The Pre-Match Handshake Is A Pointless Exercise In Nonsense And Must Be Stopped Immediately, Else I’ll Go Postal
February 10, 2012 § Leave a Comment
This piece first appeared on SB NATION on 3 February 2012. However, the fact that Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez will be playing one another this weekend means it remains relevant. Thank you, football. Thank you.
In the end, amid rumours that the entire of Queen’s Park Rangers’ side were set to “snub” John Terry’s limpid and outstretched foreleg in solidarity with Anton Ferdinand, the FA did the sensible thing, and sent both sides onto the pitch without insisting that they line-up in front of the director’s box and wobble one another wrists. The disappointment from the assembled media was palpable, as both sides of the delicately stoked either/or, will he/won’t we narrative collapsed into “oh, we’ll never know”. A thousand opinion pieces cried out, and were suddenly silenced. « Read the rest of this entry »
July 8, 2011 § 3 Comments
by Kris Hallam
In the 70th minute of the 2009 Champions League final, 5ft 6in Lionel Messi rose above 6ft 5in Rio Ferdinand to meet an incoming cross. He headed the ball perfectly and it flew over 6ft 5.5in Edwin Van Der Sar.
It wasn’t meant to be that way. « Read the rest of this entry »
June 1, 2011 § 8 Comments
This isn’t really a book about football. Football is all around it, providing means, motive and opportunity, but this is a book about a group of very strange people. It is an investigation undertaken with a lot of affection, a dose of hostility, and above all an incessant curiosity into their strangeness. What makes them men apart?
With one notable exception, about which more later, the book comprises short profiles – sketches, really, some more detailed than others – of forty-five footballers, fourteen managers, and six other “football men”, one of whom barely qualifies as such. None exceeds ten pages; the shortest barely fill three. Some come from one-to-one interviews, others from press conferences, others are simply descriptions conjured from Kuper’s contacts, knowledge, and critical eye. They were written across thirteen years, from September 1997 to October 2010, and have mostly appeared, in one form or another, in the Financial Times or other organs, though a few have been written specifically with the book in mind. « Read the rest of this entry »
April 22, 2011 § 13 Comments
Bravery is one of the great intangibles of football. It is a quality demanded by fans and craved by managers; it oozes from some players, it is gapingly and shockingly absent from others. You know it when you see it, and you feel it when you don’t. It has been held up as the quality that separates the good from the great; the inspirational from the inconsequential; and, if you’ll forgive a brief lapse into lumpen cliché, the men from the boys. « Read the rest of this entry »