A night of football violence: ugly, noisy – and exciting

The clatter of  police horses’s hoofs on tarmac, the wail of sirens, the throaty roar of English malehood up for a fight, alarmed bystanders scuttling into side-streets for safety: it was not just any old midweek evening game of football. It was Millwall’s visit to QPR. For four hours on Tuesday night, parts of Shepherds […]

An open letter to Fifa’s inspectors

Dear Fifa inspectors Welcome to the home of football! In what must be the highlight of your trip around the world to decide which country should be appointed host for the 2018 World Cup, you have arrived in England for a tour of our football venues. You have met Cleggy, the little substitute in Downing […]

It’s not the players, it’s their followers

As from this week, the word “shame” is likely to be appearing with increased regularity in the national newspapers. The Premier League football season starts on Saturday, and the national team will be in action on Wednesday. Already the predictable shame-based, football-related stories are beginning to appear in the press.    This weekend the England […]

Can we talk about me now please?

That contemporary phenomenon, the commercially-sponsored academic survey, can normally be relied on to reiterate whatever the received idea of the moment happens to be. It might be the general hopelessness of men, or the death of childhood innocence, or the frightfulness of modern Britain. This week, though, an unpromising little study, commissioned by a wine […]