Cultured Football #107
Hillsborough – the 97 remembered
By the Athletic UK Staff
The 15th of April marks the day when the thoughts of all Liverpool fans turn to the ninety-seven who went to a game of football and never came home. It is a date etched on our soul; one made even worse by the establishment’s attempt to blame the victims rather than those who caused the disaster.
The Athletic have published a great series of interviews among with family members of those who died on the day. It is a poignant read, but also a crucial one.
Deportivo La Coruna's Lucas Perez's dream is real: local lad leaves LaLiga behind to rescue his boyhood club
By Simon Lowe for ESPN
Not many people took notice when Lucas Perez decided to move from Cadiz to Deportivo La Coruna in early January. But they should. For one thing, he was leaving a top level club to join one playing in the third tier. For another, he paid the transfer fee (€493,000) himself. Yet he felt the need to return home to his club that has fallen on hard times. All of which gives you an indication of what kind of character he is. But it comes out even stronger in this interview that goes into depths that few footballers ever dare express.
By Mark Sochon for Football Paradise
Disappointment at the World Cup seemed to signal the end of Belgium’s golden generation. But, whilst it is true that many of the players are now getting on, there are also other coming through to take their place. As was bound to happen in a country where there are clubs like KRC Genk for whom developing players is a way of life and who are looking to win the league with a 21 year-old goalkeeper and an 18 year-old midfielder - both home products - playing a starring role.
'I've had plenty of injuries in my time, but by far the worst was in my head' - Tom Thorpe on making it at Manchester United and why he quit for five years
By Richard Fay for the Manchester Evening News
Tom Thorpe was captain of a Manchester United youth team that included Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Ravel Morisson. With them he won two academy league titles and an FA Youth Cup. He was also part of the England team that won the European U17 Championship in 2010. The path to stardom seemed open in front of him. Instead, by the time he was twenty-five he had stopped playing. Only this year, aged thirty, has he decided to get back to the game.
By Alex Smith for The Gaffer
As a player, Didier Digard made the most of whatever talent he had, recognising from early on what he could bring to teams that others couldn’t. It is that same ability that has seen him flourish at OGC Nice, where he has turned the club around since being appointed on a caretaker basis.
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Something Else We Loved This Week
I have quite simply fallen in love with this painting by Dalles Graiy.
Last Week’s (Joint) Most Read: The Dying Art of Shooting From Free Kicks
By Tom Hancock for The Analyst
To shoot or not to shoot. That is the question free-kick takers have to answer every time they have a set piece in a 'dangerous position'. And, increasingly often, it seems that they're opting against shooting. Is that truly the case? And why, if so
Last Week’s (Joint) Most Read: Will Still And Other Jockeys Who Weren't Horses
By Lauren Brock for The Gaffer Mag
If you haven’ yet heard of Will Still, you probably will soon. Earlier this season, the 30 year old was appointed manager at Reims, despite never having played professionally, and he has taken them from a relegation fight to the edges of European qualification. With football shifting towards education and the use of data more pathways to management are opening up for people like Still, who started his journey as a video analyst and scout before becoming an assistant manager. Hope, at last, for those of us who were never any good at playing the game.
Notes launched this week and I’ve been sharing some thoughts there, including an interesting article about books on Ted Lasso. If you want to take a look simply go to substack.com/notes or navigate to the “Notes” tab in the Substack app.
Since you’re a Cultured Football subscriber, you'll have immediate access to my notes. Would be great if you could let me know you’re there.