Posts Tagged ‘Juventus’

Football: Heysel and the death of English hooliganism

“At Thatcher’s behest, the Football Association suspended English clubs from European competition for a year. European governing body UEFA went further still, announcing a five-year ban on English clubs and an indefinite suspension for Liverpool that would last until 1991. An inquiry into what had happened at Bradford and Heysel — as well as a riot at Birmingham City’s St Andrews stadium in which a 15-year-old boy died — led by leading judge Oliver Popplewell resulted in new, wide-ranging public order powers for police. Recorded incidents of hooliganism sloped off, while attendances in the English Football League the following season slumped to a post-war low of 16.5 million.”

I’ve written a piece for AFP on the Heysel stadium disaster and the role it played in the eradication of mass hooliganism in English football. You can read it here.

Pitchside Europe: Skulduggery submerges Serie A showdown

“Incensed by the decision to rule out Muntari’s goal, Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani reportedly stormed down to the tunnel at half-time and became involved in an angry exchange with Conte. There was aggravation on the pitch as well, with Arturo Vidal sent off for an ugly tackle from behind on Mark van Bommel and Philippe Mexes guilty of a sly dig to the ribs of his former Roma team-mate Marco Borriello that has seen him banned for three games. Approached by French television channel Canal+ in the mixed zone, Mexes swept past, explaining: “They’ve told me not to talk.””

This week’s Pitchside Europe column for the Eurosport website, on Saturday night’s stormy 1-1 draw between Milan and Juventus in Serie A, can be read here.

Pitchside Europe: Ten questions for 2012

“As the major continental leagues resume following the winter break – Serie A and La Liga returned to action over the weekend, with Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga set to follow suit in the next fortnight – Pitchside Europe looks at 10 issues that will help determine the balance of power across the European mainland in the 12 months ahead.”

This week’s Pitchside Europe column for Eurosport, which looks at Real Madrid’s quest to topple Barcelona, Juventus’ bid to prolong their unbeaten run and Borussia Dortmund’s emergence as enduring rivals to Bayern Munich, can be found here.

Pitchside Europe: Juve emerge from shadow of scandal

“Juve’s insistence on kicking up a fuss over Calciopoli will not improve their popularity in the eyes of opposition fans but it has helped to foster the impression that the whole club is pulling in the same direction and is refusing to give up without a fight. In the sleek, compact Juventus Stadium – the first club-owned arena in Serie A – Juve also have a new symbol of communal identity to rally behind, as well as a menacing atrium in which to unsettle opposition teams.”

My latest Pitchside Europe column for the Eurosport website can be read here.

Tactics: Testing times for the trequartista

The 2009-10 Serie A campaign was all set to be the season of the trequartista. Juventus’s major pre-season signing was Brazilian playmaker Diego from Werder Bremen, Milan were so keen to get the best out of Ronaldinho that club owner Silvio Berlusconi made him stand on a table at a pre-season training camp and promise to stay out of trouble and Jose Mourinho, who has as much romance in his soul as the Terminator, was happy for Internazionale to shell out €15 million on the sublimely gifted Dutchman Wesley Sneijder.

Four months into the season, things have not gone strictly according to plan for Serie A’s most alluring talents. Diego is being booed off the pitch by his own fans, Ronaldinho’s ineffectiveness in a central role has seen him restored to the left-wing role synonymous with his Barcelona pomp and Sneijder has started just four of Inter’s last 10 league games due to a combination of injury and suspension.

Sneijder’s situation is the least troubling of the three. When fit he is usually assured of a starting role and, in any case, he is not a true trequartista. But what about Diego and Ronaldinho? How is it that two of the world’s most talented playmakers have failed to shine in a central playmaking role at two of the world’s most well-resourced clubs?

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