How far are Liverpool from Brendan Rodgers’ vision?

July 30, 2012


“New boss Brendan Rodgers looks to oversee a revolution in style at Liverpool this summer, as Kenny Dalglish’s under-performers are given a much needed revamp. Alex Keble, editor of tactics website TheChalkBoard.org.uk, asks: what changes will Rodgers make? Who will be leaving, who will be joining, and which current players will come to the fore?” FourFourTwo


How Olympic football affects the World Cup

July 30, 2012

“Olympic football may not be the main event of the Olympic Games but those teams taking part have an excellent opportunity to try things out as they prepare for the next World Cup. This has rarely been clearer than at Old Trafford on Sunday, when 2014 hosts Brazil were confronted with a problem they will surely meet time and time again in two years’ time. Opponents Belarus put 10 men behind the ball and looked to frustrate them, forcing them to pass sideways, hoping that Brazilian frustration would lead to error and then launching the counter-attack.” BBC – Tim Vickery


Football Needs Multiculturalism

July 30, 2012

“Multiculturalism has become an inordinately loaded concept in recent years – like ‘health and safety’ and ‘political correctness’, it’s a marvel how a presumably once positive set of values has now been branded with negative connotations. As Stewart Lee once said, ‘you can’t even write racial abuse in excrement on someone’s car without the politically correct brigade jumping down your throat’. When in doubt, ‘blame the effing Muslims’.” thetwounfortunates


Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini determined to strengthen champions’ squad before start of season

July 30, 2012


“The City manager, who struck a conciliatory note towards the club’s hierarchy by insisting they should no longer pay excessive fees for transfer targets, has yet to add to the squad who delivered the Premier League title to the Etihad Stadium last season. And while the Italian admits the priority this season is to retain the title and progress merely to the knockout stages of the Champions League, he insists that his recent calls for reinforcements have been rooted in his determination to elevate City from European also-rans to contenders for the club football’s premier competition.” Telegraph


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


Slavic Football Union

July 30, 2012

“The Slavic Football Union (SFU) is a collective effort to provide English-language coverage and analysis of the leagues, clubs, and cultures of central and eastern European football. Despite the Iron Curtain falling over twenty years ago, for many football fans the central and eastern European game remains shrouded in mystery. Troubled by the insufficient and scattered information available in English, the SFU is designed to assemble intelligent journalism devoted to football being played throughout the former Eastern Bloc countries.” Slavic Football Union


A History Of Football In Ukraine 1878-1945

July 26, 2012


“If you take a look at the official FIFA records, you will find that the Ukrainian national team, as a separate and recognized entity, has existed for only twenty years. Over these two decades their record has been rather unimpressive: one World Cup appearance in 2006, where they advanced to the quarterfinals and automatic qualification for Euro 2012 as co-hosts. But this unremarkable performance belies a glorious footballing legacy that Ukraine left behind as part of the Soviet Union. The books say that Russia is the official successor national team of the USSR. This appropriation of history overlooks just how influential Ukrainian players and clubs were in the Soviet era. Ukraine exists as an independent state since just 1992. But football in Ukraine goes much further back.” In Bed With Maradona


Football Voices

July 26, 2012

“The history of the World Cup has always been accompanied by very interesting radio and television commentaries. What follows is a collection of three classic and iconic commentaries from a German, an English and a Norwegian commentator.” Do not mention the war (Video)


Italy 3-2 Brazil, 1982: the day naivety, not football itself, died

July 26, 2012

“It’s 30 years ago this month that, according to Zico, football died. On 5 July 1982, in the Estadi de Sarrià in Barcelona, Tele Santana’s majestic Brazil lost to Italy and were eliminated from the World Cup. With them went the nostalgic form of Brazilian football, the fluid attacking style that had won them three World Cups between 1958 and 1970.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


How Are The FFP Impacting On Serie A’s Leading Clubs?

July 26, 2012

“Last April AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani was quoted as saying that the FFP would unfairly harm Italian clubs relative to their continental rivals. AC Milan for example are 7th in the Deloitte money table but Real Madrid have almost double the annual revenue as AC.” Think Football


Joe Cole at Lille – success or failure? What next for Liverpool’s Londoner?

July 26, 2012

“He arrived in France on deadline day, greeted by fanfare and trumpets and great expectations. By the end he left almost under the radar, the attention of most Lillois occupied more by the departure of golden child Eden Hazard. Joe Cole’s season long stay in the North of France was in many respects a curious one. But can it be deemed successful, and what is the next step for the man once hailed as the future of English football?” Just Football


The messy history of Olympic football has robbed it of a coherent narrative

July 24, 2012


“Part of the allure of the World Cup is that, despite changes to format, entrants, moments in early history when certain European countries refused to send teams to South America one year and vice versa the next, the tournament has managed to maintain a linear quality stemming from a basic competitive consistency. One can trace, for example, the narrative thread from Brazil’s 2002 World Cup win back to its lacklustre turn in 1994 when Baggio missed, through to its peak in 1970 when Pele hosted the Jules Rimet trophy, all the way to 1950 when Ghiggia scored Uruguay’s winning goal in the 79th minute leaving the Maracana in deathly silence. There are recurring heroes and villains, classic semifinals, great teams that never won (the Netherlands, Hungary), touchstone moments that changed the direction of the sport. Even the most casual soccer person will be able to recount in a reasonably dependable chronology.” The Score

Can Uruguay roll back the years at London 2012?
“The Paris Olympics of 1924 are best remembered in Britain for providing the backdrop to ‘Chariots of Fire.’ But for all the heroism of Messrs Liddell and Abrahams, something happened there with far greater consequences – the birth of modern football. No one knew much about Uruguay as they sailed their way across the Atlantic to take part in the football tournament. But they strolled to the gold medal, and did it with a balletic, artistic style of play which captivated spectators and set off a fever for the game. Four years later, to prove it was no fluke, Uruguay won the gold medal at the Amsterdam Olympics. Argentina came across as well, and they took the silver.” BBC – Tim Vickery

Strange things happen at a football Olympics – Simon Kuper
“In 1996, the Nigerian football team arrived at the Atlanta Olympics in their usual financial chaos. They stayed first in a college dormitory, later in a cheap motel. Most days they slept late, and then went for brunch at a Chinese restaurant. Their Dutch coach, Jo Bonfrere (known by Nigerian custom as ‘Bonfrere Jo’) paid for the meals out of his own pocket. On the field the Nigerians attacked frantically and won gold – the first African nation ever to do so in the football Olympics. Nwankwo Kanu, their ‘Lucky Skipper’, said of his last-gasp equaliser in the semi-final against Brazil (after Nigeria had been 3-1 down): ‘That goal was the most beautiful moment of my life.’” MIO Stadium

Olympic Football – The Real Thing?
“BBC football commentator Jonathan Pearce got through last Friday evening without once name-checking his current love…Cristiano bloody Ronaldo. He also avoided one word you would have thought key to his commentary on a football match between Great Britain and Brazil. Britain. In an age where succinct branding is so important (and Google “Bill Hicks advertising marketing” for my “view” on such things), “Team GB” is about as much detail as the modern sports fan is deemed capable of understanding. So Stuart Pearce’s hastily-flung together team of B-list England stars and most of the best of the Welsh were “Team GB” for the night. Maybe if they had the ball long enough to force Pearce to use two descriptions…” twohundredpercent


A Tactical Look At How Chelsea Might Line-up Next Season

July 24, 2012

“Having won the Champions League and announced Roberto di Matteo as their new manager, Chelsea have set about transforming the side that finished 6th in the Premier League last season. The club beat Man City and United to Hazard, arguably the most sought after player in Europe, as well as securing the less high profile signing of Marko Marin. Chelsea have further been linked with Brazilian play-maker Oscar, who has undergone a medical with the club, Porto forward Hulk and several leading right-backs. All of this indicates that an exciting new dawn could be on the horizon for Chelsea.” Think Football


Player power illustrates the frustrations of modern game

July 24, 2012

“The current cases of Luka Modric, Robin van Persie and Andy Carroll illustrate the dramas, tedium and sheer frustrations of our top-level game. These cases are not on all fours. Van Persie, a prolific scorer for Arsenal last season even if he disappointed so surprisingly in the Dutch Euro 2012 team, has a contract which runs out next summer and, thanks to the Bosman decision (Bosman himself, the root of it all, seems to have fallen neglected, on hard times) can walk out in a year’s time free of a fee.” World Soccer


Holy War

July 24, 2012


“The Miseducation of Claudio Reyna ended abruptly in late April. Reyna, the U.S. soccer team captain, had just joined the Scottish powerhouse Glasgow Rangers, and one chilly afternoon he wore a green sweatshirt to practice. That’s all it was, a simple green sweatshirt. To Glaswegians, though, the sport they call fitba is never simple, and if you’re on Rangers turf, donning green—the color of hated rival Glasgow Celtic—is like wearing a yarmulke in Gaza or a Bulls jersey in a Crips hood. ‘What are you doing, Claudio?’ said teammate Ian Ferguson. ‘Get that off you!'” SI: Holy War

Rangers make history out of chaos
“Rangers created history by winning the title at Celtic Park in a stormy Old Firm game which saw referee Hugh Dallas injured by a missile thrown from the pitch. One of the game’s few homegrown stars, Neil McCann scored two of the goals to give Rangers a first championship win in their rivals’ ground. But his contribution is probably the only consolation to the country’s football authorities after disgraceful scenes inside the ground. Television pictures beamed around the world showed referee Hugh Dallas with blood seeping down his forehead after being struck by a missile thrown from the crowd.” BBC

YouTube: Video Highlights Old Firm May 1999, Celtic Rangers May 1999


The rise of The Blizzard and what it means for football journalism

July 24, 2012

“Jonathan Wilson’s sat in a Moroccan restaurant. Not only is he late, worse still, his phone hasn’t made a sound since he got there. Earlier that evening the digital edition of The Blizzard had been launched and the silence is definitely a bad sign. The publication aims to provide a digital and print platform for long-form football journalism. What makes it unique is that it’s distributed on a pay what you can, profit-sharing basis, and the model had made the project a big gamble for everyone involved. Not only was no way to gauge whether readers would pay enough to cover the costs of a 200-page magazine, but circulation had to be built with little to no marketing.” Media Spank – Jonathan Wilson


You Can’t Fight the System

July 24, 2012

“Everton fans are a crazy lot. Once again the club goes out and gets a new striker. Once again everybody gets excited that maybe David Moyes will run out two true strikers for once. And once again the manager will disappoint everybody and only let one of his forwards out onto the field. Moyes has imprinted his system on Everton, and much like death and taxes, one of the few certainties in life is that after a manager institutes a system he isn’t going to deviate from it.” Royal Blue Mersey


Juan Alberto Schiafffino and the Demise of Uruguay

July 22, 2012


“Juan Alberto Schiaffino is now 51, and it’s 34 years since he was given the opening to launch a career which brought him fame as the world’s most expensive footballer. Today Schiaffino lives on the outskirts of Montevideo, his native city, in a spacious villa out towards the airport. ‘I’m not rich,’ he’ll tell you. ‘But I’m not poor either.’ Maybe that’s because he’s stayed out of football for most of the 15 years since he retired, after closing a glorious career with two years as a utility player at Roma in Italy. His steady determination to keep football at arm’s length may also have something to do with the fact that his looks still belie his years.” In Bed With Maradoda


Continental shift: why the Olympics mean so much to South America

July 22, 2012

“It is fair to say that, historically, South America has not made a huge impact on the Olympics. While it is true Brazil is working hard to broaden its sporting base, of the 20 gold medals the country has won, over half have come in the last four Games. Argentina has picked up 17 golds, but its glory days are long gone. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the Peron government invested heavily in a wide range of sports and leading athletes were closely identified with the regime, but all that ended when Peron was deposed in 1955. Since then, Argentina has claimed just four gold medals – two of them in the last two football tournaments.” World Soccer – Tim Vickery


Jonathan Wilson On World Football And Writing: Brazil, EURO 2012 And The Blizzard

July 22, 2012

“Following on from part 1, where Jonathan discussed liberos, zonal marking, back threes and more, we then discussed world football issues such as the Brazilian league and Poland and Ukraine’s co-hosting of EURO 2012, as well as his work on The Blizzard and his various football books.”
Jonathan Wilson On Tactics: Zonal Marking, Liberos And English Shortcomings, Jonathan Wilson On World Football And Writing: Brazil, EURO 2012 And The Blizzard


Liverpool: Why Agger And Skrtel Cannot Leave At Any Price

July 22, 2012


“Liverpool’s continued absence from the Champions League is dangerously becoming something of a self-defeating cycle. Without the prestige and, more importantly, the revenue from competing in Europe’s elite club competition, the Reds lack both the financial clout and the pulling power to compete with the top sides for the big names – and, on top of that, they’re now becoming vulnerable to other teams coming in for their star players, with the lure of big-money contracts and Champions League football potentially turning the heads of key members of Brendan Rodgers’ squad.” Sabotage Times


Spending spree buys PSG top talent, and maybe a Ligue 1 title

July 22, 2012

“Just before Sweden played France at Euro 2012 last month, as the players were waiting in the tunnel, Swedish captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic walked slowly along the line of French players, staring at each of them eye-to-eye. When he reached Adil Rami, the center back charged with marking him, he stopped. ‘You,’ he said, ‘today, you are my target.’ Sweden went on to win the game 2-0, with Ibrahimovic opening the scoring with a volley that was one of the best goals of the tournament.” SI


Sergio Busquets: Re-inventing the midfield pivot role

July 22, 2012

“Karthik Venkatesh (KV) lets his imagination run wild, likening Sergio Busquets to the sitcom character Barney Stinson. Oh, and he also argues why Busquets is one of this generation’s most important players. Sergio Busquets is the ultimate ‘Bro’ on the pitch. His game is so astonishingly altruistic that he can be fittingly compared to the perfect ‘wingman’ who will do his all to set you up with that girl of your wildest fantasies.” The Arsenal Column


FA decision on Terry will bring sorry chapter to needed close

July 20, 2012


“Sometime this week England’s Football Association is expected to decide whether to charge John Terry over allegations he racially abused Anton Ferdinand in a league game last year. That may well be a necessary procedural step, even after Terry was found not guilty of the same offense by a magistrate’s court last week, but this has become an incident in which almost no one, on any side, has come out with any credit — with the exception, oddly, of the British legal system, which has shown itself robust, fair and transparent in explaining its workings.” SI – Jonathan Wilson

The troubling contradiction at the heart of the John Terry trial
“Jonathan Wilson has a very thoughtful post up which helps untangle some of the maniacal media threads that have emerged as a result of the John Terry trial, in which he was found not guilty of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. Wilson painstakingly explains the basis of the rule of law, that the burden of proof is on the accuser to prove the defender guilty of crimes charged ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ To this day, many believe ‘not guilty’ verdicts somehow assert inviolable empirical fact, and the reaction to the verdict in some quarters reflects this belief. As with the workings of parliamentary democracy, it’s alarming how little citizens seem to understand the judicial and governmental system of which they are an involuntary participants.” The Score


A Brief History Of the Oriundo

July 20, 2012

“Camoranesi was a particularly easy target for critics because he never sang the Italian national anthem before matches, a complaint routinely rolled out during Italy’s triumphant World Cup campaign six years ago; in his defense, Camoranesi stated he simply did not know the lyrics.” In Bed With Maradona


Liverpool’s Tactical Woes, 2011/12 – Part Two

July 20, 2012

“There are two main ways to approach the selection process. The first is to pick each player by ‘type’ and select men who will complement each other on the pitch, producing a balanced and cohesive team. The manager simply gives these players a general framework to play in and lets them play. This method is not very detailed; the trick is in signing the right archetypes. We can broadly call this the ‘macro’ method. The second approach is much more sophisticated and requires a much deeper understanding of tactics and the ability to translate these ideas into instructions the players can absorb and understand. They will need to know precisely what they are expected to do in any given situation. Player types become less important as specific instructions can govern behaviour – but the balance and detail of the manager’s plan has to be spot-on. This, then, is the ‘micro’ method.” Tomkins Times


Evolution or revolution? Who and what to expect this season from AVB’s Spurs

July 20, 2012

“Tottenham Hotspur have so far been relatively inactive in this summer’s transfer window, ahead of Andres Villas-Boas’s second attempt at tackling the Premier League. His two signings so far are telling, but a few more will be needed to consolidate his team and prepare them for a top four challenge. What can we expect of Tottenham in 2012/13?” FourFourTwo


Goal-Post

July 20, 2012


“Goal-Post is a new anthology collecting the very best Victorian football writing, covering the birth and development of the world’s greatest game, and written by those who were there to witness it. It’s a collection of contemporary articles and extracts featuring some of the players, officials, clubs and matches that helped shape and define the game. In making these valuable, informative and entertaining pieces of writing accessible and available to the modern reader, Goal-Post aims to provide a flavour of what it must have been like to have enjoyed football in the latter part of the nineteenth century.” Victorian Football


A cross to bear: Liverpool’s crossing addiction | Full League Comparison

July 20, 2012

“In some recent interviews, Simon Kuper has suggested that Liverpool established a data-driven style of play focussed around crossing last season. He theorised that Liverpool attempted to cater to Andy Carroll’s heading strengths by buying players with good crossing statistics, such as Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson. Kuper then goes on to state that such an approach is flawed due to crossing being an inefficient means of scoring goals.” EPL Index


Once were Wycombe Managers

July 20, 2012

“Wycombe Wanderers may be but a nobbut middling sort of team supported by a load of middle-class scout leaders, but we do seem to attract a few names to our humble valley: men who have come from, or gone on to, much better things, whether that be the Premiership, Scottish championships, Europe, or international management. Here are the high and lowlights of our helmsmen since I’ve been a supporter…” thetwounfortunates


Wilson: Carroll Liverpool journey should end

July 20, 2012

“Liverpool’s decision to sign Andy Carroll, in January 2011, was logical in the context of the transfers that followed that summer. The £35million fee may have been high, but as Liverpool pointed out at the time, they essentially got him and £15million for Fernando Torres and that was consistent with a switch from an approach based on counter-attacking to one based on crossing. Whether or not Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing really were bought through some quasi-moneyball logic because they had created the most chances of any players realistically available, the acquisitions seemed to make sense: they could deliver balls for Carroll to use the aerial ability he demonstrated in scoring a classical header for England against Sweden in the Euros. That goal, stemming from a perfectly timed leap and a powerful flex of the neck muscles showed just what Carroll is good at.” ESPN – Jonathan Wilson


Paris Saint-Germain – Dream Into Action

July 18, 2012


“So, barring any problems with a medical, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will today sign for Paris-Saint Germain. Many in the football world have been shocked by PSG’s audacious €65 million swoop for the Milan duo of Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, but it really should come as no surprise given the club’s massive transfer outlay ever since it was purchased by Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) last summer.” Swiss Ramble


The State of Analytics: Crosses “are not an efficient way to score goals”—Kuper

July 18, 2012

“Won’t be a full column this week, but I wanted to point readers to Opta Pro’s interview with Soccernomics co-author Simon Kuper. I’ve written in the past that the perception of Soccernomics as ‘a book on soccer analytics’ has had unfortunate consequences for the popular understanding of statistics in football, reducing it to a set of curious ‘freakonomics’ style tidbits that have little to do with how teams play but instead how many fans kill themselves during tournaments, or why England doesn’t win World Cups.” The Score


Evolution of the False 9: How Barcelona and Leo Messi Made the Position Famous

July 18, 2012

“Is football even remotely the same as it was two seasons ago? If your answer to that question is no—as is mine, and most other football fans’—then you can probably apportion either blame or thanks to Pep Guardiola. The former Barcelona manager has single-handedly changed the face of football, taking a brilliant Blaugrana team and micro-managing some outrageous successes. One of the fantastic things about Guardiola’s managerial style is his ability to create, to change and to innovate. He is a proven virtuoso in his field, and his mastery of the “false nine” is just one in a long line of genius tactical adjustments.” bleacher report


Changing Chelsea

July 18, 2012

“It became almost a trademark, but not in a good way. Chelsea’s style was one evolutionary step beyond ‘catenaccio,’ not just parking the bus but packing a whole fleet of double-deckers in front of Petr Cech. Last season’s Champions League was won with a no-frills, safety-first approach; even the most blue-tinted fan would agree. But those who suggest that this is a sign of things to come from Roberto Di Matteo are wide of the mark. Chelsea’s summer dealings thus far — both in terms of completed deals (Werder Bremen’s Marko Marin and Lille’s Eden Hazard) and transfer targets (Internacional’s Oscar and Wigan’s Victor Moses — confirm that.” ESPN (Video)


Liverpool’s Tactical Woes, 2011/12 – Part One

July 18, 2012


“Kenny Dalglish was not the world’s greatest tactician, so it was only natural to expect Liverpool to struggle tactically under him. But before we explore these problems in detail from 2011/12 – what they were, why they occurred, how they could have been fixed – it would be instructive to look at the first six months of his second spell in charge of the club. What can we see from here that will help us draw useful conclusions about his performance last season?” Tomkins Times


The Very Best of Pitch Invasion

July 18, 2012

“A revolution in soccer writing has occurred in the twenty-first century with the rise of the internet as a platform for fans and academics to write for a broader audience. Some of the best of that writing is in this collection of 39 essays from the pioneering and award-winning blog Pitch Invasion. These essays feature sharp and critical perspectives on soccer history, culture, identity and the meaning of fandom in a global soccer world. Edited by Pitch Invasion’s founder Tom Dunmore, contributors from England, Finland, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, North America and Poland explore supporter culture worldwide and the sport beyond the headlines. This is a must-read collection for any serious fan.” amazon


A two-hour retrospective of the 1977 NY Cosmos season

July 18, 2012

“This has it all, and should give an exhaustive idea of why the Cosmos still matter almost four decades later. This is also why anyone who complains about the Age of the Internet needs to leave now without a fuss.” The Score (Video)


What is the Milan plan?

July 16, 2012


“You knew it was going to be a rude awakening. And it probably should have come sooner and more gradually, because we’ve all known about it for several years. But sometimes, you just have to go cold turkey. Milan’s imminent sale of Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris St. Germain is probably the first major side effect of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play plan. Coupled with the departures of Gianluca Zambrotta, Gennaro Gattuso, Clarence Seedorf, Mark Van Bommel, Alessandro Nesta and Pippo Inzaghi, it represents a massive overhaul aimed primarily at saving money and moving the Rossoneri towards FFP.” ESPN (Video)


Rotherham United: Two Stadia; Two Identities

July 16, 2012

“In April, David Rawson caught the imagination of football’s online community with a striking post following the arrival of Steve Evans at Rotherham United. Here, with the Yorkshire club about to take up residency in a new stadium and with the new season a month away, David is in wistful mood…” thetwounfortunates


Eduard Geyer – Energie Cottbus’ miracle worker

July 16, 2012

“How the man the Bundesliga didn’t want took a lowly eastern club into the top flight, and kept them there. With the increasing competitiveness of the Bundesliga, and clubs now as reliant as ever on money to succeed, it certainly isn’t easy for clubs from the east to compete. We are about to enter the fourth successive season without an eastern club in the top flight, and, in the 17 years since SG Dynamo Dresden’s relegation from the Bundesliga in 1994/95, only two clubs from the east have played in the Bundesliga. One is FC Hansa Rostock, the GDR’s final champions who intermittently played at the top level until the mid-2000s.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Racism in football: putting the boot in

July 14, 2012


Sol Campbell
“It is 30 years since Paul Canoville became the first black footballer to play for Chelsea. When the team-sheet was announced, with his name as substitute, the National Front held a meeting in a local pub to discuss the outrage. As Canoville warmed up, Chelsea supporters screamed, ‘Sit down, you black cunt’, ‘You fucking wog’. Then they started to chant: ‘We don’t want the nigger, we don’t want the nigger, la la la la.’ The abuse continued unabated for the next two years. That was when Herman Ouseley, then running the Ethnic Minorities Unit at the Greater London Council, decided something had to be done. In 1984, Ouseley, now Lord Ouseley, went to see Chelsea chairman Ken Bates, who couldn’t see there was an issue.” Guardian


How Football Tactics Were Born

July 14, 2012

“In the beginning there was chaos, and football was without form. Then came the Victorians, who codified it, and after them the theorists, who analysed it. It wasn’t until the late 1920s that tactics in anything resembling a modern sense came to be recognised or discussed, but as early as the 1870s there was an acknowledgement that the arrangement of players on the pitch made a significant difference to the way the game was played. In its earliest form, though, football knew nothing of such sophistication, and so it continued for around half a century.” Sabotage Times – How Football Tactics Were Born, Jonathan Wilson, Jonathan Wilson On Tactics: Zonal Marking, Liberos And English Shortcomings


Can Brazil rekindle their magic?

July 14, 2012

“Spain’s Euro 2012 triumph – their third consecutive international title – has prompted many to reach for comparisons with Brazilian sides of old in the quest to answer the bar-room question: Which is the world’s best-ever international team? Spain’s Euro 2012 triumph – their third consecutive international title – has prompted many to reach for comparisons with Brazilian sides of old in the quest to answer the bar-room question: Which is the world’s best-ever international team? Fun stuff, but given the difficulties of comparing teams from different eras, it may be more worthwhile to peer in the other direction, looking forward rather than backward when making Brazil/Spain comparisons. The specific question is this: What impact might the success of Spain have on future Brazil sides?” ESPN – Tim Vickery


Calcio poster, 1955-56

July 14, 2012


“A great Calcio poster from way back when. I’m guessing it must be around 1955-56 as Novara are in the picture. I also love the Lazio player (fascist salute?) and the Roma player who looks like he is about to wipe him out. (via thegentlemanultra)”


Will Manchester United revert back to a 4-3-3/4-5-1 ?

July 14, 2012

“Shinji Kagawa’s arrival has prompted many articles/debates on how Manchester United will play this season. Kagawa’s position whether Ferguson intends to play him in the hole or on the left will have intense competition as United are already well stacked in those positions. Their best performances in the past decade in Europe came about when they played a 4-3-3/4-5-1 with a fluid front 3 in Rooney,Tevez and Ronaldo. And in tough away games,where Ferguson felt there was need of more graft and discipline,Park replaced one of the three.” the false 9


Book Reviews Week: The Away End

July 14, 2012

“… Dean Mansell’s website The Away End is based on a simple premise: fans meet online to swap and share their various experiences from following their clubs across the country. For his first book – also titled The Away End – Mansell has taken the very best of these stories and compiled them into a single volume. The author (a disingenuous title – Mansell has only contributed two articles to the book himself; the title ‘editor’ feels more appropriate) claims ‘the experience in a modern day away end is not quite like it used to be in the good old days of football’ and despite around half of the tales taking place in a contemporary setting, The Away End would appear to be his attempt to embrace and re-engage with ‘terrace culture’ from a bygone era. Mansell rejects the vapid commercialism and globalisation of the modern game, defiantly stating: ‘This was and still is a working man’s game.’ Needless to say, the words ‘prawn sandwiches’ appear more than once.” thetwounfortunates


Future Kings Of Chilean Football

July 12, 2012


“South America is a haven for football scouts from all across Europe and further afield. Cast your gaze across European football’s landscape and most clubs posses a South American playing a prominent role in their team. Barcelona and Lionel Messi, Manchester City and Sergio Agüero, Napoli and Edison Cavani AC Milan and Thiago Silva to name but a few. And one South American nation, more than most, are making extra room for scouts as interest in their players increase. But it is not the traditional giants of Brazil and Argentina or even Uruguay who have achieved so much with such a sparse population. It is Chile. The land of Marcelo Salas and Ivan Zamarano, the Andes and Atacama, Colo Colo and Universidad de Chile.” In Bed With Maradona


A Tactical And Statistical Look At The Ball Playing Centre-Back

July 12, 2012

“Defensive tactics have changed drastically over recent years. In the 1970s the sweeper was a key feature in a lot of top European sides. Franz Beckenbauer was the archetypal sweeper, great technique and vision as well as a wonderful range of a passing. The sweeper would not only literally ‘sweep’ things up sitting behind the other defenders, but would also look to create from deep. With a movement to the modern day version of the off-side rule in the early 90s the role of the sweeper became redundant, the almost deep-lying play maker had no purpose now as teams opted to push defenders up the pitch in order to play rival forwards offside.” Think Football (Video)


Northern Soul, Scottish Steel

July 12, 2012

“Football is a folk game in the truest sense of the word; it is of the people, by the people and for the people. Therein resides its power and longevity. The Victorians lay claim to codifying and defining the sport but the game itself has existed in some form or another all over the world for centuries. The Romans and ancient Greeks played a ball game with their feet, as did the Chinese; indeed the practice of Cujo (literally kick-ball) dates back to 1BC. There are variations in most cultures that are region-specific and as different from each other as football is to rugby. There seems to be something enduring and fascinating across the world about these team ball-games played with the feet. However, the game in England evolved from games that involved neighbouring towns and villages attempting to move a ball to a specific geographical location, the balls were usually carried and involved an unlimited amount of participants and resembled localised riots rather than a hobby or pastime.” Tomkins Times


Top Soccer Books to Read This Summer

July 12, 2012

“Now that Euro 2012 has ended there is a lack of games to hold fans interest until most domestic seasons begin in August. During this downtime I personally dig into some books, because a person can only read so many transfer rumors. The following lists my favorite soccer related books to read. I would love to hear other suggestions, as I have a limited library to base my choices on. So turn off he replay on Fox Soccer of Wigan vs. Stoke and pick up one of these to get your soccer fill until your team begins playing meaningful matches again.” Bleacher Report


The Tournament that Freedom Forgot

July 12, 2012

“Back in the late 1980’s Europe’s political landscape was changing. The Eastern Bloc was crumbling. Football was one language whereby different political ideals could be set aside for 90 minutes. That was unless you lived in the divided Germany at the time. It is hard to imagine today when we look at Germany that it was still a country partitioned by a wall into the haves and the have-nots. No place on earth saw this divide more than Berlin where the wall completely cut off a section of the city, known as West Berlin, which was a West German isle surrounded by a sea of the Eastern Bloc, a capitalist island in a sea of communism. Football was being suffocated by the political situation.” In Bed With Maradona


The End Of Michael Owen

July 10, 2012


“As the players that participated in the latter stages of Euro 2012 lie on a beach in an exotic location somewhere and perhaps reflect upon a long, gruelling campaign, many of their club colleagues have already returned to pre-season training ahead of a new season. The first week of pre-season training is year zero for many a footballer. For some it is the first opportunity to impress a new manager, for others it is an opportunity to display that they deserve a future at a club. Spare a thought perhaps for those players that did not return to training this past week. These types of players are categorised by the dreaded term, ‘unattached.’” In Bed With Maradona


A Soccer Prodigy, at Home in Brazil

July 10, 2012

“There is a Brazilian saying that the soccer prodigy Neymar and his family often laugh about. The phrase — calça de veludo ou bunda de fora — comes up frequently: when Neymar reminisces about his beginnings in street games in São Vicente, for example, or when someone asks, again, ‘Are you really better than Messi?’ Always, the family returns to calça de veludo ou bunda de fora. And then they all giggle.” NY Times


Manchester United – Tuning In To Capital Radio

July 10, 2012

“Last week Manchester United fans once again saw their team’s name plastered over the business pages, as the club announced plans to float on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) via an initial public offering (IPO) that would raise at least $100 million of capital. This is the latest piece of financial engineering from the Glazer family, who have tried the patience of the club’s support ever since they acquired United in 2005 in a highly leveraged takeover that placed over half a billion pounds of debt on the club’s balance sheet.” Swiss Ramble


The Hijab on the Pitch

July 10, 2012

“On Friday, the French Football Federation announced that it would ban the wearing of hijab during all organized competitions held in France. The Federation declared that in doing so it was fulfilling its ‘duty to respect the constitutional and legislative principles of secularism that prevails in our country and features in its statutes.’ The decision came one day after the International Football Association Board — the body within FIFA that governs the laws of the game — unanimously declared that it would, for a ‘trial period’ allow players to wear the hijab during international competitions. France, then, is seeking to carve out an exception to an international ruling, one that links its football regulations to a broad set of laws that ban veils in public schools and public administration, as well as banning the burqa in all public spaces.” Soccer Politics


How meatballs and sausages got St. Pauli to the top

July 10, 2012

“The year is 1910, and football is considered to be the ‘English disease’ in a Germany ruled by Kaiser Wilhelm II. But, the sport is gaining ground amongst some young men. Some of the come from St. Pauli, then a suburb of Hamburg. The ‘Hamburg-St.Pauli Turnverein’ opens a football branch. From now on all the kids from St. Pauli who want to play football go there to play and experience the joy that only football can provide. The football division of the gymnastics club parts ways with the gymnasts, and the FC. St. Pauli is solely a football club afterwards.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Five Games That Altered Spain’s History

July 9, 2012


GROUP H, Match #15: Spain 4-0 Ukraine, Germany
“The fanfare for Spain’s three tournament wins in a row will take a while to die down, but these five games show that it isn’t all about 20-year coaching strategies, sometimes you’ve got to learn on the job… From popular underachievers to feared world and two-time European champions, Spain have come an awful long way in recent years. Here are five games that proved crucial in the shaping of a side that has made winning a habit and an art form.” Sabotage Times (Video)


The Future of Non League Football 2012

July 9, 2012

“So after seven weeks we have re-presented our updated manifesto for change. You can read all of the articles again from the links below. We have also sent a link to the FA, The Conference, Northern, Southern and Isthmian Leagues to ask for their comment. But we wont be holding our breath for any feedback. We all know that sense and football administration are unlikely bedfellows. Hope you have enjoyed them, and if you think of anything else we have missed, please get in touch. Same time, same place next year?” The Ball is Round