Author: Mark

Celtic’s European Cup: Understanding Lisbon

Just watch the game. You’ll understand. Even though Celtic completed an unbeaten Scottish Premiership season last Sunday, the focus was far less on the 34 wins and four draws this season than on one win 50 years ago. Likewise, the previous Thursday, when Celtic ran lanes through a disinterested Partick Thistle, in front of a stand-full of fans with banners and flags replicating those carried and waved in Lisbon’s Estadio Nacional on May 25th 1967. But if you watch the game, you’ll understand. If you aren’t a Celtic fan, “Lisbon Lions” fatigue possibly set in ages ago. Some old...

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Tottenham Hotspur: Goodbye To The Lane

There was a neat personal symmetry to Tottenham Hotspur’s farewell afternoon to what is already the “old” White Hart Lane. My first-ever trip there was my first-ever football match. 10th November 1973. Then, as now, it was Spurs v Manchester United. Then, as now, Spurs went two-up. Then, as now, United pulled one back. Then, as now, it finished 2-1. So, while Sky Sports were doubtless desperate to for referee Jonathan Moss to award a penalty when Dele Alli was tripped as he entered the penalty area with stoppage-time about up last Sunday, I was pleased that the next...

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Infantino Trumps FIFA

Among the millions of words from American political pundits and satirists about Donald bloody Trump, NBC’s Saturday Night Live broadcast the straightest-to-the-point, last… well… Saturday night. The previous Thursday, Trump told NBC journalist Lester Holt that he fired Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director James Comey while thinking about “this Russia thing,” the Comey-led FBI investigation into the nature of the Trump’s presidential campaign team’s links with Russia, and their role in Trump’s election victory last November. (NB: “The nature” of those links, not “if” they existed. One for the politicos there). On SNL, Michael Che’s “Holt”, got Alec...

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West Bromwich Albion’s Real McClean

I am not one for “unfriending” people on Facebook. But I made an exception in March when an ex-friend charmingly captioned a photograph of Irish international James McClean and former Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness “a stupid c**t and a dead c**t.” I entirely accept that many people would echo the comment about McGuinness, given his pre-political life in the Provisional Irish Republican Army. But the comment about McClean was not acceptable in any sense. McClean the footballer has done many stupid things, for which he has received yellow and red cards. And, while not excusing my...

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Old Firm? Still “No Thanks”

OK. I laughed…and laughed when Celtic’s Mikael Lustig slalomed through Rangers’ traffic-cone defence and plonked a 20-yard effort into the corner of the net at Ibrox the other Saturday. And Celtic’s dominance of the two recent meetings with the post-liquidation Rangers has, not before time, reflected the gulf in class between the clubs, on-field and off. But I am as unenamoured with the “Old Firm” fixture as ever, thanks not only to fans’ behaviour but also Sky Sports’ continuing insanely unprofessional coverage of it. Whatever your views on Rangers’ existing after liquidation, the “Old Firm” itself, an alleged mutual...

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