May 10, 2012 § 1 Comment
by Danny Fitzgerald
A promising striker from a small German club, a combative midfielder plucked from a city whose last flirtation with kitsch came more than 30 years ago; a troublesome sub notable heretofore only for the contempt in which he was held by his team-mates; a mad-fringed full-back masquerading as a centre-half; a Barca player, but the last one on anyone’s lips; the second best player on the third, fourth or at times even fifth best team in Spain; and another shit-stirring substitute whose starring role at his team’s treble winning exploits was conspicuous for how little he had to do with their success and the real sensation that the myth is no bigger than the man, a man, moreover, who was ousted by — oh jesus — Dimitar Berbatov! « Read the rest of this entry »
November 16, 2011 § 3 Comments
by Scott Oliver
I’ve often wondered whether ‘irrational hatred’ wasn’t a tautology. Isn’t loathing always ‘irrational’? If not irrational, then unconscious, at least, conscious justifications merely giving our more base, primordial sentiments the ex post facto sheen of legitimacy? Or are there genuinely rational grounds for hatred — the implementation of systematic genocide, say, or the so-called ‘ideological’ call to destroy a supposedly morally degenerate civilization — perfectly sound reasons that can be objectively agreed upon, and consciously assented to by all of ‘right mind’? I have a feeling that to seek to justify hatred in this way makes you, inescapably, as demented as Hitler or Osama bin Laden, and to ‘hate’ them in turn would be an undeniable waste of psychic resources, pity seeming more appropriate. « Read the rest of this entry »
October 24, 2011 § Leave a Comment
by Niklas Wildhagen
Growing up in Germany I lived through an era of industrious, hard working, unspectacular ball players. Andi Brehme, Lotthar Matthaus, Klaus Augenthaler, all of them were decent and internationally respected footballers. But nobody seemed to love them, except Germans. Their way of playing football was team-oriented, and if you were looking for the spectacular you simply wouldn’t find it when those players were on the pitch. As Uli Hesse notes in his brilliant book Tor!, the 80s and 90s of German football were successful, but the vigor and the youthful swagger of the 70s when players like Gunter Netzer and Paul Breitner played had gone. « Read the rest of this entry »
September 28, 2011 § 1 Comment
by Sarah Flotel
Why did you let him draw you in? Why did you have to say that?
You should have kept your game face on, sinking those kind of theories to Pacific Ocean depths. Not the greatest career move to discuss your already scrutinised religious beliefs with a smart-arse journalist who was ready to hang you to get his name in bright lights . You could have blamed the referee, and loved tracksuits more than the Downham estate. You might even have got away with having a pea-sized tactical brain. Telling us you were gay would have been acceptable and a blessing in disguise, though not the kind of ones you base your life on. « Read the rest of this entry »
September 19, 2011 § 3 Comments
by Daniel Ivery
I have to admit, it hurt me inside when Darren Bent agreed to sign for Aston Villa. Not because I believed that my team, my beloved Blues, would ever have the chance of signing a player I considered to be the most prolific English scorer in English league football, but because he was going to those bastards over the road. It was once again proof that despite the fact we won a trophy last season, the fact we qualified for Europe on merit, that our hated brethren from across the A38(M) had pockets deep enough to save them from the ignominy of relegation. « Read the rest of this entry »
September 5, 2011 § 3 Comments
by Jack Lang
Lost Football Musicals: The Hamit Altintop Rocky Horror Stockholm Sydrome Experience
Hamit Altintop, our mercurial protagonist, his been lured into the smoky boudoir of one José Mourinho; the most scheming heartbreaker to grace Spain since Italian sweeper Casanova ended his loan spell with Villarreal in 1745. In this scene, José attempts to convince young Hamit that his transfer from Bayern Munich to Real Madrid was anything other than a mistake of Byzantine proportions … « Read the rest of this entry »
August 29, 2011 § 1 Comment
by Zac Lee Rigg
Like any good Euro-snob, I hated Landon Donovan.
He represented everything wrong with American soccer: too soft to make it in Europe; finishing bad enough to fill a YouTube clip with laughable misses; bald; and the use of that word: soccer. « Read the rest of this entry »
August 22, 2011 § 1 Comment
by Layla Carlsson
One summer evening in 2007, I attended the Amsterdam Tournament for Ajax versus Arsenal. The first match that evening was Atlético de Madrid — Lazio Roma. Armed with snacks and drinks, my friend and I took our seats and enjoyed the atmosphere.
Two goth-rock chicks with pink-red hair at a football event; we certainly stood out in a crowd which consisted mostly of families on a day-trip and a handful of away-fans. It wasn’t long before we saw our own mugs on the big screen in the Arena and, only minutes later, Atlético scored.
The man sitting beside me had tried to start a conversation a couple of times, much to the embarrassment of his two teenage sons. As the stadium applauded the goal, the poor, clumsy dad saw a chance to approach me again. « Read the rest of this entry »
August 16, 2011 § 2 Comments
by Ian King
The scene was Molineux, Wolverhampton, on the 5th of January 2003. The Third Round of the FA Cup was reaching its conclusion, and the television cameras were focussing their unyielding gaze upon the match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Newcastle United. It was a match that was ripe for an upset of some description. The atmosphere at Molineux – even though, with its open corners and one stand twenty or so yards from the pitch, it is hardly designed for it – can be fearsome for such matches. At the time, it had been getting close to twenty years since Wolves had last played in the top division of English football and every match against higher opposition was an opportunity for the club to prove its credentials, having spent much of the previous decade labouring under the “sleeping giant” label applied to it by the press after Jack Hayward, the “Golden Tit”, first pointed his udders in the direction of a place in the Premier League. « Read the rest of this entry »