Interview – David Conn on Sport Journalism and the Media


In the first of a two part interview, Natasha Clark speaks to Guardian sports journalist and investigative reporter David Conn about sports culture and his critical eye on the media’s take on football…

I am not a sports journalist. I don’t follow sport and I rarely watch it. But I knew David Conn would be a big deal. His work in the past year has investigated business controversy behind Tottenham’s new stadium project, Premier League finances, drugs-testing within football, the commercial interests of the FA, and Conn has continued to be one of the leading writers on Hillsborough.

In 2009, His piece remembering the atrocities of the semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest 20 years on, played a part in re-opening an investigation into the events of 1989, and quashing the initial verdict of ‘accidental death’. My sports knowledge may be limited, but I was far from disappointed; Conn speaks with sincerity, enthusiasm and a sheer passion for football and community.

Bearing in mind his reputation, and recent Sports Journalist of the Year award at the British Journalism Awards last month, I threw him in right at the deep end. Are sports journalists scared to criticise sport due to their closeness to the game? A sharp intake of breath follows. “Actually, I think that statement is both unfair and outdated.”  Continue reading

Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool’s no. 10 from Brazil


The Anfield Wrap writer Karl Coppack profiles Liverpool’s current no. 10, Philippe Coutinho…

His name is Philippe Coutinho and he’s the next one.

Liverpool have had Scottish, English, Welsh and Spanish super heroes of late but this is new ground. Even our greatest sides never had the magnificent mix of three fantastic footballing ingredients. Brazilian. Number ten. Stupid haircut. Excellent.

Personally, I love rough players. Give me Carragher the granite over Agger the artisan, give me Sissoko over little, dainty Joe Allen, the hulking Toshack over powder puff Owen but this is different. Little Phil could be taken away by the lightest breeze but I don’t care this time. He’s a pixie, a sprite and an irritant to all but his team mates. Continue reading

Obscure Footballer of the Week #5: Erik Meijer


Obscure Footballer of the Week returns. This week James Dutton remembers Erik Meijer, an Anfield cult hero…

When Liverpool fans cast their minds back to the summer of 1999, it undoubtedly conjures images of a frenetic period of transfer activity. After an abortive 1998-9 season, when the joint-managerial experiment between Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier was jettisoned in November, the Frenchman embarked on a significant rebuilding project.

Tasked with bringing Liverpool into the 21st century, both figuratively and literally, Houllier swung the axe; David James and Paul Ince headed the list of Anfield exiles, following Steve McManaman who had run down his contract and flown to Madrid. Continue reading

Russia’s Europa Trio in Pole Position


Andy Shenk looks at the Russian trio vying for progression to the Last 16 of the Europa League…

For Russian football fans, Rubin midfielder Pablo Orbaiz’s stoppage-time goal in Madrid was just the exclamation point to a thrilling Valentine’s Day in the Europa League. Zenit and Anzhi kicked the night off in style, celebrating 2-0 and 3-1 victories over Liverpool and Hannover 96. Several hours later, Rubin’s Spanish mercenary silenced the Estadio Vincente Calderon crowd, breaking away for his team’s second goal as Atletico goalie Sergio Asenjo tried vainly to catch him from behind.  Continue reading

TFN Looks Back at 2012: Part 2


Here’s the second part of our 2012 Q and A. Happy New Year!

1. Favourite moment
2. Favourite player
3. Favourite Euro 2012 moment
4. Favourite goal
5. Favourite match
6. Young player
7. Breakthrough team
8. Joey Barton moment
9. Favourite album
10. Favourite gig

Continue reading

The Mystery of Andrei Arshavin


False Nine editor Hugo Greenhalgh reflects on the Russian star’s troubled career at Arsenal… 

An interesting bit of trivia emerged just before Arsenal’s Capital One Cup Quarter Final away at Bradford. If a certain player had travelled to Yorkshire that night, he would be returning to the site of his professional debut. Continue reading

Liverpool vs Anzhi Preview: Samuel Eto’o

False Nine co-editor James Dutton provides the second part of a trilogy previewing Anzhi Makhachkala’s trip to Anfield this week. The subject, the highest paid player in world football…

Samuel Eto’o is enjoying a prolific twilight to his glittering career in the Russian Premier League

Think of Anzhi Makhachkala and the first thing that comes to mind will probably be Samuel Eto’o; the Russian club’s marquee signing during the 2011 summer transfer window has become the poster-boy for one of the most ambitious clubs in European football. In return the iconic Cameroon striker has become the highest paid player in world football, earning a reported £350,000 per week – equating to roughly £16 million over a year. Continue reading