Players

Rangers goalkeeper Andy Goram – from cult hero to alleged terrorist and extremist. Alex Anderson looks for reason and logic 

For Rangers fans who would like their club to ditch its sectarian image, the second last weekend in February contained an extreme high followed by extreme low. Saturday: a Scottish Catholic helps us annihilate Dundee and the fact is only reported on the back pages, in purely football terms. Sunday: an ex-Ranger cannot face Celtic because of front-page headlines associating him with organised murderers.

Cris Freddi's examination of cheque book blunders continues our series looking at the worst of football in the 20th century

Might as well get Stan out of the way: he was always going to feature here. At the time, it was hard to know how an individualist like that was going to fit into a passing team like Liverpool, and he didn’t really – you can say that despite a crashing goal on his debut and 26 in 81 league games. At Villa, of course, he’s simply been an embarrassment. “It was a surprise to me when he [Brian Little] signed Collymore. It was a shock given the problems he’d faced at Anfield and the problems he was having off the field.” (John Gregory, February 1999). Hard to think of £15.5 million worse spent. Even Paul Stewart’s various moves can’t compare.

From one of Australia's most promising lethal strikers to hate figure and team nuisance, Matthew Hall investigates Celtic's latest signing

Prior to finalising the £3 million transfer of Mark Viduka from Croatia Zagreb to Celtic, Parkhead officials – wary of adding another dodgy portrait to the club’s Transfer Hall of Shame – made three trips to Croatia to investigate their potential new striker’s state of mind. Three trips? What were they doing all the while? 

Hans Segers, a defendant in the football betting trials, has told his story. Matthew Roche, present in court, is unimpressed

For Hans Segers to put his name to a book on the two 1997 Winchester match-rigging trials is a little like Torquay’s chief air raid warden penning a per­s­onal history of the Second World War. Segers was a bit-player in the affair and this is reflected in a thin and disappointing book which reveals little about “soccer’s trial of the century”.

Harry Pearson charts the reversal of fortunes for Hamilton Ricard

The second and third things Middlesbrough fans least expected to see this season were resident Scandinavian fop Mikkel Beck winning a 50/50 challenge and Hamilton Ricard heading towards Christmas as one of the Premiership’s top marksmen. The barrel-chested Colombian arriv­ed at the River­side from Dep­ortivo Cali in a £2 million deal dur­ing the second-half of last season after an apparently bitter tug of love between Boro and Sheffield Un­ited over his affections.

Matthew Hall salutes Peter Wilson, the only World Cup captain to frequent a bar in Wollongong

The barman at Kembla Heights Bowling Club, a breezy two-hour drive south from Sydney, probably would not be able to enlighten you too much about the local football scene. But the chances are he’s pulled a few beers for Peter Wilson, Australia’s most enigmatic and mysterious sporting legend. And that makes this place a classy joint.

Cris Freddi looks back at players whose England caps may have owed more than a little to their club's place at the top of the league

Let’s make it clear from the start: these are exceptions. It’s more than likely that a player who helps his club to the top spot deserves a chance with England. But one or two seem to have been dragged up by those around them – or were found out at international level. Names and pack drill follow.

We've all got used to hearing about wing-backs and players who sit in the hole, but there are several other technical terms known only to football insiders. Here are explanations of just a few them

Consolationist Shakes his head sadly and pats arm of opponent who has just been sent off

A driveway in Yorkshire will always mean something special to Dave Cohen and his chamois leather

Whenever I come to Leeds on the train, I still experience a shudder of recognition as we chug past Elland Road, even though the ground now resembles the hundreds of superstore complexes already passed on the way up from London, where I now live. But the most significant footballing address I remember is number 41, The Drive, Leeds 17 – the modest suburban semi that for a few years was the home of Peter “Hot Shot” Lorimer, and a mere ten minutes walk from my teenager abode.

In the wake of the David Unsworth saga John Williams & Sarah Gilmore examine how football treats women who are married to, or linked with, players

In football’s “good old days”, way before 30,000-quid-a-week contracts and multi-lingual team talks, players’ wives were seen by the canniest managers mainly as a means of keeping their prized young performers indoors, out of the papers and off the bevvy.

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