3196blog entries

Farewell to The Lane

I was about to turn 8 years old. Eight days on from then actually. My early present from my first trip to see Tottenham in the flesh. Right in front of me. No more Big Match with Brian Moore on a Sunday. No. I’d be there. Glenn Hoddle. Right there.
The opponent was Manchester United. Not the juggernaut of recent times, more a stumbling old giant struggling through the final years of Ron Atkinson.  Spurs too, were no great shakes, as the second season of Peter Shreeves failed to live ...
Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory, with their epic grand final, closed a memorable season 2016-17, the 12th A-League championship.
The finale, hosted by a pulsating crowd of 42,000, was a stirring spectacle. It wasn’t flowing champagne football to be honest, as games of such importance often aren’t. But as a contest it was as riveting and uncertain as any final would ...
Juventus are through to a second Champions League Final in three years, they are on course to win the treble and they've done it by being smarter than the rest.
We measure teams by all sorts of metrics in football these days. Possessions, shots on goal, time in the attacking half and so on.  All of that is the easy part. But how do you account for the things you can’t measure using statistics? Lik...
Leading Juventus to a potential second UEFA Champions League final in three years is further evidence that Massimiliano Allegri is one of the world’s greatest tacticians and it was his early days in Italian football’s lower levels that cultivated...
Inside the small cafe adjacent to Sassuolo’s Mapei stadium, photos of former coach Allegri dawn the walls.  He was only there for a season but the Italian tactician left a lasting impression, leading the ambitious club to Serie B promotion...
It has become fairly obvious that two-time championship-winning coach Graham Arnold is the logical successor to Australia's Ange Postecoglou.
Should Postecoglou as expected seek new challenges when his contract runs out in a year, Football Federation Australia should nail down Arnold who is a proven winner and the perfect man to lead the Socceroos. Arnold achieved his greatest t...
There are few certainties in life but death, taxes and Sam Allardyce overcoming every plausible obstacle to survive relegation are three of them.
It is a truly remarkable statistic for a man who has been coaching in the top flight for almost two decades. Given he’s been in charge of Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham, and Sunderland in that time, it's implausible that he’s never...
The 12th A-League grand final brings far more than an opportunity for Graham Arnold or Kevin Muscat and their respective clubs to create new records, it brings a chance to reflect on our broader game in a moment of intense but extremely positive...
The game is now coming to terms with many aspects left unchecked since the restructure early this century. The autocratic governance process has run its course. The FIFA edicts came at a good time. The alterations will release much frustra...
There’s only one thing Kevin Muscat would loathe more than a column criticising his coaching credentials: a column talking them up.
It’s not because he’s overtly modest or because he’s a beacon of humility. Not at all – he is a man brimming with confidence and self-belief. It’s just that he prefers to stay focused on what really matters.  He will take his Melbourne Vic...
One of the most frequent questions I am asked whenever I am abroad is why does football play second fiddle to other sports in Australia when there are hundreds of thousands of people of European and South American origin living in the country.
With so many football fans of British, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Croatian, Brazilian and Argentine descent calling Australia home, surely the world game has got it made. It should do much better but sadly it is not. I was reminded of this u...
This season has been an unmitigated disaster for Sunderland. By any measure, even the most optimistic one, it has been a terrible campaign.
The club’s only chance of surviving the axe now rests on a complicated mathematical formula being worked on by PhD students at the local university. Five games left, 12 points from safety, albeit with a game in hand on all other relegation...