Day: May 29, 2010

Heysel: Requiem For A Cup Final

There is no pleasure to be had in this evening’s second post, which is a BBC documentary of the story of the 1985 Heysel Stadium Disaster, which happened twenty-five years ago this evening. Even at a quarter of a century’s remove, and speaking as someone that watched the events of that appalling evening unfold live on the television, the capacity of the such events to shock remains undiminished. The crowning glory of years of English hooliganism laid bare in front of the whole world. “Heysel: Requiem For A Cup Final” is about as good a documentary on the subject as you could hope for. It has interviews with many people that were there that evening and treats the subject with rare sensitivity and grace.It may not seem like perfect Saturday night viewing, but if you are looking for an overview of a tragedy so stupefying that it continues to defy comprehension to this day, this is a very good place indeed to start looking. As ever with videos hosted on YouTube, it is divided into handy nine minute...

Read More

World Cup Tales – Magyarország! The Greatest Team Never To Win A World Cup? Hungary, 1954

The story of football in the years immediately following the end of the Second World War often seemed to be following a pre-prepared script, but it was a script that, at the World Cup finals at least, the competing nations seemed unwilling to follow. In 1950, the tournament should have been a procession for the host nation, Brazil, but in the final minutes of the final match, Uruguay silenced the Maracana. And four years later, one of the greatest teams in the history of the game would come unstuck in similar circumstances. They were the “Golden Team” – the Hungarian team of Ferenc Puskas, Nándor Hidegkuti and József Bozsik. This Hungarian team was, tactically, one of the most important in the history of the game, and it only lost one match in four years. It just so happened, however, that the match that they did lose was the most important of all. The building blocks of the team were laid by Gusztáv Sebes, a Communist party member that had played for the Hungarian club MTK during the 1920s and 1930s. Sebes, along with fellow party members Béla Mandik and Gábor Kompóti-Kléber, took control of the national team in 1948. They realised immediately that the political capital of a successful national team was potentially massive and, using the Austrian Wunderteam and the Italian team that had seemed likely to dominate...

Read More

Scudamore & Clarke: Chief To Chair

The Football League has a new chairman, in the form of former Leicester City chairman Greg Clarke, the man that took the club through one of football’s more notorious insolvency events, during the 2002/2003 season. Mark Murphy takes a look at Clarke’s first interviews since taking his new job, and compares and contrasts his views with those of Richard Scudamore, who seems to continue to believe that, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with the Premier League’s financial model. “People actually realise that there is an almost perfect correlation between the spend and the league table position. Almost perfect.” “So from now on, at the start of August, all the club chairmen should declare how much money they’ve got and the league table should be based on the results. This will save the bother of having to play the games.” The above could easily be one quote, even though the words were taken from one article written by a comedian and the other written by another comedian, if not necessarily a deliberate one. Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore came out with the first in his most recent holding of court with the national press. By “perfect” he almost certainly meant “exact,” but with Scudamore, you’re never sure. He certainly wasn’t offering this scenario as a criticism; quite the opposite, in...

Read More