Clubs can also raise much-needed income by floating the company on the stock market but the conventional options are often unpopular with supporters.
Those who are loyal to their respective teams already contribute to their clubs financially through ticket, merchandise and matchday sales. Therefore asking them to put their hands in their pockets once again is unpopular.
But there’s a new method emerging.
Working with former Chelsea and Juventus striker Gianluca Vialli, former investment banker Fausto Zanetton has come up with a different approach in the form of his company Tifosy.
I don’t know if England were any good on Sunday, but I’m not sure it matters. You see, much of the country’s relationship with the national team seems to consist of the intangibles, the unseen forces, that mean that debating style and technique is slightly redundant. What matters, really, is how people feel about the players.
And whose heart didn’t sing when Harry Kane charged away after scoring the winning goal, or when Jesse Lingard caught and embraced him, and the two went rolling towards the corner flag.
It was an England performance of several different acts. For an hour, they played with poise and precision, but without the decisive composure in front of goal. Then, after Croatia stole the lead, the systems collapsed and everything started to look terribly blunt. One Joe Gomez heave later, though, and everything was different again: it became a Rocky fight of a match, with both sides throwing desperate haymakers in pusuit of a win.
Fortunately enough, it was England left standing. One eye was closed, the knees had gone, but they had just enough to get off their stool, leave their corner, and take their place in next summer’s final tournament.
That’s all you want, isn’t it? Between international breaks, it’s fine to talk about players and formations, to wonder about this deficiency and that strength. But when it comes time to actually play, all of that is peripheral. Maybe not at club level, where dispassionate analysis is so terribly en vogue, but when England take the field they are a team of the heart. Competence is importance, of course, but not as significant as the vague sense that something positive is happening and that, because it’s occuring to relatable, likeable people, it’s something that you want to happen too.
Over the summer, the “It’s Coming Home” chants caused quite a stir. The world’s default assumption is that the English are arrogant – that everyone looks and sounds like Jacob Rees-Mogg and the island is littered with people who get misty eyed at the mention of the “empire”. As a result, they don’t need to be asked twice to construct a grievance. See: Croatia.
Perhaps some fault does lie with the natives, though. Or at least, perhaps their relationship with their side is impossible to comprehend from beyond these walls. It’s Coming Home wasn’t a response to expected glory, but rather a reaction to having the team back – to England games being fun again, of them binding the population in a way that they haven’t for decades. Southgate mentioned post-game on Sunday that he hadn’t heard Wembley sound as it did since the rebuild. The next World Cup is four years away and nobody has started thinking about the European Championships yet; in this case, then, clearly that enthusiasm is not tied to any international tournament or any other measurable sort of achievement.
So: well done, England, because this is how it’s supposed to feel. What is this – pride?
The most famous meeting between Argentina and Uruguay remains the final of the inaugural World Cup in 1930. Uruguay would reverse a 2-1 half-time deficit in Montevideo to win the game 4-2 in front of nearly 70,000 supporters. They became the first side to lift (what would, in 1949, become known as) the Jules Rimet trophy) and after nearly a decade of South American one-upmanship, Uruguay were the sport’s first anointed World Champions.
While the sport had had to wait until 1930 for its first truly international tournament, football had an Olympic history which dated back to 1900. The first two competitions were hardly global. Three teams competed and the matches were contested between clubs representing their nation rather by players drawn from a national pool. Upton Park FC, under the banner of Great Britain, took gold in 1900, while Canada’s Galt FC finished top of the podium four years later.
By 1924, three teams had risen to twelve and the tournament was a truly international affair. The game remained at different stages of evolution (and professionalism) around the world, though, and the first round in Paris captured those disparities: of the six matches played, half were decided by margins of five goals or more. Hungary gave Poland a 5-0 whipping, Uruguay schooled Yugoslavia 7-0, and Switzerland humbled Lithuania with nine unanswered goals.
The Uruguayans would triumph. They began with that demolition of the Yugoslavs, with an audience of just 1,000 spectators, knocked out the United States, France and Holland, and then defeated the Swiss 3-0 in the final in front of 41,000. In itself it was a remarkable story, the prelude to which involved the South Americans travelling to Europe in dingy, third-class conditions, taking a day-long train journey from Spain to France, and paying for the trip by playing nine different friendlies against Spanish club sides.
At first, Uruguay’s success was embraced in their home continent. They had won their Olympic gold with an evolved style of play and their superiority reflected well on Argentina, too, whose game was built upon shared tenets of expression and fluidity, and which had by that time forked away from English fundamentalism.
Football images: Manchester United in Belgrade, 1958.
Argentina hadn’t competed in 1924. In fact, in six of the previous seven South American championships they’d finished behind Uruguay on points. Nevertheless, the native assumption became that had they travelled to the Olympics, they and not the Uruguayans would have taken home the gold. It’s the kind of reductive argument that supporters are still blindly making today, but then – in 1924 – it created the conditions for a friendly: Argentina against Uruguay over two legs. As Jonathan Wilson notes in Angels With Dirty Faces, Uruguay’s motivation for accepting the challenge was likely financial, they were Olympic champions and a big public draw, while Argentina – of course – saw it as an opportunity to unofficially prise away their title.
The tie itself was too controversial to carry proper weight; it was marred by violence off the field and roughhousing on it, and resulted in a dramatic deterioration in inter-country relations. The two sides drew 1-1 in Montevideo and, a fortnight later on October 2nd and after a rescheduling because crowd trouble, Argentina won the second leg 2-1 – albeit after the match had been abandoned with four minutes left to play. Argentina had seen a strong penalty appeal turned down and the crowd had, in irritation, pelted the pitch with stones. At first the Uruguayan players returned fire with interest, then they left the field for good, with their opponents awarded the win and an aggregate victory.
A messy encounter, then, and as a result a game which hasn’t quite endured properly. Its first goal has done, though. It was the Olympic Goal. Following the IFAB rule change of June 1924, Huracan’s Cesareo Onzari became the first player to legally score directly from a corner. It wasn’t the moment which settled the tie, but its description has stuck in South America and is still used to describe such goals today. It’s laboured, clearly, and derived from a rather forced attempt to bestow gravitas on a game which carried no real significance (and no connection to the Olympics), but it has nevertheless remained.
Roy Keane remains one of the most divisive footballers in British and Irish football history. Decorated and talented, but fierce and hostile, he was the centrepoint of two of the great Manchester United teams before and after the millenium, while also finding time to create a series of feuds which last to this day. Tifo Football profiles the history of one of the game’s enduring competitors.
Ter Stegen, Goalkeeping and the Red Shirt Year - YouTube
The position of goalkeeper is the most unique in the sport of football. They even wear a different coloured jersey, not to mention the gloves. As Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov put it, “a goalkeeper is the lone eagle, the man of mystery, the last defender”.
That’s why goalkeepers should be treated differently to all other members of a squad and why Barcelona were smart in their handling of Marc-André ter Stegen’s arrival.
The patience shown by both the player and the club is now paying off and Barcelona have provided the rest of Europe’s top clubs with a template for how to incorporate a pricey and talented young goalkeeper into a new system.
Jose Mourinho is under pressure. Now in his third season as Manchester United manager, consecutive defeats to Brighton and Tottenham have not only put a serious dent in his side’s title aspirations, but have led to scrutiny of his tactics. Some have suggested that his ideas are indecipherable, others say they are outdated. But perhaps the worst criticism to come Mourinho’s way of late is the accusation that his side lacks an identity.
When he arrived at Manchester United in 2016, Mourinho brought with him a reputation crafted over the best part of two decades. He won domestic and continental titles at Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid through midfield superiority, solid defence and incisive counter-attacking. While some thought his style wasn’t necessarily in line with Manchester United’s history, few doubted he would bring them success.
Mourinho has delivered in this literal respect, winning the Europa League, the League Cup, and leading the club to their highest points total and league position since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. And these improvements and trophies didn’t come without work on the training ground – contrary to the opinions of many, he has established a clear tactical identity at Old Trafford.
His Manchester United currently line up in a 4-3-3 system that transforms into a 4-1-4-1 defensively. Mourinho prefers a mid-block, whereby the back-line takes up a position between halfway and the edge of their own penalty box, and instructs his team to press in a man-orientated fashion.
This approach is particularly evident in central midfield, where Fred and Paul Pogba take it in turns to close down their opposite men. The aim of this is to prevent the opposition from playing through the centre and make them go wide or backwards. Once in those areas, Manchester United’s pressing intensifies as they look to pin the opposition near the touchline or force them into aimless long balls or turnovers.
In possession, Mourinho’s side initially take up a 3-4-3 shape, with the defensive midfielder often dropping between the two centre-backs to create numerical superiority in the first line of build-up. Simultaneously, both full-backs push up down their flanks, and the two wingers come inside. As attacks progress the defensive midfielder moves back up and the full-backs take up higher positions.
The formation of triangle and diamond shapes has been key to Mourinho’s attacking game for many years, and this remains the case today. When building from deep, the nearest Manchester United centre-back, full-back and central midfielder can form a diamond with the defensive midfielder, while in more advanced areas the central midfielder, full-back and winger nearest to the ball regularly form triangles through which they combine and progress possession.
In the final third, Romelu Lukaku is the team’s most important individual thanks to his intelligent positioning and movement. He is too strong and fast for any defender when 1v1, so he regularly ‘pins’ two defenders at once by taking up a position in the right inside channel. If the opposition use a back four, this sees him operate between their left-back and left centre-back, who are both needed to cover him. This opens up a number of attacking opportunities.
One option is that Juan Mata, Mourinho’s preferred right winger, stays wide and takes advantage of Lukaku pinning the opposition left-back to receive the ball in space. Another is that, by dragging one of the opposition’s centre-backs wider, Lukaku frees up space centrally for Manchester United’s left-sided winger and central midfielder to attack into. Alternatively, Lukaku could exploit the space he himself creates, running behind his marker to receive between the opposing centre-backs.
Mourinho’s side tend to bypass intense pressure through long balls over the top rather than risk giving possession away in their own defensive third. Fortunately, in Lukaku they have a striker who can make those long balls stick. Both wingers will come inside to support the forward in such situations, ensuring there are options nearby to connect with the Belgian or fight for the second ball.
Manchester United do become more direct when chasing a game, with Mourinho often bringing Marouane Fellaini on to help Lukaku in winning aerial duels and allowing the team to play vertically from back to front with greater speed and effectiveness. This may not be a pretty strategy, but it has often worked.
Mourinho has not neglected the transition phases at Old Trafford either. He does utilise counter-pressing in defensive transition, with one player pressing the ball and one or two others moving to block passing lanes and close down the opponent if necessary. Meanwhile, in attacking transition, Manchester United look to spread play quickly to their wingers rather than go long to Lukaku at the first possible opportunity. This enables them to build more sustainable and threatening counter-attacks.
Evidently, the criticism that Mourinho’s side lack identity is off the mark. So too is the criticism that his ideas are outdated. Indeed, many of the common themes in his Manchester United are seen in other, more celebrated top six sides: Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have had their defensive midfielder drop back to create numerical superiority in build-up; Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have enjoyed great success with man-oriented midfield pressing and intensity in transitions; and Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea attack will be underpinned by the creation of triangle and diamond shapes.
What does separate Mourinho from his Premier League peers is his willingness to opt for a more cautious approach in big games. Rather than impose his identity, he often gets Manchester United to counter their opponent. Often this works, such as when he had Ander Herrera man mark Eden Hazard in a win over Chelsea in 2016/17, or when he opted for a 6-3-1 defensive system to negate Liverpool’s dynamic front three last term. However, sometimes it fails, as it did when he brought Herrera into the back line and changed to a basic 3-5-2 shape in the recent defeat to Tottenham.
Most pundits and supporters are used to seeing Manchester United as the aggressor, but Mourinho’s big-game reactivity is as much a part of his philosophy as any other element mentioned in this video. Unfortunately for him, the only way this approach suits the club is if it gets wins. So, as long as results continue to underwhelm, the pressure on Mourinho will only increase.
Beppe Marotta: The CEO Who Made Juventus Great Again - YouTube
Juventus have enjoyed a great start to 2018/19, boasting a 100 per cent record after their first ten games. That is a new club record and is testament to the great work being done both on and off the pitch by the Italian giants.
While the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo has clearly given them a major boost, signing such a player would not be possible without the incredible work being done behind the scenes in Turin.
Key to that has been Beppe Marotta, who was appointed as Juve’s Director General back in May 2010.
Sarriball: Chelsea Tactics under Maurizio Sarri - YouTube
In Maurizio Sarri, Chelsea have hired a football philosopher; a coach who believes that the game should be played a certain way, and sets up his teams both to win and entertain. “Our team always tries to take the initiative and play our football, regardless of venue, opponent or situation. That is our philosophy,” Sarri has said of his style, known as Sarriball.
Sarriball has a number of clearly defined features, honed during the coach’s spells at Pescara, Empoli and Napoli.
Northern Ireland v Republic of Ireland: A Brief History Of - YouTube
November 17th 2018 will mark 25 years since an infamous match between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, but we have to go back more than seventy years before that to understand why one – the Irish Football Association – became two, the IFA and the Football Association of Ireland.
If the man from Stirling was to walk down any street in Scotland, not one person would know who he was. To thousands of others in different corners of the earth, he was ‘Mr Danny’ and a respected leader.
Danny McLennan managed all over the world, to places where those with fainter hearts might have feared to tread. A man who’s love for football and adventure led him to skip from country to country, becoming the manager of the Philippines, Mauritius (twice), Zimbabwe, Iran, Bahrain, Iraq, Malawi, Jordan, Fiji and Libya. Along the way taking on challenges at club level at posts in Africa, Scandinavia, the Middle East, and India.
Born in Stirling in 1925, Danny started out as a 17-year-old defender with Rangers but would shortly drop down the leagues to play for the likes of Falkirk, East Fife, Dundee and Berwick Rangers. At East Fife he won the Scottish League Cup in 1953. Four years later he became the player-manager of Berwick Rangers; before hanging up his playing boots in 1959. In 1961, McLennan applied for the Dunfermline managerial position – losing out to the emerging Jock Stein. He became manager at Stirling Albion. Bottom of the Second Division and on the verge of bankruptcy, he quickly helped them to promotion and in 1962, for the first time in their history, to the semi-finals of the League Cup. Yet boardroom changes saw him surprisingly sacked. He wanted away from Scottish football and his new adventure was about to begin.
In 1963, through the British consul, he landed the job as national coach of the Philippines. A year-long contract but high levels of crime made it difficult for McLennan to settle or to have his family over. After his year in the Philippines with the national side, he went on to manage the national team of Mauritius, too. Later on, in 1968, Sir Stanley Rous, the FIFA President, helped McLennan land the Zimbabwe post – a position he held for five years. With Zimbabwe, in 1970, he almost achieved World Cup qualification, but lost each time in the play-offs.
His popularity reached top heights that his name was used in an advertising campaign slogan in Africa which instructed, “Drink Pepsi, Danny Does…”. He would move on to coach Iran’s national team in 1973. Again, surroundings restricted his daily life. Spies and informers followed his every move as westerners were viewed suspiciously. Despite this, he played a major role in shaping and developing footballers. In fact, McLennan knew all the players that would go on to play against Scotland at the Argentina World Cup in 1978, even writing to Ally MacLeod to give him information on all of the players, though it is not known if MacLeod acknowledged this advice. A year later Danny was managing the country of Bahrain for a short spell before leaving to manage the Iraq national team. He formed a close friendship with Ammo Baba: Iraq’s finest ever footballer. Saddam Hussein, although not then installed as Iraqi president, was already making his presence felt.
Football's African Slave Trade - YouTube
McLennan recalled that before playing in the final play-off (of the 1976 Gulf Cup), Saddam had promised to give each player a new house if they won. It clearly unsettled them. They would lose the final 4-2 in extra-time. McLennan then spent 1978 coaching the Norwegian side, Kongsvinger, and then moved to Jordan to take charge of the country’s national side. Two years later, he went to Saudi Arabia, in 1980, accepting a job with a leading club side. Even though he enjoyed new experiences in different countries while managing club teams, to Danny they were simply just a stop gap until a job in international football became available.
He then went to Malawi for a year in 1984 having one of his proudest managerial moments. McLennan took the minnow into the African Nations Cup finals for the first time and, had it not been for a blatantly rigged game between Nigeria and Algeria, to ensure that both teams qualified from their group, Malawi might have progressed further.
The family moved back to Jordan and then Malta for Danny to manage club sides, the Mauritius job (for a second spell) between 1986-1988, two years with the Kenya Breweries club in Kenya and then a further two years in charge of the Fijian national team.
At the age of 67, McLennan agreed to manage Libya in 1992. A pivotal time for the nation’s football, as matches were cancelled because of the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. Two UN Security Council Resolutions were passed to impose sanctions against Libya. McLennan’s team were not allowed to play anyone. When 70 years old, he took over at Churchill Brothers Club in Goa, India, for four years, before leaving to take up a managerial post in Tanzania. However, the climate was unsafe. Robberies and gang crime made life hell, with the McLennan family spending just a year there before returning to Churchill Brothers. After a while they returned to Scotland in Crail, Fife. Unfortunately, in the midst of planning a trip to Mauritius, Danny suffered a massive stroke and died a week later at the age of 79 on 11th May 2004.
So departed a forward-thinking, free spirit who was before his time. A man who gained huge respect in every country he set up as a temporary home. A visionary that, undoubtedly, was a loss to Scottish football.