Interview: Gavin Rose and His Pink and Blue Army

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TFN editor James Dutton speaks to Dulwich Hamlet boss Gavin Rose about the club’s rise through non-league football, and his further ambitions in the game…

Hidden away in a leafy borough of South London, Dulwich Hamlet have been making waves in non-league football this season. Enjoyable, attractive, attacking football has put the club and its feverish supporters on the cusp of a second consecutive promotion, this time to the Conference South – almost unprecedented in the club’s proud history.

Gavin Rose is coming towards the conclusion of his fifth season at Champion Hill, and barring any last-minute changes he will end it as one of only seven black managers in the top eight divisions of English football. The other six are, like the 37-year-old from Peckham, managing in non-league football.

Ambition marks Rose out from many of his contemporaries at this level. Does he see himself as a manager in the Football League in the next five years? “Definitely,” is the immediate, assertive response. But it should not be mistaken for arrogance, he recognises that he has no divine right to make it that far. It’s a philosophy that underpins his personality, and shines through in his beliefs about the game he loves.

What would be holding him back from that, barring the A license coaching badge that still needs to be earned? Other than himself, he sees no stumbling block.

But with the sackings of Chris Powell and Chris Hughton in the last month, there are now no black managers in charge of the 92 clubs that comprise the Premier League and Football League. He is well versed on the subject, this stain on English football, but perhaps surprisingly unfazed.

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€100m Gareth Bale proving the Real Deal

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Freddie Mickshik believes Gareth Bale’s sparkling performances could pave the way for a new wave of British players abroad…

Of the numerous British exports to Europe, few have delivered. This is undoubtedly due in part to a long era of Premier League dominance on the field coupled with financial clout off it, leaving little incentive for home-grown talent to fly the nest, and partly perhaps because the typical British-born player does not share the cosmopolitan outlook of his European or Latin-American counterpart.

Much has changed since the days of Kevin Keegan’s back-to-back Ballon d’Ors at Hamburg, let alone John Charles’ prolific spell at Juventus, which belongs to another age altogether. A low ebb of British football reached its nadir in the mid-1980s, with Keegan forging a trail for Brits in Europe followed most prominently and with greatly varying degrees of success by Gary Lineker, Mark Hughes, Ian Rush, Graeme Souness and Paul Gascoigne. Continue reading

The Top 10 Moments of Football ‘Blunditry’

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David Ahluwalia takes a look at the worst moments of football punditry…

For many of us, being a football pundit looks like the easiest job in the world. Relaxing on comfortable sofas, often with a cup of tea, and stating the things that are blatantly obvious with as many clichés as humanly possible seems like a job any fan could do.

Sometimes however, being a pundit isn’t quite so simple. Every so often we find our pundits, whether they be players, managers, referees or presenters, being a little too relaxed with their vocabulary, or making terrible analogies to describe a game. These often have the fans in fits of laughter or in a state of sheer shock at their stupidity and complete lack of self-awareness. Gillette Soccer Saturday regularly comes up with some moments of magic, but the team at Sky Sports are not the only ones who have had a blunder or two. Continue reading

Andy van der Meyde: Zlatan’s partner in crime

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TFN regular Elko Born remembers the infamous Andy van der Meyde…

Most of the boys in the Ajax academy are from Amsterdam or the area surrounding the Dutch capital. Boys from other parts of the country usually get picked up by other clubs. PSV Eindhoven, for example, rules the South of the country. Clubs like Heerenveen and FC Groningen rule the North.

Andy van der Meyde was born and bred in Arnhem, a medium sized town in the centre of the Netherlands. Yet it wasn’t Vitesse, his home town side, or any of the other clubs in the Arnhem area who spotted his talent when he was a boy. By some twist of faith, it was an Ajax scout.  Continue reading

The False Nine claim consolation prize in Currys FIFA Cup

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Last week, The False Nine were invited to the Greenlight offices in Kings Cross to take part in the Currys FIFA Cup. This was a knockout FIFA tournament, played out on Greenlight’s giant flatscreen TV.

TFN, represented by James Dutton, were drawn against Boro Guide in the quarter-finals, in a tie that pit Germany against Spain. Unused to the next-gen gameplay of FIFA 14 on the PS4, TFN struggled in the early stages falling 1-0 behind before pulling it back in the second-half and claiming a deserved equaliser. The game fizzled out in extra-time and, after a few dodgy penalties – another result of the unfamiliar gameplay – Germany lost their first penalty shoot-out in living memory and TFN exited the tournament at the first hurdle.

Alongside the FIFA tournament was a table football event, in which TFN fared rather better. Hugo Greenhalgh saw off Alex of Charlton Live and the Sporting Formation boys before taking on Pete of Boro Guide in the Final. Conceding three goals in quick succession, it did not look good for TFN’s man in red. However, he pulled it back to claim the prize of an England shirt.

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It was a great evening and a good opportunity to meet some other football bloggers. Many thanks to Greenlight and Currys for putting it on!

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@The_False_Nine

Gazprom Announced As New Official Sponsor of Crimea

TFN’s Dave Wild with some breaking news from the East…

Following lengthy discussions between Vladimir Putin and Sepp Blatter today, it has been annouced that Gazprom are to become the new official sponsors of Crimea, ushering in an ‘unprecedented era of content, nostalgic prosperity’ in ‘The Champions Peninsula’

Of course, Gazprom was the first to approach us with a proposal,” said Crimea’s first deputy prime minister Rustam Temirgaliev, his eyes fixated on the peaceful landscape projected onto his telescreen every morning at 08:15. Continue reading

The mental health taboo: the unhealthy side of football

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Josh Jackman looks into mental health, one of the remaining taboo subjects in football…

“I was branded a disgrace for revealing I was suffering from depression. People just couldn’t understand it when outwardly they thought I had everything – to them I was living the dream.”

Stan Collymore’s comments this week were shocking but unsurprising. Despite progress being made over the last few years – particularly with the Professional Footballers’ Association’s establishment of a support service in 2013 – mental health is still a taboo subject in the sport.

In the year since the PFA set up the National Counsellors Support Network for Professional Footballers, it has helped 136 players who have diseases from depression to addiction. The number of footballers who suffer in silence, however, is anyone’s guess.

One in four people will suffer from mental health issues at some point in their lives, while 10 per cent contract depression. Statistically speaking, that means there are hundreds of professional footballers in the UK who have not yet sought help. Continue reading