The magic of Barney Ronay

The Article, as it is, is of little importance, Barney Ronay of the Guardian is a magician of the written word,

Sample this:

More recently José Mourinho seems to have decided the best approach at Manchester United is to spend his first few weeks standing on the touchline looking crumpled and sad and heroically betrayed, like a man on the hard shoulder of the M6 staring balefully across the nearside lines above his raised bonnet, rain gluing his shirt to his back, phone dead, credit card maxed out, kids living in Bicester, golf clubs repossessed, 800 units of polyester carpet samples scattered across the back seat.

And this

For an essentially unflashy footballer he remains an oddly compelling sight throughout all this, not obviously quick but mobile and relentless, not tricky but precise on the ball, and with a pummelling shot from a low backlift. He is also very dear and likeable, a man slightly out of his time, resembling as he stands to attention in the pre-match lineup the ghost of a kindly Victorian chimney sweep. Albeit with something steely and slightly frightening.

The Article is here.


Kasey Keller – Guardian Small Talk

Fine, fun interview. Click here to read. Excerpt below.

Which was your favourite out of England, Spain and Germany? Think carefully about this one.

You know, I’ve had such good times everywhere I’ve played – from Millwall being my first club and the new experiences I had there, to Leicester City, where people expected us to be relegated by Christmas but instead we finished in the top-half of the Premier League in all of my three seasons there, as well as getting to to two cup finals. Then I got to go to Spain and be the first American to play in La Liga. With Rayo Vallecano we got promoted and I believe after 16 games we were one point ahead of Barcelona in first place. The next year we lost in the quarterfinals of the Uefa Cup. Then it was Spurs, where I played every minute of every game, league and cup, for over a couple of years, then Gladbach before the World Cup, then Fulham and one of the greatest relegation escapes in Premier League history. And after all that I got to come home to Seattle to 40,000 fans a game in America. It’s been a pretty cool ride!

Me on The Guardian: About Premier League Fans from India

i made this comment about Indian Premier League Fans – and how you can tell from when they are following football by the team they support. It was published on the Guardian’s Matchday MBM – for the North London Derby [WHICH ARSENAL WON! AWESOME!]

Check 5:01 PM BST – Click Here.

Shom Biswas offers this explanation: “You can understand when the Indian person started watching football, from which club he follows. The cable channels started showing the Premier League in the late 90’s – Arsenal and Man United were the big dogs then. So an Arsenal fan is one who got into Premier League Football in the late 90s. A Chelsea fan is one who started during the early Abramovich days, a Liverpool fan either the old fogey who used to read about the exploits of the Dalglish/Rush days in the newspapers, or the ones who have ‘that night in Istanbul’ as their first football experience, and a Man City fan … well…


“Anyone can be a Man United fan, they have been top dogs for long.”

Gary Neville

Yes, yes and yes. He was an a-hole of the first order.

And now he’s the freshest, clearest, most sensible and yes, the best voice on the game in the media.

Read this. Excerpt here.

“My chances of making it as a pro footballer at the age of 18 in 2013 would be a lot less than 20 years ago. A talented 18-year-old today has to hope he’s at the right club with the right manager who believes in young players. But it’s become so short-term. The average manager has no time to think about the youth team – let alone create a structure and philosophy at the club. It’s a vicious circle and one that disappoints me about the modern game. I’m a traditionalist and think people should be given time.”

The Entertainment Wing of the Oil Industry

One line from an article here by @jonaWils:

But in the era of the superclub, as football essentially becomes the entertainment wing of the oil industry, it increasingly seems that transfers become almost an end in themselves, with little thought to the overall tactical picture.

The rest of the article is worth a read as well

Italy-Spain, the best 0-0 you will ever see; and Spain’s fascination with the #10 ?

What a great match we saw yesterday! Have you seen a better 0-0 draw (decided by the best set of penalties you will ever see)? This was an amazing, amazing match. Loved every minute of it.

More power to the Confederations Cup!

And the English paper reports will always be this underwhelming (Link Here). The English do the Premier League; the English do goals; the English do 90 minutes of headless-chicken-ness. This match was not that. This match was a paean to football the game, as opposed to football the public spectacle.

And yes, I’m a snob.


On the same theme, do read this article about Spain’s new-found love for the #10 diminutive playmaker. (Link here), extract below.

…. the famed La Masia academy which gave birth to the tiki-taka philosophy; the blueprint of which is seen as largely responsible for the technical emphasis Spain switched to at youth level. Years later, the Furia Roja is no more; a conscious effort was also made to strip out the fury. Now Spain’s ‘La Roja’ are benefitting from the vast rewards and have seemingly managed to create a modern-day number 10 cloning facility such has been the regularity of which they are now producing playmakers of a similar ilk – Iniesta, Mata, Fabregas, David Silva, Cazorla – would this diminutive lot have been produced if the emphasis was all on furia?