11/10/2017 Issue 32

Arjen Robben has retired from International football. His decision comes after Holland missed out on qualification for the 2018 World Cup. Making his debut in April 2003, Robben has won 96 caps and scored 37 times for his country. Robben narrowly missed out on World Cup glory in 2010 when the Dutch lost in the final by a goal to nil against Spain. Robben played his final game in the famous Oranje against Sweden. He scored 2 goals on the night but it wasn’t enough to take his country to Russia. (His second goal is a peach!)

One man who didn’t miss out on World Cup glory, but who has also chosen to retire from football all together is the one and only Andrew Pirlo. A World Cup winner in 2006, Champions League winner in 2003 & 2007 and a six time Seria A winner; he is considered one of the greatest in the game. The Italian, currently with New York City FC, confirmed on Sunday that he will end his career at the end of the MLS season at the ripe old age of 38. Yet, he still hasn’t ruled out a move to Chelsea with fellow Italian Conte. What a move that would be.

We’re losing a lot of our great legends all at once, and now even the magnifficent Kaka is talking about retirement. But we’ll get over it quick; the magnifficent Paul Merson is to make a comeback for Welsh fourth-tier team Caerau – subject to international clearance of course.

Scotland miss out on another major finals. A draw with Slovenia was not enough to see us through, and our manager made the whole bloody situation worse with reckless and senseless post-game comments. Gordon Strachan, who has left his post as Scotland boss, blamed “genetics” on yet another Scottish failure, claiming that our boys are not tall enough to win headers in the box. The comments were made in reaction to conceding two goals from set pieces. Strachan continued to dig a bigger grave for himself suggesting that we look to selective breeding in order to increase our chances of qualification. I think Olympic gold medalists Katherine Granger, Andy Murray and Sir Chris Hoy would have something to say about that. A poor excuse for a poor campaign riddled with very questionable team selections, impacted by bad decision making and substandard choices of substitutions.

Lionel Messi may have single-handedly taken Argentina to the World Cup Finals in Russia. The Flea’s 44th career hat-trick against Ecuador ensured Argentina finished within the top-four qualification spots. Prior to the game Argentina were sitting in 6th place. The had a terrible start, conceding inside 38 seconds but the G.O.A.T had other ideas and lead his team to a 3-1 victory and a third place finish, sending them to Moscow next summer. Always under scrutiny from people claiming that he doesn’t do it for the national team where silenced over the course of 90 minutes as a doom and gloom situation was turned on it’s head by one magical man.

Panama qualified for their first World Cup with 2-1 win over Costa Rica in the final game.

The USA missed out for the first time since 1986, they lost 2-1 to Trinidad & Tobago.

Syria’s fairy-tale qualification ends in Australia. Ex-Everton striker Tim Cahill scored a brace, Syria had a man sent off and Australia progressed with a 3-2 aggregate to set-up a play-off against Honduras.

The Republic of Ireland have booked their tickets to Russia after James McLean scores the only goal of the night to beat Wales 1-0 in Cardiff.

QUEUE THE THUNDER CLAP as Iceland become the smallest nation to qualify for a World Cup. Remember when this little nation knocked England out of the last 16 of the Euro’s? I certainly do! It’s all us Scots have to live for. Well they’ve found football success again as they become the only country to qualify for a World Cup with a population fewer than one million (335,000). I didn’t buy one for Euro 2016 but I think Iceland blue will do well for me in Russia 2018.

I bet Dennis van Duinen wished someone forgot to press record on the Harkemase Boys TV. The Dutch amateur produced one of the worst open-goal misses you will ever see in your lifetime. Dennis charges through onto an empty goal and still manages to blast the ball over the bar from 10 yards out. At the time his team were 2-0 up, they finished the game in defeat. VW Capelle came away as 3-2 winners. Something tells me he might be dropped for next week’s game.

News of the Week comes from Norway where the Norway Football Association has agreed a deal to pay male and female international footballers equally. It’s the first country in the world to do so. The men’s national team will take a pay cut, while the women’s pay will almost double to ensure both teams are paid equally to represent their country on the international stage.

In other news, Mane is out for 6 weeks and my fantasy fitbaw team is fucked!!



Arjen Robben v Sweden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3nw518DTrg

World Cup 2018, all you need to know: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/0/world-cup-2018-has-qualified-russia-close-could-argentina-actually/

Messi Magic: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41580450

Syria’s fairy-tale ends in Australia: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41580450

Wales 0 – 1 Ireland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wJbhaN5u9Y

Miss of the season: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41558174

01/06/2017 Francesco Totti: The One-Club Man Special

01/06/2017 Francesco Totti: The One-Club Man Special

Francesco Totti made his final appearance for Roma on Sunday after 25 years in the capital city. His years of service have been formally recognised by UEFA, who presented the Roman with the UEFA Presidents Award. Totti played in his final game against Genoa coming on as a substitute in a 3-2 victory for Giallorossi. Following his retirement the club announced his induction to the clubs Hall of Fame. After spending a quarter of a century with Roma, he is now considered the most beloved player in the club’s history. For all the money the world could throw at him he never left the city or the clubs side. For 25 years he has been recognised as “the symbol of Rome”.

25 years (28 counting his youth career), 786 appearances and 307 goals. They don’t make them like that anymore.

Here are some of my favourite one-club men, including a list of Scottish and other international one-club men that are worthy of recognition.



Club: Real Madrid

Years of Service: 1911 – 1978 (67 years of service)

Playing: 1911 – 1927 (16 years)

Director of Football and Coach: 1927 – 1933 (6 years)

Assistant Manager: 1933 – 1936 (3 years)

Manager: 1936 – 1941 (7 years)

President: 1943 – 1978 (35 years)

Yes, the man whose name is known the world over, because it is the name given to the stadium of most successful team in European Football. The Santiago Bernabeu is the home of 11 times European Champions, Real Madrird. It must take something very special to be bequeath such an honour. Mr Bernabeu joined Los Blancos as a 14 year old in 1911 and made 689 appearances until his retirement in 1927. His contributions beyond playing included roles as the director of football, coach and President; a role which he served for 35 years. Under his Presidency, Bernabeu Yeste overseen the construction of the clubs magnifficent stadium. He is also responsible for bringing legendary forward Alfredo Di Stefano to the Spanish capital. His total years of service amasses to 67 years.



Club: Tottenham Hotspurs

Years of Service: 1936 – 1997 (55 years of service)

Playing: 1936 – 1954 (18 years)

Managing: 1958 – 1974 (16 years)

Consultant, Scout and President: 1976 – 1997 (21 years)

Nicholson joined Spurs as a 16 year old boy in 1936. Despite the interruption of his football career, caused by the war, Mr Nicholson still managed to appear in 341 matches for the London outfit between 1938 – 1954. Pedants may wish to point out that Nicholson turned out as a guest player for Darlington and Newcastle United, on 19 occasions no less. But we won’t be allowing technicalities to disqualify the magnificent Nicholson. It was his career as the Spurs manager, a post he held for 16 years, which highlights Nicholson and Spurs glory days. A success Pochettino’s XI will wish to emulate in due course. Nicholson was at the helm, in his first season, when Spurs completed the first double of the twentieth century; winning the League and FA Cup in 1961. Throughout his career he lifted three FA Cups, two League Cups, three FA Charity Shields, a UEFA Cup and a European Cup winners cup. Bill arrived at White Hart Lane in 1936, taken on as a ground-staff boy being paid £2 a week, and served as a player, coach and manger for 38 years. Nicholson returned in 1976 as a consultant and chief scout, following a spell on the scouting staff at West Ham United. During his time as manager Bill established a club culture, by signing some of the best players to ever pull on the white jersey. Players like Dave Mackay, Alan Gilzean, Jimmy Greaves, Alan Mullery, John White, Steve Perryman, Pat Jennings, Martin Chivers and Martin Peters. Nicholson’s connection to Spurs continued until his retirement in 1997. In 1991 Nicholson was given the honour of being appointed the President of the club he served for over 50 years.




Club: Dynamo Moscow

Years of Service: 1950 – 1990 (40 years)

Playing: 1950 – 1970 (20 years)

Managing: 1970 – 1990 (20 years)

The Black Spider played football for Dynamo Moscow for 20 years between 1950 – 1970. Yashin’s Dynamo career did not get off to the best start. In a friendly match in 1950, the big goalie conceded a soft goal straight from the opposing goalkeeper clearance. Not to matter, Yashin continued on and finally got his first team break in 1953 after three years at the reserves. He is considered to be the greatest goalkeeper of all-time. According to FIFA records, Yashin saved over 150 penalties and kept over 270 clean sheets. With these statistics in mind its no surprise that he became the only goalkeeper to receive the Ballon d’Or, an award he picked up in 1963.  After retiring from playing, Yashin spent another 20 years at Dynamo Moscow as a youth-team coach and in various administrative positions. A bronze statue of Lev Yashin was erected at the Dynamo Stadium in Moscow in honour of a terrific career and a tremendous service to the football club.





Club: Altinordu

Years of Service: 1926 – 1953 (27 years)

Playing: 1926 – 1953 (27 consecutive playing seasons)

Altinordu made his debut for the Izmir outfit as a 14 year old in 1926, and continued to make appearances for the club until he was 41 years of age. He amassed a record-breaking 27 consecutive playing seasons. Altinordu derived his surname from the team he played for following President Mustafa Kemal’s new law passed in 1934 which demanded that all Turks must have a surname (for clarity, most Muslims didn’t have one). Despite starting most games at centre-back in 1936-37 he was the club and division top scorer. The big boys of Fenerbache and Galatasaray came in for the brilliant Altinordu but the one-club player made the decision to stay in his beloved Izmir, and for his loyalty the city erected not one but two statues of him in his honour.



Club: AC Milan

Years of Service: 1985 – 2009 (24 years)

Playing: 1985 – 2009 (24 years)

“The only club in the world where I could have found the same ambition as Real Madrid, but they never contacted me.” Maldini was the Maestro at the back; he could play anywhere across the back four; he could play with his left foot; he could play with his right; he seamlessly morphed from the Rossoneri youth system into one of the greatest club sides ever assembled. Maldini spent 25 seasons at the San Siro before retiring at the age of 41. During that time he won seven Serie A titles, five European cups, one Coppa Italia, five Suppercoppe Italiane, five European Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup. The Magnificent Maldini.




Joe Wark – Motherwell – 20 years

Bobby Walker – Hearts – 18 years

Frank Beattie – Kilmarnock – 18 years

Jackie Campbell – Partick Thistle – 19 years

Ross Caven – Queens Park – 20 years

Eddie Gray – Leeds United – 19 years

John Greig – Rangers – 17 years

Billy Liddell – Liverpool – 22 years

Maurice Malpas – Dundee United – 21 years

Doug Smith – Dundee United – 18 years

Billy McNeil – Celtic – 17 years

Bob McKinley – Nottingham Forrest – 20 years

David Meiklejohn – Rangers – 17 years

Willie Miller – Aberdeen – 18 years



Andrew Considine – Aberdeen – 14 years

Lewis Stevenson – Hibernian – 11 years

Steven Anderson – St Johnstone – 12 years



Rogerio Ceni – Sao Paolo – 20 years

Tony Adams – Arsenal – 18 years

Paul Scholes – Manchester United – 20 years

Ricardo Bochini – Independiente – 25 years

John Trollope – Swindon Town – 33 years

Ryan Giggs – Manchester United – 24 years