The 300 Club Part Two: Noble by name, nobleman by nature

As West Ham were cruising to an emphatic 4-1 victory over Leicester they indulged themselves in one of those prolonged sessions of keep ball, with each successive pass greeted by the joyous olés of the home crowd. There were only two minutes remaining and it looked as though this could go on until the finalContinue reading “The 300 Club Part Two: Noble by name, nobleman by nature”

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”

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”

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”

Like father, like son

So it looks highly likely that Erling Braut Haaland is on his way out of Borussia Dortmund and en route for either La Liga or the Premier League with Barcelona, Real Madrid, both Manchester clubs and Chelsea all in the frame. If he, or more significantly Mino Raiola, chooses England as his next destination, heContinue reading “Like father, like son”

From Marine to San Marino: The Underdog’s Tale

One of the beauties of sport is championing the underdog. There is nothing more memorable or satisfying than when the little one has a chance of toppling the big one. So when Marine drew Tottenham in the FA Cup earlier this year there was frothing excitement on behalf of those who are keen to seeContinue reading “From Marine to San Marino: The Underdog’s Tale”

Own Goals Part Two – Double Trouble

When the ball cannoned off Craig Dawson past Lukasz Fabianski during West Ham’s helter-skelter draw with Arsenal last weekend it was the centre back’s second own goal in consecutive matches. It was also the second that West Ham conceded in this game as Tomas Soucek had inadvertently deflected Alexandre Lacazette’s shot into his own netContinue reading “Own Goals Part Two – Double Trouble”

The 2020/21 season and the concertina effect

This is my thirtieth weekly blog post I know, how time flies. Having started back in August we are now entering the final straight so it feels as good a time as any to reflect on what has happened over the last seven months. The 2020/21 season did not begin in August as is theContinue reading “The 2020/21 season and the concertina effect”

Football’s Wasteland: VAR, empty stadiums and fractious fragmentation

As I and many others have pointed out until we’re blue (or in some extreme cases purple) in the face the pure aesthetics of football are being steadily eroded for the sake of minuscule and misguided rulings. At its very best football flows with an elegance that few sports can match but under VAR itContinue reading “Football’s Wasteland: VAR, empty stadiums and fractious fragmentation”

London Calling: Palace’s curious derby habit

Most fans have a sneaking suspicion that fate conspires against their club now and again. In extreme circumstances this feeling develops into rapidly escalating levels of paranoia reaching a consensus that firstly, the whole world is against you and secondly and more worryingly that there is very little that can be done about it. ForContinue reading “London Calling: Palace’s curious derby habit”