How Jim Smith’s 3-5-2 revolution at QPR altered the face of English football

September 8, 2014

Cov v Derby 3   Derby manager gets the poit   Pix  Brian Bould
“15 August 1987, Upton Park. West Ham v QPR on the opening Saturday of the season. West Ham had finished 15th in the First Division the previous season and QPR 16th; no one expected much more than the usual rough and tumble of a London derby. And yet a significant piece of English football history was about to be made. QPR lined up in a 3-5-2 system, with wing-backs, two man-to-man markers in central defence and a sweeper. It was the first time a major club side in England had opted for the formation as a first-choice strategy and, perhaps more significantly, it worked. QPR won 3-0, and went on to win six and draw one of their opening seven games. In a world that had been dominated by 4-4-2 since the 1960s, this was a radical departure and it took QPR to the top of the league.” Guardian


An Apology To The World’s Soccer Fans

September 8, 2014

“It’s me, and I’m sorry. I am the nascent American soccer fan. I am the one who has rewarded the editors that fill their sites with SEO-friendly ‘New soccer fan? Start here!’ posts. I am the brand new fan who, after running out of ideas for Tim Howard memes, took the ‘Which Premier League team should you follow?’ quiz, and considered abiding by the result. I am the soccer fan who, until six weeks ago, knew three players: – Landon Donovan – Pele – Ronaldo (Without knowing that there are somewhere between two and ten important Ronaldos). I am presuming that you have been around longer than that, living through the dark years when American soccer fans had roughly the same social standing as leprosy victims and Michael Bolton enthusiasts, so I do not begrudge you your sighs and scoffs. But while you can be frustrated with this new legion of American soccer fanatics, you can’t hate us, or at least shouldn’t.” The Classical


Circumventing “Second Team” Taboos: Six Bundesliga Options

September 8, 2014

“Within the context of any form of entertainment it is intrinsic for us, as spectators, to direct our support towards one particular camp, to root for one distinct winner, whether this be the protagonist of a film or an athlete in a race. This is how any spectacle is made to be entertaining because by investing emotionally into what we are watching we are suddenly made to feel part of it, despite playing no real part in it ourselves. This is the simple science behind the long-lasting adoration any football fan feels for their team and is also why, to some, the concept of supporting a ‘second team’ sounds nothing short of blasphemous.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Roy of the Rovers celebrates 60 years – football’s comic-book role model

September 8, 2014

“It is a phrase embedded in the game’s vernacular, a character from a bygone age and a team that, somehow, overcame the odds on a weekly basis. Sixty years ago Roy of the Rovers was first published as a comic strip – six decades since Roy Race’s golden locks and debonair charm first enraptured youngsters and adults alike to evoke dreams of glory and unlikely tales of sporting bravura. … Say the words Roy Race and Melchester Rovers to someone of a certain generation and the eyes mist up, a reflective pause follows before a wistful smile. To many those names represent childhood, escapism and sheer joy – the weekly ritual of buying a comic, reading in rapid time before poring over the same pages again and again until the next edition hit the shelves.” Guardian, Guardian: Roy of the Rovers and other classic comics return to newsstands