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 »
September 8, 2011 § Leave a Comment
by Maxwell Kuhl
O Swansea, stay strong, stay strong,
it was not a feckless night.
O Swansea, bright eyes, broad reach,
your flame may come alight. « Read the rest of this entry »
August 9, 2011 § 15 Comments
by Mike Counsell
Occasionally in life, something happens that is so alien, so counterintuitive, so brain-jarringly wrong that it makes you question whether there can ever again be such a thing as certainty. It was May the 14th 1988, FA Cup final day, and I was in the pub. Nothing unusual or counterintuitive about that, as anyone who knows me would confirm.
(Incidentally, as a digressing disclaimer, there will be errors of fact and attribution in this piece. Football is a game of passions and opinions, and I prefer the kind of truth that’s refracted through memory and experience rather than the kind that reflects, you know, what actually happened. The date I can vouch for, but I’m afraid that that constitutes the full extent of my research.) « Read the rest of this entry »
April 30, 2011 § 11 Comments
Paul Wilson, writing in the Guardian, recently made the rather remarkable suggestion that “it is debatable whether [Manchester] City fans are trying to offend [Manchester] United fans with the term ‘Munichs’”, suggesting instead that the nickname derives from a desire on the part of City fans to emphasise the differences between the clubs. He cites City supporters who “say they would never chant anything unpleasant or inflammatory about Munich but see no issue with using the word itself as shorthand for United and their supporters”. « Read the rest of this entry »
January 13, 2011 § 19 Comments
The level of involvement that fans should have in the clubs they follow is one of the more contentious and fascinating debates in modern football. English top-flight fans cast envious eyes toward the Bundesliga or Spain, where a variety of fan-based ownership structures demonstrate their compatability with high-level success. Lower down the pyramid, a number of relatively high-profile fan-driven clubs are achieving long-desired stability by involving their fans. « Read the rest of this entry »
November 5, 2010 § 1 Comment
Billy Meredith is intimately bound up with the early history of football in Manchester. He inspired both Manchester clubs to their first honours – first City’s FA Cup win in 1904, then United to the league title in 1908 - having scored twice against Newton Heath in 1894, the first of the fixtures that would become the Manchester derby.
He was, by all accounts, a hero to the northern Edwardian working class, who turned out in their thousands to watch him play no matter which side of the city he was representing. Yet he was a controversial figure too: his transfer to United from City was triggered following an allegation (always denied) of bribing an opponent. City refused to oppose the suspension passed down by the FA, and in response he exposed the club’s practice of regularly violating the £4-a-week maximum wage. Meredith, along with three other players, was sold to United at a knock-down price.
A willowy and quick outside-right, Meredith played with a trademark toothpick poking out from under his moustache, having been forced to abandon chewing tobacco following complaints from kit staff. At a time when English football was designed for dribblers, Meredith was the very finest, and the Manchester Guardian eulogised his “consummate ball control and trickery”. He was also, at least during his first spell at City, a prolific scorer, notching 129 goals in 339 games. While the goals dried up somewhat after his move across town, where he played as a more traditional winger, he retained his exceptional technical ability and creative instincts throughout what would be an exceptionally long and fruitful career. « Read the rest of this entry »