James Gheerbrant argues against England’s push to naturalise Manchester United youngster Adnan Januzaj…
The enduring fascination and frustration of international football, the thing about it that compels and confounds in equal measure, is that there are no quick fixes. For the international manager, there are no easy answers to the sort of problems that club coaches are used to eliminating with a fusillade of their semi-automatic chequebook. If your side doesn’t have a decent striker (a problem which has plaqued a succession of otherwise outstanding Portugal teams, for example), then you cannot simply dip into the transfer market to acquire one. If the issues run deeper, if they reflect a nation’s football culture, they must be solved through grass-roots graft, not by parachuting in a panacea. The beauty of the international game is that there is no hiding from the ugly truth.
That, at least, was how it used to be. But on Saturday Roy Hodgson, the manager entrusted by the FA to nurse the ailing English patient towards Brazil, had a glimpse of just such a miracle cure. At Sunderland on Saturday, Manchester United’s Adnan Januzaj, 18 years old and precociously gifted, inspired a comeback victory on his full debut with two superbly taken goals – and announced himself as perhaps English’s football unlikeliest Messiah. For it emerged that Januzaj, though born and raised in Belgium to Albanian parents, could yet qualify to pull on the Three Lions on residency grounds. No matter that Januzaj has lived here only two years, no matter that England is in no real sense his homeland, he is the prodigious playmaker we have hungered for through the wilderness years. In this modern-day football parable, he is not so much the prodigal son as the fatted calf. Continue reading →
David Wild looks at the controversies of goal line technology and its impending introduction to English football…
It has never been the wont of Football to keep up with the ceaseless march of technology. A game that often defines itself by its simplicity, emotion and unpredictability is traditionally thought of as being set in its ways, resistant to change, stubborn.
But is football correct to resist the changes that technology brings? What would the effects of referral systems have on football’s dynamic and on the authority of it’s officials? While we can see the obvious benefits of Hawk Eye and video replay referrals in other sports is football too unique in its make up to embrace such systems?
The recent decision to introduce Hawk Eye technology in the Premier League as of the 2013/14 season is remarkable because it has happened at all. The amount of time it has taken for football to adapt a system successfully used in cricket and tennis for the last five years is baffling to many who claim it is impossible to doubt the potential of technology in clarifying official’s decisions. Continue reading →
Following England’s 1-1 draw with Montenegro, James Dutton assesses the managerial capabilities of media darling Roy Hodgson…
“I thought we hung on well and finished strongly but during their good spell they got an equaliser and robbed us of a victory. All things considered, we mustn’t be too disappointed,”
- Roy Hodgson, March 2013.
Sound familiar? We’ve heard it all before from Roy. This time a 1-1 draw in Montenegro, snatched from the jaws of victory following a second half that encapsulated the passive style that Roy Hodgson sides display.
Chelsea fan and False Nine debutant, Stu McKain, takes issue with Sir Alex Ferguson’s command of the media and the FA’s leniency in the past when his words have gone overboard…
“I am disappointed with him – we have not had a good record with him.”
These remarks came from Sir Alex Ferguson following Manchester United’s disappointing draw with Tottenham Hotspur on January 20 2013, concerning assistant referee Simon Beck. Arguably, this spiel could have been cherry-picked from any losing match report since the Old Trafford club won their first Premier League title – under his stewardship – in 1993 though. Continue reading →
In the aftermath of the Third Round of the FA Cup, James Dutton takes a look at the media coverage which shapes its positioning in the football universe…
The FA Cup has found it difficult to grasp its place in the over-arching landscape of modern football. It sits as a representation of the traditions inherent in English football, a link to the past yet, supposedly, little more.
False Nine writer Matt Malone was at Hillsborough on Friday and gives his thoughts on the night’s worrying scenes…
In a week in which the FA has made some big accusations and called for serious action to be taken after the ugly scenes in Serbia, events at Hillsborough last night are a great example of the old adage that perhaps people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Continue reading →
Some reflections on the Bradford City Fire and Hillsborough from False Nine editor Hugo Greenhalgh
David Conn: “If at Hillsborough, police mismanagement exposed Sheffield Wednesday’s and the game’s ramshackle approach to the safety of supporters, the Bradford fire can be said to have highlighted football’s dysfunctional priorities even more starkly”. Continue reading →