nov 2010

16/11/10: Sky Sports Monday Night Football and the Brokeback Mountain factor

Clive Whittingham is back...

“Just when you think the farce cannot deepen any more it does. Credit to (Keys & Gray), on the night I tuned in Blackburn drew 0-0 with Sunderland in the kind of game that sends you scurrying for the gas oven suicide note in hand only to find a queue of people waiting in the kitchen to do exactly the same thing. They managed to get three hours of programming out of that – admittedly, and sadly, including 90 minutes of the “action” with Kevin Phillips co-commentating on the HD channel and Gary Birtles on the 3D version which is a bit like choosing between syphilis and Chlamydia – but by God they worked hard for that...”
click here for full article

16/11/10: The Peter Drury interview part 2: a Doing It for the Kids special

Following on from last season’s popular goalfood blog ‘diary of a youth gaffer’, part two of our interview with ITV commentator Peter Drury reveals that Sunday mornings find our man at what we here at goalfood hq like to call the (ahem) ‘grassroots coalface’...

“...that gives me a great deal of satisfaction, just as it does to see one of my team’s boys who turned up for training two or three years ago hiding behind his mum’s skirt. He was a bit tearful and reluctant to join in but now I see him running round like a tiger and I think to myself if I had something to do with that and his increase in self-esteem and confidence, then that’ll do for me. I love that...”
click here for full article

world cup

09/06/10: ‘schweinsteiger – oh nooo!’ – the peter drury interview

as he prepares for his fourth world cup with itv, peter drury took time out to speak exclusively with goalfood
“I try to remember as a commentator, that nobody, apart from perhaps your mum, is turning on for you. They are turning on for the game and you can only spoil that game. I suppose that’s not true, you may also enhance it, of course, but if you start to believe people are turning on for you then you’re on dangerous territory because it ain’t about you... “
click here for full article

09/06/10: enjoy the ride – because we may never get to our destination

simon again, on cracking form, reasoning that
“Squad selection made, TV adverts rolling, tattered car flags awaving, roly-poly John Barnes rapping, footy cupcakes in every baker’s window, a Panini-fuelled sticker fest in the newsagents and the air full of idle banter, speculation, anticipation and excitement. It’s the best time of all. Personally, I love this bit more than the competition itself...”
click here for full article

03/06/10: ronaldo returns – what happened when the world cup legend came home to brazil

an incredible eyewitness account by award-winning english journalist dom phillips on the return of world cup legend ronaldo (aka ‘the real ronaldo’...or ‘fat ronaldo’) to his native brazil. all the unique passion of brazilian football is brilliantly captured in this must-read piece...
“After Pelé, Ronaldo Luis Nazário de Lima is the second highest goal-scorer of all time. He has scored more World Cup goals – 15 – than anybody else. He was three times voted FIFA’s player of the year – the best in the world. Now after 14 years playing in Europe, he was back in Brazil for what looked like the final act of his once glittering career...”
read full article here


in the build up to the 2006 world cup, we launched the fanzine section of goalfood.
now with south africa 2010 looming, we thought it was high time to neatly package all our best bits to date into this user-friendly archive section. looking back there’s some damn fine reading there in which to indulge, so kick back, relax and enjoy at your leisure...

january 10

garry cook's greatest hits
“are we maximising the central entity of the Premier League?” man city’s rent-a-quote exec in his own words (natch)

steve claridge: maverick pundit supreme or devil in a dunce’s cap?

- For: click here for full article
- Against: click here for full article

OCD: obsessive chelsea disorder
our regular chelsea blogger patrick mhu ‘fesses up...

december 09

are you happy with your football?
Are you happy with your football? I mean, are you really happy with your club, with your current team? Are any of us happy with the teams we support and have we ever really, truly, honestly, been happy? Simon Harvey tries to answer the question most of us dare not even ask...

REAL crisis clubs - grimsby by bill brewster
REAL crisis clubs - watford by matt rowson

“Billy Sharp... sponsored by Luxury Showers & Bathrooms!!!”
Northern Classics, Luxury Bathrooms and ice cream...Nick Gordon Brown looks at the murky world of player sponsorship

october 09

goalfood’s annual bumper christmas footy book round-up...
by John Leighton

compare the violence dot com
“The trouble with any piece of writing which even hints at the return of football violence is that it’s easy to slip on the banana skin of tabloid stereotypes which in turn provoke a similarly stereotypical reaction from national supporters groups...” – Simon Harvey treads carefully...

fifa’s great own goal
Nick Gordon Brown on FIFA’s belated seeding of the world cup play-offs...

september 09

portrait of the artist as a midfield dynamo
goalfood blogger Bradley Headstone imagines an unstoppable XI of footballing by Dave at Deefer Design...

clive's big weekender: 7 games, 15 hours, a fridge full of beer and trying to avoid gary birtles...the ultimate TV football endurance test...
sheer brilliance, a must read piece from our tv blogger Clive Whittingham...

doing it for the kids: diary of a youth football gaffer
a sample snapshot of our blogger at football’s real grass roots...

june / july 09

the goalfood interview: sean o’driscoll (doncaster rovers)
a fascinating & revealing chat with the quiet man behind the donny rovers revolution... 
and some fascinating season reviews...:

Stoke City: The Sequel (Anthony Bunn)
hodgson’s choice: fulham 08-09 (Stuart Mackie)
a tale of two citys: man city 08-09 (Paul Edwards)
sweaty assets in the season that never was: sheffield united 08-09 (Simon Harvey)
chaos from cash -  not the time of our lives in w12: qpr 08-09 (Nick Gordon Brownn)

april 09

it’s a kind of magic
itv’s the big match revisited with Simon Harvey

the big match clive
our tv blogger Clive Whittingham makes his very welcome bow...

“the gaffer’s had a bit of a ‘mare, to be fair...”
When will football chairmen learn that brilliant footballers don’t always (or often, for that matter) make very good managers? Even ones who worked in Wallsend sausage factories. Though some have been kind in suggesting he was hamstrung by a spendthrift board, I’m not one of them. Made all the classic mistakes of the rookie manager. He fiddled about incessantly with the team formation (playing 3-5-2 is fine in Marseille, Chris, but less so with centre-backs that look like bin-lorries manoeuvring). He often sidelined their best player (and the one most like Waddle himself), the brilliant Glen Little. He fielded 33 players that season (compared with 24 the season before). To cap it all he signed Gordon ‘Sid’ Cowans. Aged 40. They did avoid relegation on the last day of the season, but God knows how. Have a word with yourself. ..”

Chris Waddle
at Burnley – one of Bill Brewster’s ten worst modern managerial reigns...

march 09

behind enemy lines
our occasional Sunderland blogger Carol Ward brilliantly recounts a tale of sitting in the home end at the Emirates...

harry redknapp: in his own words

clough v revie
John Leighton on the men at the heart of The Damned United...

january 09

ripping yarns
bill brewster
charts the often bizarre history of the fa cup

little boy soldiers
Simon Harvey
waxes lyrical on the recent history of the Steel City Derby...

taking the dis
our ‘youth gaffer’ blogger on the FA’s Respect campaign at grass roots...

december 08

top ten xmas football books
by John Leighton

in arsene we trust?
“As for experience, it’s woefully lacking. Gallas, Rosicky, Silvestre – a headcase, a sicknote and a United reject would be the cynic’s summary of that trio...”
Nick Gordon Brown on Arsene Wenger's dilemma as the Gunners fire blanks

united we, united we fall
Fergie’s old boys, like Revie’s before them, struggle as managers...

november 08

whatever happened to the football casual?
bill brewster
assesses the influence, past & present, of the legendary terrace fashion cult...

no-el, no-el
our resident blogger Bradley Headstone sent in a piece so entertaining, we felt it had to have the honour of being on the features page...yes, inspired by the impending yuletide festivities, goalfood is proud to present football’s greatest ever Noels...

cut your shirt according to your cloth
goalfood’s Simon Harvey examines the perilous state of the shirt sponsorship deal, and spies a way for football to escape the cultural & social wilderness in which it has become embedded...

boooo!!! ashley cole, anti-icon
we’re in the You’ve Been Framed slot, and Ashley’s just made a blunder that would sit nicely on the gaffes & cock-ups show. and knowing the moral fibre of the man, he’d be happy to send it in himself and snaffle the £250 on offer...” by Nick Gordon Brown

september 08

football's panto season - all thrill and no filler
goalfood’s Simon Harvey believes he can see parallels between football’s recent shenanigans, and another great british tradition (oh yes he can…)

middle eastlands
our occasional man city blogger Paul Edwards gives some historical context to recent events...

tyne and weary
goalfood’s Nick Gordon Brown in support of the much maligned toon army...

england expects... again
our england correspondent Frank Page keeps his post-zagreb feet firmly on the floor...

august 08

bumper new season book round-up
by John Leighton

july 08

football's magnificent seven
Simon Harvey on football’s 7 basic plots...

armchair euros
“The wife and I chose simply to follow the teams playing the beautiful game the most beautifully…the caveat from the missus being that she would also seek out the beautiful game being played beautifully by beautiful men...” – Nick Gordon Brown

chelsea culture club: champions' league final
our Chelsea in Europe blogger Patrick MHU on a fateful night in Moscow...

june 08

golden graham: taylor-made for management
Watford fans (and top bloggers) Ian Rowson & Matt Grant revisit Graham Taylor’s legacy, including his ill-fated spell as England manager

Nick Gordon Brown
’s european championship memory test...

back to the old school...or tommy lawton: my story
a classic autobiography unearthed by Simon Harvey...

may 08

stag nation
countdown to relegation d-day with mansfield fanatic bernard savage...

happy potter and the philosophical stokie
two short years ago, stoke were on the verge of an unlikely promotion to the prem, and lifelong fan anthony bunn could barely contain his glee...

summer football books round up
by John Leighton

april 08

hey ho, yo yo!
With Simon Harvey: “So pity poor West Brom, Watford and Palace – they know the score. But shout loudly for Stoke, Hull and Bristol City for they know not what they do and they have yet to feel the suffocating weight of expectation which the Premchamps Yo-Yos carry strapped to their aching backs...”   

capello arrives
“One significant achievement so far is that Capello has managed to have the words ‘Rio Ferdinand’ and ‘role model’ used in the same sentence, which I must confess I never thought I’d see written of the wonky-mouthed drugs test dodger. Going forward, you can expect the emergence of a settled core of players and the development of a side that gets better at keeping the ball...” – Frank Page gets it right again...

cash from chaos
Nick Gordon Brown on the unique madness of the F1 takeover at QPR...

march 08

spring football books round up
by John Leighton

becks & stats ain’t rock’n’roll
Nick Gordon Brown
on Becks’ 100th cap...and other meaningless statistics...

life of bryan
Simon Harvey on Bryan Robson’s hapless tenure at Bramall lane...

november 07

Ultimate Christmas 07 football book guide
by John Leighton

october 07

McClaren after Moscow
They think it’s all over…it probably will be next Frank Page

Italy: reality bites (Italy finally faces up to the hooligans)
By our calcio correspondent Tom Flaherty

Doing it for the kids (review of Jim White's book "You'll Win Nothing With Kids")

september 07

Book Review - Barry Davies
Book Review - Harry Pearson
both by John Leighton

From Carl bloody Griffiths to Midogate (a cautionary tale of fan-baiting, player-baiting, racist chanting and confuse refereeing)
Nick Gordon Brown

august 07

Pre-season preview

july 07

Sweet Chiles of Mine (Adrian Chiles' book review)
by John Leighton

The Generation Game (the Prem's new money men upset a grumpy old man)
Nick Gordon Brown on football’s generation gap...
I’ve spent the close season watching the Premier League soap opera unfold on Ceefax, Sky Sports News et al, and like many fans I know (not ‘commentators’, those pontificating broadsheet journos whom you never see admit to an allegiance to any team, but fans), I’ve found myself feeling as alienated from the game as my mum would have done had she been dropped into a Clash gig in 1977...”

june 07

Wake Me Up Before You Yo Yo (life following a yo-yo team)
Hilarious pieces from a Blade (Simon Harvey), a Mackem (Carol Ward), and a Baggie (Jonathan Lowe)...

february 07

Calcio in Crisis (reaction to the death of a policeman at the Sicilian derby)
Fan's Guide to Naples
More superb calcio analysis from Tom Flaherty

november 06

Ultimate Christmas 06 football book guide
by John Leighton

september 06

The Damned Utd. (book review)
goalfood’s John Leighton
was one of the first to spot the brilliance of David Peace’s book...

McClaren New England
Now, remember that confused-looking bloke that used to sit in the dugout next to Sven? You know the one: eczema raging, frantically scribbling notes and dressed in a look that can only be described as ‘paedo gym teacher casual’ (isn’t that a track by The Fall? – Ed). Of course you do. Well, that’s new England manager, Steve McClaren.Except it’s not that Steve McClaren. It’s the new, improved Steve McClaren. He’s exciting. He’s got fresh ideas. He’s his own man. Indeed, in his own words: “It’s going to be different from Sven, totally different. I'm going to do it my way.” Frank Page – he was right you know...

Fantasy Football (a word from out t shirt designer)

july 06

The Best Sendings Off... Ever!!!
Cantona, Zidane, Rattin et al with Frank Page

Fan's Guide to Florence
By Tom Flaherty

I stopped at the "Boutiqua Della Tripe" (bit of a branding problem here I’d say) and chatted to the owner about the football as he had several pictures of Gabriel Batistuta on his stall. Of course when I say “chat” what I actually mean was I used my entire Italian vocabulary (six words) and he his entire English (three) and we came to an agreement that a) Batigol is a fine footballer and b) even in Florence, the future for tripe is uncertain...”

As Seen in France (watching the World Cup whilst on holiday)
by Frank Page
In that fortnight, I saw neither car stickers nor flags. Incredibly, not one Frenchman had seized the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of parading around in a plastic World War II-style Jerry helmet emblazoned with “Allez Les Bleus”. There was no World Cup fever. In fact, France hadn’t even caught a World Cup cold. I did see one small boy in a replica top, but he elicited the sort of sympathetic, patronising looks generally reserved for Les Dennis or Pete from Big Brother 7...”

june 06 Random World Cup

Simply loads of fab Germany 06 stuff, well woth re-visiting

may 06

An Elegent Chaos: Football in Italy
Tom Flaherty’s
brilliant / essential guide to following calcio...
Indeed, for many Italians being “Italian” comes a very distant second to their loyalty to where they were born and where they live. Apparently more than 50% of Italian men in their thirties live in the same post code as their mothers. This loyalty to one’s locale is called “campanalismo”, which roughly means being devoted to the area which can hear the local church bells ringing, and it is this which leads to some of the most heated local derbies in Europe...”

Let Them Eat Pies (on the slow death of old school football catering)
“There was a time when football food meant nothing more to me than a packet of spangles and a sherbet fountain. But then I became a man and put away such childish things. My voice dropped almost as far as my beloved Blades did, and I fell among a bad crowd – those who frequented the pie counter...” – Simon Harvey’s culinary confessional

England at Euro 2004
We adjourn to a nearby pizza-pasta bar for a bite to eat. It is full of England fans of every possible description. A pair of 60 something couples walk in sporting Three Lions t-shirts. We christen them ‘Saga on Tour’. Next up it’s a bunch of sandal-wearing, map-clutching types we refer to as ‘National Trust Barmy Army’. These, we conclude, are not prawn sandwich eaters, simply football folk who want to follow their national team abroad and have decided not to be intimidated out of doing so. Most of all, though, the restaurant is full of people like us. Dare I say it, normal football fans...” – Nick Gordon Brown gets re-enfranchised...