Category: England

Dramatic figure | Roy Keane saga continues on the boards

London and Manchester, England | Even with Roy Keane‘s northward move from Manchester United to Parkhead in Glasgow, he remains a compelling dramatis persona. His fiery exit from the Republic of Ireland camp at the 2002 World Cup finals has inspired several tragi-comic renderings, all set in ancient Rome. Irish playwright Colin Teevan last year performed a […]

Questionable links | Looking for the ‘inner Mourinho’ in Iberian past

London | In advance of today’s first-leg Champions League encounter between Chelsea and Barcelona, Oxford don Peter Conrad shames even our ABC (“Anyone but Chelsea”) sensibilities by branding manager Jose Mourinho a dictator, technocrat and marketing shill (see also 22 Dec 05). Conrad’s assessment does not occur in the sports section but as a splash […]

Ugly Americans | Seeking the vain punt of plunder

Manchester, England, and Tampa, Florida | It’s not too often that America’s premier literary weekly includes the following assessment of spectatorship in the English Premier League: “The place is wank now. Too controlled, all seating, sensible, middle class shite.” But these words from an anonymous Manchester United supporter form part of the 6,300 words that […]

Sportspages | Charing Cross store closes shutters

London | Its popularity once fueled in part by the football-fanzine movement and the football-book boom of the 1990s, specialty bookstore Sportspages of Charing Cross Road has gone into administration. New Zealander John Gaustad founded the store in 1985, opened a companion branch in Manchester and helped launch the annual William Hill Prize for Britain’s best […]

Fashion crossovers | Poulter’s replica shirt bears problem element

Dubai, United Arab Emirates | Players on the European golf tour have elected not to sanction Ian Poulter for donning an Arsenal replica jersey at the recent Abu Dhabi Championship. According to Poulter, the tournament director did not object to football kit as a fairway fashion statement per se, but rather to the prominent logo of a […]

London diaries | Looking for football and not finding it

London | In part 1 of our diaries, we stumble down the King’s Road, Chelsea, braving the reckless challenges of shoppers and looking in vain for someone who might have a passing interest in the world game.

Cinema | Should Spielberg rethink ‘Munich’ title?

Manchester, England | If Steven Spielberg had thought longer about the title for his latest blockbuster—or if he had spent more time in the north of England—he might not have chosen Munich. “[I]n this country,” writes Brian Viner of The Independent, “the word Munich has a prior claim on popular sentiment, relating more than anything to […]

Music | ‘England 2, Colombia 0′

Matthews, North Carolina | Thistle & Shamrock host Fiona Ritchie paid tribute to the late Kirsty MacColl as well as football-themed lyrics by airing the late singer-songwriter’s “England 2 Colombia 0” in show no. 1180 this past weekend. The tune from the one-time punk rocker, who died in a diving accident in Cozumel in 2000, describes an ill-destined love […]

Xmas truce | Hitler, for one, objects to football on front lines

New York | The New York Times Sunday editions included recollections of the 1914 Christmas truce, during which some 100,000 British and German soldiers sang hymns, exchanged gifts and played football during an impromptu day-long silence (see Nov 23). Lt. Kurt Zehmisch of Germany’s 134th Saxons Infantry recalls in a diary entry: Eventually the English brought […]

Management | Secret to victory does not lie in the cards

London | Is Chelsea Football Club a winner because manager Jose Mourinho sends all fellow Premiership managers a nice holiday card? Is this what he means when he calls himself “the special one”? In a 5,300-word review of Patrick Barclay‘s Mourinho: Anatomy of a Winner, Cambridge lecturer and London Review of Books contributor David Runciman does […]

Fanzines | I’ll tell you who we play tomorrow … for a fiver

Watford, England | Everything in soccer, it seems, is for sale. In the U.K. this includes fixture lists, the calendar that football authorities produce to establish who plays whom on what day. Some non-revenue-producing, independently produced fanzines have fallen afoul of the regulations. The Guardian mentions the case of Watford FC Web-based chroniclers “Blind, Stupid and […]

Premiership life | Choppers with penne arrabiata

London | The glossy bimonthly with a limited but profligate demographic has hit the shelves: Icon, a magazine for rich footballers and their families. Jamie Redknapp, formerly of Liverpool and Tottenham, founded the publication with help from similarly well-heeled connections. In the inaugural issue, he talks to mate Les Ferdinand about the joys of piloting a […]

The late George Best | No end to allusions for a Piper and Pimpernel

London | George Best died at 1255 GMT at a west London hospital on Friday. News outlets had more than enough time to ready their copy, and the obituaries became available within minutes of his last breath. Perhaps the most comprehensive supply of pathos exists in a special section of Best’s hometown Belfast Telegraph. The Best […]

Mending fences | England needs to oust ‘retreads’ for 2018 bid, says Coe

London | Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of the successful effort to bring the 2012 Olympic Games to London, encourages an England bid for the 2018 World Cup finals but warns that the Football Association’s standing has slipped since the previous hosting in 1966. “When Fifa gave the finals to us last time round,” writes Coe in […]

Photo finish | Kebab-backed footballer among prize finalists

London | Tony Saddique of Red Star Harehills in Leeds is not a well-known footballer. The side is sponsored by a kebab shop. But, until 12 Feb 2006, his picture will hang alongside 59 others in the National Portrait Gallery as a finalist in the Schweppes Photographic Portrait Prize competition. In a Financial Times review, Francis […]

Men of the match | Logging ‘football time’ at £20 per week

London | The story of a stoical, much-journeyed footballer for Scotland, Nottingham Forest and several other clubs has been named William Hill’s Sports Book of the Year. My Father and Other Working-Class Football Heroes (Yellow Jersey Press) by Gary Imlach chronicles a period (the 1950s) when top-class players earned £20 per week and looked to other […]

Unified theory | Hornby blends football with the ‘higher’ arts

London | Fever Pitch author Nick Hornby (see 23 Apr 05) seems less exercised these days over the erratic form of Arsenal Football Club. Although the team still occupies a portion of his waking thoughts, “a bad game never ruins an evening,” and he is unsympathetic to criticism of top players, such as Thierry Henry. “I […]

Cracking fixture | Wallace and Gromit emerge as Wigan backers

Wigan, England | Just in time for a critical Premiership showdown with Arsenal on Nov 19, the Lancashire side Wigan Athletic appear to have gained cinema stars Wallace and Gromit as potential supporters. Zealous researchers have determined that the duo’s 62 West Wallaby Street homestead in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a Wigan address. Questions […]

Remember the Falklands | English chants reference old hostilities

Geneva | A diplomatic thaw? While the atmosphere at Sunday’s Argentina–England friendly at Stade de Gení¨ve perhaps lacked the requisite hostility, “[t]he latest encounter featured punches on the terraces, songs about the Falkland Islands, jibes regarding players’ sexuality and general churlishness.” Some England supporters were heard chanting standard nationalistic ditties such as “You’ll never take the […]

Wembley widgets | Budget might be in the tank, but there’s a place in commode

London | The new Wembley Stadium, promoters claim, has more toilets (2,618) than any other building in the world. We are skeptical. If the Sears Tower in Chicago does not have more toilets, we would be sorely disappointed. Nevertheless, Simon Garfield writes at length about the cost overruns (the cost has rocketed to £757 million, up […]

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