The Best of Football Writing in 2013

January 15, 2014

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“This is the third year that The Best Football Writing list (2012, 2011) has come into existence. We’ve seen blogs come and go, as well as writers rise and get the recognition they deserve. 2013 was no exception, but the continued domination of social media in sport created a new landscape for writing. With a flood of information hitting us every day, it can be difficult to find the long reads amongst a pile of memes. This year’s list was the hardest to compile, but there was hardly a shortage of quality writing. In fact, we were overwhelmed with tweets and emails recommending great writing in football.” A Football Report


New Film Series, “30 for 30: Soccer Stories”, Surrounding 2014 FIFA World Cup on ESPN

January 15, 2014

“ESPN Films, creators of the critically-acclaimed 30 for 30 film series, will premiere a new series in April surrounding the 2014 FIFA World Cup on ESPN. 30 for 30: Soccer Stories will include a mix of standalone feature-length and 30-minute-long documentary films from an award winning group of filmmakers telling compelling narratives from around the international soccer landscape. In addition, a collection of 10 vignettes about Brazil’s rich culture will be featured throughout ESPN’s FIFA World Cup programming.” ESPN


In first coaching role, Seedorf faces daunting task at Milan

January 15, 2014

“After the news had broken that Clarence Seedorf was to be the new manager of AC Milan, the Curva Sud ultra group erected a banner outside the club’s old offices. Its message was simple: ‘Seedorf, no grazie.’ Given that it’s only two months since the ultras were confronting players over poor performances, there’s something unexpected and slightly touching about their on-going support for Massimiliano Allegri, who was dismissed following Sunday’s 4-3 defeat at Sassuolo after a little over three seasons in the job. The Curva Sud have been consistent in this, though, acknowledging the turmoil behind the scenes at the club, and releasing a statement in May in which they explicitly stated they didn’t want Seedorf or any other manager who lacked experience.” SI – Jonathan Wilson


A new Gerrard?

January 15, 2014

“Steven Gerrard was employed as a holding midfielder in the 5-3 win at Stoke City on Sunday. The Liverpool skipper has the ability to thrive in any position but Adam Bate believes a change of mentality could be key to his long-term success in the role.” Sky Sports


Player Focus: Berardi’s Seamless Progression to Serie A Stardom

January 15, 2014

“It’s a long journey, Cariati Marina to Modena. Almost the length of Italy. By car, it can take you eight or nine hours. Quite the road trip. But Domenico Berardi was keen to make it. He wanted to visit his brother Francesco who was studying there at university. So off he went up north. This was in 2010. It was a trip he’d never forget. Like many students, Francesco was involved in a five-a-side league. While Domenico was in town, he invited him to play. Only 15 at the time, the lads he came up against were bigger, stronger and older than he was, but not to worry. Berardi dominated.” Who Scored?


The Ballon D’Or and why objective player rankings are pointless – The State of Analytics

January 15, 2014

“When Cristiano Ronaldo won the Ballon D’Or, this blog’s resident pro-Messi troll came out of the woodwork using a crude homophobic play on Ronaldo’s name to make a series of rambling arguments as to why the Portugal and Real Madrid winger shouldn’t have won the top prize in world football. I won’t reprint those comments but I’ll give you the gist of them—Ronaldo shouldn’t have won because he was sent off in the Copa Del Rey final against Atletico, Ronaldo shouldn’t have won because Mesut Ozil created most of his goal-scoring chances (which of course doesn’t explain his incredible goal-scoring record since the German international went to Arsenal), Ronaldo shouldn’t have won because he didn’t make enough assists, didn’t have the same goal-per-game average as Messi (not even a decent metric as we’ll see), didn’t win ‘trophies’.” The Score


Keith Hill and the ‘never go back’ maxim

January 15, 2014

“These quiet mid-January weeks used to be devoted to anticipation while we waited between rounds 3 and 4 of the FA Cup and if many will have you believe that matters Premier League and transfer window are the only ones worth thinking about as Burns Night approaches, quite a few of us still hark back to the old days. Not least Rochdale, who along with thoughts of the world’s greatest knockout competition, are also relishing a promotion battle in League 2. Here, Stuart Howard-Cofield, curator of the Grumpy Old Fan website and contributor to The Football Pink, runs the rule over ‘Dale – you can follow Stuart on twitter here. A quiet revolution in the hills.” thetwounfortunates