Important lessons for English pundits after the World Cup exit at the hands of a motivated Croatia
Upon hearing Luka Modric’s post-match comments, Grant McKenzie thinks there are now obvious lessons that English pundits must learn.
Upon hearing Luka Modric’s post-match comments, Grant McKenzie thinks there are now obvious lessons that English pundits must learn.
Grant McKenzie writes about how France 1998, Scotland and a certain Zinedine Zidane kick-started his love affair with football and the World Cup.
The years when every top English side had a nucleus of world-class Scottish players is due in no small part to two ‘super scouts’. At Leeds and Man United, John Barr and Jimmy Dickie were rivals competing for talent north of the border but their friendship and integrity prevailed. By Greg Gordon
Liverpool fans were left to wonder what might have been had their talisman Mo Salah not been forced to depart the action with a shoulder injury in the 2018 Champions League Final. But those in the game will only seen the long shadow cast by Jean Marc Bosman a Belgian midfielder whose legacy impacts every single club.
After the debacle in Kiev, Loris Karius may never really recover as a keeper and almost certainly not as a Liverpool player. But that still may not make him the most notorious goalkeeper in British football history.
In an industry of high stakes, Grant McKenzie calls for less negativity and more positivity from fans towards young footballers.
Time and again club’s appoint a popular caretaker manager. But history suggests that a team that appoints a boss in haste is a team that repents at leisure.
Your words have the power to shape narratives, halt and promote careers, effect people you don’t know and in ways you can’t imagine. Use them wisely.
If nothing else, the recently concluded USSF Presidential elections and the start to the MLS season are demonstrating the widespread appetite for change that exists within America’s domestic game.
Tennis is engulfed in a “tsunami” of betting-related corruption according to an independent review of the sport published last week . It is a report that football must learn a lesson from.
Lewis Cook’s Grandad should enjoy his winnings, after the Bournemouth player made his England debut in midweek, but as a reader you should ask yourself why are William Hill marketing the hell out of this £17,000 pay-out?
Richard Allen, Spurs’ former head of academy recruitment, has used his platform as a speaker at the Sports Analytics Innovation Summit in London to claim that the success of Harry Kane is a victory for hard-won scouting common sense.
There was a time in football when the club physio was something of an afterthought but how things have changed. These days, the afterthought has become an industry and the physio is just as likely to be a woman as a man and a key cog in a club’s sports science machine.
In terms of talent Chelsea’s Charly Musonda can play, but as a harbinger of a future foretold there is much about the Belgian’s loan switch to Celtic that leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
David Villa arrived in America as a low key addition to an newly established franchise in New York. One hundred games later he is not only one of the most recognisable faces in US soccer, he is also an emblem for all that is good in MLS.
Zinedine Zidane’s career may not ultimately enjoy the same longevity as that of Sir Alex Ferguson but he is the one young coach working today that appears to have most in common with the former Manchester United boss.
Football clubs are embracing big data to inform their player recruitment. They are chasing a chimera.
Way back in 1989, Manchester United diehard Pete Molyneux unfurled a controversial banner calling for the club’s manager Alex Ferguson to resign. Even harder to believe is that its sentiments very much captured the mood of the times.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has embarked upon a sporting project of unmatched global ambition. But can China really become a global football power within a generation?
After an FA Cup weekend, where the controversial VAR initiative was trialled in anger for the first time in England’s premier cup competition, the effect has been broadly counterproductive. No-one is talking about the football. Everyone is talking about technology and its implementation.
Jimmy Armfield was a force for good who lived his life at the heart of a golden era for the British game.
The lack of a living wage within clubs that could well afford to pay one is The Premier League’s secret shame and rather than indulge a game of ‘whataboutery’, it is time to call the people that are truly responsible to account.
The Bundesliga’s fiscally prudent model based on cheap tickets and genuine youth development sounds like a panacea – and it is for the fans in the rocking stadiums. But as a TV spectacle, The Bundesliga is increasingly poor fare.
A sense of seething injustice either real or manufactured can be a fabulous asset for a side seeking the unity of a common sense of purpose. Or to shift the blame for a poor performance.
In the world of England’s Premier League, fans and pundits are consistent in their claims that their competition is the most competitive, toughest and most physical challenge there is in football. And finally Pep seems to have cracked the code in his own inimitable style based on an important observation.
There’s been much said about football’s role as a release for fans’ everyday frustrations, but anyone who thinks that footballers should show good grace towards their tormentors in the stands, in the streets, or online is operating to an unrealistic standard.
The Scottish Football Association’s Head of Coaching and Scotland U19 boss, Donald Park, says that as football grows ever-more dynamic, new player profiles are emerging.
There is a very important point that is fatally misunderstood by fans. It is this: the fact is that even the lowliest players you are likely to see, are very good footballers. That is they are all players that at one stage really could legitimately claim with some justification, that they could have been a contender.
Veteran coach John Kowalski says US soccer’s problems are broadly structural and embedded in the current economic model of MLS and player development.
In 2017, Young England sides have created a fantastic legacy and laid down some important foundations. Unlike previous generations these youngsters are winners in big tournaments, tournaments that matter. That has to count for something.
Who is the better manager Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho or Carlo Ancelotti? It is a question that underlines the fact that football managers’ fortunes are built on shifting sands. But, says Greg Gordon, there’s a better way to evaluate a manager’s credentials than big club trophies, specious stats and PR hype.
20 years to the day since Diego Maradona retired, Greg Gordon discusses his memories of the great Argentine maestro.
As the picture of World Cup 2018 qualification clarified last week, FIFA has confirmed the seven highest-ranked qualifiers will join hosts Russia as top-seeded teams in the upcoming group draw. The hot news is that Spain will not be amongst them.
Watching Frank Lampard deliver a masterclass on the art of speaking while revealing nothing as a BT Sports pundit, is a reminder that the ex-Chelsea midfielder has always been something of an enigma. And that is despite his myriad achievements in the game.
Jamie Vardy resurrected his career via non-league football to become a Premier League winner with Leicester City and an England striker. He claims that his path less trodden is strewn with similar ‘gems’ that his self-funded V9 academy can polish and promote. But what chance do rejected players really have when clubs, fans and TV are complicit in their pursuit conventional stars?
Opinion – Greg Gordon gives his verdict on Hearts experiment with recently departed Ian Cathro.
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez have drawn widespread acclaim for their hands-off approach to encouraging their kids in Barcelona’s youth set-up. But says the ex-Sheffield United and Wolves central defender Neil Collins, the next time you see a parent at the side of the park trying to motivate their child to do better, think twice before condemning them. They might just be nurturing a future champion.
Does the tightening net of football’s recruitment intelligence effectively spell the end for the classic selling club model of early talent identification, player development and selling on with a massive upside? Greg Gordon fears the worst.
Chief scout Graham Carr leaves St James Park five years into an eight year deal, unbowed but with a mixed record. But there is an overwhelming sense that it will be the bum notes of a flawed strategy that live longer in the memory than the rousing crowd-pleasers.
How, when and why corners occur in a particular game is always a direct consequence of the abilities of individual players, the coach’s instructions and the attacking and defensive mentalities of both teams.
The humble corner kick enjoys something of an image problem. For fans, winning a corner is a cue for much excitement. Yet the event itself is typically a source of anti-climax as the attempted cross fails to find its target and is headed clear by the nearest defender. Greg Gordon explains.
Greg Gordon gives his verdict on the UEFA Champions League Squad of The Season.
Greg Gordon thinks it is time to put an end to the “mawkish and commercially driven practise” or retiring shirt numbers.
The history books will show that substitute Rodrigo Amaral scored a stunning free-kick to help Uruguay beat Italy 1-0 in their Group D opening match at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea. But this was a game overshadowed by the conflict caused by a controversial call from the newly installed video assistant referees.
“Work as hard as you like but there is no denying the immutable facts of talent, physique, mental strength, luck and opportunity. Without those building blocks set in stone as foundations, hard work will get you precisely nowhere.” – Greg Gordon
There are many reasons football is a low scoring game but Greg argues that the inherent small margins between defeat, a draw or victory are absolutely central to the spectacle and universal appeal of football and its status as the choice of connoisseur sports fans.
“After beating Guardiola’s Manchester City on Sunday, most football people will hope that this Arsenal side contrive to win the FA Cup for Arsene Wenger.” – Greg Gordon
“Had the brief asked for a depiction of Ronaldo as a ‘melted waxwork of himself’, a caricature, or as a street urchin lookalike then you’d have a case for calling this a satirical masterpiece – Ronaldo’s ‘portrait in the attic’.”
In the wake of the latest international break, Greg Gordon discusses the differences between the international and club game.
Greg Gordon profiles US career builders Prep4Pro.
Football scout Carl Rogan examines the first year and a half of Jurgen Klopp’s reign at Liverpool.
Greg Gordon examines the impact pitch conditions have on football, players and coaches.
Greg Gordon looks at the reasons why Johann Cruyff is sometimes overshadowed by supposed bigger names.
Following Arsenal’s heavy aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Greg Gordon examines what is next for the club and Arsene Wenger.
Greg Gordon tells the fascinating story of the unlucky footballer.
Grant McKenzie examines the shifting influence of fans in football
Greg Gordon believes Gianni Infantino may have scored an own goal with his hasty desire to usher in Video Assistant Referee technology to elite competition.
We look at the role of the State in improving the fortunes of Scottish football.
All the rage in 2013. Greg Gordon examines the pros and cons of 4-2-3-1.
As Claudio Ranieri exits Leicester City only a matter of months after delivering a historic Premier League title we look at the paradox of loyalty and success.
Greg Gordon examines the stability of 4-3-3 as a formation and how it is best employed.
Greg Gordon looks back at the career, impact and legacy of legendary English manager Sir Bobby Robson.
Scout Greg Gordon explains what a next opponent analyst records in their reports.
John Barr’s life revolved around simple the pleasures of football, family and caravanning. Yet the super scout’s list of signings for Leeds United in the seventies stands comparison with anyone in the game. Here, Sir Alex Ferguson pays testament to a mentor whose expert eyes shaped his views of players and the game.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s innovation as a tactician has been wildly underplayed but it is this flexibility and his prowess as a master teambuilder that cements his incomparable legacy as a great of the game.
Are specialist players becoming obsolete in favour of all-rounders? Greg Gordon takes a look at this evolving pattern in football.
Talent and especially talent on the ball is the factor most overrated by fans and players alike when evaluating a footballer.
Whether in the stands, as a scout or in a previous life working for newspapers, I’ve regularly been asked the question: ‘How come TV football pundits, even good football pundits, regularly get their pre match analysis of a game totally wrong?’
Can Moneyball really be applied to football and crucially lead to success?
‘Football is a simple game played by complex people.’
‘Football is a complex game played by simple people.’
Here Greg Gordon introduces How To Watch Football.