans to own their club, it’s still a fairly alien idea in the United Kingdom and most of the Commonwealth. The allure is obvious: football fans and club owners often disagree about how clubs should operate. Wealthy owners – often with minimal connection to the club’s community – tend to prioritise the pursuit of profit, and take financial risks that can destabilise or endanger clubs. Football fans, however, view their club as a community asset rather than as a business, and desire to be treated loyally as valued club members instead of as replaceable customers.” backpagefootball – Part 1 (Video), Part 2 (Video)


Graft, grit and Northern beauty

August 19, 2015

“Sir Alex Ferguson, Kenny Dalglish, Jock Stein, Sir Matt Busby, Bob Paisley, Bill Shankly, Brian Clough, Howard Kendall, Don Revie, Sir Bobby Robson: it’s a long and impressive list, but far from an exhaustive one. The common thread that links them to one another? Yes, they are all British, but more specifically, they’re all from either the North East of England or Scotland. So what, I hear you mutter. … It’s my assertion that, as they did not inherit, at birth, the specific qualities and traits needed to stand out in the cutthroat world of football but must possess them in order to break into that sphere in the first place, then it must be their upbringing and the environment of their formative years that defined them. So, it is to the North East of England and Scotland that we must look for those ingredients that shaped the young men who would eventually become legends.” Foofball Pink


What has happened to England’s international support?

August 7, 2015

“Back in the 90s, when Britpop ruled the country, there was a charge of fantastic patriotism. Optimism was placed in a youthful, hopeful Tony Blair, my beloved Liverpool were embarking on a bout of abstinence-based detox of all things silver and support for England’s national team was riding the wave of an Italia 90 based revival. This often took ‘swarms’ (cough, cough) of Brits halfway across the world to watch their national team beat Macedonia, only to trek back again, and straight into work the next day. People, it was safe to say, were loving watching England.” backpagefootball


Phoenix from the flames: How do you resurrect a football club?

July 14, 2015

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Bradford Park Avenue in action during a Division Three North match against Wrexham in 1955
“The lower reaches of English football are littered with clubs reborn from the ashes of previous incarnations. Maidstone, Bradford Park Avenue, Scarborough, Halifax, Chester, Darlington and Rushden & Diamonds are among those to have risen, phoenix-like, from the flames of their earlier demise. Hereford – responsible for one of the great FA Cup giant-killing acts, but wound up last December – are the latest former Football League club to begin the journey back from oblivion. Five months after they set alarm bells ringing – literally – when they were handed the keys to their ground, Hereford return home to Edgar Street on Saturday with a pre-season friendly against celebrated fan-owned non-league outfit FC United of Manchester.” BBC (Video)


The Ugly Game – How football lost its magic and what it could learn from the NFL

July 9, 2015

“Martin Calladine is a disillusioned football fan who is going over to the ugly game that is American football. On his way out he offers observations on the differences between the two sports in 20 loosely connected short essays. He is an intelligent consumer of the sports, rather than a business insider or supporter activist, and brings some interesting perspectives to bear on the current failings of football. But The Ugly Game is not even a wish list, let alone a manifesto for change. There is no rigour in the 
comparisons; he uses the Premier League, English football and football in general interchangeably. The hugely differing structures and contexts that surround the NFL and Premier League are ignored. Calladine has a desirable destination in mind but no means of direction towards it.” WSC

Piece for TheSecretFootballer.com: Five lessons the Premier League could learn from the NFL
“In the United States, you can buy almost anything. Anything that is but the Super Bowl. Because, remarkably, the National Football League (NFL) is a sport where the worst team still gets the first pick of the best players. A sport where the amount that clubs can spend is tightly controlled to prevent billionaires buying success. A sport where TV income is shared equally, where there’s no prize money for winning the Super Bowl and where smaller clubs can hold on to their star players. For the growing band of British NFL fans, then, the game offers not just an exhilarating sporting spectacle but a vivid reminder of where English football has gone wrong. Here’s five lessons – of many – that the Premier League could learn from the NFL …” The Ugly Game

amazon – The Ugly Game


Missing Lions: The true cost of English football’s class divide

July 5, 2015

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Eton schoolboys gather to watch The Wall Game.
“Class and football is inseparable as far as England is concerned. No other nation outside of the British Isles seems to hold the same pretensions and stresses over the social strata that its footballers and football supporters belong to, or appear to belong to, as England does. Though the late-19th Century public schools may have moulded and codified its laws, and helped spread the sport across the world through the networks of the empire and enterprise, it is unquestionably the game of the working class. Urbanisation and industrialisation brought people together like never before to learn, play and grow football into a national pastime, and ultimately a cultural phenomenon in its own right. But where did all the public school boys go after the masses ran away with their rule book?” Squawka


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