Hope for Mourinho and Hasenhuttl’s video nasty

Jose Mourinho gesturing

Method in Mourinho’s madness? During a recent interview with Dinamo Zagreb’s performance psychologist, Boris Balent, the conversation turned to Jose Mourinho. Balent, who has worked at the top of the European game for over a decade, effusively recalled comments the current Spurs manager gave about the balance between players’ confidence and focus. The essence of … Continue reading Hope for Mourinho and Hasenhuttl’s video nasty

‘For 30 years, we survived by bringing through talent’: where is Tranmere’s next group of homegrown stars?

“Aaron Cresswell crosses for Dale Jennings to slot home!” The quote is fictitious, but as Tranmere prepare for a trip to Wembley and the Papa John’s Trophy Final against Sunderland, the club’s fans could be forgiven for wondering how their former left-wing partnership might have influenced the game. Cresswell and Jennings are part of a … Continue reading ‘For 30 years, we survived by bringing through talent’: where is Tranmere’s next group of homegrown stars?

‘Every time you open your phone, you’re getting abuse: why would you want that?’ Football’s social media problem

Dele Alli looking at his phone

“We had one player who had quite high-profile struggles with his performances. I remember he had a particularly bad away game, and I was sat next to him on the bus. His phone was pinging with messages - ‘You’re a disgrace’, ‘Get out of our club’ - and I said to him, ‘Why don't you … Continue reading ‘Every time you open your phone, you’re getting abuse: why would you want that?’ Football’s social media problem

Euro 96 and Brazil 2014: pickpockets, penalties and pressure

People playing football on a beach

This is, ostensibly, a look at how two hosts of major tournaments – both of whom lost to Germany in memorable semi-finals – dealt with the pressure of playing in their own country. It's also an account of my experiences of both competitions, as an 11-year-old watching Euro 96 at home and, 18 years later, … Continue reading Euro 96 and Brazil 2014: pickpockets, penalties and pressure

The Merseyside Derby: Duncan and The Dogs of War

Sign with directions to Everton and Liverpool

Preparations for a game between Liverpool and Everton can take many forms. Given the scale and evolving nature of the coronavirus outbreak, it's unlikely that the forthcoming derby - when or if it takes place - will witness the usual pre-match clichés. Revenge for a Curtis Jones wonderstrike seems less of a priority when a … Continue reading The Merseyside Derby: Duncan and The Dogs of War

Ginola and Gillespie: a story of speed, skill and spewing in Peter Beardsley’s Rover

Newcastle United badge

David Ginola is lying prostrate in the front garden, holding aloft a can of lager. It’s been that kind of evening. Inside the house, Les Ferdinand, Warren Barton, Lee Clark, Steve Watson and Robbie Elliott are still standing. Welcome to Keith Gillespie’s bachelor pad. When you think of Premier League wingers, some familiar names roll … Continue reading Ginola and Gillespie: a story of speed, skill and spewing in Peter Beardsley’s Rover

From Andy Booth to Ben Thatcher and eight double vodkas: remembering George Graham’s spell at Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur badge

A look of bemusement spreads across Chris Hughton’s face. He hesitates before asking the question. ‘Thatch, have you been on the sauce?’ The uncertainty of the query is easy to understand: Hughton is looking at a man lifting weights with the kind of zeal he usually reserves for two-footed tackles, but sweating in a way … Continue reading From Andy Booth to Ben Thatcher and eight double vodkas: remembering George Graham’s spell at Spurs