Matt Scott: Home comforts are stifling for Englishmen’s football ambitions


“Ah! There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” Jane Austen, Emma

Jane Austen’s fourth novel was published on Christmas Day in 1815 the Vienna peace accord had brought the Napoleonic wars to a close. With it began a century-long era of British commercial dominance through an empire whose roots had already begun to take hold with territories in Newfoundland, the Caribbean, west and South Africa, India and Australia.

Read more …

Matt Scott: Why the embers of past court battles could be fanned into a fire engulfing Blatter

“Il n’y a pas le feu au lac” – “The lake’s not on fire.” Swiss saying

If the famous Lake Geneva is not painting the sky with flames – and, quite obviously, it never has nor will – it’s said to be difficult to rouse a Swiss to any sense of urgency. Other French-speaking nations believe that in the land of the cuckoo clock and precision watches, time moves slowly.

Read more …

Mihir Bose: Why Platini has turned out to be not quite so unique

Michel Platini has always presented himself as unique. That he was a unique footballer cannot be doubted although the fact that he could not guide his country to a World Cup win means for all his great achievements as player he will always remain to an extent the nearly man, not quite in the class of Franz Beckenbauer. But it is his role as administrator in the last decade that raises questions about why and how he was ever considered a football administrator in any way different to the less than reputable bunch who have governed the world game for so long.

Read more …

Martin Volkmar: Boring Bayernliga

German media and fans are united in agreement that after just eight weekends of the Bundesliga the championship is decided. Although the club bosses won’t entertain the same opinion, the frenetic 5: 1 victory over supposed challengers Borussia Dortmund has eliminated any lingering doubts concerning the dominance of Bayern.

Read more …

Matt Scott: Liverpool lose out in football’s arms race. Don’t blame Rodgers


“We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.” John F Kennedy

Strategy for both the Eastern bloc and the NATO allies during the Cold War was simple: arm yourselves to the teeth until the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction guaranteed neither side would be stupid enough to go to war.

Read more …

Matt Scott: Wolves’ Morgan has done well on house that Sir Jack built


“Si monumentum requiris circumspice [If you seek his monument, look around]” Christopher Wren, epitaph on Wren’s tomb

Ever since the Great Fire of London devastated its capital, Great Britain and its inhabitants have had an obsession with architecture. It is a nation that has spawned many Great Builders, such that naming only Wren, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Sir Joseph Bazalgette or Sir George Gilbert Scott is to commit a gross injustice to the others who came before and after them.

Read more …

Inside Editorial: The Thinker

iwf rodin

Auguste Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’, also displayed in this week’s cartoon (or, at least a variation of it), best qualifies the goings-on in FIFA, where the top floor stays lit up, even late at night these days.

Read more …

Massimo Cecchini: Conte’s Euro challenge at risk of being derailed by due process

Simply writing that Antonio Conte, coach of Italian national team, risks a process, it could have a wrong meaning. It would be easy to blame this on a wrong formation, or a federation not happy with the results, or public opinion not satisfied with the way the team is playing its football. However, it is none of these. We are talking about a real legal process, as the coach of Italy in early July was indicted by prosecutors in Cremona,

Read more …