The Kolkata Derby, Asia’s Old Firm rivalry

By Kieran Ahuja

The nearly century-old Boro Match, Bengali for ‘Big Match’, regularly attracts attendances of nearly 100,000.

On December 29th, 49,863 people, mostly comprised of enthusiastic Glaswegians, turned out at Ibrox to watch the Old Firm Derby, a rivalry between Celtic and Rangers that is deeply ingrained in Scottish culture. It’s an incendiary match marked by passionate sectarianism, fierce rivalries and a delicate sense of pride; it’s the sound of tens of thousands of Scottish fans roaring until their voices crack as 22 players (often less by the end) push, shove and barge each other whilst vaguely adhering to the rules of football.

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Events at the San Siro on Boxing day are symptomatic of the deep-seated issues in Italian ultra culture

On the 27th December, an Inter Milan fan died in hospital after being hit by a van whilst fans clashed before a game between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro the day before. The incident occurred at the end of a fight that involved around 60 people. It was also reported that three Napoli fans were stabbed and subsequently hospitalised.

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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.

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Advent Day 11 – Didier Drogba, talisman of Chelsea and Côte d’Ivoire

Let us, for a second, pretend that it’s May 2012. Brexit isn’t a word yet, Donald Trump is an annoying TV star instead of an abhorrent world leader, London are getting ready to host the olympics and absolutely nail it. Our biggest worry is that an ancient Mayan calendar has foretold the apocalypse. It’s a better time.

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Advent Day 7 – Kenny Dalglish, the king of the Kop

By Danny Hall

It’s never easy for Scots to take the managerial post at Liverpool and still be heralded in the same regard from your playing days, just ask Graeme Souness. However, it was something than Kenneth Dalglish managed to do, and revered even more for it.

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Advent Day 1 – The wrath of Oliver Kahn

By Kieran Ahuja

Seeing as Germany invented the advent calendar, it seems apt to begin this advent series with a big Deutsch number eins. And they don’t come much bigger than Oliver Kahn. Standing at 6 feet 2 inches with a commanding shout that made him seem double that height, ‘the titan’ won 8 Bundesligas, 6 German Cups, the UEFA Cup, the Champions League, and 3 World Goalkeeper of the Year awards.

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The legacy of Aldyr Schlee, designer of the iconic Brazil shirt

By Kieran Ahuja 

Believe it or not, Brazil haven’t always been the world beaters we know them to be in the 21st century. Back in the 1950’s, there was a national identity crisis when the country lost to their continental neighbours Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup. Brazil hosted the tournament, the first held since 1938 due to World War II. After a convincing qualifying campaign and two high-scoring victories in the final round (7-1 against Sweden and 6-1 against Spain), Brazil went to the final convinced of their imminent victory; newspapers had already printed headlines declaring Brazil’s World Cup win.

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Madagascar: Big population, but no longer small in football terms

The island nation have qualified for the African Cup of Nations for the first time, after a convincing qualifying campaign.

By Kieran Ahuja

Madagascar have typically not had much luck in the footballing world. In a continent where teams such as Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa often qualify for the world cup, the island nation has been both metaphorically and geographically on the periphery. In the six decades that the AFCON has been running, the competition has been held 31 times – with Madagascar, until now, continually failing to qualify. They’ve had more success looking eastwards, being the winners of the Indian Ocean Island games in 1990 and the runners-up in 2007. But, these wins are against teams who you’ve probably never heard of (Comoros? Mayotte?), most of whom come from islands with sub-million populations.

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