Valentin Boulan remembers the AS Monaco 2003-04 side who reached the 2004 Champions League Final…
None of it was supposed to happen. When AS Monaco were drawn against Deportivo La Coruna, PSV and AEK Athens in the 2003-4 Champions League Group Stages, everyone had already worked out the outcome. Monaco would come third and end up in the mediocre UEFA Cup – not even Europa League yet. At best, they might come second and go out to the first credible contenders they face. Well, not quite…
What few realised at the time was the depth of quality within Monaco’s side, and indeed how many of its members would go on to become household names of European football. Managed by then rookie Didier Deschamps, who would go on to great things with Marseille and coach the National Team, Monaco was indeed solid in all areas. Continue reading →
There’s an air of disappointment in French politics currently with an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction lingering across the channel.
It’s easy to see how the French have lost their patience with Francois Hollande. The President was voted in on the back of an Obama-esque ticket, promising change and revolution. He wasn’t lying per se; he just hasn’t performed enough miracles to justify the shifts in policy he has brought about.
Some now vilify Hollande. The crowd booed him on Remembrance Day as he was laying the wreath. Sacre bleu! A level of abuse previously unheard of!
Yet I’m sure that many of those involved in French football’s top two tiers may well have shared the heckling crowd’s feelings. Continue reading →
As the transfer window to end all transfer windows enters its final hours, David Wild looks at some of the recent splurges inspired by Football Manager…
Oscar Wilde once said that “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life”. While he probably wasn’t directly aware of Football Manager at the time he said this, his phrase is just as poignant today when applied to the realms of the Summer transfer window and the popular management simulation game.
Only last week I set up a group LAN Football Manager game in which a friend of mine immediately set about slicing up his Man United squad in order to purchase Bale and Neymar. In many games you can happily snap up four or five of the best young up and coming players of the future, or the big stars of the here and now in one window and watch the resulting team steamroller all before it in the fashion of a rampaging George Elekobi.
But are such crusades, hell bent towards the mass accumulation of talent, bound solely to the realm of Football Manager? More and more we are seeing the real transfer window imitate our own visionary virtual planning; teams snapping up high quality in high quantity.
We can relate to the excitement of such a squad building exercise as it calls out to the Football Manager fetishist within us. We’ve known about these players and their potential for years in advance. Some of them were just 16 year old wonderkids playing in the Finnish leagues when our scouting network picked them up. Continue reading →
It’s that time of year again. Players are returning to their clubs to start training and pre-season has begun. The False Nine have scoured the schedules of clubs up and down the country and picked out some of our favourite pre-season friendlies…
1. Whitehawk vs. Brighton and Hove Albion – 6th July, The Enclosed Ground
Brighton won many plaudits last season for the attractive football played under Gus Poyet and new manager Oscar Garcia has promised to maintain this style. As a former Barcelona player and youth manager, Garcia is no stranger to attacking, free-flowing play. In his first friendly at the helm, Brighton take on Whitehawk, a local non-league side who won promotion to the Conference South last season. Recently, a plan was floated to change their name to ‘Brighton City’ in order to put them on the map but for now they remain as Whitehawk. Does this represent something of a local ‘Brighton Derby’ then? Ties between the clubs are not uncommon and Whitehawk are managed by former Brighton winger Darren Freeman. Continue reading →
Hugo Greenhalgh believes that PSG’s most recent managerial appointment is proof they have some way to go before they can dine out with Europe’s football elite…
The second half of last season was defined to a certain degree by a series of well-publicised open secrets that quickly unravelled to become common knowledge. Jose Mourinho would be leaving Real Madrid and his position would be taken by PSG manager Carlo Ancelotti. Roberto Mancini was to be shown the door at Manchester City and replaced by Manuel Pellegrini. A managerial merry-go-round of sorts was about to be set in motion. Continue reading →