The Mitropa Cup: The Original Champions League

MATCHES in the Mitropa Cup may not merit the same historical ranking as the Western Front truce games at Christmas, 1914, but they do provide another remarkable example of football’s capacity to narrow divides and bring people together. When the competition was established in 1927, clubs were drawn from countries that had recently been part […]

Descent into darkness: Osvaldo Zubeldia and the era of antifutbol

EVEN if Billy McNeill was really nicknamed Cesar rather than Caesar, there was no denying that the scene on May 25, 1967, was one of imperial grandeur and triumph. The big Celtic captain could have been a victorious gladiator in a Roman amphitheatre as he stood high in the Estadio Nacional, holding the gleaming European […]

English Football and its “Get Stuck-In” Mentality

It was a glum group of players and supporters who filed out of Matlock Town’s Causeway Lane ground in 1982. Hyde United had lost 5-2 in the FA Trophy and it was going to be a long journey home through the Peak District night. The damage had been done by the quicksilver Bob Mountain. The […]