In memory of David Wangerin
24 July ~ The annual writers' competition winners are printed in WSC 330, which is in shops today. In first place is Charlie Monaghan's account of how diving has infected all levels of the game, from the kids he coaches in the morning to his own matches in the afternoon right through to the highlights on Saturday night TV. In second place is Peter Brooksbank on why leaving a game early – even when all seems lost – is never a good idea, especially when you take to Twitter to talk about it. The award was set up with a legacy left by long-standing contributor David Wangerin, who died in 2012. It was only open to amateur writers and had to be based on any aspect of the 2013-14 season. Entries were judged by WSC editor Andy Lyons and co-found Mike Ticher.
Cup-Winners Cup quarter-final
25 July ~ Newport County welcome Carl Zeiss Jena to Rodney Parade tomorrow in a friendly that rekindles memories of the clubs' European Cup-Winners Cup quarter-final in 1981. The Welsh club, in the Third Division at the time, managed a 2-2 draw in East Germany with Tommy Tynan's double cancelling out two goals from Jürgen Raab. The second leg was played in front of around 18,000 at Somerton Park, where a first half goal from Lothar Kurbjuweit saw the Germans progress. Carl Zeiss Jena went on to beat Benfica in the semi-finals before losing 2-1 to Dinamo Tbilisi in the final. Below are highlights from both legs of the quater-final, though the first is a bit blurry and has no commentary.
August issue available online and in stores
The new WSC is out now, availble from all good newsagents or dispatched on the day of order from the WSC shop.
- World Cup 2014 special
- England: playing the blame game
- Teamwork triumphs in Germany
- Return of attacking football
- A month travelling around Brazil
- 7-1: the hosts' humiliation
The end of another international tournament means it’s time for you to have your say on the state of football in the WSC Survey. Was Brazil 2014 was the best World Cup ever? Who was the worst TV pundit? How you get on with the people around you at games? What would you like to change about WSC? Don’t hold back now. As ever we’d be really grateful for your response – it should only take ten minutes and there's a chance of winning a T-shirt as a thank you. Just click on this link to take the survey.
The secret world of José Mourinho
José Mourinho is a strange, as well as a special, one. He seems quite consciously and gleefully to play up to the stereo-type of a conniving practitioner of cunning tricks and brazen gamesmanship – a living affirmation of the lower morals of the southern European sort, with decent Englishmen being advised to be on their guard and lock up their wives and daughters should he attempt to beguile them with his oily ways. Read more
by Steve Leach
Often erroneously likened to a fifth division of the Football League, the Football Conference could more accurately be described as a halfway house. Non-League's top tier is home to a curious mix of teams; professional clubs who have fallen on hard times compete alongside new names making their way up the pyramid and getting a first taste of the big time. Read more
by James Ruppert
In 1970 the Ford Motor Company loaned every member of the England World Cup squad a car ahead of the forthcoming Mexico World Cup. With the exception of Jack Charlton – who requested a Ford Zodiac because he needed a bigger boot for his fishing tackle – they each received a Cortina 1600E. This is the story of how motoring journalist James Ruppert sets out to track down the 24 original "World Cup Cortinas". Read more
21 July ~ Kick Off! is a global project that filmed fans watching the Brazil 2014 final between Germany and Argentina around the world. The documentary follows people's reactions to match, from a beach in New Zealand to a taxi in Moscow and market in Tokyo.
By Andrea Pirlo
Reading this autobiography of a playmaker nicknamed "Mozart" is like going to the opera: some bloke comes on and sings very loudly in Italian at you for a couple of hours, it's all very dramatic and enjoyable, but you don't always know quite what's going on. In no discernible order, its voluble and intelligent subject, who "has an opinion about everything and I'm not ashamed to express it", launches into an erratic, extended and idiosyncratic monologue. There are even (mostly much needed) footnotes to explain some of the passing references, although glossing ultras as "the self-styled, most passionate, vocal and committed supporters" was probably unnecessary. Read more
Notable kits of yesteryear
18 July ~ This shirt was a return to Southampton's traditional red and white stripes after a few seasons spent wearing the experimental red-sleeved, ticked chest of the previous Pony kit. It was worn by players such as Egil Ostenstad, Mickey Evans, David Hughes and Ken Monkou, during a period which saw Southampton complete their 17th consecutive season in the top flight.
Ex-chairman John Ryan blames League
23 July ~ On Thursday July 17 "Doncaster Rovers" trended on Twitter. That's a significant PR triumph for a third-tier football club, so long as you didn't look too closely at the content. "The Doncaster Rovers can go die" is fairly typical of the tweets sending Rovers viral as the proposed takeover by former chairman John Ryan and pop-star Louis Tomlinson of One Direction collapsed. Hell hath no fury like a Directioner scorned. Proposed at the start of June, the takeover by the "Tomlinson-Ryan Trust" was delayed over image rights (presumably Louis' rather than Rovers'), but remained on course for ratification, due to be secured on July 18.
Thirteen clubs raise "lowest" categories
23 July ~ Despite the Premier League's latest TV deal being the biggest so far, with clubs benefiting from being in the most lucrative league in the world, thirteen of them have raised season ticket prices for the coming season. Alex Miller has looked at the figures for Sporting Intelligence, revealing that the average "lowest price" ticket is now £526, up 6.5 per cent. Promoted teams QPR and Burnley have raised theirs the most, the latter by 47 per cent, while Stoke, Hull and Crystal Palace's new lowest prices are also over ten per cent higher than last season. Sporting Intelligence have the full breakdown.
Seasiders struggling for players
21 July ~ While other Championship clubs have got their squads assembled and are busy preparing for the new season, Blackpool are, not for the first time, scrambling around for players at the last minute. Even in the Seasiders' sole Premier League season, manager Ian Holloway was forced to entertain a number of trialists including the forgotten man Francis Jeffers. Twelve months ago, then-boss Paul Ince complained about having to field so many auditionees in a pre-season friendly at Penrith: "We're a Championship club, and with no disrespect to anyone, we shouldn't really be looking at trialists."
Ray Whelan arrest not only incident in Brazil
19 July ~ When all eyes were on the decisive stages of the World Cup the uncovering of an illegal ticket sale scheme by Brazilian police threatened to tarnish FIFA's image once more. The arrest of Match Services executive director Ray Whelan on July 7 for his alleged role in the scheme brought matters uncomfortably close to home, since the company handles sales of premium tickets, accommodation and hospitality packages for FIFA. With Whelan staying at the Copacabana Palace Hotel that also hosted top executives from FIFA, the scandal could hardly have been more awkward.
Links with Sun newspaper
18 July ~ Thanks to a most unusual pre-season, the ire that so characterised Newcastle United's 2014 looks to have faded this summer. For the first time since January 2013, owner Mike Ashley has sanctioned a number of permanent signings, something that has surprised fans and, judging by their official website, even the club itself: when France and Montpellier playmaker Rémy Cabella was unveiled earlier in the week, their choice of headline was the telling, rather desperate: We've got Cabella!
Replaces Conte and has history with Pirlo
17 July ~ Antonio Conte's resignation as Juventus coach on July 15 may have been sudden but it wasn't unexpected. In May, after winning the third consecutive league title with a record number of points and concluding the club's most successful domestic run since 1930s, Conte turned down a contract extension. He made it clear that he'd agree to stay for another year on condition of having a transfer budget that would make Juve competitive in the Champions League; having lifted the trophy as a player with Juventus in 1996, it's also well known that one of Conte's main ambitions is to win it as a manager.
Via Uli Hesse on ESPN
16 July ~ Since Germany won the World Cup on Sunday there have been plenty of people around the world questioning what it means for the country as a whole. It was their first World Cup win as a reunified Germany and done with a young, multicultural team. Yet Uli Hesse, author of Tor! The story of German football, has noted for ESPN that Germany long became comfortable with its new identity. Instead their Brazil 2014 success is purely a vindication of their new football style, having proved their critics wrong.
Business deal distances club from community
15 July ~ Oldham Athletic has agreed a five-year sponsorship deal with the sports goods retailer Sports Direct. The deal, reported to be worth £1 million in total, includes renaming Boundary Park as SportsDirect.com Park. The deal also involves shirt sponsorship, a change in kit manufacturer and Sports Direct taking over the club's merchandising. In one sense there is nothing remarkable about the deal. There are 30 clubs that have sold stadium naming rights, and eight of those are, like Latics, in League One.
Entire federation needs new people and ideas
14 July ~ The immediate response was every bit as memorable as the shock and awe that sparked it. Shame, disgrace, humiliation howled the front cover of the Rio daily O Globo in the wake of Brazil's staggering 7-1 defeat to Germany. Those sentiments were echoed in bars and living rooms throughout the country as a nation struggled to recover its breath, let alone make sense of the carnage. Another daily, Folha de São Paulo, called it the "Mineiraço", a none-too-pointed reference to the Seleção's 1950 defeat to Uruguay.