Burnley roots

Diaspora delight; two weekends in March As we converged on Turf Moor, via the Burnley Miners, we were coming in from all directions; Manchester, Brighton, the Fylde, Harrogate, Ripon. The match against Manchester City was a sellout, a mouth-watering prospect. The richest club in the country and current Premier league champions chasing points to close… Continue reading Burnley roots

Blatter’s first re-election: May Days 2002

BLATTER’S FIRST RE-ELECTION: May Days 2002 Staying power When Sepp Blatter’s first term as president of FIFA was coming to a close, just before the 2002 World Cup Finals in Korea/Japan, he was mired in controversies related to FIFA’s financial problems, based in large part upon the collapse of International Sports and Leisure (ISL), the… Continue reading Blatter’s first re-election: May Days 2002

Questions in Brazil

IN THE EVENT: Questions in Brazil Scott Reid, Orange County Register posed these questions on the eve of the World Cup kick-off and I answered them whilst in Rio, after a spell in Manaus. SR: How much will the corruption within FIFA and the CBF leave a cloud hanging over this World Cup? AT: The… Continue reading Questions in Brazil

FIFA on Film

Hagiography has been a consummate skill in the sport-writing world, with ghost writers or tame official chroniclers portraying the lives of superstars or characters and celebrities who have illuminated the humdrum lives of we the fans or less blessed followers for whom the sporting champion can represent some vicarious sense of the heroic. There's been… Continue reading FIFA on Film

Qatarstrophic consequences for Bin Hamman-FIFA alliance

Qatarstrophic consequences for Bin Hammam-FIFA alliance On June 16 2008, FIFA president Sepp Blatter wrote gushingly to the Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam, thanking him for his contribution to the campaign that, a decade before in June 1998, gained the Swiss the presidency of FIFA. “Without you, dear Mohamed, none of this would ever have been… Continue reading Qatarstrophic consequences for Bin Hamman-FIFA alliance

Zurich, March 1st 2014

It was Zurich’s turn, as has been the tradition in a World Cup finals year, to host the world’s football rule-making body at its February/March meeting – the 128th meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB). The usual sort of stuff was on the agenda – improvement to standards of goal-line technology, head covers… Continue reading Zurich, March 1st 2014

The best Olympics never; mystery, magic and magnificent trivia

[This piece is a version of ‘The best Olympics never’, in Mark Perryman (ed) London2012: How was it for Us?, London, Lawrence and Wishart, 2013, pp. 47-61] In its last issue of 2012 The Guardian asked of 2013 ‘what can we do to match the Olympics?’ – perhaps mainly as excuse to show on the… Continue reading The best Olympics never; mystery, magic and magnificent trivia

Seizing the Olympic Platform: 6.6 million and counting

This is an edited-down version of a chapter of the same title, published in Vassil Girginov (ed.),Handbook of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Volume Two: Celebrating the Games, London, Routledge, 2013, pp. 239-251. The piece draws upon research supported by the British Academy’s small grants scheme for my personal research on ‘The construction… Continue reading Seizing the Olympic Platform: 6.6 million and counting

Behind the Spectacle: On Euro 2012

As Poland’s football team scored to go level with Russia at the Euro 2012 football championship finals, on Tuesday June 12th, President Bronislaw Komorowski, sporting the red and white scarf of the national side, leapt from his seat in joy. The stadium was a cauldron of nationalistic passion and emotion. To the president’s left, UEFA… Continue reading Behind the Spectacle: On Euro 2012

From Crystal Palace to Lunatic Asylum: The Life and Death of a Local Hero

Review of: Tommy Boyle – Broken Hero The Story of a Football Legend by Mike Smith Grosvenor House Publishing Ltd., 2011 [This is an extended version of a book review that appears in When Saturday Comes] Until 2004, when Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ went unbeaten through a full Premier League season, Burnley held the record for the… Continue reading From Crystal Palace to Lunatic Asylum: The Life and Death of a Local Hero