“We have a lot of quality players, but I turned to my assistant and said ‘I think we are witnessing a genius at work’. If you are talking a pure, pure footballer, he is as good as there is.” – Gordon Strachan
After a cruel and bloody siege that lasted for 72 days, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic’s capital, Kyiv, was occupied by the Nazis in September 1941. In a attempt to not look like brutal tyrants in the eyes of the local population, the Nazi government tried to create the illusion of a prosperous life by organising various cultural events and incorporating sports into the daily life of the ordinary citizen.
By Andrew Misra
The long-anticipated news has landed. Aaron Ramsey has signed a pre-contract agreement with Juventus. The deal will see him move to Turin in the summer and reportedly earn over £400,000 per week. Eye-watering.
Take out your diary and grab a pen, then jot down this note: Barcelona versus Real Madrid, the great eternal rivalry of Spain, the most watched derby in football, three times in the next 25 days. 6th February at the Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey, the return leg on the 27th at the Bernabéu, a blockbuster league tie on 2nd March at the Bernabéu. Good watching for the neutral, right? Certainly so, but nothing on 2011. Pep v José, Barça v Madrid, four times in 18 days…
By Andrew Misra
So it’s transfer deadline day. So what? The fax machine suddenly becomes a thing again. The fabled 11pm deadline. The Harry Redknapp car window, you probably know it all. The January 2019 transfer window has been decidedly muted and the prospects of that changing today don’t look too inspiring. Continue reading “The drama of Transfer Deadline Day on 31st January 2011”
By Andrew Misra
The giant, round Champions League flag ripples between its legion of bearers in the centre circle just as the excitement does amongst the crowd of 35,472 fans. The familiar anthem by Tony Britten begins and the breaths of many around the world habitually grow slower and deeper just for a second. Then the heart rates raise as the shiny metallic Handel inspired majesty builds purposefully towards its crescendo. And then they raise.
Die Meister. Die Besten. Les grandes équipes. The champions.
When you think of Asian club football, you could be forgiven if you presumed that it is contested by a huge majority of Asian-born players. When Saudi Arabia announced their squad for the 2018 World Cup, every single player was domestic-based, with the majority being players of Al Ahli or Al Hilal.
The precedent is fairly similar across the continent, so when a European pitches up in the kit of his team, eyebrows are raised. That happened in Tehran, when Éamon Zayed became the most unlikely continental hero in a match between Tehran clubs Esteghal and Persepolis in 2012…
Ah. ‘The magic of the cup’. That old phrase that BT Sport and BBC recycle every year at the beginning of January for FA Cup third round weekend. The weekend that used to promise so much, but now, nothing. There are a few scares along the way, and usually one or two upsets, but something is missing. Something, somewhere, is absent. It says a lot that FA Cup weekend sometimes now even gets frowned upon on the same level as the international break does – a ‘bore fest’. Reserves are fielded, crowds are low, upsets are rare and if they do it is because the minnows are playing against a team of kids that have never played together. It is not disastrous, but it is far from magical, and ‘magic of the cup’ is a phrase that has to be entered into the cliché manual, because it is dying. Sadly.