LFC Season Preview 2011-12

A year ago today I was writing a season preview for Liverpool for the 2011-12 season.  The difference between the two seasons is really quite extraordinary.  Last year was all about lowering expectations and hoping that a couple of free transfers (Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic) would add something extra to the team.  I was…

Political Footballers: Central Defender Oleguer Presas

Oleguer Presas i Renom is an easy choice for centre-back in this Political Football XI.  After Javi Poves quit football, I can’t think of many other current players (although he has just been released by Ajax) who take politics and their political beliefs as seriously as Oleguer. Oleguer Presas is a remarkable footballer in many…

Political Footballers XI: Goalkeeper Volker Ippig

The goalkeeper has always been a special member of a football team.  Legend has it that you have to be a little crazy to do it.  And certainly many goalkeepers have had an interesting approach to the game and life in general.  Every other player on the team depends on and works with others.  But…

Political Footballers

I read recently that the Sporting Gijon player Javi Poves has said he wants to retire from football.  Not due to injury or to spend time with his family but because, ‘Football is capitalism, it’s death’ (La Republica).  Poves also said he thinks football is money, and when you realise it is all money you…

Are Liverpool FC getting their swagger back?

Since the return of Kenny Dalglish to the manager’s seat there has been a turn around in the belief of Liverpool fans.  Yet the last two pre-season friendlies finished in 3-0 defeats for the Reds.  Kenny said afterwards that he thinks the games will have been a valuable learning experience for his team.  It is…

The best thing on the internet?

The Guardian football website today posted this ‘Joy of Six’ – that totally ruined any chance I may have had at productivity.  But it was so enjoyable.  What are your six favourite football clips on YouTube.  There was so much good stuff. Watching the clips, old and new, reminded me just how much I love this game,…

Football & the Statistical Revolution

As Bill Shankly told us, ‘Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and of making yourself available to receive a pass. It is terribly simple.’  I have been wondering what the great man would make of the number-led revolution that is sweeping through football.  Instead…

Realism, Idealism and Arsene Wenger

This is the fourth in a series of posts attempting to explain football through international relations theory; or international relations theory through football; or drawing tenuous links between both. The differences between Realist and Idealist international relations theory is rather misleadingly known as the first ‘Great Debate’.  No actual ‘debate’ took place, and the Idealists…

Football in Mexico: Welcome to (Club) Tijuana

This post first appeared on inbedwithmaradona.com & then worldsoccer.com When people in San Diego talk about heading south of the border, there are a few common reactions.  Some will express horror of the lawless land down there where the drug gangs are running wild.  Others will turn misty-eyed and tell you about the bawdy fun to be…

Against modern football? Blame liberal economics.

This is the third in a series of posts attempting to explain football through international relations theory; or international relations theory through football; or drawing tenuous links between both. Antonio Gramsci once wrote that football is the model of individualistic society.  Within a game or a team there is a place for individual expression or…

Mind your manners

When we lived in Tokyo one of my favourite things was looking for the new public information posters on the Tokyo Metro.  Every month there would be a new poster reminding passengers not to do something or other.  Here is my album of photos of 11 months of posters. A friend* recently pointed me in…

Thucydides & the transfer window

This is the second in a series of posts attempting to explain football through international relations theory; or international relations theory through football; or drawing tenuous links between both. Why Arsenal will sell Fabregas, and why Manchester United signed Phil Jones. Thinking about Thucydides and the Melian Dialogue, the most (in)famous passage in his most…