Years before the hapless figure of Andre Santos graced these shores, Tottenham Hotspur can claim to have cornered the market on inept Brazilian left backs with Gilberto, a player whose brief stay at White Hart Lane was so bereft of merit it led to a re-evaluation of plenty of Spurs “Worst Ever” XIs when he departed in 2009.
Spurs signed Gilberto in the January transfer window of 2008, on the back of four relatively successful years at Hertha Berlin. They paid over £2 million for his services, which is not a lot of money in modern football, but a truly incredible amount considering what followed. Continue reading →
Elko Born looks at the impact Belgian footballers have had on the historical, cultural rivalry between Belgium and The Netherlands…
‘It still gives me a stomach ache,’ FC Twente’s chairman Joop Munsterman recently told Elf Voetbal, reminiscing about the 15th of May 2011: the day Ajax beat Twente 3-1 in a thrilling, last day of the season title decider.
How different it must have been for Ajax’s fans and players. By beating Twente 3-1, Ajax didn’t just win the title, they won their first title in seven years, a nightmare inducing low haul for Ajax’s high (and according to many, arrogant) standards. Low especially because throughout all those years, Ajax needed just one more title in order to place a long sought after ‘third star’ on their red and white jerseys.
The Ajax fans wanted that third star. They were prepared to go to war that third star. To kill for it even.
By clinching that thirtieth title (you get a star for every ten championships), Belgian international Jan Vertonghen, who had been an Ajax player since the age of 16, finally fulfilled the role everyone had long expected of him and his highly rated young teammates. If Vertonghen had a stomach ache, he would have had it before the match, not after it. Continue reading →
As Gareth Bale develops his iconic celebration into a brand, David Wild discusses the evolution of footballers and image rights…
The image has become synonymous with perhaps the Premier League’s current best player. Now Gareth Bale has bound his infamous heart celebration even closer to him and ‘Brand Bale’ by trade marking his own ‘Eleven of Hearts’ logo and factoring it into his image rights. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now and say that he didn’t notice that the negative space in the picture makes it look like Bale’s hands are gently clasping two small testicles (Thanks to my friend Pat McKenna for pointing this out.)
The Tottenham midfielder is applying for use of the logo on clothing, jewellery, headgear, and of course, being a footballer, footwear. According to the IPO website, he has also applied to use the logo on “animal skins, hides; trunks and travelling bags; umbrellas, parasols and walking sticks; whips, harness and saddlery.” Quite the range. Continue reading →
As the third series of Game of Thrones draws to a close, James Dutton and David Wild imagine the parallels between the worlds of Westeros and the Premier League…
As the Premier League continues to enthral millions across the world, so HBO’s serialisation of George R. R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ has captivated a loyal, steadfast and ever-growing audience. Here, The False Nine draws analogies between the two worlds; from the intimidating Britannia Stadium to the formidable Iron Islands, no stone is left unturned. Who will win in the Premier League Game of Thrones?
Finally the Premier League has put us out of our misery and decided to end the season. There’s been little excitement and little to remember, James Dutton wonders what the hell happened, and whether anyone can be happy about this…
The 2012-13 Premier League season has undoubtedly been a damp squib.
The exceptional events of a year ago seem to have hoarded all the drama and intrigue the Premier League can provide.
For the first time since 2006 there was nothing meaningful to decide at either end of the table – save another “epic” battle between Tottenham and Arsenal for fourth, with the wretched Reading and QPR the worst of a particularly sorry bunch of bottom-half sides this year.
It’s been a season defined by regression; the first time since 1996 there has been no English team in the quarter finals of the Champions League, an artificially dramatic “Fight for Fourth” and a title race that was, for all intents and purposes, sewn up before Christmas.
Misery reigns from top to bottom.
Are there any teams in the Premier League that can argue to have had a good season, be content with what they have achieved, or how far they have progressed, since August? Continue reading →
Simon Smith looks at the changing English perceptions of the Europa League…
This week the Europa League reaches the crunch stage, the quarter finals. All the teams that get through this will fancy their chances of winning the tournament and there are no sloppy teams let in the running. So why the three English clubs? Traditionally this stage of the competition has eliminated them by now, so are we looking at a newfound interest in the competition by Premier League clubs or are there other reasons for the current success? Take a look at the current teams involved, compare them to recent seasons and the mystery becomes a little clearer…
Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Newcastle are all good teams, but none of them are great teams. There have in the last few seasons been two different classes of English club in Europe’s junior cup and for different reasons neither have had the ability to make significant progress in the tournament: clubs with desire but who lack the quality, and clubs with the quality who lack interest. Continue reading →
Simon Smith bemoans the away goal, whose place in European football is fast becoming redundant…
We had some controversial European ties in the last round of games, and the Nani sending off aside it was the away goals rule that took the brunt of complains. With Champions League quarter finals just around the corner it’s time to answer the question of whether the same will happen again. Should we all just accept the rule as how even ties are decided or is this the time to question it? It’s certainly been a while since I came across a defender of the rule… The usual complaints surround its unfairness: that it unjustly punishes the home team in the second leg of a tie, or kills a match because a fluke keeper error can have the significance of conceding “effectively two goals”. Is that really such a disaster? Continue reading →