Cultured Football #19
The American Barcelona
The season is slowly winding down (although there will still be a lot of football courtesy of the European championships) and there will be a lot of farewells over the coming days. This will prompt joy and sadness, depending on the situation, before making way to the usual transfer rumours that dominate in the summer months. There will be none of that on Cultured Football, of course, and we will keep on searching for the best football articles with real substance to them. Like the ones we are sharing this week.
‘It’s the people, not the football’: why fans have missed going to the game
I am well aware that it comes nowhere as close to matching the atmosphere at the ground but, in normal times, I enjoy watching my team’s games at the local supporters’ club. I have all the subscriptions needed to watch those same games at home but prefer to do so among other fans. It is a weekly tradition that I have missed terribly over the past fifteen months and so it seemed that this article – which talks about that feeling - was talking directly to me.
Stop the clocks
Nuno Espirito Santo is leaving Wolves. These are words that none of their fans wanted to write but that is the reality after what has been a wildly disappointing season. He got them in the Premier League and from there into Europe. His achievements but also his demeanour will be remembered for year. Mundial capture the mood perfectly in this post that includes the following, wonderful snippet “stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, silence the pianos and with muffled drum, bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.”
The story of Vialli and Mancini, the “goal twins” who fired Sampdoria to glory
Thirty years ago, Sampdoria became the champions of Italian football – then undoubtedly the best league in Europe – for the first and, so far, only time. It was a huge success for this somewhat unheralded club that had over a span of years put together an incredible team thanks to a visionary owner in Paolo Mantovani and the brilliant coaching Vujadin Boskov. The stars of that team were, undoubtedly, Gianluca Vialli and Roberto Mancini who had such an understanding on the pitch that they were nicknamed ‘i gemelli del gol’, their goal twins.
Roy’s Swedish Revolution
It is easy to dismiss Roy Hodgson’s achievements throughout a career spanning forty years but looking closely he has done incredibly well. Not many managers will be remembered as fondly as he is at Fulham and Crystal Palace, both clubs were fans often use the adjective legendary to describe him. His style of play was pragmatic but extremely effective and he tended to earn the devotion of players he coached. But to really get a feel of how impactful his achievements have been it is best to go to the very beginning of his career when, as an unknown Englishman starting his managerial career, he got a job at unfancied Swedish club Halmstads and transformed them into champions.
The American Barcelona
Recent weeks have exposed just in how bad a financial position Barcelona are and it will be interesting to see what they do to get out of this situation. That does not mean all of the decisions they’ve made in recent years have been without strategic and financial merit. Exporting the La Masia model to America looks full of promise both from a financial and a talent point of view.
Last Week’s Most Read
The story of how Wigan managed to avoid relegation from League One might not seem to be an overly interesting ones but, most of you trusted me enough to read through it. Thanks for that show of faith. For the rest, here’s another opportunity to read through the story that includes smuggling equipment out of a training ground that had been sold to avoid bankruptcy.