Day: August 27, 2008

In Praise Of… Matthew Le Tissier

As I pondered the smoking ruins of England’s match against the Czech Republic last week, my mind turned back to Matthew Le Tissier. Matthew (and it seems somewhat wrong to reduce his first name to the monosyllable of merely “Matt”) was the great lost English talent of the last thirty years in some respects, but in others he fulfilled much that many other, more “successful” players never did. It’s not all about trophies and medals, you know. Matthew, you see, was different. He was utterly unlike any other English players of his era. His style of play was languid to the point of appearing lazy to his critics, and it cost him dear in a woefully short England career, during which he was never able to amply demonstrate his talent. That talent was so unique as to appear almost other-worldly. It was almost as if coaches were unable to grasp that he played football differently to everyone else, and were scared to take a chance on him. We could do with a player of such differentness now. Measured in purely empirical terms, he could have achieved so much more. He won no major trophies in career, and never managed to play in a domestic cup final. Yet to judge players by the number of trophies that they have won alone is no accurate gauge of their ability. Le Tissier’s...

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The Managerial Merry-Go-Round Grinds Into Gear

It usually takes approximately three matches before the rumour mill starts to rotate, so it is that time again. Already, there is talk that Alan Curbishley is going to be kicked out from West Ham United, and that Harry Redknapp is going to make a “surprise” return to the East End to take over there. Lower down the football pyramid, the knives are also out for Stevenage Borough’s Graham Westley after the pre-season Conference favourites picked up just two points from their opening five matches Westley has been in charge of Stevenage for, you guessed it, five matches. Following Saturday’s defeat at Fulham, there has even been talk that Arsene Wenger may be running out of support at Arsenal. There are differing reasons for the difficulties that all of the above are facing. Curbishley is apparently likely to be the loser in a “clash of personalities” behind the scenes at Upton Park, though that particular “clash” is most likely to have been brought about by pressures on the club owners as a result of the current global financial situation. Westley is a person that divides opinion within non-league football, and is always likely to have a considerable number of critics should he run into difficulties. Wenger is feeling the strain because of circumstances that are beyond his control. Arsenal have under-performed over the last couple of years or so,...

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