Category: Latest

Parking The Coach: Helenio Herrera

Everything that Italian football is, was encapsulated in Helenio Herrera. Stylish, cerebral, passionate, pragmatic, cynical, exasperating, inconsistent, unscrupulous, brilliant, corrupt… a smooth and intoxicating mixture of ascetic analysis, self-aggrandisement and suspiciously-too-black hair. In many ways, Herrera gave birth to football in the 21st Century. He is certainly its manager. The first of the mass of contradictions that lay ahead is that Italian football’s avatar was not Italian at all, but a naturalised Frenchman from Argentina. Helenio Herrera was born in Buenos Aires on 10th April 1910. His father, a Spanish immigrant, worked as a carpenter – “like Jesus”, as...

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Wolverhampton Wanderers: Paul Lambert & A Clash Of Cultures

Expectations weren’t especially high before a ball was kicked last August, but even despite this last season was a distinctly underwhelming one for Wolverhampton Wanderers. Tentative optimism at the arrival of new Chinese owners in the Black Country was tempered by their counter-intuitive decision to hire Walter Zenga as head coach last summer, and those who held reservation over the former Italian national team goalkeeper’s suitability for the position likely felt vindicated when Zenga was removed from his position at the club at the end of October, with his team sitting in eighteenth place in the Championship table, having...

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Tottenham Hotspur: My Eyes Have Seen The Glory

Accidents of birth can be the strangest of things. My father has been a supporter of Tottenham Hotspur since 1946, and from the first flat that I called home in Lower Edmonton we could see the White Hart Lane floodlights from the living room window when a night match was on. However, due to the complications of being born to an older mother in the early 1970s, I was born in a long-forgotten annex of the the Royal Free Hospital in Liverpool Road, a short distance from The Angel, Islington, the heart of Arsenal territory. Perhaps this explains why...

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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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