Book review: Preston North End – The Rise of the Invincibles by Michael Barrett and David Sque

January 4, 2017

“Ostensibly, this is the story of the 1888-89 unbeaten double-winning Preston North End team in comic book form. As it is, there’s enough reason right there to dive straight in. After all, there’s not a lot to dislike, especially given that the artist responsible for the illustrations is David Sque, who worked on Roy of the Rovers. But let’s take it up a notch. This graphic novel by Michael Barrett – born minutes away from Deepdale – tells not only the tale of the immortal 1888-89 season but also the rise of the professional game as we know it, and the growth of the cotton industry against the socio-economic backdrop of the rise of the working classes in northern England in the late Victorian era.” Football Pink


All Guns Blazing: The Sutton United Story

January 4, 2017

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“Matt Tubbs has been here before. The journeyman striker made his name with goals in FA Cup giant-killings for both Salisbury and Crawley Town before going on to enjoy a league career with the likes of Bournemouth and Portsmouth. Now he is back in that familiar role as the spearhead of an overachieving non-league side as his new club Sutton United prepare to take on one of his former teams, AFC Wimbledon, in the FA Cup third round. There may be an element of familiarity about it all for Tubbs, but there is no disguising his excitement as he sizes up the task facing Sutton in front of a sell-out 5,000-strong crowd at the Borough Sports Ground this Saturday.” the set pieces


How Hughton gave the ailing Seagulls the ‘Chris’ of life

December 27, 2016

“It was coming on Christmas two years ago when Sami Hyypia, the respected former Liverpool defender, walked in to the office of Brighton & Hove Albion chairman Tony Bloom and tendered his resignation as manager. Then, the Seagulls were suffering. For despite reaching the promotion play-offs in the previous Championship season (2013/14) – under Spanish coach Oscar Garcia – they were floundering in the relegation zone. And it presented as no surprise when Hyypia’s offer to prematurely part with the club was accepted by Bloom and the Brighton board.” Football Pink


The Illustrated History of Football: David Squires

December 23, 2016

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“You’re probably familiar with the genius illustrations of David Squires by now. His weekly comic strips in the Guardian are hilariously entertaining and he spoke to The Set Pieces for Vox in the Box earlier this year. David has a new book, The Illustrated History of Football, out on 3rd November. Having seen an advance copy we can assure you it’s brilliant, if a little disturbing in parts (look out for Rafa Benitez’s half-time team talk in the 2005 Champions League final). We’re delighted to present an exclusive strip from the book on Sergio Aguero’s last-minute title-sealing strike for Manchester City in 2012. Enjoy…” the set pieces, The Sunshine Room – Some drawings by David Squires, amazon


The Man Behind The Goal – Brian Glanville

December 15, 2016

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“What a delight to have these wonderful stories back in print. To say that Brian Glanville is the Dean of English football fiction is true enough, but much more needs to be added. Because it was Glanville who created the genre. His novels ‘The Dying of the Light’ and ‘The Rise of Gerry Logan’ stand out not only as superb evocations of the world of professional football, but also as remarkable works of art. Glanville’s artistry shines through these short stories. The prose is steely, terse, colourful, demotic… exactly what is needed to convey the down-to-earth atmosphere of football and footballers.” World Soccer


Tactical Analysis: England 2-2 Spain | Start of a transition for both teams

November 18, 2016

“England’s international friendly against Spain on the 15th November marked Gareth Southgate’s fourth game in charge of the Three Lions and a chance for Spain to make one more step towards regaining their identity as ‘La Furia Roja’. Despite incredible depths of talent within the two camps, both teams are looking to rebuild their confidence after disappointing stints at the European Championships over the summer, but this time without the old guard.” Outside of the Boot


England vs. Scotland: 10 memorable matches

November 18, 2016

“… England 2-3 Scotland, April 15th 1967. Wembley Stadium, London. Six years on from the roasting they received at the hands of the Auld Enemy, Scotland once again pitched up at Wembley with a strong team in this Home Championship game that doubled as a European Championship qualifier. This time, though, they were expected to struggle against ten of the English XI (Jimmy Greaves replacing Roger Hunt) that were crowned world champions on the same pitch less than a year earlier.” Football Pink