Diamonds are a manager’s best friend: a look at the diamond formation

“They say diamonds aren’t forever, but they certainly are for this manager.”

So go the dulcet tones of Alan Smith on FIFA’s hugely popular football simulation game. Such is the rarity of the 4-3-1-2, 4-1-2-1-2 or 4-4-2 (diamond) formation that it has been gifted its very own Worcestershire cliché when deployed on games consoles across the land. Continue reading “Diamonds are a manager’s best friend: a look at the diamond formation”

Manchester United Women: the biggest club in the world can make up for lost time

By Kathryn Batte 

Fourteen years ago Manchester United abandoned women’s football.

It’s the 21st February 2005. In three months’ time the Women’s Euros will be held in the north-west of England. The hosts will play their first group game against Finland at the City of Manchester Stadium. This is the biggest moment in the modern era for women’s football in England. So why did Manchester United, the biggest and wealthiest (at that time) club in the world, decide this was the right time to pull the plug on their women’s team?

Continue reading “Manchester United Women: the biggest club in the world can make up for lost time”

Lionesses’ She Believe’s Cup victory is a milestone but leaves Phil Neville with an even greater selection headache for the summer

The dust has settled, a week has passed, now Kathryn Batte takes a look at what the She Believe’s Cup victory means for the Lionesses and Phil Neville this summer… 

Unless you’re an avid follower of women’s football, you probably hadn’t heard of the She Believe’s Cup until England’s 3-0 victory over Japan last week gave Phil Neville his first piece of silverware as the Lionesses’ manager. 

Continue reading “Lionesses’ She Believe’s Cup victory is a milestone but leaves Phil Neville with an even greater selection headache for the summer”

Why women’s football is worth watching: lessons from Bramall Lane

By Andrew Misra

If you’ve spent a large amount of your life playing, watching and generally consuming football then it follows logically that you should know a lot about it. But the sport is so broad, deep and structurally layered that it’s impossible to be on top of it all. Stop a self-confessed football fanatic on the street and ask them who is fourth in the Eredivisie and there’s a good chance that they won’t know (AZ Alkmaar). That same fan, though, can tell you off the top of their head that Emile Heskey scored seven goals in 62 England appearances over an eleven-year international career. Or that a young Dimitar Berbatov came off the Bayer Leverkusen bench in the 39th minute of the 2002 Champions League Final.

Continue reading “Why women’s football is worth watching: lessons from Bramall Lane”

Sheffield United’s 5-3-2 renaissance: a look at Chris Wilder’s innovative but old-school style reaping success in the Championship

Sheffield born Chris Wilder is quickly becoming a highly reputed manager in the Championship as he propels his boyhood club into automatic promotion contention. Wilder, whom began his managerial career at Alfreton Town, is earning plaudits for his unorthodox tactical style.

After earning his trade in the Yorkshire Sunday league as manager of Bradway FC, Wilder has gained a reputation for using philosophies he learnt when he started out in management. He believes his players should be treat like normal, working-class people who are playing for passion and points, rather than their hefty wage bill. Unlike his promotion contending counter-parts; Marcello Bielsa (Leeds) and Daniel Farke (Norwich City), Wilder’s roots into management stem from the lower reaches of English football.

Continue reading “Sheffield United’s 5-3-2 renaissance: a look at Chris Wilder’s innovative but old-school style reaping success in the Championship”

AFC Bournemouth’s rise from a perennial League Two outfit to an established Premier League side

By Tom Griffin 

In a list of recent success stories Leicester City’s title winning campaign in 2015/16 season and Huddersfield’s unexpected rise to the Premier League that lead to consolidating their place in the top flight 2017/18, surely AFC Bournemouth’s rise up the football pyramid across the past decade is high on the list of remarkable, yet baffling footballing fairytales.

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Modern football and the art of adaptability

By Muyiwa Adagunodo

All things, concepts, inventions, jobs and ultimately humans, in the parenthesis of the world always need to evolve. The world is constantly evolving, thus, to not evolve is not only to be stagnant, it is to be behind. In this particular race, football is not left out as we have seen over the years constant improvement in this game, which on the flip side is millions of people’s jobs worldwide. In the top, top jobs all over the world, workers are never put in straight jacket conditions where the use of their initiative is suppressed. In fact, the use of initiative and having problem solving skills are the hallmarks of these top jobs. In this vein, football as a job is also not exempted as we have seen football players (who in the economic cycle are employees of clubs) develop attributes and master skills which have even become sort of like a niche and are iconic to some of these players. In this method of arbitration and scrutiny, we do not expect football managers and coaches to be left behind because fundamentally, as much as they are employees of these clubs, they are also responsible for the performances for the other employees (the players). It’s like the human resources wing of a company; except these managers are also in the forefront of questions as regards the performance of these employees and these human resource aspect of football is where our focus will be through this analysis.

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