June issue available now online and in store
Euros Team Guide & Wallchart
Team-mate rivalries | Best and worst interviewees | Curious player hobbies | Unusual goal celebrations
Track the tournament's progress with our fixture wallchart, including all matches and stadiums.
European Super League: Introducing "legacy fans" | Owners under pressure | Real & Barça's debt crisis
National team tales: Forgotten stories from past Euros | Dublin's disastrous cup
Hull City bouncing back | Safe standing soon? | Heyday of the klaxons | Crewe confront their past | Bristol Rovers: At home in the third tier & Dealing with the drop again | ESL punishments required | Scotland's 1960s reshuffle | Grassroots game returns | Magdeburg's shock discovery | Rushden & Diamonds' rise and fall | Football's climate change responsibility | A precious Oxford United hat | Shildon v Warrington Rylands | Focus on Carlo Cudicini | 1980-81 Southern League
Protected legacy European Super League
In marketing-speak, I've been repositioned. Twice in a week. Courtesy of some American bank, the Real Madrid debt recovery plan and then the UK government I've been shifted from lifeblood of the game to a mere "legacy fan" and back again as the European Super League (ESL) proposal collapsed around my airwaves. Suddenly "legacy fan", a term that emerged in an unattributed quote from a suit at one club involved in the ESL plan, has become a badge of honour.
Hull City 2-2 Sunderland Tigers on the verge of promotion
Grafton Street is a scruffy residential road in the tightly packed area of Hull that stretches north between the city centre and the university. The terraced houses aren’t large, but many have been divided into bedsits, multiple doorbells hinting at lives measured out in minimal square footage, the kitchen sink never far from the bed. It’s a balmy evening and a family have brought chairs out onto the pavement to enjoy the spring sunshine. Middle Eastern pop music drifts from an upstairs window. In 1983, Paul Heaton moved into number 70 Grafton Street. “I never planned to live in Hull,” the songwriter with the Housemartins and the Beautiful South told the Guardian in 2017. “A mate and I were showing some German people around the north, I stopped off, bought a copy of the Hull Daily Mail, had a look for property and just set up house with my mates. I ended up staying for 20 years.”
Scant reward Carling Nations Cup
In football’s long parade of bad ideas, the 2011 Carling Nations Cup – wholesomely dubbed the Celtic Cup before sponsors swooped in – was so packed with farce it seems more like a fever dream with every passing year. A long-rumoured replacement for the Home Internationals, the goal was to pit the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland against each other once every two years. With England expected to join future editions, gone would be the humbling pleas for friendlies against teams higher up the FIFA rankings and inevitable consolation match-ups against those below. Instead, organisers touted Pathé newsreel nostalgia at 2011 Sky Sports prices and promised to solve the riddle of those tedious, non-qualifier international breaks, long before UEFA dreamed up the Nations League.
Roving yarn Bristol Rovers reset after relegation
Whenever I lose the ball in the glare of iFollow this season, I’m reminded that the last game I made it to was also one of the dullest. It was a freezing night in November 2019 and Bristol Rovers won 1-0 away at Bromley in a lifeless FA Cup first round replay. After Rovers bundled in an early lead, the only semblance of entertainment came from a second-half long throw by Bromley’s right-back which flew directly into the net. In the ensuing confusion, with several players claiming an unlikely touch like estranged cousins appearing hopefully at a will reading, a flare was thrown onto the pitch by a home fan which burnt a small hole in the 3G surface. It was bleak. Still, the very first Rovers goal I saw was an equaliser in a home defeat to Kidderminster Harriers in 2002, and starting from a place where scoring was at least something to be savoured makes the dismal, scruffy wins on cold nights that much sweeter.
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