O, Louis: In Search of Louis van Gaal

July 9, 2015

“… The book, translated by David Doherty, is very good but it is as much about its author, Hugo Borst, as it is about Van Gaal. Its success is largely dependent on whether the reader can find Borst as interesting – as engaging, as irritating, as quotable, brilliant, monstrous and human – as his subject. The answer to that changes from page to page – yes, no, maybe, no, yes, maybe, no, no, Jesus no, no, maybe. It’s like reading about a match that goes into extra time and endless mucky replays, between Borst and Van Gaal or, more accurately, Borst and Borst. Borst, the Van Gaal lover versus Borst, the Van Gaal hater; Borst, the man who wants to be Van Gaal’s best friend versus Borst, the man who wants to annihilate Van Gaal; Borst, the gobshite, versus Borst, the astute, passionate, sometimes brilliant, football writer. It’s a great game for the neutral. But those of us who love our football know that there is no such thing as neutrality.” Guardian

Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and… err, the poet
“He finds enemies when they are not there. There was a falling out between Louis van Gaal and his biographer, Hugo Borst, seven years ago when the former was coach at AZ Alkmaar. Van Gaal accused Borst of giving away his mobile phone number. Borst took exception. Things were never the same between the pair, who had been close, and Borst’s highly entertaining work is not flattering.” Independent

amazon – O, Louis: In Search of Louis van Gaal

Football Italia – Italian Football in an Age of Globalization

July 9, 2015

“Football has undergone a period of transformation over the last thirty years. Despite these global processes, different national leagues have adapted in different ways. After an initial period of success directly after Italia ’90, Italian football has gone through a period of sustained crisis. It has been blighted by financial mismanagement, corruption scandals and fan violence. This has impacted Italy’s ability to compete on a global stage. Football Italia accounts for the development of Italian football in relation to the wider global transformations impacting football and addresses the reasons for Serie A’s initial success and current malaise.” Bloomsbury

Tactical Philosophy: Brendan Rodgers

July 9, 2015

“While this website has made it’s name focusing on the lesser known youth of this beautiful sport, and combined it with a tinge of tactical flavour meant for the football enthusiast, we found a large gap to be exploited in terms of combining the two. This mini-series thus focuses on young managers (below the age of 45) and their tactical philosophies, deriving what got them here and where they could go. In this piece, Shubham Ahuja takes a look at what makes Brendan Rodgers, the man who divides so much opinion, worth the fuss.” Outside of the Boot

From the Back Page to the Front Room

July 9, 2015

“It’s funny how just an idea for a book can make you think differently. In this one, Roger Domeneghetti looks at how the media and football are now almost always intertwined and linked and how they can both dominate our lives. We all remember the Prime Minister talking about David Beckham’s metatarsal, right? Of course we do, it was reported as huge news! I’ve read many a football book, I love reading about different aspects of our beloved game. Yet no book has sent me nostalgically back to the classroom like this one. That is in no way a criticism, I adored my history lessons and this book is a bit like learning from a wonderful historian that can get you thinking of ancient times and relating it to the present day. In the opening chapter it dispels the myth that football was born in England, nope instead it origins probably started in China around 225BC, not many football books will take you to the Tsin Dynasty.” The Footy Blog


The Ugly Game – How football lost its magic and what it could learn from the NFL

July 9, 2015

“Martin Calladine is a disillusioned football fan who is going over to the ugly game that is American football. On his way out he offers observations on the differences between the two sports in 20 loosely connected short essays. He is an intelligent consumer of the sports, rather than a business insider or supporter activist, and brings some interesting perspectives to bear on the current failings of football. But The Ugly Game is not even a wish list, let alone a manifesto for change. There is no rigour in the 
comparisons; he uses the Premier League, English football and football in general interchangeably. The hugely differing structures and contexts that surround the NFL and Premier League are ignored. Calladine has a desirable destination in mind but no means of direction towards it.” WSC

Piece for TheSecretFootballer.com: Five lessons the Premier League could learn from the NFL
“In the United States, you can buy almost anything. Anything that is but the Super Bowl. Because, remarkably, the National Football League (NFL) is a sport where the worst team still gets the first pick of the best players. A sport where the amount that clubs can spend is tightly controlled to prevent billionaires buying success. A sport where TV income is shared equally, where there’s no prize money for winning the Super Bowl and where smaller clubs can hold on to their star players. For the growing band of British NFL fans, then, the game offers not just an exhilarating sporting spectacle but a vivid reminder of where English football has gone wrong. Here’s five lessons – of many – that the Premier League could learn from the NFL …” The Ugly Game

amazon – The Ugly Game

The Great Escape: a wake-up call for Hamburg

July 9, 2015

“In 1987, the city of Berlin (although still divided at the time) celebrated its 750th anniversary. In its famous Olympic Stadium, Thomas von Heesen led the victorious players of Hamburger SV up the steps to be presented with the DFB Pokal (the German Cup) on June 20th of that notable year. Bearing in mind the club’s long and proud heritage and its recent successful history, no one could have foreseen that this – up to now – would be the last significant honour won by German football’s Dinosaur.” Football Pink

Golazo! The Beautiful Game from the Aztecs to the World Cup: The Complete History of How Soccer Shaped Latin America.

July 9, 2015

“THERE has been perhaps no better fullback in the history of football than Domingos da Guia (pictured). The strong and elegant defender, known as the ‘Fortress’, guarded Brazil’s flank in the 1930s and 1940s. Yet as a boy he was afraid to play until his brother prodded him: ‘Aren’t you any good at dancing?’ Domingos was and he brought his samba skills to the pitch, swinging his hips and evading opponents, a precursor to the joga bonito (‘play beautifully’) style of recent Brazilian stars.” Economist

Golazo! by Andreas Campomar and Futebol Nation by David Goldblatt: the football myth behind Brazil’s World Cup
“On 12 June, the World Cup will kick off in São Paulo. Until recently, there’s been an assumption that, certainly by comparison with the two World Cups to follow, in Russia and Qatar, this would be a fun tournament, a month-long carnival in the home of Pelé and “the beautiful game”. What, after all, is Brazil other than football, and who has ever played the game better? Then came the Confederations Cup, the eight-team warm-up event for the tournament, last summer. Matches came to be preceded by a familiar ritual of street protest – sparked by a proposed increase in bus fares in São Paulo, but soon encompassing a range of issues, from corruption to fury that so much has been spent on the World Cup when so many public services are in disrepair. With a sense of shock, the world realised that Brazil is not universally supportive of the tournament and there is a very real prospect of chaos. As these two books demonstrate, though, Brazil’s relationship with football has never been the easy romance of stereotype.” <a href=”

amazon – Golazo! The Beautiful Game from the Aztecs to the World Cup

Real Madrid has finally kicked out Iker Casillas, the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the club

July 9, 2015

“Iker Casillas, who has been at Real Madrid since he joined in 1990 at the tender age of nine, will leave the club to join FC Porto. It hasn’t been made official, but at this point, it is only a matter of time. This puts an end to a complicated stand-off between the player and the club that you can read all about here. In the end, it looks like Madrid was so desperate to get rid of Casillas that it agreed to pay him 15 million euros to leave. Casillas is, without a doubt, one of the three most important Madridistas of all time, so if his exit makes little or no sense to you, I wouldn’t blame you.” Fusion

Podolski and Beck transfers continue legacy of Germans playing in Turkey

July 9, 2015

“Turkish footballers playing in the Bundesliga is a fairly common sight, which, when you consider the history of Turks in post-war Germany, shouldn’t be too surprising. In the midst of the West German economic upturn of the 1960’s, the country was suffering from a severe lack of labourers to meet demand. To rectify this, the West German government, through various arrangements and agreements with various other European nations, began to admit large amounts of guest workers into the country; the vast majority of these workers came from Turkey. Many of these Turkish migrant workers ended up staying in West Germany and eventually would bring their families over and eventually become permanent residents. It is the offspring of these initial migrant workers that we see lining up for Bundesliga sides week in and week out.” Bundesliga Fanatic