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Author Archives: Richard Whittall

Newcastle Provides Bigger Headlines than Man United as Season Ends

Posted on by Richard Whittall

It says a lot, for better or for worse, that Manchester United’s eighteenth championship sent barely a ripple through the footballing press.  Most headlines read, “Man United 0 – Arsenal 0,” with United’s Premier League-winning feat mentioned in the sub … Continue reading

Tevez, Ronaldo Give Ammo to the ABU Crowd

Posted on by Richard Whittall

Football loves dominant sides. Think of Herbert Chapman’s Arsenal of the 1920s, ravaging England with the WM formation; Real Madrid of the early days of the European Cup, with Alfredo di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas wreaking havoc on unsuspecting continental … Continue reading

It’s Arrogant to Call Internationals Boring

Posted on by Richard Whittall

Gentleman, let us put away childish things. Yes, international breaks can provide some godawful football.  Yes, it doesn’t seem fair for a player to risk injury for a team he plays with only five times a year and miss games … Continue reading

Capello Owns Critics on Owen Decision

Posted on by Richard Whittall

Fabio Capello’s quiet demeanor and considered words give him an aura of deep intelligence and authority, so much so it can sometimes seems he’s foreseen everything through 2010 and beyond. But this week the aura’s faded a bit under over … Continue reading

England Respects David Beckham, Why Can’t We?

Posted on by Richard Whittall

Say what you will about David Beckham, but at least the man isn’t on Twitter. Too bad in a way, because Beckham epitomizes the Internet age.  Thirty years ago, football’s ignominious sideshow used to be known only to players and … Continue reading

Villa’s Poor Form Should Give England Fans Pause

Posted on by Richard Whittall

Title race back on, blah blah blah, Aston Villa torn apart like a dingo on a newborn, yada yada yada, England expects ahead of international week—wait just one minute there, pal. It would be safe to say that Villa is … Continue reading

The Premier League is Not, in Fact, a League

Posted on by Richard Whittall

Those of us round long enough to remember the Ipswichs, Blackburns and QPRs of old running rampant in the early days of the Premier League may have winced listening to Setanta’s commentators gag with delight as Dossena’s lobbed long ball … Continue reading

Premiership’s Big Four Dominate Europe Because They’re the Big Four: News?

Posted on by Richard Whittall

Jonathan Wilson, the inimitable scholar of tactical mechanics with his recent Inverting the Pyramid: A History of Football Tactics (a book I included in a piece on tactical reductionism for this website) has made a very convincing argument why English … Continue reading

Setanta’s Football Matters Reminds Us Football is for the Kids

Posted on by Richard Whittall

North Americans don’t get much in the way of involving chit chat shows covering the Premier League. Sky’s CNN talking-head-over-ticker-tape style sports news is good for watching endless loops of Steven Gerrard looking forlorn as Liverpool’s title chances evaporate into … Continue reading

Man United Quadruple is Bittersweet Possibility

Posted on by Richard Whittall

It’s the first of March and although there is everything to be decided, you can smell it in the air. This could be the year United do what hasn’t been accomplished by a British club since Celtic in 1967: winning … Continue reading

Tactics and the Modern Game: the Perils of Overstating the Case

Posted on by Richard Whittall

And my particular bugbear, this week, is bullshit-artists who try to over-complicate a perfectly simple game by waffling on interminably about formations and tactics; holding midfielders, players in the hole, galloping wing-backs blah, blah, blah snooze yawn in a bid … Continue reading

Aston Villa Reminds Us What Football is All About

Posted on by Richard Whittall

You may have heard that football is about striving for glory, trying your best to win whatever the circumstances, and pleasing the fans by giving it your all each and every fixture.  If you heard that, the person you heard … Continue reading

Ferguson versus Mourinho: Clash of the Chess Player-Like Football Tactician Grandmasters

Posted on by Richard Whittall

The delicious mind-game between former Premier League rivals Jose Mourinho and Alex Ferguson didn’t disappoint yesterday afternoon.  Whether making sure each player wore the correct shirt to the organizing their players in a way to enhance the scoring of goals, … Continue reading

This Week’s Champions League Match-Ups Form the Perfect Storm for Lazy Journos

Posted on by Richard Whittall

I’m not one to advise anyone how to spend their Champions League February knock-out phase Week One matchday(s), but I know from experience there are worse ways than at your local public house over a pint, or if you’re in … Continue reading

Isn’t there Something Funnier than Special 1 TV?

Posted on by Richard Whittall

The Football Comedy is closely related to the Football Film: both are nearly impossible to pull off and both tend to leave fans deeply divided.  In my experience, football comedy is usually best when it targets soccer’s absurd periphery, like … Continue reading

An Interview with Steven Wells

Posted on by Richard Whittall

Steven Wells, scholar of punk, smasher of football’s sacred cows, and scribe for guardian.co.uk, FourFourTwo and Philadelphia Weekly, is not one to mince words when it comes to the prejudices held about football on both sides of the UK/USA divide.  … Continue reading