Players

With player power becoming a bigger issue in football, Rutger Slagter explains how the Dutch FA's ruling kept a lid on a potentially huge can of worms, for now

At the end of July, a Dutch FA tribunal presided over the most important case since the Bosman ruling. If the De Boer brothers Frank and Ronald won the right to tear up their contract with Ajax, players around Europe would be able to follow suit. Football in general would be in danger.

Three blood-curdling stories, one from the present day, two from the past, of the players who fell foul of their own supporters. Jonathan Barnes, Phil Ball and Al Needham explain

James Scowcroft, Ipswich Town
As Ipswich Town took the lead in their home fixture with bottom-of-the-table Reading in March, the celebrations of a certain section of the 19,000 Portman Road crowd were, to say the least, half-hearted. The displeasure of the fans is at the identity of the scorer – the man in the No 10 shirt. Rarely has a player been able to divide a set of fans as drastically as James Scowcroft.

Patrick Harverson examines the furore that followed the publication last month of a report that detailed huge rises in footballers' wages in the past year

Are footballers paid too much? It is a simple enough question, but one that evades a simple answer. It can be, and often is, argued that footballers are paid too much in relation to the amount of money their clubs earn, or in relation to the performance they deliver on the pitch, or – as several tabloid newspapers suggested recently – in relation to the amount of money a nurse earns.

Graeme Jamieson pays tribute to Andy Goram, a goalkeeper who has reached the top of his profession despite his penchant for pints and pies

For Sale: One used goalkeeper, slightly soiled by tabloid press. World-class reactions with recently installed dead man’s ligament. No fee.

Despite having a rich history that includes Gordon Banks, Cris Freddi wonders if England is currently going through a dry spell in producing top-class goalkeepers

As far as I can see, this is the first era in which managers would rather go abroad for an erratic has-been like Bernard Lama than develop a young keeper who is likely to sod off as soon as his contract is up. Blame Bosman. They all do.

He may have excellent shot-stopping ability, but Robert Fordham wonders if David James' occasional moments of madness have cost him his place at Liverpool

So, farewell David James. Consigned to the subs’ bench after over 200 consecutive appearances for Liverpool, and at a time when papers were still writing about you as an outside England contender, given the injuries to Walker and Seaman. A tale that begs a question: how on earth did the archetypal "dodgy keeper" last so long?

Ruud Gullit was an iconic figure during his time in England but Rutger Slagter reveals exactly what his fellow Dutchmen think of him

When Johan Cruyff went to Barcelona his name was better known worldwide than the name of his new club. When he left the recognition was about equal, according to Cruyff himself. The same could be said for Ruud Gullit and Chelsea. Manchester United and Liverpool have been household names in Holland for years. Some fanatics had known about Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Wimbledon. A couple of years ago I read somewhere that Glenn Hoddle was moving to Chelsea. I knew Hoddle.

Robbie James passed away last month. Huw Richards pays tribute to the man that starred for Swansea

In football, sudden death isn’t supposed to mean anything much more serious than cup-ties. But the death at 40 of Robbie James reminds Swansea fans for the third time in 20 years of what it really means.

Savo Milosevic never made the grade at Aston Villa, but David Wangerin thinks he didn't have a fair crack of the whip

This was the season Savo Milosevic was supposed to come of age, the year Brian Little’s most obscure signing stepped forward and justified his manager’s faith in him. Needless to say it didn’t happen, and as I write Savo seems to have kicked his last ball, or tuft of grass, or cubic metre of air, for Aston Villa. Few players can expect much else after spitting at their own supporters.

Dragoje Lekovic left Kilmarnock abruptly, leading Graeme Jamieson to rue the small print in players' contracts

Run for the hills! There’s a dangerous new animal out there – The Smart Footballer. This post-Bosman beast preys on unsuspecting clubs, wooing them into his bed by negotiating trendy new contracts before striking them down with a killer sub-clause and fleeing into the night, crisp tenners stuffed into breast pocket.

Sign up to the WSC Weekly Howl - a small portion of despair and enlightenment delivered to your inbox every Friday