Hello and welcome the first edition of “The Other Back Pages!”
It’s a Sunday morning, your sipping on your coffee, your newspaper of choice is by your side and the television is pointed towards Sky Sports News as you prepare for a quiet, relaxing day, probably with a little bit of football mixed in.
Each and every week the interweb is chock full of terrific writers pumping out some excellent articles and posts on the glorious world of football. In a new feature on Back Page Football, coming your way every Sunday morning, we’re going to pick out some of the pieces that we’ve enjoyed the most or perhaps some that you may have missed, in this round-up of the best football writing to tingle football fans’ fancies in the blogosphere and beyond.
Starting at the top and working our way down, we’re going to begin at the summit of the Premier League and Richard Cole’s journey through the current season hand-in-hand with Manchester United for The Oval Log. Kicking off with a rather honest run-down of the uninspiring transfer activity that happened in the summer, Cole dares to dream of an undefeated season littered with average performances before ending with a reality check. It is well-worth your time.
Over at The Equaliser, the Decade-by-Decade series continued with a review of Scottish football in the 1930s by the Gib Football Show’s very own Andrew Gibney. All encompassing in his round-up, there is a rather predictable theme of Old Firm dominance running through the tens but the tales of the other Scottish heroes make it an excellent read.
To this day McGrory holds the record for the most career goals in British football, the Glaswegian netting a staggering 550 goals in 14 seasons – including a remarkable 408 goals in 408 league games. In the year Celtic won the league McGrory would end the season on a remarkable 51 goals; his name can still be heard echoing around the eaves of Celtic Park today.
You may have noticed that Tim Cahill, Park Ji-Sung and Lee Chung-Yong have been missing from Match of the Day over the last three weeks. They are busy playing in the Asian Cup and will all be in semi-final action this Tuesday in future World Cup host nation Qatar. If you haven’t read anything on the tournament this month, we recommend you check out the Asian Cup Diary on The Ball is Round - With the perspective of their reporter who was lucky enough to attend the tournament, there is a small preview of what fans can expect in 2022 for the World Cup; except you know – a million times cooler.
Once you’re finished with that, you should jump over and check out Les Rosbifs ‘Englishmen in Asia’ series that is running in parallel with the tournament. Michael Hudson of ‘The Accidental Groundhopper’ guests on the site to tell us the story of how the English made their mark on Korean football which includes an appearance from Dalian Atkinson.
Continuing the theme of recommending writers guesting on other people’s blog, we’ve got Sam Poplett writing for Polly’s Pause for Sport and his wonderful look at football’s most precious resource: time. Sam wonders why managers are no longer backed by the boards that employ them and instead removed from their position at the first sign of trouble. Fascinating stuff.
Finishing off our blog recommendations for this week, we’ve got two pieces that focus on differing ends of football culture. Chris Woolfrey debuted on the excellent Just Football with an intriguing question: Should the support of fans be waivered by the off-pitch behaviour of players? And then Alan Smithy issues a stern message to the world of football: “stop with the celebration music after goals are scored!”
Where did this idea for goal-celebration music come from, anyway? I would call it an asinine Americanised affectation (partly because I like a bit of alliteration), but even in America, even the NFL doesn’t have touchdown celebration music.
On another level, here is a terrific interview with former Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton, as he tales the tales of his grand tenure as national manager, from Euro ’88 to USA ’94 in the Irish Independent.
Have a nice Sunday, we’ll see you next week.