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”
JÉRÔME ROTHEN was one of many French footballers to be schooled in the famous Clairefontaine National Football Academy in France. He went on to represent five different French teams and his nation thirteen times. Famed for his set pieces, crossing and skills out wide, Rothen had an admirable career. During his playing career he picked up two French League titles at PSG and AS Monaco, the French Cup with PSG, a Confederations Cup in 2003 and the Scottish League and Cup double with Rangers. He was also a member of the AS Monaco side that finished as runner-up in the 2004 Champions League, Rothen’s side losing to José Mourinho’s FC Porto. Continue reading “Jérôme Rothen: one of football’s great nearly men”
DETACHMENT. It’s a recurring, egregious problem in the relationship between the new age owners of elite premiership clubs and their fervent, archaic supporters. An inevitable one too really. For those willing to bleed their clubs colours up and down the country week after week it’s a social chasm to those who sit in starched suits and heated seats looking for investment opportunities. It’s also the reverse. The terrace stalwarts are rabid about everything but tradition and loyalty and the businessmen are obsessed about anything but profit margins. A middle ground is reached by the fact that it’s a default setting and therefore ingrained into the fabric of most Premier League clubs. As long as new faces and new money trickle slowly through the doors then everyone is appeased. Continue reading “Turmoil at Newcastle United”
BY 1988, it was pretty obvious that Paul Gascoigne had already outgrown Newcastle and the entire North East altogether. In his palm, he has the hottest signature in English football at that point; so moving to a bigger club was inevitable. So the question is where? Continue reading “Paul Gascoigne at Tottenham Hotspur: the promise and the heartbreak”
IF there’s one great misnomer about the modern day footballer, it’s the idea that their life is a spoilt and easy one. In terms of affluence that may well be true. In both an Internet and television age, the sport has quickly become both the language and commerce of its time: providing both instant exposure and financial wealth that plays out like something from an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Continue reading “Robert Enke: a personal and secret struggle”
Trent Arnold has a terrific chance of making it as a top professional. He’s quite leggy but he’s got a lovely frame and seems to have all the attributes you need. He has the right attitude and comes from West Derby, home to Melwood. So Trent is another Scouser and apparently, just as I tried to be John Barnes and Steve McMahon, he grew up pretending to be me while playing in the Merseyside parks. He can play as a number 6, a holding midfielder, but he’s versatile and I’ve seen him fill various positions. I know England are all over him.
[Steven Gerrard – 2016]
IN any other era, the dull thud of a heavy football against a house wall might be enough to send its housebound residents screaming to the council authorities. As it is, apart from the obligatory prohibited ball games sign, not much is said. This after all is the early seventies and this is the North East of England. Gateshead specifically, cast in the shadow of the great football city of Newcastle, whose young tear aways on street corners and school fields constantly hammer footballs into makeshift goals and cast an inquisitive eye to the distance and the hallowed stadium of St James Park – the epicentre of everything in these parts, their sporting church. Continue reading “Paul Gascoigne at Newcastle United: the validation of dreams”