Brian Clough Television Interview From 1969-70: Cocky And Confident As Always

April 7, 2013

“I came across a new TV documentary this evening that I hadn’t seen before about Brian Clough. It’s from 1969-70. Uniquely, the TV documentary starts off by asking then Derby County manager Brian Clough what his expectations are for the season. He goes through his entire squad and offers his critique of each player, what they can contribute and how he thinks his just-promoted side will do. Then in the second half of the interview, the same interviewer goes back to Brian Clough at Derby and reviews how well (or not) his predictions did, as well as discussing how the season went.” EPL Talk (Video)

Forward Brazil

April 4, 2013

“As five-time World Cup champion, the Brazilian national team has become known the world over not just for winning, but for winning with a joyous panache that has become synonymous with the beautiful game. However, behind every one of Ronaldinho’s toothy grins and camouflaged by the color-shocked mohawk clinging to Neymar’s head lies an intensely complicated relationship between nation and sport. Over the course of the 20th century, the average Brazilian’s rabid devotion to football allowed the game to be manipulated – serving as an opiate to anesthetize the Brazilian people toward the actions of their government. This wicked transformation has never been more apparent than during the 1970’s. Then, the military dictatorship under Emílio Médici spared no expense to ensure that its brutal totalitarian measures were shaded by the blinding brilliance of joga bonito.” In Bed With Maradona

Deconstructing the Plovdiv Pistolero

April 2, 2013

“In the middle of the 4th century B.C., the all-conquering army of Philip II of Macedon swept southwards through the Balkans, thus setting into motion an enduring legacy that would be continued and expanded upon by Philip’s more renowned son; the famous, infamous, and glorious Colin Farrell. In the course of that marauding charge – in 342 B.C., to be precise – Philip passed through the now-Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, renaming it after himself as he did so (Philippopolis). The arrival of Philip preceded centuries – millennia, even – of invading forces pitching their tents at the walls of Plovdiv, attempting to make the city their own. 72 B.C. saw the Romans give it a shot, under the leadership of Marcus Lucullus. More than a hundred years later, in 46 A.D., Plovdiv finally ceded to the Romans and their Emperor Claudius.” In Bed With Maradona

USA did it in 1994, why not Qatar?

March 26, 2013

“The latest debate in World football is getting ugly. A political agenda is being created. A heated discussion on culture. Questions are being raised over just the nature, ethics and customs of the host nation. As Marina Hyde puts in her piece for the Guardian ‘football may finally be about to go to war’. And this unfortunate chain of events has taken away the beauty of this beautiful game, and put it into a cringe-worthy and down right embarrassing situation. The respect that this ‘World’ sport demands, its very synonym of a ‘Global’ game may seize to exist.” Outside of the Boot

The Heart and Soul Of Khalilou Fadiga

March 26, 2013

‘Bouba Diop is there!’ … There is a short but telling pause. John Motson, one does sense, must have been comfortable in the knowledge that nothing would shock him on the pitch that day, that in the world of football he had simply seen too much. And yet the commentator older than time itself, and whose trademark sheepskin coat is probably even older than that, is lost for words. He is forced to repeat himself, this time louder, certainly, but somehow more hesitant, more noticeably taken aback. … ‘Bouba Diop is there!’ Again, momentary silence.” In Bed With Maradona

Allah’s Back Heel

March 17, 2013

“The tendency to categorise and rate the footballing talents Africa has produced is something of a modern phenomenon. This is due in part to the perception that African players have been somewhat late to the party in terms of making an impact on a global stage. As such the majority of the ‘greatest African footballers’ lists are weighted greatly towards players of the mid- 90s onwards, give or take a dancing Cameroonian. One player who is consistently overlooked is Mustapha Rabah Madjer. A player of unheralded finesse and technical ability on the pitch, only matched by his combative nature off it. His footballing attributes led to him becoming not only Algeria’s greatest footballing export but also a symbol for a nation to latch onto as it searched for its identity. Madjer was born in the costal city of Algiers in 1958. The city was at the epicentre of the Algerian independence movement, which sought to throw off the shackles of French colonialism. A bloody and vicious war was fought between the various factions and the French troops sent to maintain order – a war that resulted in Algerian independence and the fall of the 4th French republic.” In Bed With Maradona

An Obsession With Marcelo: No Madness at All

March 6, 2013

“On insanity, few have been more veracious than the Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño. In his own inimitable way the nomadic novelist and poet acknowledged what others often refuse to see; that we are all unhinged in our own delicate fashion. To some extent we will freely admit to our peculiarities, but largely our madness is defined by those around us, who witness our behaviour and for reasons of comfort believe it to be more abnormal than their own. How strange it is to be denied even the possession and enjoyment of our own madness by people who yearn to tell us that, yes, we are certainly mad.” In Bed With Maradona

Any way back for one of Scotland’s legendary names?

March 4, 2013

“Heard the story about the Glasgow based football club who ran into financial calamity and went bust? Of course you have, but this tale of woe isn’t about the collapse of Rangers, but a club whose name is woven into the fabric of Scottish football’s early days – Third Lanark.” World Soccer

England’s World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore: 20 years gone, but never forgotten

February 24, 2013

“Across town at Wembley, setting for Moore’s finest hours, the flag of St George will fly at half-mast. A skilled surgeon operated on Moore’s colon in 1991 but the cancer would not yield. It spread to the liver. Moore never complained. He simply set about delaying its pitiless impact. Eventually, on Feb 15, 1993, England’s World Cup-winning captain released a statement, revealing his illness was terminal. Two days later he was at Wembley, commentating on England’s game against San Marino for Capital Radio, his collar turned up to hide his paleness. A week later, on Feb 24, 1993, Moore passed away. He was only 51.” Telegraph – Henry Winter

The Dromedaries

February 17, 2013

“The politics of Western Sahara are complex. Spain renounced control of the territory in 1975 giving Morocco and Mauritania joint administrative control but the Polisario Front rebelled and announced a Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) with an exiled government based in Algeria. Mauritania pulled out and a 1991 ceasefire left Western Sahara largely in Moroccan hands but partly in those of the SADR. The territory has been in political limbo ever since, a story largely ignored by the mass media and the big nations who tend to overlook the divide and push for an agreement.” In Bed With Maradona

The Second Coming Of Third Lanark

February 10, 2013

“Heard the story about the Glasgow based football club who ran into financial calamity and went bust? Of course you have, but this tale of woe isn’t about the collapse of Rangers, but a club whose name is woven into the fabric of Scottish football’s early days – Third Lanark. The club who were based in the city’s south side were founded in 1872 by the 3rd Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers after the soldiers were inspired to create their own team by the first ever international match between Scotland and England at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow.” In Bed With Maradona

Bundesliga Rewind – West Germany vs. France – 1982 World Cup

February 5, 2013

“The German national team kicks off their calendar year with a friendly against France this Wednesday. To get you in the mood we’ll wind back the years and take a look at a match widely considered to be one of the greatest in World Cup history and certainly one that still sticks in the memories of many France and Germany fans, their epic encounter in the 1982 semi-finals in Spain.” Bundesliga Fanatic

The Soaring Blue and Black Lions

January 26, 2013

“A short drive south of Rome is a rather curious city, so very Italian and yet in all of Italy there exists no other city like it. It is a city whose football club has never before gone beyond the third division and yet which has produced one of Italy’s greatest ever goalscorers and one of the jewels in Maradona’s Napoli. But if you haven’t heard of Latina and its blue and black lions, perhaps you soon will. The team is within touching distance of playing in Serie B for the very first time. Latina lies less than an hour south of Rome along the historic Via Appia and is a very atypical city; rich in history and yet less than 100 years old. Founded by the Benito Mussolini-led Fascist regime in 1932, it was first named Littoria (after the fascio littorio) and was a grand symbol of the regime’s nation building program.” In Bed With Maradona


January 17, 2013

“It is the 24th of April 2000 in Argentina, and the turn of a new millennium has seen the continued upturn in fortunes of Club Atlético Excursionistas, a Primera C side who have racked up ten successive victories under director técnico Néstor Rapa. Sitting pretty at the top of the table, they have a home clash versus Club Comunicaciones at Pampa y Miñones, the 8,000 capacity ground that hides, camouflaged, in the Belgrano neighbourhood of Buenos Aires.” In Bed With Maradona

Die Dritte Nationalmannschaft

January 13, 2013

“Most football fans can recall two German national teams, East and West, participating on the international stage prior to the demolition of the Berlin Wall. But, for a while, a third German national team existed. In modern Germany, Saarland is a small federal state along the border of France and Luxembourg. In the past, the political identity of this state has been the cause of a tug-of-war between France and Germany. After World War II, Saarland came under the administration and jurisdiction of France as the Saar Protectorate. Its highly valuable coal industry was one of the reasons why the French government showed great interest in the area. During this period, Saarland had its independent political identity and its own constitution and between 1950 and 1954, it was accredited by FIFA as a separate footballing nation.” In Bed With Maradona

St Pat’s ’98 and the False Dawn Of Irish Football

January 9, 2013

“Paul Lambert and Henrik Larsson were in no mood to hang around. After Celtic’s 73rd home game in Europe, they shook a few hands and immediately hurried off the pitch. It was a result that verged on the humiliating: a 0-0 stalemate, just the 12th draw in those 73 games that included 53 wins, against a team they hadn’t given a second thought to swatting aside. The 56,000 home crowd had mostly dispersed as a group of players — most of whom they’d never heard of — sprinted to salute the pocket of 1,500 delirious away fans tucked into a corner of Celtic Park. It was just the second time their team had avoided defeat in an 11-game European history.” In Bed With Maradona

Revival of Videoton bodes well for Hungary

January 7, 2013

“Twenty-six long years have passed since Hungary last participated in a major footballing tournament. It was the World Cup of 1986 in Mexico and even though confidence was high, the Magyars crashed out in the group stage after disappointing results to France and their bitter foes, the Soviet Union.” World Soccer

After the Curtain Had Fatten
“The domestic football league of the old USSR was a vast, vibrant, and powerful competition, containing as it did clubs such as the Moscow giants Dynamo, Spartak, CSKA – and occasionally Torpedo – as well as influential teams from the republics, like the Dynamos of Kiev, Tbilisi, and Minsk. Evidently, the league would have been exceptionally strong and closely contested – it was so strong, in fact, that it rose to second place in UEFA’s league rankings.” In Bed With Maradona

Snapshot: Applause For The Brave Amateurs From Germany

December 31, 2012

“Borussia Mönchengladbach’s first journey into European action earned them the respect of their professional opponents. German sides have throughout the existence of the European Cup Winner’s Cup been involved in a number of memorable matches: Fortuna Düsseldorf’s 4-3 loss to a legendary Barca side in the final of 1979 or Werder Bremen’s win over Arsene Wenger’s AS Monaco are certainly highlights to cherish. The list goes on. The competition itself got off to a bumpy start in the 1960/61 season though. Only ten cup winners chose to participate in the first edition of the competition. Borussia Mönchengladbach were amongst those ten teams, and were lucky enough to go past the first round on a walk over draw. The luck ran out when it came to the quarter-final draws. Bernd Oles’s side had to go up against Scottish cup champions and greats Glasgow Rangers.” Bundesliga Fanatic

The forgotten story of … Heleno de Freitas

December 12, 2012

“For most in Brazil, what happened in the Rasunda Stadium in 1958 was a gleeful affirmation of what they had always known. They were the world’s great football nation and beating the hosts, Sweden, in the final was vindication after the trauma of the defeat to Uruguay in the Maracanã eight years earlier. In an asylum in Barbacena in the state of Minas Gerais, patients clustered anxiously round a radio as the game entered the final minute. A cross came over, Pelé rose and made it 5-2: the world title was confirmed. Patients and staff celebrated together – all except one. In his room, alone, Heleno de Freitas filled his mouth with cigarettes, lit them all and tried to smoke himself to death.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Heleno de Freitas
“Heleno de Freitas, nicknamed Prince Cursed, (born 12 February 1920 in São João Nepomuceno, Brazil; died 8 November 1959 in Barbacena) was a Brazilian footballer. The striker spent most of his career with Botafogo, scoring 209 goals for the club, most with his head. In 1948 he transferred to Boca Juniors in Argentina, but returned to Brazil the following year, winning the 1949 Campeonato Carioca with Vasco. He ended his career with América in Rio, he played only one match for the club and it was the first and last game in the Maracanã. He died in 1959 in a sanatorium in Barbacena.” Wikipedia

Dundee United’s Domination Of Barcelona

December 3, 2012

“Celtic made waves across Europe with their Champions League group stage win over Barcelona. While the result was a notable upset, it was in keeping with the Catalan side’s decidedly average record against teams from Scotland. Curiously, in 18 contests Barca have won six, drawn five and now lost seven against Scottish opposition. The Bhoys’ recent triumph was their second against the side from the Nou Camp, following on from a first-leg win in the 2003/04 UEFA Cup which helped them progress to the last eight of the competition. Back in season 1960/61 meanwhile, Hibernian’s 3-2 victory at Easter Road clinched a 7-6 aggregate win in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup quarter-finals. However, when it comes to taming Barcelona, one Scottish team have a record that many bigger clubs can only dream of.” In Bed With Maradona

Cameroon’s Théophile Abega was so intelligent they called him the doctor

November 27, 2012

“Some time towards the end of January, Théophile Abega stopped replying to my calls. I was in Equatorial Guinea, heading on to Cameroon, and was keen to meet him, partly to talk about the rivalry between Thomas N’kono and Joseph-Antoine Bell for my book on goalkeeping but mainly because, well, because he was Théophile Abega, one of the most skilful African midfielders of all time, the man who led Cameroon in 1984 to their first Cup of Nations triumph, scoring a brilliant goal in the final.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Dictators and Soccer: Mobutu Sésé Seko of Zaïre

November 16, 2012

Mobutu (right) with Pelé in 1968 – Zaïre – 1974 World Cup
“In 1974 the ex-colonial and newly named Zaïre played its first World Cup in West Germany. The country’s diminutive strongman Mobutu Sésé Seko, famous for his trademark leopard-print pillbox hat, had rechristened the Lions the Leopards. (Consistency is key in propaganda.) He had convinced himself that Zaïrean soccer could further elevate his own stature. He liked elevating himself and he liked renaming things. He’d re-minted the country from Congo Crisis First Republic (formerly The Belgian Congo) to Zaïre, which translated to, ‘The river that swallows other rivers.’ He fully intended to hoover up every power and exploit every possibility. He’d already outlawed all political parties except his own, and outlawed all wearing of leopard-print hats, except of course his own.” Cult Football

Dictators and Soccer: Nicolae Ceaușescu, Genius of the Carpathians
“Up until Christmas 1989 when a three-man firing squad executed Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena after a quickie two hour tribunal, the archetypal Iron Curtain strongman ruled Romania with an iron fist. After getting strafed with bullets, however, the iron fist swiftly went limp, then rigor mortis. And as the title up top suggests, soccer most definitely played its part in the image engine of the autocratic regime.” Cult Football

Bundesliga 50: The 1960′s – The Rise of Professionalism and the Anglo-German Rivalry

November 16, 2012

“The 1960′s were characterized by Germany’s gradual rise as a force in international football again. The success in 1954 had been a one off but from the late 1960′s Germany was an established force in international football and the rewards paid off in European Cups as well as triumphs at the European Championship in 1972 and the World Cup in 1974. More importantly, the 1960′s saw the formation of the Bundesliga, which became an instant success story. This is the first piece in a series covering the last 5 decades of the Bundesliga, commencing with the 1960′s.” Bundesliga Fanatic

A Game Without Rules

November 11, 2012

London’s Wembley Stadium, 1954
“In 1904, three years after the first Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to the French poet Sully Prudhomme, the English Football Association chose not to participate in the formation of an International Football Federation (FIFA). They could not see the point. Nor in 1930, the year in which Sinclair Lewis won the Nobel, did England participate in the first World Cup: the English objected to the prospect of a ten-day ocean crossing to Uruguay to play teams that meant nothing to them. The first international football game, they pointed out, had been between England and Scotland, in 1872—a time when Alfred Nobel was still focused on improving his dynamite. Who needs Argentina or Brazil when you have Scotland to play?” NYBooks

The ‘Polish Barcelona': This Is Ruch Chorzow

November 6, 2012

‘We’re not German; We’re not Polish; We’re Silesian.’ This is a common refrain from members of the Silesian minority in the industrial region of Upper Silesia in southern Poland. With a population of around 2,000,000, the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union (GZM), whose largest city is Katowice, is one of the biggest urban agglomerations in Europe. For many years, this densely populated region straddled the border between Germany and Poland, with Katowice (Kattowitz) part of the German Empire and neighbouring Sosnowiec part of Congress Poland. After the First World War, the League of Nations arranged for a plebiscite to determine the fate of the region, with Western Upper Silesia remaining part of Germany and Eastern Upper Silesia joining with the Second Polish Republic (although given a considerable degree of political autonomy). When the Germans invaded in 1939, Polish Upper Silesia was annexed to the Third Reich and many Silesians were granted German citizenship.” In Bed With Maradona

Bolivian Football: Not Dull

October 30, 2012

“Firstly, let me set the scene. It’s my first game from the Bolivian LFPB (Liga del Fútbol Profesional Boliviano) with Universitario de Sucre facing Oriente Petrolero, two teams languishing in the mid-table region of the Apertura half of the competition. Going in to the game, Oriente Petrolero had drawn a mind-boggling 8 of their 11 games, and had only lost once. Universitario were just a point better off but were playing at the Estadio Olímpico Patria, where they had a fine record.” In Bed With Maradona

Ban This Unfairness To ‘Keepers

October 24, 2012

“It seems fairly certain now that FIFA will bring in legislation during 1966 to prohibit charging the goalkeeper. In effect, an unwritten law to this extent is already in force throughout the Continent and South America. Thus, Britain alone will be affected. My own feeling is that the law is long overdue. Of course, there will be opposition to it. The health-and-moral-strength brigade will try to convince us that we are taking one more step towards the emasculation of the Briton, and his national game. Others will deplore the licence given to goalkeepers to hold up play by eternally bouncing the ball, while their forwards run into position, and their defence moves up to put the opposing forwards offside. Charging, these people will tell us, is historically ‘part of the game’, which is undeniable.” In Bed With Maradona

The Summer Is Important: English Football In the Shadow Of the 1966 World Cup

October 24, 2012

“Somewhere along the line there had to be a calming influence, for the draw for the World Cup Finals in London early in January threw the domestic soccer season into something of a panic. Representatives from the interested bodies arrived in their droves and the press, radio and television coverage was something that we have not experienced before. Of course, the event has never taken place on our own doorstep previously and it now looks as if everything has been done to make the Finals a memorable occasion. The spate of publicity did wonders for the sale of tickets which had been selling at a steady rate before and we were only a few months off knowing how English soccer supporters would take to summer football.” In Bed With Maradona

The Peerless Jozsef Bozsik

October 18, 2012

“Among the most widely noted tactical phenomena of the last ten years has been the increasing importance of the ‘deep lying playmaker’. As teams have lined up with ever more defensive midfielders, previously advanced midfielders have dropped ever deeper themselves in search of precious space. In many ways this isn’t a new trend, but simply a return to a practice of the 1950s and earlier. For prior to the advent of the WM, the deep lying playmaker (such as Austria’s attacking centre-half, Ernst Ocwirk) was a mainstay of the game.” In Bed With Maradona

Brazil’s ‘Stray Dog’ Complex

October 16, 2012

“In the early twentieth century Latin American football was growing rapidly. Uruguay had won the triple crown of the Olympic Games in 1924, ’28 and the inaugural World Cup held in Uruguay 1930. Since then football had sprung up across the continent reaching all sections of society and social class, from Copacabana beach overlooked by Sugarloaf Mountain to the country clubs. This new samba style football was developed; individual skill and flair outshined the rigidity of European tactics. The flamboyant philosophy is an extension of the carnival. Brazilians like to show off. There is a word in Brazil ufanismo, boastful, arrogant nationalism. When Brazil was chosen to host the 1950 FIFA World Cup, they were going to put on a show to encapsulate their style of play, but come the climax of the competition, the Uruguayans did not read the script, and Brazil paid the price.” In Bed With Maradona

In Praise Of Giorgio Chiellini

October 14, 2012

“Many things come to mind when watching 26 year old Giorgio Chiellini in the distinctive black and white stripes of Juventus or the proud blue of the Italian national team. Yet, even in this age of instant media and overused superlatives, first impressions still count for much and perhaps in this case that snapshot proves unerringly accurate. With his shaven head, robust tackling and constant yelling – at opponents, team-mates and even himself – it is hard not to describe Chiellini in exactly the way we initially view him; a typically uncompromising Italian defender. He is something of a throwback, bringing images of the man markers – ‘stoppers’ as they are called in Italy – of yesteryear, a modern take on the old school type of player the peninsula became synonymous with thanks to the rugged displays of men like Giorgio Ferrini, Pasquale Bruno and of course Juve’s own Claudio (not so) Gentile.” In Bed With Maradona

Why Cruyff Boycotted Argentina 78

October 12, 2012

“The world cup of Argentina 78 has left a Proustian imprint on my memory. It was the first tournament I had watched in color. My mother had managed to scrape up the deposit on a color TV to replace the archaic black & white set and a whole new world was opened up to me. The color TV was rented to us by a company called Telebank. The TV ran on a meter that you fed with fifty pence pieces and at the end of the month the collector would call and take out the hire fee. Any amount over the hire fee was refunded to you, so in a strange way, you were actually rewarded by the amount of hours of television you watched.” Sabotage Times

Searching For the Young Soul Rebels: The Real Madrid Blueprint 1965

October 10, 2012

“It has been said by the critics that one man cannot make a team, yet when Argentina-born Alfredo Di Stéfano flew the Atlantic to join Real Madrid in 1953, it marked the beginning of an era in which the blond centre-forward led the club to real greatness. Champions eight times in eleven seasons, Real became the most famed and most feared club side of all time, and at the height of their power between 1956 and 1960, set up what will probably remain an all-time record by taking the European Cup five times in a row.” In Bed With Maradona

BBC Italia 90 Titles

October 5, 2012

“Deep breath…. No, it’s no good. You were going to get a snappy intro here but I was in a pool of tears and snot after about three seconds…… At the time, Italia 90 was lambasted as a poor tournament, yet hundreds, possibly thousands of us can recall every kick. Anyway, the BBC got the title sequence bang on the money. Here’s the opening and closing credits………sniff……” In Bed With Maradona

HH2: The Other Herrera

October 3, 2012

“An autocratic manager of South American descent, a success in Spain but enjoying his peak years at the sharp end of catenaccio-fuelled 1960s Serie A. Articles about the well documented life and times of Signor Herrera are not exactly thin on the ground, but this time Helenio takes only an unfamiliar supporting role. This is actually the story of one of his main managerial contemporaries, the unrelated Paraguayan Heriberto Herrera, or HH2 as he was to be christened by the Italian press. He was a manager who is barely known today despite a career that reads like a diluted and histrionic free version of Helenio’s. He may not have amassed the prodigious trophy haul nor the media adulation of HH, but he did joust gamely with ‘il mago’ and bloody his nose on several occasions.” In Bed With Maradona

The Dynamos

September 24, 2012

“It was supposed to be the ultimate football franchise: Eleven man armies that would prove communist superiority in the world’s most popular sport. But more than two decades after the USSR and the Eastern Block fell apart, the Dynamo movement is fading. This is the story of a football machine that rarely worked and, after ninety years of troubled existence, is still in search of its true identity. Born in 1923 to an authoritarian, unstable and violent family, Dynamo Moscow was imagined to be an athletic role model. However, as happens with all autocratic concepts, this desire of an idealist communist sport club crumbled under the weight of its own expectations.” In Bed With Maradona

Esposto: Then and Now—Paris Saint-Germain

September 18, 2012

“A look back 20 years shows that the parallels exist between Paris St-Germain’s 1991 takeover by Canal Plus and their current owners Qatar Sports Investment – the lavish spending, the top talent, the expectation of immediate success, but will things end differently this time around? As the club begins their Champions League campaign on Tuesday, this is the story of Les Parisiens – from then to now.” The Score

This Is A Red and Brack Nation

September 10, 2012

“Over an hour before kick-off and the stadium was already awash with flags, banners and fireworks as it rocked to the drums and chants of the Torcidas. I was in Rio for the game known as the Fla-Flu, the derby between Flamengo and Fluminese. While not as big as Vasco vs Flamengo, the excellently named derby of the millions, the Fla-Flu is a game of historical significance. And the pre-match atmosphere was certainly living up to the hype as the two sets of fans took in turns to explode into action.” In Bed With Maradona

West Germany v Austria, 1978: Unravelling the “Shame of Córdoba”

September 10, 2012

“Germany versus Austria, and a match that would find its place in history and footballing folklore. In Austria it would be known as Der Wunder von Córdoba or ‘the miracle of Córdoba’. In Germany meanwhile it would become known as Der Schmach von Córdoba, or ‘the disgrace of Córdoba’. While one could understand the reaction of the Austrians to what was ultimately a meaningless match – they had not defeated the Nationalmannschaft since 1931, after all – I have always wondered why it was seen as such a big deal in Germany. OK, Helmut Schön’s side had given their little Southern brothers a rare chance to engage in hysterical hyperbole, but in truth the 3-2 defeat didn’t really amount to much in the end.” Bundesliga Fanatic

The Curse of Wembley

September 6, 2012

“The title of the film by German film maker Stefan Keber suggests what many people already know: England have not won any major trophy since their World Cup triumph at Wembley in July 1966: England are cursed by Wembley and the third goal. Not just that, every time they appeared to be coming close to another final, there were German teams eliminating them from the tournament. The last time in 1996 at the Euro held in England.” Do not mention the war (Video)

That Watford and Udinese Thing: Reasons To Be Cheerful

September 4, 2012

“In the summer of 1986 Udinese were in trouble. As punishment for their part in ‘Totonero bis’ – a match-fixing scandal which tore through the game and left many of its players and clubs tainted forever – the Friulian club were relegated to the second tier of Italian football. While his arrival may not have had the global impact of Silvio Berlusconi’s landing at Milan some four months earlier, Giampaolo Pozzo’s arrival would prove to be a watershed moment for a club who bear little resemblance to the one he bought 26 years ago.” In Bed With Maradona

Horst Blankenburg: the forgotten man of German football

August 28, 2012

“Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, Sepp Maier. These are just some of the most successful and celebrated German footballers of all time, winning just about everything there was to win with club and country. Horst Blankenburg on the other hand is not a name that immediately springs to mind when discussing Germany’s most successful footballers but certainly merits a mention, at least at club level. Yet, few remember or know much about the man that never quite fit in in Germany and had to leave his home country to truly make a name for himself.” World Soccer (Video)

Total Football Comes To Loftus Road – The 1975/76 Season

August 28, 2012

“QPR fans disillusioned with their recent state of affairs (Four Year Plans, F1 moguls, narcissistic midfielders and the rest of it) will always hark back to the 1970s as the most glorious period in the club’s history. The pinnacle of this was the 1975-6 season, their ‘annus mirabilis’, in which Rangers finished runners-up in the First Division, to this day their highest ever finish.” In Bed With Maradona

The Donkeys Continue To Fly

August 23, 2012

“Donkeys will fly before Chievo makes it to Serie A.’ This was a chant directed towards and poking fun at local upstarts ChievoVerona from fans of city rivals Hellas Verona. Yet after a decade of contrasting fortunes for both clubs, the underdogs are currently having the last laugh. While Verona have spent most of the 2000s attempting to reclaim a place in the top flight, Chievo have all but sustained a place in Serie A since their historic promotion in 2001, even twice competing in Europe.” In Bed With Maradona

Sócrater the Liberator

August 19, 2012

“When the news broke in September last year that Sócrates, the legendary Brazilian midfielder, had been rushed to hospital for an emergency operation, I feared the worst. O Doutor had been a committed fan of alcohol and cigarettes for many years, I assumed his illness was related to his lifestyle choices. It appeared at first that he might be able to shake his sickness off, like he had so many opposing players. This time it was one attacker too many for him. Sócrates lived life by his own rules, and when the rules didn’t suit him he changed them. He was a marvellous footballer and always politically engaged, something he continued after retiring from playing. Indeed it is his involvement in the ‘Corinthians Democracy’ that particularly drew me to read about his life.” In Bed With Maradona

Maradona Collage By the Wild Bunch

August 12, 2012

“One of the best resources on the internet, The Wild Bunch website is a part French, part English language site which covers global football with a real retro slant. Featuring downloadable movies and an *huge* amount of great imagery, it’s unlikely you’ll not find something that raises a smile. The latest project for TWB is a hugely impressive collage of photographs featuring one Diego Maradona at various stages in his career. You’ll need to zoom in to get the full effect, but do check it out and make sure you bookmark The Wild Bunch.” In Bed With Maradona

Horst Blankenburg: The Forgotten Man

August 8, 2012

“Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, Sepp Maier. These are just some of the most successful and celebrated German footballers of all time, winning just about everything there was to win with club and country. Horst Blankenburg on the other hand is not a name that immediately springs to mind when discussing Germany’s most successful footballers but certainly merits a mention, at least at club level. Yet, few remember or know much about the man that never quite fit in in Germany and had to leave his home country to truly make a name for himself.” In Bed With Maradona

Ossie At 60

August 3, 2012

“Wily, diminutive, tricky, graceful; feel free to add your own adjectives. Ossie Ardiles arrived at Tottenham Hotspur from Huracán in 1978 alongside fellow World Cup winner Ricky Villa and became a firm favourite with the White Hart Lane faithful. While younger Spurs fans will marvel at the silky skills of Luka Modric, older ones will recall the guile of creator in chief Ardiles. Like Modric, not the most prolific goalscorer, but the key creative component of a number of Spurs sides in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. Sixty today, Ossie is back in management with second tier J League outfit Machida Zelvia. Here’s a nice tribute from 1985…” In Bed With Maradona (Video)

Klinsmann At Inter

July 30, 2012

“The baker’s son from Botnang done good. On the occasion of his birthday today we thought we would give you a little bit of Klinsmann at his best. We could have chosen one of the many compilations of goals scored for Germany, we could have gone with his time with Spurs and in particular that video of his goals set to ‘Gertcha’ by Chas and Dave, but as good as that would have been we went with this.” In Bed With Maradona (Video)

Raith Rovers: Kings Of Europe 1922

July 30, 2012

“When the dust settled on a difficult season last term for Scottish First Division side Raith Rovers it seemed that most fans were accentuating the positives. The final quarter of the season saw the team second only to champions Ross County in terms of consistency and points won, survival was finally guaranteed with a game remaining and a final day flourish in Greenock against Morton saw the team finish in a respectable seventh position.” In Bed With Maradona


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