LFC Encore: El Nino And The Five Finger Salute

. . Flashback: March 14, 2009 A famous win and a simple gesture that said a lot. There are times when a player and his club feel like a match made in heaven; times when a player feels like an eternal part of its future; times when a player seems so attuned to the history of the club, he feels like one of their own. Fernando Torres and Liverpool is one such pair. Ever since ‘El Nino’ signed for Liverpool and left Ben Haim for dead to open his Anfield account, he had endeared himself to the fans and had become an instant hit in the red half of merseyside. His presence and his goals were a major reason why the level of anticipation in Liverpool had risen following their wonderful start to the 2008-09 season. Come March though, the reds visited Old Trafford seven points behind the champions and on the verge of being discarded from the title race […]

Chelsea FC – A Tale of Two Unexpected Announcements

It is a testament to how pervasive the influence of English club football is on the rest of the world, when English clubs are global household names; even to those folks those who aren’t in the habit of tuning in to watch the game. In 1999, as a 14 year old with admittedly little real interest in English football, I was nevertheless familiar with the clubs – their names, colors and rivalries. I didn’t have a favourite but I knew for certain I didn’t like Manchester United. Why? Mostly because David Beckham was in it, and everyone knows how jealous all fourteen year old boys become when their female counterparts spent all their waking hours idolizing the guy. The first English Premier League game I ever watched was the 1999-2000 season’s clash between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge; a game that ended in a shock 5-0 thrashing of the Red Devils – winners of previous season’s treble. I […]

Fergie’s squad – Trouble For The Run-In?

After guiding United to their 18th title last season, Sir Alex Ferguson was asked how good his latest championship winning side was and he replied, “It’s a great squad; I could have picked two teams today”. Just nine months on from that memorable day at Old Trafford, the United manager would find it hard to repeat his words with the same conviction. Sir Alex has rebuilt the Manchester United team more than a few times during his tenure at Old Trafford; yet, he has never let the standards drop with United never having finished outside the top three in the Premier league era. The past premier league winning sides were gradually modified as he  replaced Robson with Keane, Bruce with Stam, Cole with Van Nistelrooy, Beckham with Ronaldo and so on. The older players were gently phased out with the newer ones given time to settle. The core strength of the side was maintained and the team changed its style […]

England – It’s Time To Untie The Albatross

England and a major football tournament don’t quite go hand in hand, do they? It’s amusing how the British media time and again talks up their nation’s chances just before a major tournament. If one follows only the British media, one will end up wondering why other nations even bother sending their squads over. It’s apparently written in British heavens that England will triumph. These hopes and expectations never materialize in victorious forms on the football pitch though. In fact, “The Three Lions” haven’t won a tournament of international reckoning since the famous “Ghost Goal” won them the coveted trophy back in 1966 in their own backyard. Since then, this passionate football nation has remained starved of success. But this is not about making fun of the myopic British tabloids nor is this an effort to belittle England’s efforts. On the contrary, this is an attempt at exploring why the English media’s optimism might just be genuine this time around. […]

AC Milan – The history

If ever a list was made which included the giants of club football, AC Milan would be seen sitting pretty at the top. With 18 international titles – the most in the history of club football along with Boca Juniors – Milan is the most successful football club ever. Nicknamed the Rossoneri (the Red-Blacks) and il Diavolo (the Devil), Milan started its journey on the night of 16th December 1899 – little more than 110 years ago – when six Englishmen led by Herbert Kiplin and Alfred Ormonde Edwards laid the foundation of a football club which would become one of the biggest and most successful football club ever in the history of this game. The Early Years (1899-1929) An open countryside field would become the site for home matches in the championship for Milan, which presently has become a central station. Red and Black were chosen as the official colours of the club. On 11th march Milan played its […]

What It Means To Be A Gooner..

I switched off the TV, plopped the remote on the couch, and got up from my seat. It was sometime around three in the morning, and the entire house was dark. However, the utter sense of disbelief and disappointment writ all over my face would have glowed brightly like a beacon in the blackness. The club which I had supported since 2001, whose players I had placed my faith in to put their best performance against a more illustrious opponent, had once again let me down, with a spineless and insipid performance. The abject surrender to Manchester United in the UCL semi-finals last season had rankled me, and made me question my loyalty to a club, which has more often than not flattered to deceive its fans and supporters all over the world in recent years. The life of an Arsenal fan is never rosy, especially when you consider that Arsene Wenger had delivered quite a lot in the first […]

The Senescent Old Lady

The most successful football club in the history of Italian football looks exhausted this season with the Scudetto hopes all but gone, only the Europa League to compete for outside home, is conceivably the only reasonable chance of silverware this year. Juve is on the edge of precipice this year with a disappointing season after finishing as runners up last season. The Old Lady definitely needs an age lift and all the fans must have thanked heavens after the sacking of Ciro however the cost was too much. After the early exit from UEFA Champion’s League and then crashing out of Coppa Italia against Inter, it was crystal clear that Ciro was not motivational enough for the boys at Turin and hence the firing was inevitable. After watching the team losing to the Nerazzuris in the Coppa Italia, Juventus’ board finally realized the disorder the club was in,  and came to a conclusion of replacing Ciro Ferrara which was actually […]