Hypothetical XI #3 – The Viking XI


Josh Millar and Freddie Harding from Midfield Generals put forward their ‘Viking XI’ of Scandinavian players…

It’s a known fact that the scariest thing in the world is a big bastard with a beard running towards you before attempting to maim you with an axe. So why not put a team of them together and make them play football? Granted a lot of these players aren’t actually that nasty. But we think that there’s enough talent in this side to give some teams a spanking. Continue reading

Hypothetical XI #2 – The British Commonwealth


In our second installment of the Hypothetical XIs series, Pete Starr concocts a Commonwealth side with a few surprises…

At its height the British Empire was the largest ever accumulated, encompassing almost a quarter of the earth’s total area and about 1/5 of the world’s population. We had fingers in pies in every continent on the ruddy planet and when people started to get a bit eggy about the whole thing we created a nice friendly Commonwealth. Continue reading

The Neutrality Index – The Case for the Heavyweights


David Wild puts the Neutrality Index to the test as he compares Everton and Swansea City…

If you’re an avid supporter of my work you’ll remember that last week I wrote a piece on the Neutrality Index, a combination of the factors which I believe a team’s neutral support is based on. Further to that article I now plan to take those factors and examine the case for two of the neutral heavyweights of the Premier League. In doing this I hope to try and figure out who has the best case to be ‘the people’s choice’.

All season ticket prices quoted are for the cheapest season ticket. I’m also choosing to include some famous fans of each club, both as perhaps an indicator of the kind of person who follows that team and also because it’s a nice interesting little factoid of the kind that pub quiz enthusiasts like myself thrive on in their pointless hours. Enjoy. Continue reading

England and the Media in a Hodge-Podge


Following England’s 1-1 draw with Montenegro, James Dutton assesses the managerial capabilities of media darling Roy Hodgson…

“I thought we hung on well and finished strongly but during their good spell they got an equaliser and robbed us of a victory. All things considered, we mustn’t be too disappointed,”

- Roy Hodgson, March 2013.

Sound familiar? We’ve heard it all before from Roy. This time a 1-1 draw in Montenegro, snatched from the jaws of victory following a second half that encapsulated the passive style that Roy Hodgson sides display.

It’s the same story, just a different day. Continue reading

Hypothetical XI #1 – Central America


In the first part of a new series on Hypothetical XIs, Mike McGrew asks what if the United Provinces of Central America were still around together…

The short-lived United Provinces of Central America existed for about two decades in the middle of the 19th century. It comprised the countries of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. Who would start for a reconstituted UPCA?  Continue reading

149 Years in the Making – Wrexham FC at Wembley


The False Nine editor James Dutton was at Wembley on Sunday, reporting on the FA Trophy final for Wrexham.com. Here he gives his thoughts on the implications of a 4-1 penalty shoot out victory over Grimsby Town for his hometown club Wrexham…

An astonishing day, so befitting of a club that has fought for its very survival. As Johnny Hunt saw his final spot kick send the outstanding James McKeown the wrong way, the Wrexham end erupted. An outpouring of jubilation and relief, so alien to this historic club during its recent murky past, wrenched away the ghosts of financial gloom that threatened to destroy Wales’ oldest footballing establishment.

As captain Dean Keates held aloft the FA Trophy, the demons of the club’s recent history were extinguished, banished into the beyond. This was Wrexham’s day in the sun.

No set of football supporters deserve it more; ‘stand up if you own your club’ they chorused during a pedestrian first half. Continue reading

Aleksandr Kokorin – the Next Russian Hero


Andy Shenk previews Russia’s trip to Northern Ireland, and the rise of a prodigious young talent in their domestic game…

Aleksandr Kokorin celebrated his 22nd birthday on March 19, just four days before suiting up for a World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland in Belfast. The Russian national team is ensconced at a golf resort outside of North London, a few kilometers from Arsenal’s training grounds, where they’ve been training since Monday.

The young Dinamo Moscow forward, who captained his club for the first time on Saturday evening during a 1-1 draw with Kuban, admitted this day was a bit different. “[My birthday’s] never come during camp…. This time I had a very strange birthday – with the national team, and in London, no less,” he told reporters after practice.

There certainly was no time to skip downtown, either, for post-workout drinks. Fabio Capello, who signed on with the Russian Football Union last July, has tightened the screws on a squad that earned its country’s ire at Euro 2012, both for their disappointing group stage exit and media reports of pampered footballers run wild in Warsaw.  Continue reading