Euros 2020: Best tournament for 50 years.

Italy started and ended this tournament on a high. The Azzurri lit the blue touch paper 0n 11th June in Rome when they eased past Turkey with effortless elan and exactly one month later they slowly but surely wrested the initiative back from England after conceding the earliest goal in a European Championship Final. NobodyContinue reading “Euros 2020: Best tournament for 50 years.”

How Gareth Southgate’s qualities have restored pride

Where to start? After 55 years England have made it to a Final. I was alive when we last did it but have a very sketchy recollection of watching the game at home with my parents and elder brother on our black-and-white television. My abiding memory was going to see the official FIFA film “Goal!”,Continue reading “How Gareth Southgate’s qualities have restored pride”

The Euros Last 16 – a fantastic feast of fulminating football.

At its very best football can be so enthralling and intoxicating to watch that it is actually exhausting. The perfect mixture for a match involves moments of high quality, high drama and even the odd bit of misfortune to provide a dose of reality amongst the dream sequence. There also needs to be a degreeContinue reading “The Euros Last 16 – a fantastic feast of fulminating football.”

Euros 2020 – Group F’s fantastic finish, Ronaldo’s record and a gaggle of own goals .

As final rounds of games go the fluctuations of Group F on Wednesday night provided a classic of the genre. At the start, only France were guaranteed to move on to the last 16 while the other three teams were in with a chance of qualifying. Hungary were discounted as no-hopers by the cognoscenti, beatingContinue reading “Euros 2020 – Group F’s fantastic finish, Ronaldo’s record and a gaggle of own goals .”

Palace go global as they join multi-club partnership

Lost amidst the first week of the European Championship and the announcement of next season’s Premier League fixtures it would have been easy to miss the news that Crystal Palace had joined the Global Football Alliance. Described as a strategic partnership between clubs operating in different countries Palace became the sixteenth member of a networkContinue reading “Palace go global as they join multi-club partnership”

First European Championships Finals match in 1960 set a record that has never been beaten

The opening matches of major tournaments are traditionally cagey affairs with neither side willing to risk too much so early on and consequently entertainment is often sacrificed for the sake of a solid, if unspectacular start. For example, in the last four European Championships there have been nine goals scored in total in those quartetContinue reading “First European Championships Finals match in 1960 set a record that has never been beaten”

Up, Up and Away – the 2021 Play-Offs

This year’s Play-Off finals started with a penalty and they ended with a penalty. The first was stroked home with consummate confidence by the Championship’s top scorer Ivan Toney, his 33rd goal of the season, which set Brentford on their way to finally ending the curse of clubs that traditionally wear red-and-white striped shirts withContinue reading “Up, Up and Away – the 2021 Play-Offs”

The 2021 Play-Offs: Will the Curse finally be broken?

As the build-up to the Play-Offs weekend intensifies, a slight dampener was cast on proceedings. Unlike the FA Cup Final which was deemed ‘a test event’ with Chelsea and Leicester City receiving around 10,000 tickets each, only 4,000 tickets were made available to each of the Play-Offs finalists. Although an extra 2,000 tickets have nowContinue reading “The 2021 Play-Offs: Will the Curse finally be broken?”

A return to Selhurst for a fond farewell

Picture c/o Chris Hopkins It had been far too long since attending my last match, 438 days to be precise. I and thousands of others have sorely missed the matchday experience. Meeting up for a drink beforehand, bumping into familiar faces and then watching the game itself with its combination of anxiety and exhilaration. AfterContinue reading “A return to Selhurst for a fond farewell”

Down, Down, Down – Why relegation already being decided is a pity

When Sam Allardyce finally lost his oft-quoted record of never being relegated from the Premier League there were quite a few people revelling in a spot of Schadenfreude. The memory of his grubby dethronement as England boss allied with his uncompromising and prickly persona combined to make him one of the least likeable managers. EarlierContinue reading “Down, Down, Down – Why relegation already being decided is a pity”