Ally Moncrief returns to The False Nine with an appreciation of headed goals…
Growing up in a part of the country where people take genuine pleasure in fighting, in the spirit of self-preservation you learn to recognise a few things and one of the earliest lessons is to avoid at all costs the lad that likes to stick the nut in (that means headbutting in case you didn’t know). Where a punch can be evaded and swiftly recovered from, a well-timed headbutt is going to hurt and continue to hurt. Now whilst violence is clearly not to be encouraged there is something awe-inspiring about these dispensers of broken noses, there is something unnatural and wild about a headbutt, it is out of the ordinary and is impossible to defend against.
The same can be said of football’s version of the headbutt, the slightly less violent, header.
Headers can be both brutal and beautiful, used as a means of attack or defense and are the great leveller of football. They are also sadly unfashionable these days, unloved and unadmired. Often referred to as ‘aerial duels’ in these days of Americanised phrases, that moniker may seem degrading to such a majestic act but in fact merely serves to reassert it’s greatness. The key word is ‘duel’ for there is nothing in football apart from a penalty where the game is reduced, however fleetingly, to a straight fight between two participants. One will win and one will lose, the very essence of the sport. Continue reading →
The False Nine return to the Old Red Lion for another live pubcast, this time with Alex Stewart of Put Niels In Goal and Dutch football expert Elko Born.
Talk soon talks to the merits of Jose Mourinho, Louis Van Gaal’s Netherlands and what he could bring to Manchester United, the secrets behind Southampton’s successes of late, and the lesser known link between Kevin Strootman and a certain type of sweet Dutch snack.
TFN regular Elko Born remembers the infamous Andy van der Meyde…
Most of the boys in the Ajax academy are from Amsterdam or the area surrounding the Dutch capital. Boys from other parts of the country usually get picked up by other clubs. PSV Eindhoven, for example, rules the South of the country. Clubs like Heerenveen and FC Groningen rule the North.
Andy van der Meyde was born and bred in Arnhem, a medium sized town in the centre of the Netherlands. Yet it wasn’t Vitesse, his home town side, or any of the other clubs in the Arnhem area who spotted his talent when he was a boy. By some twist of faith, it was an Ajax scout. Continue reading →
TFN’s resident Dutch football expert,Elko Born, looks at Clarence Seedorf’s appointment as the new AC Milan manager…
Clarence Seedorf made his Ajax-debut at the age of 16. Along with fellow Godenzonen like Frank de Boer, Edgar Davids and Patrick Kluivert, he won the Champions League a couple of years later.
Soon after, he embarked on a world tour, playing for Sampdoria, Real Madrid, Inter, A.C. Milan and Botafogo. He won the Champions League a total of four times, making him the only player ever to win the prestigious cup with three different clubs.
Last week, he retired from football to become A.C. Milan’s new manager at the age of 37.
In many ways, the appointment makes sense. Seedorf has a very friendly relationship with A.C. Milan’s owner Silvio Berlusconi, and what’s more, the fans in Italy adore him. Incongruently wise for his age, it’s always been obvious he possesses certain leadership qualities – Simon Kuper once described his personality as ‘an extreme version of the responsible eldest son’. Continue reading →
Michiel Jongsma of Opta Johan and BeNeFoot remembers Afonso Alves’ prolific spell in the Netherlands…
When a player is a Brazilian international, has shown he can adapt in Europe, has racked up 45 league goals in 39 league games for his previous team and, at 27, is entering the summer years of his career, chooses your side to play for and he comes with a price tag of 16m, you’re bound to have expectations. Middlesbrough were a team on the slide after impressing in both national and continental cup competitions and Afonso Alves brought back hope. Hope that they could compete in the top half of the Premier League. One and a half years later, hope was gone.
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 →
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 →