“What do we want him for, he’s more trouble than he’s worth?” exclaimed my disgruntled uncle upon hearing through his trusty wireless that his beloved Everton had signed Paul Gascoigne. Through sheer optimism I argued that Gazza still had the talent so ‘if’ he could stay fit and out of strife then Everton may have pulled off a masterstroke. Continue reading “Paul Gascoigne at Everton: Passion and Addiction on Merseyside”
If there’s one particular moment that sums up why England’s younger internationals continue to struggle for opportunities to play regularly, it was provided shortly after the January 2018 transfer window. Everton’s England U21 international Ademola Lookman, who had been featuring infrequently that season under Sam Allardyce, was offered a loan move until the end of the season with Derby in the English Championship. He however preferred a move, which had been arranged for him to move to Germany, and play in the Bundesliga with the youth focussed RB Leipzig, who had finished second in the preceding season behind Bavarian giants Bayern Munich. When asked about the move, Sam Allardyce is reported to have stated that he had attempted to persuade Lookman to stay in the UK and play at Derby instead of testing himself against some of the best players in Europe and labelled the youngster ‘stubborn’. Continue reading “Looking Abroad: ‘stubborn’ or wise?”
It was a time when rarely a week would pass by without Middlesbrough seeming to strengthen their squad in preparation for a promotion push that would go down to the final game of the season. In the final week of March 1998, with the club well placed in the league table and preparing for another trip to Wembley to face Chelsea in the League Cup final, the club entered the transfer market once again, this time adding Paul Gascoigne from Rangers for £3.5m. It is fair to say that the move, on the back of a fragmented twelve months of football for Gazza due to injuries and suspension, represented something of a gamble for all concerned. Continue reading “Paul Gascoigne at Boro: a lingering frustration”
To many of us the name Cherno Samba evokes memories of Championship Manager at the turn of the millennium. But behind the stats and flashing goal text is a tragic backstory and a man ready to share his story with the world in his newly released autobiography Cherno Samba: Still in the Game. Continue reading “EXCLUSIVE: “I would say I was weak for not speaking out” – Cherno Samba on depression, trying to help the next generation and embracing Championship Manager legend status”
On the 23rd of May 1937, just a little less than a month after the bombing and destruction of Gernika by the German Luftwaffe’s Condor Legion, Raimundo Pérez Lezama and his younger brother Luis boarded the SS Habana, an old steamship tasked with transporting Basque refugee children, who became known as Los Niños de La Guerra (The Children of War), to the safety of British shores. Continue reading “Raimundo Lezama: Child of War”
The Theatre of Dreams rose in unison, applauding the victors with mutual appreciation and respect, despite a deep midst of unsettling disappointment and frustration. For a fan base that fiercely craves aggressive attacking football, there was a sense of great privilege at what they had just witnessed.
The masterful intensity of Marcelo Bielsa’s Athletic Bilbao had been somehow matched by the vociferous travelling support as the Basque side humbled Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, running amok on the hallowed turf of Old Trafford. Continue reading “The Brief and Intense Story of Bielsa in Bilbao”
During the press conference to announce his retirement, midfielder Xabi Prieto uttered the words that every football fan wants to hear from their club captain.
‘My dream wasn’t to be a footballer, but to be a La Real player.’
It was a simple yet eloquent turn of phrase that epitomised Xabi Prieto’s service and dedication to his club. Continue reading “Xabi Prieto: Kapitaina”