Advent Day 21 – Lahm, Merkel and the ascendance of Germany

By Barney Stephenson

2002 was a big year for the Germans. The new year saw the advent of a period of economic dominance for Germany as the Euro officially replaced the Deutsche Mark. In the summer Die Mannschaft became perhaps the worst side ever to reach a world cup final only to lose to a far superior Brazil. But in hindsight (in sporting terms anyway) the critical event for Germany of 2002 was the introduction of a miniature Bavarian full-back to professional football. Continue reading “Advent Day 21 – Lahm, Merkel and the ascendance of Germany”

Defining the ‘football hipster’: what are they, are they a bad thing, and are you one?

Neil Custis, the most reliably trusted and clued up journalist in the UK media sphere, replied to a tweet about the time of the Superclásico between Boca Juniors and River Plate in the Copa Libertadores final, asking: “Is that hipster time or GMT?” That was just one of many tweets that come up if you run a quick Twitter search of ‘@ncustisTheSun: hipster’.

Continue reading “Defining the ‘football hipster’: what are they, are they a bad thing, and are you one?”

Advent Day 20 – Ole Gunnar Solskjær, the epitome of the ‘super-sub’

On Tuesday, it was announced that Jose Mourinho had been sacked as manager of Manchester United, after their worst start to a season for 28 years. Later, it was revealed that the board were to appoint a caretaker manager until the end of the 2018/19 season, before choosing a more long-term manager.

The following day, it was confirmed that the caretaker manager would be Ole Gunnar Solskjær, a Man Utd cult legend who scored 126 goals in his 366 appearances for the Red Devils. The Norwegian has had mixed success as a manager, with a stellar record managing Eliteserien team Molde FK, marred by a less than convincing nine months managing Cardiff City in which he only won nine games and was relegated, despite making 30 signings.

However tempting it is to speculate about Manchester United’s success under Ole Gunnar Solskjær, we’re here to talk about his success on the pitch for the club. Winning seven league titles, two FA cups and one famous Champions League, the ‘baby-faced assassin’ was quietly present and efficient in some of United’s most successful seasons.

Continue reading “Advent Day 20 – Ole Gunnar Solskjær, the epitome of the ‘super-sub’”

The renaissance of the English 4-4-2

By Joe Davies

English football was once a game of partnerships. Big man, little man – one guy to hold it up, one to work the channels and play on the shoulder – was the dominant strike pairing across all British sides. Managers lined their teams up with two pacy, outside wingers, and two box-to-box midfielders in the middle, with one going while the other stayed and vice versa. In defence, you would have two imposing centre-halves, one covering while the other marked tight, and full-backs would adopt a similar strategy to the central midfielders in order to make sure there were always three staying back in possession. This is the way all English school kids grew up playing football on the weekend, and is still the dominant shape in Sunday-league football today. Football was simple.

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Glenn Murray, the plasterer who turned into a Premier League poacher

By George Carden

From being forced to play left-back to spending six-months in Carolina through a career that has seen him rise from the seventh tier of English football all the way to the glamour of the Premier League – Glenn Murray has experienced it all. Continue reading “Glenn Murray, the plasterer who turned into a Premier League poacher”

Why Scotland may be dark horses in next years Women’s World Cup

By Kathryn Batte

When Scotland were drawn in the same group as England for the Women’s World Cup next year, manager Shelley Kerr must have thought ‘typical’. Her team qualified for only their second ever major competition with a dramatic win over Albania in September. Shortly after it was announced the Scottish Government would provide £80,000 of funding to allow the squad to be full-time from January to the tournament’s start date in June.

Scotland’s reward? A group of death with their rivals, former World Champions Japan and Argentina.

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Advent Day 19 – a young Lionel Messi, footballing memories made forever

By Lewis Steele 

Throughout the Advent Calendar series here at 5WFootball, we’ve delved into the wonderfully glistening careers of many greats. Some have been so good that one article wouldn’t do them justice, so we have just looked at one aspect of their careers. That’s what we will do here, with Lionel Messi and the number 19. The GOAT wore the 19 shirt for just two seasons, but those two campaigns set in motion a trail of events that would establish Lionel Messi as the greatest footballer to ever grace our planet. Another theme of the series has looked at a particular part under a microscope from an outside perspective, like Westworld, but like the HBO blockbuster, let’s leap inside that world and have a look at what Leo Messi means to me.

Let’s start with my trip to the Camp Nou…
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Advent Day 18 – Jermain Defoe, always 18 never the nine

By Barney Stephenson

Always the bridesmaid and never the bride. There’s something particularly apt about Jermain Defoe’s long association with the number 18.

Clearly a box player in the mould of a classic centre forward, on leaving West Ham in 2004, Defoe relinquished the number nine shirt settling for its less prestigious multiple due to Freddie Kanoute’s presence at White Hart Lane. Jermain and the 18 have been inextricably linked ever since.

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