Sepp Blatter and the Magna Carta.
It doesn’t take a Hamlet to discern that there’s something rotten in the state of Fifa. Dissension is rising over widely-perceived corruption and an autocratic ruler. President Sepp Blatter decides what will happen, and even discerns what is true and what isn’t, almost by a principle of vis et voluntas. A de facto statement that force and authority can overcome reality and justice is the very definition of a leader defined by power, with arbitrary decisions justified by the fact that he simply can. Continue reading →
Don’t Look Back in Anger.
It’s looking increasingly likely that the name of Daniel levy did not feature on the Andre Villas-Boas Christmas card list this year. The Portuguese manager was dismissed from Spurs just over a year ago, but recent reports suggest that Villas-Boas, now plying his trade in Russia with Zenit St Petersburg, still harbours bitterness about how things turned out in north London. Continue reading →
Is it the end of the road for Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund?
On the 25th May last year, Borussia Dortmund came with an ace of taking the Champions League crown and being regarded as the best team on the continent. Just as with the final of Europe’s premier club competition, the same was true of the Bundesliga, as the Westphalian club had finished as runners-up to Bayern Munich. Their coach, Jurgen Klopp, was very much flavour of the month and was linked with a number of top jobs in the Premier League. Now, just over 18 months later, after 16 games of the new season, and Bayern again cantering to the Bundesliga title, Dortmund lie in a relegation spot at the foot of the table, a single point above the bottom club. It all begs the question: ‘What went wrong? Continue reading →
Giving up the ghost!
‘Tis the season to be jolly, or so they say. For some however, it doesn’t quite work out like that. In a story particularly popular at this time of year, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by a number of ghosts. Each has a cautionary tale to tell about how things need to change if a particularly unpleasant outcome is to be avoided. Well, seeing as it’s panto season as well, I’ve decided to take the plunge and offer my football-inspired version of A Christmas Carol.
To be sure, Ed Woodward, executive vice-chairman of Manchester United is no miser. Well, not as far as I’m aware anyway, and his largesse in the transfer market probably bears that out. For the purpose of my particular interpretation of Dickens’ famous tale however, I am compelled to cast Ed in the role as Ebenezer Scrooge. Apologies requested in advance. Continue reading →
Returning to Bolton won’t get Eidur down!
Fourteen years after he left the club for a ‘dream’ move to Chelsea, and fame and glory under Jose Mourinho, Eidur Gudjohnsen has landed back at Bolton. The stadium that was once the Reebok, is now labelled as the Macron, but the 36 year old Icelandic striker will be hoping that there will be no need for a ‘bedding’ in process and that familiar surroundings will fit him like a comfortable pair of ‘bedroom slippers.’ Continue reading →
Barcelona fans get shirty, as financial reality bites in Catalunya.
First it was just a logo. Not a commercial one of course, and it was certainly presented as being an altruistic move. Whilst other clubs were selling their shirt space, donating yours to charity seemed a statement of intent. Perhaps. Whatever the reasoning however, it was an opening of the door. Now the name emblazoned across the famous blaugrana shirt is ‘Qatar.’ Commercial without a doubt. Continue reading →
The weekend when the pendulum swung in the title race. But which way?
A long while ago, a former British prime minister once declared that “a week is a long time in politics.” Harold Wilson’s phrase was meant to encompass how the agenda and public opinion of a government can be influenced not only by the actions it takes, but also the way in which unforeseen events can sometimes change both the state of affairs, and the affairs of state. If Wilson’s description of politics is true, very much the same can probably be said for a weekend in Premier League football.
The club formerly known as Steaua Bucharest.
On the 3rd December, a ruling from the High Court of Justice in Romania effectively rendered the club formerly known as Staeua Bucharest as nameless. The Defence Ministry of the former Communist country disputed the club’s right to use the name, and the judge ruled in the military’s favour. If that all seems like a strange scenario, it’s probably best explained by considering a bit of history. Continue reading →
Very much not a beautiful day!
Football fans come in all shapes and sizes, and certainly many shades of opinion about the game and its environs. Forget even club affiliations for a moment. Some prefer the mile-a-minute thud and blunder of ‘route one’ whilst others may swoon at the intricate geometry of the tiki-taka possession game that bores opponents into conceding goals. Some think standing is the authentic way of watching live football, in all weathers with cold tea and Bovril so hot it would strip paint. Others however want the apparent luxury of sitting in a seat with legroom so restricted it would shame the lowest of low-cost airline cabins.
Such examples demonstrate the broad church of opinion that constitute the football community. In my experience however, there’s probably one thing that unites opinion almost without exception. Put in simple terms, it’s that ITV should not be allowed to anywhere near domestic football action – live or highlights. Having them broadcast England games is bad enough, but news that they are likely to bid for the highlights package from the Premier League next year – BBC’s Match of the Day is the current incumbent – causes concern and trepidation throughout football fandom. Continue reading →
Football can be like a kick in The Bulls.
That was then. Remember the moment? All those years ago. John Motson, he of the sheepskin coat, collar turned up against the chill, screaming “Ronnie Radford” as the Hereford United left winger peeled away, both arms aloft after firing in an improbable 30 yard equaliser on a mud-bath of an Edgar Road pitch against Newcastle United in the FA Cup. Radford was quickly engulfed in a fan invasion of the pitch, but with mud-splattered shirt, he became a ‘forever hero’ of almost every Hereford fan. It’s one of those iconic moments, and in the very definition of a cup shock result, Ricky George later pivoted to turn in the winner and vanquish the Geordies, Malcolm McDonald – who reportedly had forecasted a double hat-trick for himself – and all. But that was then. This is now. Continue reading →