England face tall task to beat Slovenia’s goalkeeper Samir Handanovic

June 13, 2015

“Jan Oblak performed heroics when Benfica drew 0-0 away to Juventus in the second leg of the Europa League semi-final last season. He projects a confidence that makes him appear taller than his 6ft 1in. He secured a move to Atlético Madrid at the age of 21 as the long-term replacement to Thibaut Courtois and, although he has largely played second fiddle to Miguel Ángel Moyà this season, Oblak is widely regarded as one of the best young goalkeepers in the world. He even shares a surname with probably the greatest Slovenian footballer ever, Branko Oblak, but he is some way from becoming the first choice for his country and is unlikely to face England in their Euro 2016 qualifier in Ljubljana on Sunday. It’s a joke as old as international football itself: if we’re being kind to Josip Ilicic, Slovenia probably have three top-class players; two of them are goalkeepers.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Ireland versus England – The quest for footballing approval

June 4, 2015

“Relationships can be tricky at the best of times. Even when they’re over feelings can remain, passions linger, doubts about whether breaking up was the right decision can cloud one’s judgement. The unhealthiest of relationships can provoke these reactions and much as we like to think we’ve moved on and we’re being the bigger person we still crave attention; a reaction from our former partner. Much of recent Irish history, and almost all of our football history has lived out this type of conflict with our spurned partners England. Identifying ourselves as our own strong, confident, distinct individual nation while also being constantly obsessed with either getting one over on the English (Euro 88!) or craving their attention and approval to give validation to our actions.” backpagefootball


Britain’s “other” national team: Ellan Vannin

June 2, 2015

“The four national teams of the United Kingdom are supposedly England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Each with its own FIFA affiliated side, these nations have spanned generations and produced some wonderful footballers, and in the case of England have even won the FIFA World Cup, triumphing by a margin of 4-2 over West Germany in 1966 – a fond memory to those who witnessed that historic match.” Football Pink


Football League season review: Watford and how it all worked out in the end

May 22, 2015

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“ASHLEY GREB leaves no stone unturned as he pores over Watford’s ever-eventful Championship promotion season, final day paradoxical feelings and a manager missing his lightsaber. Returning home from walking the dog – early on Monday morning – outside our expatriate abode stood two ambulances; lights still on, their engines still purring. With a headstrong schnauzer pulling on his lead, I froze. Gazing through the worm hole; our shared drive formed the backdrop as efficient medical professionals busied themselves, practically on autopilot. Fixated on the scene, I wracked my brain for the correct words to use. What should I ask? What could I even say? Emergencies of this ilk weren’t exactly what Sir Keith Joseph had us cover in German O level.” Football Pink


Talent Radar Player Rankings: Top 10 Young Forwards in 2014/15

May 16, 2015

“In the past two weeks, we’ve updated our Talent Radar player rankings in the Goalkeepers, Defenders and Midfielders section. We’re now left with this season’s final issue of the Forward Rankings. It’s common tendency that players playing up front attract the most attention, from both fans and clubs. Many of the names on this list will be the subject of transfer speculation in the coming months. We’re going to leave any kind of speculation surrounding these players out of this and give you an unbiased judgement of how the players have done this past season to let you know the reason for the hype around them.” Outside of the Boot


Póg Mo Goal Magazine – Issue 2 Pre-Order

May 3, 2015

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“Póg Mo Goal is a new Irish football magazine focused on considered design and great quality writing from around the world. Issue 2 is now available for pre-order and will ship in a few weeks’ time. The magazine features writers, photographers and illustrators from Ireland and around the globe, including Hong Kong, USA, Brazil, Australia, The Netherlands, France, Italy and the UK. It includes Johnny Hynes of LFC magazine asking does style matter in football or is it just winning at all costs that counts. How Robbie Keane conquered America, the GAA’s ban on foreign games and famous games and events in the ‘Home of Irish Football’ Dalymount Park. David Villa’s brief cameo in the A League and the impact of the City Football group on the Australian domestic game. The Eritrean national team transplanted to the Dutch country-side. Rafael Esquer’s Studio Alfalfa reveal the inspiration behind the crest design of one of MLS’ newest franchises New York City FC. Typographer Sander Neijnens examines shirt number design. Specially commissioned pieces by illustrators Samuel Byrnes, Planning Unit, Geo Law, Ruben Gerard and more.” Póg Mo Goal


Why Newcastle United’s relegation should be a collective aspiration

May 3, 2015

“Newcastle United’s defeat to Leicester City taught us nothing we didn’t already know; they are a directionless football team with no redeeming qualities and, since the turn of the year, they have tumbled apathetically down the Premier League table. In one respect, they remain in control of their own destiny. Superficially they are well-placed to avoid relegation but, in all likelihood, they will have to rely on the ineptitude of those below them if they are to remain a Premier League side. Three games remain, but the chances of them picking up points from any of them seem remote.” Squawka


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