Zonal Marking’s 20 teams of the decade – in full

“After twenty trips down memory lane, this series has finally come to an end. Below are the twenty sides chosen, in descending order, to represent the 2000s in tactical terms. Choosing the sides was a difficult task. The intention was not to choose the twenty ‘best’ sides, but to choose twenty sides who were somehow interesting tactically, or those who made a significant impact upon the game.” (Zonal Marking)


Domination by Barcelona and Real Madrid making Spain the new Scotland

“The headline was as alarmist as it was partisan. ‘The government,’ declared Spain’s best-selling newspaper, ‘is trying to kill Spanish football.’ It was November 2009 and the Socialist party prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, announced an end to ‘the Beckham Law’. The sports daily Marca, part of the right-leaning El Mundo group, was furious. Presidents of the country’s biggest clubs threatened to lead a strike. At the Spanish League they were talking as if the four horsemen of the apocalypse had reared into view.” (Guardian)

The Professor’s Appeal Saves Him With One Arsenal Fan

“The harmony of 60,000 voices that drifts out of the Emirates Stadium in London every other week is evidence that sport can bring people together. Singing as one, Arsenal fans serenade the leadership of the bookish, 60-year-old Frenchman who leads their favorite soccer team. ‘One Arsene Wenger,’ rings the chant . ‘There’s only one, there’s only one Arsene Wenger. One Arsene Wenger!’” (NYT)

The Real Winner is…. Neil Lennon

“The fallout of Tony Mowbray’s sacking at Celtic leaves behind a trail of blame, bitterness and recrimination – but one person has come out as the winner from Mowbray’s disastrous reign. Neil Lennon. The Parkhead hero has been drafted in as the interim manager, bringing with him former team-mate and good pal, Johan Mjallby to try and salvage something from such a turgid season, but the fact that he has been handed the job when Mowbray had barely left the manager’s seat is not the reason why.” (ScotZine)

Labour’s Football Proposals: Playing To The Gallery Or Genuine Change?

“There was a time when members of parliament would only really queue up outside Westminster to discuss how to brow beat our game. They considered us animals that needed to be caged and carry ID cards at all times during the 1980s, it took a lot of work to undo the damage done to the reputation of the rest of us for the actions of what was always a very small minority. Times, however, have moved on. From Tony Blair playing keepy-ups with Kevin Keegan to Gordon Brown’s professed love of Raith Rovers, football’s use as a political football has almost now come full circle, and it has reached its logical conclusion with a story leaked to The Guardian this evening – possibly accidentally, more likely tactically – about Labour Party proposals for their forthcoming general election manifesto which, were it would happen, would go some way to changing the landscape of the game in this country.” (twohundredpercent), (Guardian – “Government’s plan to fix football: give clubs back to fans”)