The Ashes: International sport at it’s best, football – take note.


England take first blood in the 2010 Ashes Series.

Cricket. Even mentioning the word on a football blog seems akin to blasphemy, but hell, this is my blog and I’ll do what I want. And while football is, and always will be, my first and eternal love, I must profess that cricket has something that football can’t quite match. The Ashes. It has been central to my existence for the last few weeks, the ultimate in sporting rivalries, it takes any football rivalry to a whole new level.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good derby match in football. As an Evertonian, Merseyside Derby day is always marked firmly on my calender and approached with equal parts excitement and anxiety. Then there are the other great rivalries – like the recent El Clasico and the Old Firm – as well as games like Arsenal vs. Spurs which is developing a reputation for being one of the best fixtures in the Premier League. But, I’m genuinely sorry to say, none of these can quite compare to the Ashes.

Click through to find out why…


Bright Young Things: Why we’re in danger of taking the shine off another Golden Generation.


The team that the BBC predicted would win Euro 2008...

Last week, a German friend of mine very kindly sent me a link to an article that was published back in January 2003 on BBC Sport’s website. The title of the article is “Why England will win Euro 2008”, and it outlines the incredibly promising crop of young talent that England fans, and BBC journalist Dan Warren in particular, were excited about back in 2003, and suggests that England had the potential to win Euro 2008. As you can imagine, it makes for interesting reading, and you can find it here.

When you read it, a few things immediately spring to mind. The first is “gosh, wasn’t the internet ugly back then”, but a close second is “hang on, who on earth is Martin Taylor?” While some of the names touted in the squad as future world- or at least Europe-beaters are familiar names – the likes of Rooney, Gerrard and Rio Ferdianand for instance – some of these players are now, seven years later, worryingly obscure.

Click through for the full article…

Guest Blog: The Wrong Man


Today I bring you a guest blog that I wrote for SoccerPro and World Football Commentaries in reaction to England’s disappointing 0-0 draw with Montenegro last week. England’s poor current form is one thing, but the fact that the FA is persisting with Fabio Capello promises nothing but future heart break for England fans at major tournaments, and if they don’t change things soon by appointing someone more suitable, English football’s years of hurt will continue to mount up.

Click through to find out why…

Guest Blog: The Impossible Decision


Sorry it’s been quiet here for a while – computer troubles, time at home with the family and the return (with a vengeance) of essays and work seminars has kept me pretty flat out for the past while. Nothing like an external deadline to get you back writing again though, and so here I have for you an article I wrote for Steve over at World Football Commentaries about England’s latest performances in their Euro 2012 qualifiers, and the impossible decision that now faces Fabio Capello…

Click through to have a read…

FFA to blame for France shambles?


The French squad in South Africa - the root of the problem?

As an England fan during the summer’s World Cup in South Africa, one of my few consolations while watching Capello’s ment falter quite completely, was that at least we weren’t the laughing-stock of world football. That honour went, unanimously, to France. Their problems at the tournament were well documented: with player revolt, the sending home of Niclas Anelka and a boycott of training in protest from the remainder of the squad.

Coupled with their abject performances on the field of play which resulted in their failing to win a match and coming bottom of their group, 2010 wasn’t a roaring success. One could argue that this was the player’s fault – they’re a talented bunch, so maybe their attitude was questionable. That is certainly what the FFA seem to believe, and have punished them accordingly – with Anelka and three other players handed international bans. Yet this simply demonstrates, at least as far as I am concerned, that the problem is the FFA themselves.

Click through to find out why (and why France may provide a much needed warning for England’s current situation)…

Guest Post: A Moral Dilemma – The Hand of God II


Today I bring you a guest article that I wrote for Steve Amoia over at World Football Commentaries. After seeing Luis Suarez’s controversially heroic deliberate handball that saw Ghana thwarted in their World Cup Quarter Final against Uruguay I was struck by something of a moral dilemma. I know that what he did was wrong – but I would have done the same thing. Would you have acted differently? Should blame be attributed to Suarez? Should Ghana feel aggrieved? Should the punishment have been more severe?

Click through (and scroll down a bit) to find out more…

Why England Didn’t Win The World Cup


England crumble, a nation despairs.

England are out of the 2010 World Cup, we face four more years of hurt (and, let’s face it, probably many more after that) before football comes home. What went wrong for the side that qualified so promisingly under Fabio Capello? For England’s supposed golden generation?

Click through to find out (don’t worry, the main reason IS because we simply weren’t good enough)…