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  1. I'd heard about the Uruguayans being a bunch of hatchet men, but seeing them go to work on Scotland in 1986 was a real eye-opener. I think that one Scotland player got flattened off the ball at kickoff. My first World Cup that I remember was 1982 and the Brazilians truly seemed to come from another planet. I was 8 years old. I didn't know what a cool motherfucker was, but I did know that Socrates was it.
  2. I can't help but write about a famous picture, one that is so ironic in its misinterpretation that it accidentally captures one of the most contradictory human beings ever to have lived. A sporting photograph that becomes interpretable as art because it evokes an emotional response about football that is above blindly cheering on your team. A moment captured not just of a man single-handedly destroying the opposition, but doing so in a World Cup semi-final, except this was one of the very few moments where he wasn't doing that. About how the photo shows not only the genius behind the footba
  3. Wow. Just wow. Clips of Maradona single handedly dragging Argentina to the 1986 World Cup. (I mean, at least Pele has a supporting cast.) 90 seconds in and I've already twice gone "ooh!".
  4. God, just look at this. The way he takes the ball down, the way he gently strokes it into the top corner. Against the then Serie A champions. Some players hammer the ball, some of them strike it, this is just... "swish!"
  5. Ricky Villa and Osvaldo Ardiles were at Spurs at the time, or would have been but for the Falklands War. I'm sure Sheffield United were the ones who were tipped off to him, not Arsenal.
  6. The thing about this photo is that it's out of context and the full story is far, far less interesting. (He's basically at the side of a free kick wall, hence so many players have turned to face him.) However, we see what we want to see and want to acknowledge his talent and genius because he was the best. So ultimately, there is a perfectly Maradona-esque contradiction in that image - the cheat and the genius, the on and the off field, the lunatic and the maestro.
  7. An utterly mesmerising player with the ball at his feet, even at a time when it was virtually legal to break his legs. There is loads of good stuff on Netflix / Amazon and the recent Diego documentary shows him as the most flawed of geniuses. But bloody hell, just watch this. (Like, it seems, everyone in the stadium is.)
  8. And of course, Loris Karius in a Champions League final.
  9. Players used to be able to last 90 minutes with a training regime of cigarettes, whisky and lard.
  10. Yes, I can remember a couple of incidents at the Turf when the player was clearly concussed and went off far too many minutes later. (And there was a German player in a major final?) We've got to the point where the best players in the world, playing on billiard smooth surfaces, are told to run to breaking point by managers. Somehow the fact that a game of football lasts 90 minutes has suddenly become a problem.
  11. My solution is simple. You still name 18 players, you still have a starting 11 and three tactical substitutions. But you also get an four injury substitutes which you can make at any time, without it counting towards your three. Player pulling a muscle or accidentally injured in a tackle, you can take them off without being penalised. It's about player welfare, so this would stop players playing on when they shouldn't and doing further damage and teams don't get penalised for misfortune. Oh, did I mention that any player who goes off as an injury substitution can't start the ne
  12. If I didn’t have to finish some stuff off I’d go into a full-on rant about that bollocks.
  13. Yes, but they have to stick to the narrative. Liverpool are nothing without struggle.
  14. The Dirtiest Race in History by Richard Moore The story of sprinters Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis from the beginning of their track career to the infamous 1988 Olympic Mens 100m Final and the subsequent fallout from Johnson's positive drug test (and, incidentally, 5 of the other 7 competitors also tested positive at some time throughout their career). I thought this was brilliant. It doesn't pull any punches in pointing out the absolute hypocrisy of everyone in the sport while also showing the immense pressure and rewards that came with athletics becoming absolutely huge
  15. OK, technically it is a collaboration but the differences in writing style leap out at you - mainly because Andrew can write a sentence longer than six words. When he tries to mimic his brothers style (or Lee contributes) it jars a fair bit. And there is not a lot of nodding and shrugging. The previously laconic and laidback Reacher just won't shut up this time. The indepth descriptions of Reachers calculating every punch and jab are missing as well. Oh, and a distinct lack of 9mm Parabellums. That is not to say it is a bad Reacher novel, because it isn't. The story moves alo
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