Book Review: Bendelow and Kidd’s Dictionary Of Football

September 1, 2016

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The army of terms required to talk convincingly about football has been a great source of mirth over the years. As far back as the 1970s, footballers were depicted as alternating between being ‘over the moon’ or ‘sick as a parrot’ depending on their feelings at 5 o’clock on a Saturday while Ron Atkinson let loose a whole new phalanx of phrases during his co-commentating days alongside Clive Tyldesley – to the extent that ‘crowd scene’, ‘little eyebrows’ and the daddy of them all, ‘early doors’ started to gain common currency. Ian Bendelow and Jamie Kidd are the latest to draw attention to the sheer glorious illogicality of soccer phraseology. That they are merely the latest is the one criticism one might level at their eponymous Dictionary of Football, for this exercise was carried out in pretty much identical fashion in Leigh and Woodhouse’s Football Lexicon published in the early Noughties and re-republished for as wider audience by Faber & Faber in 2004.” thetwounfortunates, amazon

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2018 World Cup qualifiers: Coleman ready for next adventure

September 1, 2016

“It is a scene every Welsh football fan will recognise: rewatching goals from Wales’ historic Euro 2016 campaign in an attempt to relive the euphoria of an unforgettable summer. The moment has passed, the rapturous celebrations fading from view, but still they cling to the memories. As does the man who masterminded it all.” BBC


The Beauty of Mediocrity

July 23, 2016

“Winning isn’t everything in football. As Evertonian and Sheffield student Alex Leonard explores, relationships with underachieving clubs are not only unexpectedly romantic but can teach you valuable life lessons too. An uncomfortable consensus of disgust led much of the Kop end to leave early. A slow grumbling stream of red and white headed for the exit. Yet despite the utterly woeful football on display, I felt compelled to stay, shivering in the bitter March evening.” Football Pink


Wales exceeded expectations at Euro 2016 – but must now deal with them

July 8, 2016

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“Commiserations to Wales, whose exhilarating Euro 2016 journey came to an end at the semi-final stage in Lyon, but congratulations to all concerned for lighting up the tournament – particularly from a British point of view – and showing what is possible when a team functions as a team and takes a strong mentality and deep reserves of self-belief out on to the pitch. This is not intended as veiled criticism of England, though some may read it that way, for the Welsh and the English narratives have been inextricably entwined in France. They were drawn in the same group, and though England won the head-to-head battle – just – they lost the war by finishing second to a team with two victories.” Guardian


Euro 2016 Tactical Analysis: England 1 – Iceland 2 | Tactically disciplined Iceland kicks England out of Europe.

July 1, 2016

“When England scored its first goal, the Icelandic players must have told ‘theta reddast’ to each other. It’s a common saying in Iceland and means everything is going to be fine. In the end it was all good for the small island nation. Iceland knocked England out of Euro 2016 and forced Roy Hodgson to retire after coming back from behind and taking the lead very early in the first half. Iceland put on a well-disciplined tactical display and with a hardworking and collective approach it managed to stifle England through some good space compression in the midfield.” Outside of the Boot


England absorbs more shame, failure with Euro 2016 ouster to Iceland

July 1, 2016

“For two years Roy Hodgson has been saying that England would be at its best when it faced a side that attacked it, when it could use its ace in forward areas to play on the counterattack. We’ll never find out if that was true. No side has attacked England since Switzerland did in the second half of the Euro 2016 qualifier in Basel in September 2014, when England, playing with uncharacteristic poise, won 2-0. Perhaps this side could have challenged Germany or France (although the defending against Iceland suggests not), but we’ll never know, because it failed in what seemed the most basic of tasks, beating a nation with a population of 330,000.” SI – Jonathan Wilson

England Loses
“England has now left Europe twice in four days, with the second departure allowing this writer some small sentiment of retributive justice for the stupidity of the first. After the unmitigated and unfolding disaster of Brexit, the English national football team was defeated 2-1 by Iceland yesterday in the European Football Championship. Iceland! That’s right. With a population of around 330,000, with a fair scattering of part-time players and a coach who also works as a dentist and a goalkeeper who is also a filmmaker, Iceland defeated England, the country who first formulated the game of association football in the nineteenth century and has the richest league in the world and most of the game’s best-paid players.” NYBook


Team England, the FA and the Great EPPP Gamble

July 1, 2016

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“As far as can be observed from social media, there were two responses to England being beaten by Iceland in Euro 2016. The first was blind fury, rage at overpaid footballers and incompetent coaches. The second, the more favourable one, was uncontrollable laughter prompted by the singular failure of technique, passing, shooting, crossing and, in some remarkable instances, controlling a ball. Both are equally valid but option two had the added frisson of the hilarity gleaned from seeing our Wayne tripping over footballs, the ground and his feet, on several occasions.” In Bed With Maradona