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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

No One Likes Us, We Don't Care

"Come on lads. Group cry."

To the tune of (We are Sailing) by Rod Stewart: 

“No one likes us. No one likes us. 
 No one likes us. We don’t care. 
 We are Bra-zil. We are Bra-zil.
 We are Bra-zil. From Ri-o.” 

Once the final, elongated vowels of Osório Duque-Estrada’s anthem bellow out at the Estádio Mineirão tonight and hairs on necks return to their normal shape, the reality that Brazil are in a dog fight will sink in. A siege mentality that had already been constructed around the Seleccão after the first wobbly group games has been reinforced to the extent that one would be forgiven for thinking Brazil had been underdogs all along. The injury to Neymar and, to a lesser extent, the suspension of Thiago Silva adds further fuel to this particular fire.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

That Which Has Been Born: Part 2 of 2

Frederic Carver finishes off what he started on the alternative World Cup. Find his brilliant blog here, which he hasn't updated for a year but is still well worth a trawl. 

Last post I started off ranting about Marxism and then started to tell you the story of the delightfully quirky ConIFA World Cup – the World Cup for countries who struggle to obtain. I introduced the cast, now I’m going to tell you how they did.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

That Which Has Been Born: Part 1 of 2

In the interests of keeping up the facade that we champion 'proper' football writing every now and then, please give a warm welcome to Frederic Carver, who delves into a very different World Cup.

“The working men have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got. Since the proletariat must first of all acquire political supremacy, must rise to be the leading class of the nation, must constitute itself the nation, it is so far, itself national, though not in the bourgeois sense of the word. National differences and antagonism between peoples are daily more and more vanishing, owing to the development of the bourgeoisie, to freedom of commerce, to the world market, to uniformity in the mode of production and in the conditions of life corresponding thereto. The supremacy of the proletariat will cause them to vanish still faster. United action, of the leading civilised countries at least, is one of the first conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat” – the Communist Manifesto

Friday, 20 June 2014

Why A European Side Is Going To Win It This Year Or We'll Delete This Post

"Awww shit. Magic Spongers got it right again."

A lot is made about how European teams cannot win a World Cup on Latin American soil. Probably because they never have. So far, so fair enough. But as we’ve never let the problematic presence of ‘facts’ get in the way of our writing, we’re going to stick our necks out and say that this is the year it all changes and a European side will do just that. And this is a win-win situation for us because, if a European side does win it, we’ll just delete this very sentence, say "we told you so" and we’ll be the toast of the internet. And if a European side doesn’t win it, we just delete this entire piece. Or we keep it in and we look ‘meta’. There are plenty of ways to skin an onion.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Preview #2 - the World Cup is ACE


Part two of our World Cup preview goes all Eric Idle and looks on the bright side. It's a World Cup. In Brazil. A WORLD CUP. IN BRAZIL. What's not to love, exactly?

When is a preview not a preview? When it comes after the event has started? Oh shit. We better start writing then. Plans here to concoct something approaching a coherent preview and even a series of podcasts have gone awry in a blaze of work deadlines and £4.50-for-two vodka and coke deals in York’s premier nightspot, Fibbers. So what we’ve decided to do, in principle at least, is make a half-arsed attempt to cover as much of the tournament as we can, which will probably end up being a solitary article lamenting England’s winless, car-crash of a capitulation at the group stage, while taking the piss out of the root and branch enquiry into the national team’s failings in South Africa four years ago. Business as usual then.

Preview #1 - the World Cup is AWFUL

'Corruption you say? Kiss my ball(s)'

It's the first of our, let's call them 'anticipated', World Cup previews. We were going to do the positive one first, but we thought 'sod it', which before you start moaning is exactly the attitude you'll have too once you've finished with this one. 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Of Cakes and Handshakes

Yaya Toure in happier times

Just when you think football can’t possibly get any more ridiculous, along comes a story about a 31-year-old man being so upset about only getting a birthday cake from his employers that he’s prepared to jack in his £220,000 a week contract and leave. A grown man. A grown man who, for the record, is not only 31 years old, but earns £220,000 a week.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

It's the World Cup, Stupid

'That's what I think of your Golden Generation.'

So, sports car or saloon? It’s a bizarre question, of course it is, but should give us pause for thought. In some ways it’s inkeeping with many a reaction to an England squad announcement, seeking to give a competitive style to the national side without pausing to consider the fact that whatever the answer, it was still a being attributed to a Vauxhall.

Monday, 17 March 2014


Toto Schillachi - never scored in the Premier League. Rubbish. 

Magic Spongers and Campo Retro have come together to offer all Magic Spongers fans around the world a fantastic opportunity to win a retro shirt with any name and number on the back.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Falling for Football IV: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Football

Yeah I thought my piece on inverted wingers was mint too actually

The second part of our mammoth list of contributors is below. What a lovely and talented bloody bunch they are and all. Give them a follow, check out their websites, never read a newspaper for your football fix ever again.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Falling for Football III: Revenge of the Sith, or something


Introducing the first 22 of 44 brilliant contributors to Falling for Football. Found a piece you really love? Want to read some more football-related wordery from the author of a piece you can't forget? Well you can find them all here. Lucky you.

Thanks to all our contributors. The personal touches you applied to your pieces and the effort you all put in has made the book what it is.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Falling for Football II: Fall Harder

A 'delightful book'

Another day, another extract from Falling for Football - and this time it's a bit we've actually written. Many thanks if you've already bought the book, told your friends, or tweeted about it - it's much appreciated. We officially launched on March 10th and the book is available in paperback at www.ockleybooks.co.uk and electronically at http://amzn.to/1i2yDOx. And if that doesn't tempt you, here's the introduction to the book:

It’s easy to talk of high water marks. It’s arguably more difficult to encapsulate what made a period of time so special.

When we decided to stop merely ranting about football in one of London’s many watering holes (usually a Sammy Smith’s) and commit fingers to keyboards in 2010, little did we know what a fantastic journey we were about to embark upon.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Falling For Football

The best book you'll buy today

First things first, we have a book out. We’ve been writing this blog now for just under 4 years and the book has been in the pipeline for around 3 of those years. There really is something beautiful about seeing a plan finally come to fruition. So without further ado, and with a heartfelt thank you to all of those who have contributed, inspired and encouraged, here is the foreword to Falling For Football: The teams that shaped our obsession by Brian PhillipsAvailable here from today (official launch March 10). 

And if that’s not enough to whet the appetite, you’re obviously not hungry enough.

Friday, 7 February 2014

True Football Stories, Part 6: Championship Manager

When art doesn't imitate life in the slightest

Herculean achievements, long forgotten, make for perhaps the best stories. Here's Sam Macrory with an almost unbelievable tale...

The name of the manager wasn’t important. It wasn’t important when he was appointed. It was never a concern during his long reign in charge. And not once after he had gone did anyone take the time to rifle through an index to discover more about him. All that mattered was he had been the manager. The boss. The undisputed man in charge. The star signings, the manual-redefining formations and, of course, the endless trophies. They were halycon days. His days.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

True Football Stories, Part 5: Stanley Bagshaw

This story DEFINITELY did happen

Everyone loves an unlikely adventure don't they. A caper. We welcome back semi-regular Dan Forman with one such remarkable story of a young lad from Huddersgate. 

When the editors first approached me about this series some time before the last World Cup, I had the idea of writing about a prodigious young boy who so mastered tactics and the transfer market on Championship Manager that he got a break at a professional club in the ultimate Moneyball-style experiment. But then Andre Villas Boas happened.

Monday, 3 February 2014

True Football Stories, Part 4: I Am The Ref

'You f*cking WHAT?!'

We all hate referees. But what if you ARE the ref. Or you are THE ref. Emphasis aside, here's Richard Bellis on the perils of being the man in the middle...

It was when that bloke starting coming to all my matches with an easel, then I knew things had really got out of hand. Every Sunday it was the same. I’d turn up, look around hoping he wasn’t there, it’d get closer to kick-off, I’d shout at the ‘keepers, check they were ready to stand getting cold, then I’d spot him wandering along the bumpy field, equipment tucked under his arm. Was I cursed or just unlucky? All this decisions I had to make, I couldn’t make a decision on that question…

Thursday, 30 January 2014

True Football Stories, Part 3: The Hurricanes

Stavros Garkos: A vile, vile man

Not many will remember the ill-fated World Soccer League. Adam Bushby reminds us of the world's biggest sporting clusterfuck.

When a 12-year-old girl inherits a football club in the World Soccer League after her father mysteriously disappears, it’s a recipe for disaster really isn’t it. It’s also a recipe for repeated kidnap, annexing entire towns for enterprises such as paper mills or just for fun, attempted murder, robbery, assault, more kidnap... in short, it’s a fucking shit storm, it really is. Not that the young Amanda Carey could take much, if any, of the blame. Little did she know when she got the deeds to the Hispanola Hurricanes that she would have to overcome a daily war of attrition against one of the most evil men to have walked the earth. After all, why would she, she was only 12.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

True Football Stories, Part 2: Harchester United

Some or all of these men may kill each other

It’s now been seven bewildering years since Harchester United’s light went out. Rob MacDonald pays tribute to perhaps the greatest dream team of them all.

Has ever a team burned so violently and tragically as Harchester United? As rich in history as the vibrant purple that adorned their La Viola-inspired kits, perhaps the most remarkable factor was that the club only truly existed in the national consciousness for a fleeting ten years. But what a ten years – seemingly a lifetime’s worth of ups and down compressed into a relatively tiny space, like a neutron star, or a tin of corned beef.

Monday, 27 January 2014

True Football Stories, Part 1: Shaolin Soccer

Yet another straight red.

Our True Football Stories series kicks off with a remarkable piece of coverage from John Dobson...


In a frank confession on Oprah Winfrey's chat show, head coach and former star player of Team Evil, Hung, admitted widespread doping offences during Team Evil's long reign as Hong Kong Open Cup champions. Hung has already been stripped of his chairmanship of the HKFA and is now likely to be subjected to criminal trials for corruption, fraud and drug offences. Prosecutors are likely to accept plea bargains and a five-year term, but Hung is likely to receive a life ban from all football activity. Additionally, Team Evil players will also face doping tribunals with the possibility of sine die bans being imposed.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Charity begins in Munich

Bayern fans pay less for tickets so they have more money to buy shite like this

If there’s one thing that makes for a popular feel-good story in football, it’s the ‘gesture’. Not the Theo Walcott-style ‘gesture’ for, though very funny, it incites small-minded idiots and that would never do, but the grand sort of gesture that generally ends up in players or clubs giving fans money.