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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

On Gary Neville and Forgiveness

Gary Neville kisses a badge and the world shits itself

Adam Bushby hates Gary Neville. Or does he?

Let me make something absolutely clear. I am not seeking the forgiveness of Gary Neville. If anything, this piece is about applying some fundamental rules of the New Testament to football and, perhaps more specifically, how these rules relate to someone who I once hated. ‘Hated’ of course in the ‘footballing sense’, which is to say ‘dislike severely’, but not ‘to wish sudden death upon’. Hate in a vacuum, if you will. With the hatred dissipating Monday Night Football by Monday Night Football, something curious happened in December 2011. I learned to forgive Gary Neville.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The Runs #5: Sheffield Wednesday 1974-76

Assigning two men to 'not look at the ball' against Man United was a bad start

Over to Chris Ledger from the outstanding Obscure Football. Read this, then go there.

During a football season, there’s a point when certain statistics start to become interesting. A player’s first goal or appearance of the season may sound banal in August, but in March or April its intriguing quality tells a story about that player. However, there’s also the reoccurring statistic of a team failing to win away from home all season.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The Runs #4: Macclesfield Town and the Ince Effect

"HOW MANY defeats?"

Over to Spongers' own Rob MacDonald, who couldn't even manage to stick to the blueprint and just write about one run.

The joy in supporting a team that seldom achieves is rarely the accolades or silver pots. It’s the sublime and often accidental skill, the flashes of inspiration amid the darkness and brutality of potato patch pitches and lower league football; the fleeting moments when the impossible dream seems almost possible.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Runs #3: Arsenal's Invincibles (and the fundamental nature of humanity)

Some might-have-beens, May 2004

Over to the ever-superb Dan Forman (@dannyforman) for a look at Arsenal's Invincibles and the very fabric of fandom...

What does it say about the mindset of the modern football fan that I felt slightly flat at Highbury on 15 May 2004? My team had just completed an unbeaten league season, an extraordinary sporting accomplishment by any standard. Perhaps it hadn't "sunk in yet". Perhaps it was so unusual that it was too hard to comprehend. But perhaps [insert pompous cod psychoanalysis here], football can never make us truly happy.

Friday, 2 December 2011

The Runs #2: Jon Dahl Tomasson 1997-98

Presumably not scoring a goal here

For the second in our 'Runs' series, it's over to Michael Hudson (@DolphinHotel) of the rather exceptional Accidental Groundhopper - and it's Jon Dahl Tomasson's spectacular bad luck / loss of form that gets the treatment. 

Jon Dahl Tomasson played for Stuttgart and Villarreal, won a Champions League medal with AC Milan, netted a record-equalling 52 goals in 112 appearances for the Danish national side, finished among the top scorers in both the 2002 World Cup and 2004 European Championships, and hit the goal that took the UEFA Cup to Feyenoord. He also, as football commentators never tired of reminding us, played one season at Newcastle United. Where he was absolutely shit.