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Day: June 14, 2008

From Genesis To Revelation

While an international football tournament that is shaping up to be the best in a generation is taking place in Austria and Switzerland, the silly season is in full flow back home in England. Whether it’s the press speculating over how Ronaldinho’s move to Manchester City will be funded (Nike paying a proportion of his wages, apparently) and the acres of speculation of Luis Felipe Scolari’s appointment at Chelsea at the weekend (as I mentioned before, The Independent managed five pages on the subject yesterday, without once mentioning that Scolari hasn’t managed a club side in Europe since 2001 and has never managed a European club side), possibly the most ridiculous story of the summer is taking place in the north-west, where former Conference also-rans Leigh RMI have decided on a little re-branding, following their move to a new stadium. Leigh RMI (RMI stands for “Railway Mechanics Institute”) were initially founded in 1896, seven miles away from Leigh in the Bolton suburb of Horwich. Horwich RMI were a pretty run of the mill non-league club for the majority of their existence, moving slowly up the non-league rankings whilst playing their home matches at the sloping Grundy Hill. By 1995, though, they had decided that they had out-grown their ground, and took up the offer to move seven miles away to Leigh, change their name from Horwich RMI to Leigh...

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Netherlands 4-1 France

Still the goals keep going, still teams refuse to sit back and merely defend, and still the Dutch look like the best football team at Euro 2008. It’s almost as if the players and the coaches of all the nations have got together and decided to play with the care-free air of an end of year party. At the end of a year which has seen my spine start to curl with cynicism over the state of the modern game, it’s like a breath of fresh air, as, for about the sixth match in a row, two of Europe’s best played out an absolutely magnificent match which could have gone in either direction but ended in another resounding win for a Dutch team that is rapidly starting to look as good as the team that won the competition twenty years ago, or even (whisper it) the great team of the 1970s. They booked their place in the quarter-finals last night, and they did it eventually with room to spare, but to say that this was the full story of last night’s match would be doing a great disservice to France, who played a full contribution to proceedings and were harshly served by the eventual 4-1 scoreline. The opening goal was a conventional enough affair. A corner from the right, headed in by Dirk Kuyt, who has produced more football...

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