Italian football must do more than read Anne Frank to tackle fascism problem

October 27, 2017

“27 October ~ With 25 points from their first ten games, Lazio have made a superb start to the season. Unfortunately, they may be derailed by events off the field. They have long been notorious for having a fanbase that contains a significant number who are openly nostalgic for fascism. Though they are probably the worst offenders, they share this tendency with several other clubs, most notably Serie B Ascoli, but also Verona and to some extent Inter. …” WSC

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Ronald Koeman’s Everton story exposes shortcomings of the post-Cruyffians

October 27, 2017

“Long before he was sacked, a criticism of Ronald Koeman at Everton was that he seemed to regard the club as a stepping stone. ‘He called us Everton, he never called us us,’ as the former Everton captain Kevin Ratcliffe put it on Monday. Koeman’s ultimate ambition, as he has made clear since he took his first steps in management with Vitesse in 2000, is to manage Barcelona. …” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


The greatest Irish team that didn’t qualify for the World Cup

October 27, 2017

“It was the qualifying campaign for the 1982 World Cup, and Ireland had been drawn in what you could call a ‘tough’ group with the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and Cyprus. The world’s media (and even certain sections of the Irish media) gave the footballing minnows no chance of qualification, and to a certain degree, they were right. Ireland would not qualify, but it had very little to do with the perceived lack of quality. …” Football Pink


Is José Mourinho’s negativity a product of his failure to make it as a player?

October 27, 2017

“It is a sad indication of the recent state of Liverpool that over the past couple of weeks they have seemed more significant as a test case for others than in and of themselves. José Mourinho took his Manchester United side to Anfield and, as he waited and waited and waited for the game “to break”, the watching world waited and waited and waited for something vaguely resembling action to break out. It didn’t and the game finished 0-0. Given Liverpool’s vulnerabilities and given Manchester City’s remarkable form, that felt even at the time like two points needlessly squandered. …” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


It’s time to stop blaming the game – and the fans – for society’s ills

October 27, 2017

“Football can suffer from high visibility. Some ­people see far too much of it for their liking. Others cannot resist the profile it offers. ­Newspapers are always looking for ways to move it from the back pages to the front. Take the case of Douglas Ross, now Tory MP for Moray and an assistant referee (or linesman) at high levels of the sport. National outrage has supposedly been sparked by his engagement at the Nou Camp in Barcelona last week when he could have been abstaining in person at the House of Commons. …” The Scotsman


Tottenham show José Mourinho how counter-attacking game should work

October 23, 2017


Mauricio Pochettino had promised further surprises after his deployment of a 5-3-2 against Real Madrid, but perhaps the biggest surprise was that he kept the shape the same. There were other unusual aspects to the win – Tottenham Hotspur had not been ahead against Liverpool since March 2013, Harry Kane had not previously scored a league goal at Wembley and Spurs, at last, looked at ease in their new home – but none of those particularly came as a shock. Neither, in truth, did Liverpool’s defending. Two goals were conceded to simple balls in behind them, at least two more could have been, and two other goals came from the thoroughly predictable source of half-cleared set-plays. …” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Ronald Koeman’s sense of detachment at Everton ensured this was a relationship doomed to fail

October 23, 2017

“The vile winds met corrugated steel and it was as if Goodison Park had become an old container ship struggling to navigate in the wilds of the Irish Sea. Five minutes were still left to play against Arsenal and in that time two more goals were scored. Goodison, though, had already given up. So often a “bear pit,” as Frank Lampard once described it, “the most difficult place to play” had sunken to a new eeriness, marked by a sad acquiesce. …” Independent