RowZ Scouting: Frenkie de Jong

Frenkie de Jong: Every football fan has heard of him. He’s been linked to FC Barcelona all summer and the young midfielder could still move to arguably the biggest club in the world at some point in his career. Ajax have shown great determination to retain his services for another season but knowing that Frenkie only wants his current club or Barca, it’s pretty clear which his next club will be. In my opinion Frenkie could be one of the world’s best midfielders in years to come but it would be better for him, Ajax and FC Barcelona if he continues his development in Amsterdam. Continue reading “RowZ Scouting: Frenkie de Jong”

Paul Gascoigne at Rangers: Life in the Cabaret

IT was a bolt out of the blue. One day in June 1995, with no prior warning, Walter Smith asked his assistant Archie Knox a simple question: “Should I sign Paul Gascoigne?”

At that point, Gazza was out of favour in Rome having weight issues and personality issues with the dogmatic Zdenek Zeman. Knox started by reeling off all of the reasons that it would be a bad idea and Smith cut him off by repeating the question. Continue reading “Paul Gascoigne at Rangers: Life in the Cabaret”

Prime Time: Amazon’s portrayal of the centurions

In this day and age, Amazon’s recent release as a fly-on-the-wall series inside Manchester City’s inner workings was likely to be considered ground-breaking and insightful. For a team such as Manchester City to give such a level of access, and in the year they smashed Premier League records no less adds an extra dimension to the documentary series. For all the Guardiolistas such as myself out there and even non Guardiolistas, it was always going to prove extremely popular.  Continue reading “Prime Time: Amazon’s portrayal of the centurions”

How ‘Super Jack’ Became a Holte End Hero

IN many ways it would have been the perfect way to go. The boyhood Aston Villa fan, turned Holte End hero, hoisted onto the shoulders of the very supporters he once prided himself on being a part of.

Although only taken a few months ago, the images of ‘Super Jack’ after the Villa’s Play-Off semi-final triumph over Middlesbrough have become somewhat iconic, and show just how adored he has become in the second city. Sam Johnstone, John Terry, James Chester and Robert Snodgrass enjoyed superb campaigns in a claret and blue shirt last year, but when those several thousand fans flooded onto the pitch that May evening, they had eyes for only one man. A player who, just a year prior, was considered by many outside of Villa Park to be unscrupulous and more concerned about his social life than his fledgling football career. Those exuberant fans, who paraded their hero around the stadium had no doubt that he would, in just 11 days, be guiding them back to where they belonged – the Premier League. Alas, it was not meant to be. Continue reading “How ‘Super Jack’ Became a Holte End Hero”

Paul Gascoigne at Lazio: more tears in Italy for a lionhearted hero

AFTER 17 minutes of the 1991 FA Cup final, Tottenham Hotspur’s worst nightmare came true. Star man Paul Gascoigne is stretched off with a serious knee injury. Just weeks earlier, Gazza had produced one of the great Wembley moments as he scored an incredible free kick in Spurs’ semi-final victory over fierce North London rivals Arsenal.

In the months before the final, Lazio had agreed a British record deal for the talented midfielder. The fee had been £8.5 million but was reduced to £5.5 million due to the severity of the injury. His recovery was even delayed due to a heavy drinking night in Newcastle where Gascoigne was assaulted. Continue reading “Paul Gascoigne at Lazio: more tears in Italy for a lionhearted hero”

Jairzinho: more than just the Hurricane

THE Brazil team of 1970 is widely regarded as the greatest football team ever. The lineup boasted the likes of Pelé, Rivelino, Carlos Alberto and Gérson, a side with incredible individual talent as well as impressive managerial discipline from Mario Zagallo. This is a team that epitomized the beauty of football; this team is known for showing the Jogo Bonito with excellence, it was akin to well-orchestrated classical music with all the instruments playing in harmonious unity. Zagallo managed to put a team together that played attacking free-flowing football with exchanging of positions, quick passing and dazzling skill. Continue reading “Jairzinho: more than just the Hurricane”