TFN editor James Dutton looks back at how the 2014 World Cup helped him at a time of personal loss…
I don’t know what I’d have done without the 2014 World Cup. I owe it a lot. I shouldn’t love it, I should hate it and the time in my life it represents. But I don’t, and all it reminds me of is the enduring power of sport and the unerring truth that the World Cup is the greatest show on earth. It first brought me joy as a 7-year-old. It still brings me joy as a 27-year-old. And four years ago it brought me back from my lowest ebb.
Did it really happen? Four years have passed, reality has had enough time to sink in and yet that irrepressible thought can never be shaken. Maybe it never happened.
It’s childish fantasy. I was there, I watched it happen. I can still see it now. I will never forget it. Woken early in the morning to be told ‘this is it’, and for that to really be it within a few tear-drenched minutes was a pit I never want to return to.
We were prepared for it. Some people are never fortunate enough to know the end is coming. Luck is hardly the right word in this scenario, but we were lucky to have the final few weeks to prepare for it, at home, the family all together. Continue reading
Image: Duncan Palmer Photography
Ben Sibley gives a recap of a memorable week for Dulwich Hamlet…
Tuesday – Meadow terminate DHFC’s licence to play at Champion Hill for “repeated breaches of the licence by the Club, together with unwarranted personal attacks on the company, which has funded the Club for a number of years and without which the Club would not have survived as long as it has”. Dulwich Hamlet are homeless.
Tuesday – On behalf of Meadow, UK law firm Blake Morgan contact Dulwich Hamlet claiming that ‘Dulwich Hamlet Football Club’, ‘The Hamlet’ and ‘DHFC’ had been registered as trademarks on 17 October 2017 and demanded that they no longer be used by the club.
Tuesday – Mayor of London Sadiq Kahn and leader of Southwark council Peter John issue a joint statement urging Meadow to walk away and sell the ground to Southwark Council at market value.
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TFN Editor Hugo Greenhalgh tackles one of football’s uncomfortable home truths…
There was a depressing air of familiarity in some of the responses to Hector Bellerin’s recent appearance at London Fashion Week. The Arsenal defender was photographed in the front row of the event, wearing something that looked a little like a dressing gown, with a pair of Gucci slippers. Rather than simply acknowledging a young footballer might want to do something interesting in the capital on a rare evening out, some publications cut a more vicious tone.
Commenting on Bellerin’s outfit, The Sportsman tweeted, “Get him in the bin, shocking that”. Scottish site Talking Baws wrote, “his latest outing saw him arrive in WOMEN’S pyjamas” (the emphasis is theirs). Others tweeted “She’s lost the fucking plot” and “What a twat”.
What is it that the football community finds so offensive about a confident, cosmopolitan young man enjoying himself? The insinuation here is pretty obvious. In wearing clothes that are a little ostentatious and more flamboyant than the average footballer or fan’s, Bellerin is seen to have crossed the threshold of what is considered acceptable masculinity. Between the lines, they’re saying: it’s not straight, ergo he’s gay. Continue reading
This interview was originally published in April 2015 for Moresport
Robin Shroot’s career in England was stalling, and he knew it. In any profession, it’s important to keep testing yourself and improving your skills, even if that means a change in direction. Shroot was earning a comfortable salary at Stevenage but internal politics and managerial changes left him out of the side and in search of a new challenge. He found it in the most unlikely of locations: western Norway.
“I was deemed surplus to requirements at Stevenage. I think I just obviously wasn’t the manager’s cup of tea which was fair enough”, Shroot reflects. “I trained with the kids for six months”. At 26 years-old, he felt he’d reached a crossroads in his career and was desperate to play for a club with a more technical approach to the game.
Faced with several unappealing loan moves, Shroot decided instead to cancel his contract and go it alone. Having made one brave decision, he took another and cast his eye further afield in an attempt to fulfil a lifelong ambition of playing abroad. “The opportunity came up to go to Sarpsborg, Brian Deane’s club. I went there for a week and it was great”, he recalls of his first experience in Norway. Deane and his assistant Ian Burchnall, who is now at Viking Stavanger, were a huge help and he took to his new environment immediately. “It was really refreshing to experience a new football culture and I really enjoyed it.” Continue reading