If asked to suggest the greatest players to emerge from South America this century, very few, if any, would raise a hand to make a case for Joffre Guerrón. Perhaps however such lack of recognition would be inappropriate. Despite often being regarded as merely one of the better, rather than greats, of his era, he was twice lauded as the MVP of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier club tournament. Such rare accolades that fall to very few once, let alone twice. Continue reading →
As the bright Oranje flame of Dutch Totaal Voetbal burnt so brightly before consuming itself in the 1974 World Cup Final and falling to cruel defeat, back in Kerkrade, a Dutch town virtually lying up against the German border, an amateur footballer watched on television. Little did he know that, four years later, donned in the famous colours of his country, he would score the goal that gave the Netherlands renewed hope that they could lay to rest the ghost of the numbing defeat to his German neighbours. In the space of those four years, Dick Nanninga would go from a part-time footballer and full-time worker on construction sites to being the robust and muscular embodiment of an artisan iconoclast among a squad of Dutch artists, the man who gave hope of redemption to his country – and a florist. Continue reading →
Although any it’s true to say that the only sweeping generalisation that is ever true, is that all sweeping generalisations are oversimplifications at best, there’s often at least the grain of a valid point buried in them. With that caveat, it’s probably relatively safe to say that British players venturing abroad have tended to fall into one of two broad categories. Continue reading →
There has always been a tendency for world stars, when in the salad days of their careers, to decamp from the vigorous requirements of top-level football in Europe or South America, and migrate to less stressful leagues where financial recompense more than makes up for any apparent loss of status. Journeys to play for clubs in the Middle East or even the USA weren’t unusual. As mentioned though, the players enticed by such riches tended to be those with a mere few years left of their playing days, and willing to trade them in for a few petro-dollars, or just straightforward dollars. Continue reading →
Millions upon millions of words have been spoken and written about the career of Paul Gascoigne; the glory and the gormless, the poetry and the prose, the joys and the tears. If one aspect of the career of Duston’s finest ever sportsman epitomises his footballing life however, it is surely the time he spent wearing his country’s national shirt. It was that most rare of occasions, when a young English footballer burst onto the world stage offering up the promise of a talent so extraordinary that it created a dream of glory, but then crashed and burnt in flames that consumed hopes and talent without mercy. There’s a phrase that’s often referred to when talk of Gascoigne and his time with England arises, so I’m going to borrow it from Gary Lineker. Let’s “have a word” about Paul Gascoigne’s time playing for England. Continue reading →
After an early rush leaving empty shelves, Amazon have now restocked copies of my new book. Latest updates suggest that they now only have two copies left, but have ordered more.
Why can’t they keep these books on the shelves, why are they selling like hot cakes and why do so many think it is the ideal companion for the upcoming World Cup? Well, you can find out how England got to where they are now by retracing their steps through the history of the planet’s greatest football competition by purchasing your own copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cheers-Tears-Jeers-History-England/dp/1788487559/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1525600833&sr=8-1&keywords=gary+thacker
Or, if they’re sold out again, you can go direct to the publishers website here: http://www.austinmacauley.com/book/cheers-tears-and-jeers-history-england-and-world-cup
Either way, don’t miss out on this book!
You may or may not be aware that my second book is due for publication on 30 April. It’s called ‘Cheers, Tears and Jeers – A History of England and the World Cup.’
The publishers are producing a number of promotional items – two posters – one advertising book signing events, and one advertising the book itself, a two-sided flyer, a two-sided postcard and a bookmark, They will be using these in the PR campaign for the book. I’ve just received soft copies of these items and attach an image of one of the posters.
As mentioned the book will be available from the usual online sites, directly from the publishers themselves, or from all good bookshops – and perhaps a few crappy ones as well.
The private lives of footballers are often the stuff of Sunday scandal sheets. On-field saints become off-field sinners, indulging in nefarious liaisons and the sorts of spending habits that reflect the old maxim of youth having more money than sense. Such are the impressions so often presented to the public by the behaviour of many Premier League players. There are, of course, some that defy such stereotyping, have a normal family life and somehow enjoy their wealth and good fortune without courting the notoriety apparently so thoughtlessly sought by many others.
It is unusual to hear of such things though, as ‘man goes home and does good things’ is hardly going to fill the voracious appetites of the less salubrious pack of news hounds – and perhaps it shouldn’t. After all, living life below the tabloid radar, and avoiding the harsh, negative glare of the public spotlight should hardly be a cause for celebration. After all, it’s what most of the population do all of the time, but just with a lot less resources. Sometimes however, there’s a story that should be told for the right reasons. Sometimes a footballer becomes more of a person; more of a human being. He becomes a player in a conflict far more important than any played out on a football field. Sometimes he can use his fame for enormous good. Sometimes you simply have to give credit where credit’s due. Continue reading →
For regular readers, you’ll note very quickly that this isn’t the usual sort of blog that I post. A week or so ago however, my first book was published, and I wanted to take this opportunity to mention it, and briefly describe its contents.
Entitled ‘I Don’t even Smoke!’ I’ve subtitled it as ‘A brief history of life, love and football through blue-tinted glass. Oh yes, and a cigar.’ It basically relates how the ‘beautiful game’ has payed a part in my life at various key moments, and the influence it has had on me.
A brief description I was asked to write relates:
“Football has always been a strong element in my life. From very early days, right through six decades of being in love with the beautiful game, it has touched the most important moments for me. Of life and of love. For me, football is not just the background music though. It’s a strident theme tune; at one and the same time both alluring and demanding, strident and compelling. It’s that song you can’t get out of your head, not least because you don’t want to.
If you’re looking for a real-life read about life, love and football, please forgive me for recommending this book to you. It’s at sometimes sad, at others funny – at least I hope so! – but always honest. As a Chelsea fan, I freely acknowledge its leaning towards the blue, but that’s just because my experiences are tinted with that colour. Chelsea fans would probably be able to identify with most of the events and emotions I experienced, but even if you’re attached to another club, I’m sure you’ll feel an empathy with the way the ‘beautiful game’ paints pictures in your life. Enjoy!”
The book is available on Amazon, and here’s a link to the page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dont-Even-Smoke-football-blue-tinted/dp/1522944729/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1454238134&sr=1-1&keywords=all+blue+daze. Alternatively, go to amazon, and merely search ‘All Blue Daze.’ The book is priced at a mere £3,89, which i hope shows that I haven’t done this for the money, but merely as I had a story that I wanted to share.
If you’d like to purchase a copy, I would offer you my thanks, but as a reader of my blog, you’re certainly due that anyway.
Football has often been described as the people’s game. Rich or poor, all can indulge in the enjoyment of kicking a ball around, simply because that’s all you need. The ‘beautiful game’ has no need for expensive accessories such as special clothing or particular equipment. If you’ve got a ball, you’ve got a game. To steal the old hackneyed phrase, throw in some ‘jumpers for goal-posts’ and you’ve even got a match.
Some sports however are less egalitarian, making it difficult for one particular segment of societies around the world to compete. I’m talking about the left-handed and left-footed. You simply aren’t allowed to play polo left-handed and if inclined to do so in hockey it can only be achieved with a ‘reversed stick.’ Whilst some other sports don’t deny the ‘right to be left’ it does make it more difficult to be naturally involved. Left-handed golf clubs are a rarity and for some reason more expensive than right-handed ones. The same applies to left-handed cricket bats – yes, there are such things. Continue reading →