Buckets of cold water, wet pitches and floodlights – How Wolverhampton Wanderers rescued English football and forged the European Cup in the Black Country.
On a chastening November day at Wembley in 1953, any outdated and misguided ideas about English preeminence in the football world were cruelly banished by the cherry-shirted Magical Magyars of Hungary. Ferenc Puskas, Sandor Kocsis, Nandor Hideguti and their compatriots comprising a team that would go almost a decade with just a single defeat recorded against them – albeit in the World Cup Final of 1954 – delivered the sort of sobering wake up call akin to being doused with bucketful of cold water after a long and particularly intoxicating night on the tiles. Continue reading →
Until October last year, mention the name of Slavisa Jokanovic to any English football fan, and you’ll probably have received a fairly blank expression in return. Mention it to a Chelsea fan of any vintage at all, and you’ll probably get a wry smile, and a nod of fairly unqualified contempt. Continue reading →
Back at the turn of the year, SkyBet rated Derby County head coach and former England boss, Steve McClaren, at 16/1 to take over at Newcastle United this summer. When Alan Pardew decamped to Crystal Palace to be the South London club’s second coming of Tony Pulis, it left a gap at St James Park that John Carver, for all his earnest endevours, never looked likely to fill in the long term. Other betting sites had MacClaren as far out as 22/1 to become the Magpies’ boss. If you took those odds you may well be sitting in the pound seats now, as currently, some bookies make the former Wembley umbrella salesman as short as 4/6. Continue reading →
In a city with at least two football teams, there always seem to be one that’s dominant, and one that has a constant struggle to get out from under the shadow of it’s neighbour. On Merseyside, Liverpool have for long periods held dominance over Everton, whilst the Toffees have had only brief episodes when they could call themselves the top dogs. The usual way was Reds on top. Continue reading →
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 →
English football always seems to be on the look-out for the next bright, young thing amongst English football coaches. A decade or so ago for example, the name of Steve Cotterill was being trumpeted as the coming man when he was appointed along with Howard Wilkinson, as a ‘super team’ of ‘super coaches’ taking charge at Sunderland. All of the FA and Uefa certificates in the world however were of little help when they were dismissed after a mere 27 games – and a paltry two victories.
Stuart Pearce has come and gone again, although he now offers promise once more as he seeks to guide Nottingham Forest back to the big time. A similar tale can be told of Gareth Southgate, now rebuilding a reputation with the England U21 team after being sacked as a club manager. Whisper it so softly however, but down on the south coast, a new reputation is being built in an unassuming corner of Dorset as 36 year-old Eddie Howe pilots Bournemouth towards the Premier League. Continue reading →