THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

wsc367 biggest

September issue available online and in stores

The new WSC is out now, available in all good newsagents or to order from the WSC shop.

This month
The Premier League’s other teams | Opening day debut disasters | What does football smell like? | The local heroes of Barcelona | Middlesbrough press ban | Brutal sackings in Brazil | | Where is the Man Utd women’s team? | Real Madrid 2 Nelson 4 | Salford City v FC United – two ways to run a club | Scott Parker’s big mistake | Chelsea’s talent farm | New kits, bigger sponsors | Leeds’ Road back home | Premier League’s money in the bank | Russia’s successful Confederations Cup | non-League reorganisation | Focus on Albert Quixall | Strasbourg’s remarkable return | Pelé arrives in the NASL | Beitar Jerusalem’s racism problem | John Bostock back on track | Asian participation on the rise | the Anglo-Italian league that helped Ray Houghton

PLUS

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2017-18 Season Guide
Club-by-club guide for Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two, Scottish Premiership
Predicted league tables
How will your team do?
Who did you like and dislike?
What were the best and worst moments?
Football utopia: matchday experience enhancers
National League roundup

Buy here to read WSC 367 and the 2017-18 Season Guide

Inside WSC 367

367 MOTM

Salford City 2-1 FC United of Manchester Match of the month

There’s something strange about going to a football match in July, before the schools break up. The morning’s grim weather reinforces a feeling that I’ve somehow skipped summer. Drizzle envelops the train as it leaves Manchester on the short but significant, and, by outsiders, altogether underestimated crossover to Salford. The fact that Salford is not Manchester is very important to Salfordians. The two cities are administratively separate and manifestly different in style. Joy Division were a Salford band; had they been from Manchester they’d have been Oasis. LS Lowry’s industrial landscapes are quintessential Salford; Manchester has the Hallé orchestra and international arts festival. Buy here to read the full article

367 PL

Making up the numbers The Premier League’s other clubs

“Thank you, John Terry,” is certainly a sentence I never expected to write. But hearing that staying in the Premier League spared Swansea City the risk of hoisting a banner reading “adulterer, narcissist, unreliable witness” this season summarily concluded an internal debate : are you really pleased that we stayed up? At one level, of course, yes. Nobody wants to go down. The process is agonising, drawn out and generally acrimonious. Decent club employees lose their jobs. Good players leave. There is no guarantee of returning. Moaning about being in the Premier League is, as fans of 72 Football League clubs plus erstwhile rivals such as Leyton Orient, Hartlepool, Tranmere and Wrexham would rightly tell me, the archetypal First World complaint. Future Swans fans will see this as a golden age and marvel at the transformation from lower-league basket case into part of the Premier League’s furniture. Buy here to read the full article

First impressions Bad debuts

“New players always like their debut to be some kind of Hollywood story,” said the then Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce in 2003, before adding: “But my experience is it isn’t always like that.” Perhaps he was reflecting on his first error-strewn appearance at Carrow Road for Norwich against Liverpool in August 1984 when he scored an early own goal. Later, after jumping into a scrum of City players who were celebrating Keith Bertschin’s equalising goal in a 3-3 draw, he proceeded to knock heads with both Bertschin and fellow striker Mick Channon. Both of Bruce’s new team-mates required treatment. “The Norwich fans must have been thinking: ‘Who’s this clown we’ve just bought? Send him back to Gillingham.’” Football is littered with unfortunate beginnings and false starts for players. Whether a footballer recovers from a poor debut depends largely on strength of character and, sometimes, pure luck. Buy here to read the full article

Great Scott Bad career moves

In a self storage unit in west London, buried within a box containing assorted Charlton Athletic memorabilia, lies a signed photograph of Scott Parker. It’s a typical action shot, ball at feet, eyes looking up, driving past a despairing marker – I think the image dates from our away win at Leeds United in December 2002, when Parker scored arguably his greatest goal for the club. He picked up the ball just inside Leeds’ half and then set off on one of his signature thrusting runs. He glided past three or four players, scurried into the box and fired home, winning us the game 2-1. He ripped off his top in celebration and ran towards our delirious support. Buy here to read the full article

Availability
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Salford photo by Paul Thompson; illustration by Gary Neill

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