Benitez, Mancini and Wenger: victims of the English game or their own egos?


Greg Johnson asks whether foreign managers have fallen foul of the English football psyche…

As he held the League Cup aloft in victory, shares in Michael Laudrup rattled up the ranks of the managerial stock exchange. His worth had already soared far beyond and above the valuations placed upon him in the summer, and come the close of business in May, it looks likely that Laudrup will have all but confirmed his place as one of the most attractive managerial investments around.

Swansea’s first major trophy in their 100 year history; Europa League entry for next season; exquisite football; the likelihood of an entirely respectable final position in the Premier League; and named as the man fans most want to takeover the reins at Real Madrid – it’s an impressive end-of-season growth report to reflect on for the Dane who co-founded a free-market think tank in his homeland in 2004. Continue reading

Around the world with Lutz Pfannenstiel


David Dodds looks at the extraordinary tale of Lutz Pfannenstiel, who represented 25 clubs and remains the only professional to have played in all 6 FIFA Confederations…

Earlier this month I wrote a profile of Lutz Pfannenstiel and his charity Global United F.C. which appeared on In Bed With Maradona For the sake of brevity I excluded a lot of biographical information from that article, but his story is so interesting that I’ve decided to construct a more comprehensive account of his footballing life from the remaining notes and research I have.


Mercenary. Greedy. Financially-motivated. When you see a footballer who has played for twenty-five different clubs, you might be forgiven for thinking this. The game has no shortage of players who consider football a job, a way to pay the mortgage. But in the words of Lutz Pfannenstiel, the globetrotting German goalkeeper: “It’s nice to be rich. But it’s better to be wealthy in the head, wealthy in experience”. Continue reading

How Spurs and Wales may just owe Cristiano Ronaldo a ‘Thank You’


Scott Jenkins assesses the impact of Cristiano Ronaldo on Gareth Bale…

Every aspiring footballer idolises that one special player who is headlining the domestic league or leading their own team to glory and in turn tries to replicate their latest highlight reel moment on the local park and pitches. For my era when growing up and playing junior league football every time a free kick was won or lost, a familiar sequence would play out. Continue reading

Has Welsh Football ever had it so good?


In the wake of Swansea’s glorious League Cup triumph, The False Nine editor James Dutton explores the state of the Welsh game…

As the dust settles on Swansea’s emphatic Capital One Cup victory over the unlikely opposition of Bradford City, Blue Square Conference leaders Wrexham are due to travel to Wembley next month for the FA Trophy Final. Cardiff City sit eight points clear at the summit of the Championship with a game in hand, whilst Newport County sit just two points behind their North Walian countrymen, also with a game in hand.

Swansea’s meteoric rise from the basement of the Football League pyramid in 2004 to the heady heights of the Premier League, and now League Cup winners just nine years later, is an astounding tale. Next year the Swans will be playing European football; a chance for Welsh football to showcase its burgeoning ascension on the continent.  Continue reading

Chinese Super League – a new start or a false dawn?


Ethan Meade assesses the state of the Chinese Super League…

It was supposed to be the transfer that heralded the start of a new era for football in the Far East. Didier Drogba arrived in Shanghai in July last year on a two and a half year deal, earning a reported £270,000 a week, greeted by a packed airport of fans all clamouring for a glimpse of a genuine worldwide football superstar. He joined a team who already boasted the services of Champions League winner and long-time France international Nicolas Anelka on their books. And yet, within 6 months, both Drogba and Anelka had left Shanghai Shenhua. So after all the fanfare, where did things go wrong for the pair? And where does it leave the ailing Chinese Super League?

Continue reading

A Brief Meditation on Wesley Sneijder (& his deriders)

John Guillem takes a brief look at Dutch maestro Wesley Sneijder, once the best player in world football…

Wesley Sneijder used to be the best player in the world. No, really. By which I mean he was the key performer for the most successful team of a specific season (perhaps you know what I’m talking about) as well as joint top-scoring in the World Cup for the beaten finalists. Certainly there was an element of fortune to some of those goals (one against Brazil in particular springs to mind), and his performance was a little overhyped in that tournament, but in the 2009-10 Champions League he was excellent (and in Serie A and the Coppa Italia, only less so), and – if not then, then certainly by now – his performances for his club that year were overlooked. Continue reading

The Death of Colin Murray


The False Nine debutant, David Wild, opines on the gradual decline of Match of the Day…

Like any promising youngster making his debut I’ll start with a healthy note of caution. I haven’t written for The False Nine before and so I don’t have a loyal fan base to rely on. Instead I’m relying on a John Sheridan “do the simple things well” attitude whilst praying for the appearance of a flash of brilliance a la Tony Yeboah.

My chosen subject for this article is the puerile and inane jabbering that infects the BBC institution Match of The Day. Don’t get me wrong I love MOTD but I can’t stand anything of the generic matey banter that oozes out, loosely classed as ‘punditry’. The commentary is about as interesting as that on my Lesbian Vampire Killers DVD. How I regret buying that DVD. Continue reading