Daily Archives: December 8, 2010

Two for your Christmas wish list

“The last two weeks have been ones of significant travel delays for The Ball is Round team. Not only did we travel to the arctic wastelands of Northern Denmark to bring you all the action from Randers v FC Copenhagen, but we then had to endure Easyjet at its worst with a 5 hour delay long into the middle of the night, and finally closer to home we have had to suffer the ineptness of SouthEastern railways. But all of this time spent waiting gave us a chance to catch up on some long overdue reading and some new games on our iPhone.” The Ball Is Round

Liverpool FC’s ‘Directorial’ Debut.

“The road that led to the manager’s position as it is currently understood – the man who is in charge of practically everything – has been a difficult and tortuous one. So domineering is the manager today that it is difficult to reconcile with the knowledge that it is a position that was born of the need to put a buffer between the team and those who owned it, one that was originally routinely carried out by the club secretary.” Tomkins Times

Video of the Week 2: Only a Game, the Story of Scottish Football, Part 3: The Player

“It’s time for another video, and tonight we return again to the 1985 BBC documentary series ‘Only A Game – The Story Of Scottish Football’. For the third part of this series, the focus is upon the player. The development of the player himself is particularly key to the growth of the game in Scotland. During the 1880s, many of the the first professional players to come into the new powerhouses of the English game were brought south from Scotland on account of their superior technical ability, and throughout the entire history of the game in the British Isles we have been fortunate to see such great players as Jim Baxter, Kenny Dalglish and Jimmy Johnstone, amongst many, many others. This video is divided into five parts, and our thanks go to the original uploader.” twohundredpercent

History teaches us that Fifa has changed little

“A couple of weeks ago I was doing the translating when Dan Roan interviewed former Fifa president Joao Havelange at the Soccerex conference in Rio de Janeiro. Still entirely lucid well into his 90s, the Brazilian was asked what needed to change in Fifa. ‘Nothing,’ he replied. ‘It’s perfect. It’s not because of one fact in 50 years [a reference to the recent corruption scandals] that we have to change.’ It is impossible to agree.” BBC – Tim Vickery

Porto’s Buy Low, Sell High Strategy

“When football fans witnessed Barcelona’s dazzling 5-0 demolition of rivals Real Madrid, they would have been forgiven for assuming that this was an unprecedented performance, but they would have only had to look back three weeks for a similar exhibition in Portugal, when Porto crushed Benfica 5-0 at the Dragão Stadium. The country’s most successful team of recent times thrashing its celebrated capital city opponents? Check. Inspired by a South American phenomenon? Check. Guided by a progressive young coach? Check. After finishing a disappointing third in the Portuguese League last season, Porto replaced their coach Jesualdo Ferreira with André Villas Boas, a protégé of José Mourinho.” The Swiss Ramble


“These days, Diego Tristán would be hard to find. It’s tough work to watch him on television: The games he played last year for Cádiz, in Spain’s second league, weren’t nationally or internationally televised, and this year, with Cádiz in the third division, it’s hard to prove that he’s on the team at all. It’s much harder to go in person, even if you are in Spain. Good luck looking through the papers. He can assume a caustic, detached air in interviews—if he’s even interviewed—and is already referred to as a has- (or could have-) been.” Run of Play

Crossing the Picket Line

“The question of the Italian players strike has reared its head once more. Like a dormant volcano, it had been resting beneath the surface of the Italian football landscape ever since the initial threats were made in September. Now the players have decided to invoke the strike action once more, and as a result, there will be no football this weekend. Stadiums will lie empty on the 11th-12th December in the hope that action rather than words will force more constructive negotiations between the AIC (Italian Players Association), the chairmen of Serie A’s twenty clubs and the league. Should the players carry out their threats, it will be the second strike in Serie A history. The first (which took place back in 1996) focused on contract details and changes required related to the Bosman ruling, which had been ratified earlier that year.” In Bed With Maradona

Smug cloud engulfs Barcelona, but Ronaldo is winning his war with Messi

“There are times when La Liga Loca is quite glad it doesn’t live in Barcelona, despite its beach and all that Gaudi architecture stuff. This week is one of those occasions. And not just because of the hell of la Rambla or the rats on the city’s metro system. Or the humidity in the summer. Or the pickpockets.” FourFourTwo