Tag Archives | Africa

¡Vamos Argentina! ¡Vamos South America!

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It’s always been Argentina. The thoughts that run through my head may undoubtedly be tinged with an English hue and the blood that courses through my veins is unquestionably Hellenic, but my football heart has always belonged to a country shimmering in silver.

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This World Cup! This Bloody, Beautiful World Cup!

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“And when good football happens, I give thanks for the miracle and I don’t give a damn which team or country performs it” – Eduardo Galeano

The unrepaired cracks in the ITV studio’s glass panels serve as a poignant reminder of the real world. Every time Glenn Hoddle, Ian Wright and their fellow pundits blow another gust of hot air on English football’s pyre, they’re there. Brazil is not just a sunny postcard playground for bikini-clad nymphettes and bronzed soccer gods. People are angry and when people are stripped of their voices they throw things. At Adrian Chiles. And for all the cossetting, bewitching magnificence we’ve all witnessed over the last two weeks, Brazil’s problems, or even our own, are not about to vanish into nothingness once the carnival has packed up and left for the Russian dourlands.

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Are Manchester United Corporate Bullies?

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I’m very worried this week. I’m having recurring nightmares involving Daniel Levy decked out in a blood-spattered butcher’s apron wielding a razor sharp meat cleaver and he’s coming for me. Specifically for my right shoulder blade. He’s angry. Very angry. And he wants to hack it off with little care for the subsequent difficulty it will cause me in future years when I want to bust out some of my Thriller moves.

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An Anatomy Of Football’s Greatest Antihero

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During one of those team-building days many of us are routinely required to endure, the assembled group I was in was asked to name somebody who they considered embodied the qualities of a hero. Inevitably, there were many calls for Mandela, Churchill and Gandhi – those secular saints of our modern age. When it came to me, I let the words “Roy Keane” pass my lips which prompted an audible gasp amongst my colleagues. “But isn’t he the one who admitted to ending another player’s career? How can you say you admire somebody like that?” came one response to my flagrant disregard for the conventional perception of what makes a hero a hero.

This, after all, is a man who is admittedly brutal, thuggish and difficult to like. He has and always will be prone to horrendous acts of physical and verbal violence. The man who makes Adrian Chiles repeatedly shift nervously in his seat during punditry duties with that furrowed brow and glaring eyes. A triumph as a player but one capable of self-destruction and whose managerial career has failed to deliver on the promise of his initial success at Sunderland. “Bad cop and even badder cop,” Martin O’ Neill semi-jokingly put it after he was asked about the style of management he and Keane would bring to the Republic of Ireland job.

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We’re Tottenham Hotspur, We’ll Sing What We Want

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Here we go again. For the third consecutive season the debate over Spurs fans’ use of the word ‘Yid’ has re-surfaced. Prompted by the FA’s statement warning fans of the repercussions for chanting it at football matches, David Baddiel and his brother Ivor have dominated the football news this week with their continued complaints against and justifications for its banishment from grounds. As a Spurs fan, I find it tiresome.

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Show Me The Money: Why Footballers Are Worth It

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No sooner had the inevitable record-breaking departure of Gareth Bale from Spurs to Real Madrid been announced than the equally inevitable denunciations of his reported weekly wage began on social media. It followed the usual emotive and specious thread seeing Bale cast as some kind of materialistic pariah who should be ashamed of the vast sums of cash swelling his bank account at (more than likely now) Santander. How dare he accept the riches afforded him by the wealthiest and most illustrious club in world football! Think of the nurses, the teachers and the soldiers who toil every day for little reward. He should be donating his…

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Charity Begins With Beckham

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Only a sceptic would question the motives of the world’s most recognisable footballer donating his next five month’s wages to a children’s charity. Why would he make this announcement after signing for a club that harbours long-term ambitions of challenging the might of Europe’s mega-clubs on transfer deadline day, when he could have done this at any point after his departure from LA Galaxy? Seeing that he now operates as a free agent and thus can broker deals beyond the restrictions placed upon contracted employees of football clubs, David Beckham’s appropriation of Friday’s back and front page headlines could be considered as yet another masterstroke in brand strengthening in the final embers of a career that has been played out with clinical precision and shrewd positioning as he now begins the inevitable transition into his post-playing future.

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Mutiny At Stamford Bridge: The Downfall Of Villas-Boas

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In the space of seven days, two Russians have asserted their authority with characteristic ruthlessness. In Moscow, Vladimir Putin is currently snuffing out any dissent that has arisen from his contested election victory last Sunday. Meanwhile, in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Roman Abramovich yet again demonstrated that his willingness to abandon his managerial appointments in favour of a dressing room dominated by preening egos is probably the greatest hindrance to Chelsea’s long-term future at the English game’s summit.

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Coventry City And The Irrationality Of Hate

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For Ray Dimond

When it comes to the team I hate most in football, it’s not Arsenal who have subjected most of my years supporting Spurs to one humiliating capitulation after another whilst watching on enviously as the trophies and plaudits washed across the hearths of both Highbury and The Emirates. It’s not even Chelsea, who spent years playing the playground bully holding the school squirt’s attempts to land a blow on his chin at arm’s length. West Ham? They’ve always been a minor irritation but have never come close to raising my hackles to such an extent that I lose the ability for rational thought.

That particular ‘honour’ will always belong to Coventry City. It’s not their association with Richard Keys that sets my teeth on edge, although that doesn’t help. No, the genesis for my myopic brand of loathing can be pinpointed to one particular sunny day. 16th May, 1987. On that day, I awoke to find a seven inch vinyl copy of Chas ‘n’ Dave’s FA Cup final song, Hot Shot Tottenham, gleaming with promise and hope at the edge of my bed placed there lovingly by my mum; it was better than Christmas. And from about eight in the morning to when the television build-up began around noon, I played it continuously on a loop. The outcome of that day we all know, but what truly stung was the realisation that cup win number eight was not as the Cockernee Duo promised, “coming up” and neither were Spurs, “the team, the cream… the best you’ve ever seen”.

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In Defence Of Luis Suarez by Rachael Singh

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Like him or not, Luis Suarez has been the most talked about and divisive character of the season. I had my say a few weeks ago, but Dispatches is nothing if not fair. As this week the law is under the microscope on here, Liverpool fan Rachael Singh pleads the case for the defence. Take cover.

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