The Nationalist Press in the Post-Dictatorship: Real Madrid, Marca, and Other Conspiracies

“There is a phenomenon in Spain, one that is on the lips of commentators of the Primera División all over the world, one that tinges any match involving Spain’s two biggest teams, Real Madrid and Barcelona: villarato. When I hear the word uttered on GolTv, on ESPN, even on the Fox Sport family of networks, it quickly becomes clear that the depth of this conspiracy is not that evident to those whispering its sinister name.” (Soccer Politics)


Old Infirm? The Further Travails Of Rangers & Celic

“Some ill-advised comments made by the Celtic chairman John Reid at last year’s club AGM may now be coming back to haunt him, as rivals Rangers seem to be coasting to a Scottish Premier League championship. Mark Murphy takes a look at how the two clubs have progressed this season and finds that Reid’s bullishness couldn’t have come with much worse timing.” (twohundredpercent)

Uncertainty stalks Gianfranco Zola as relegation clouds gather over West Ham

“Italian coaches will be everywhere at the Bridge. The Impossible Job has become the Italian Job. Marcello Lippi has won the World Cup while Giovanni Trapattoni wins friends with the Republic of Ireland. Zola, though, is under pressure. Widely considered one of the nicest men in an often heartless profession, the Sardinian who made the ball smile as an elegant maestro with Napoli, Parma and Chelsea, among others, now battles to keep West Ham United in the Premier League.” (Telegraph – Henry Winter)

The World Cup Of National Anthems (Part Two)

“Coaches could do worse that scan their opposition for signs of the mental state of their opposition and call their players back in. You can almost imagine Fabio Capello in the middle of a huddle of England players, explaining that they should push the ball wide early on because the opposing full-backs stood like rabbits caught in the glare of a car’s headlamps throughout the duration of, ‘Turks and Caicos, Sweet Home of the Parrot’. Today we sent noted musicologist and patriot Dotmund to cast his ear over the funky fresh sounds of Groups C and D.” (twohundredpercent)

Eight Out of Work Managers

“Paul Hart’s instalment at Crystal Palace last week continued the trend for this 2009-10 Championship season to resemble an episode of Swap Shop. We have remarked more than once in recent months how Chairmen have spent a minimum of time over their re-staffing decisions: the first name that springs to mind has become the main axiom. Hence, the newly sacked have been deemed the most suitable to take clubs forward – current experience has been valued above all and we have Darren at Preston, Brian at Burnley, Alan at Hillsborough and now Paul at the Palace.” (thetwounfortunates)

World Cup Moments: Das Wunder von Bern, 1954

“It may surprise the casual fan or those new to the sport to learn that Hungary were once, bar none, the greatest team in all the lands. In fact the Aranycsapat – the Magnificent, Magical, Marvellous or Mighty Magyars – still reign as a team of such hushed majestic legend you wonder if they existed in reality at all. They were tactical revolutionaries, the brainchildren behind Brazil’s dash to prominence and much of the modern game in general, and football’s unparalleled juggernaut; within a frame of six years, they lost one solitary football game.” (World Cup Blog)

All is not well at Anfield

“‘Remember Portsmouth’ was Rafa’s rallying call before last week’s game at Wigan. The rationale being, you’d imagine, that by invoking painful memories of that 2-0 defeat in December, Liverpool’s players would never dare tolerate such ignominy again. Unfortunately though, they took the manager’s words a little too literally, performing in much the same way they did at Fratton Park. That is, lumbering about the field with all the precision of a pensioner who’s forgotten where he left his glasses.” (WSC)