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Back Of The Net Blog

A sideways look at football/soccer across the globe

High Flying Southampton Singing To Koeman’s Song Now

Now in Control - Ronald Koeman (Image from AFP)Having sold half their squad and lost their manager during the summer, few expected Southampton to do much this season. But after eight matches under new head coach Ronald Koeman, Southampton are sitting pretty in third spot in the Premiership with 16 points to their name. It’s a testament to the work done by the former Dutch international who joined the club in June following the departure of…

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World Cup Hangover Hands Hope To Europe’s Smaller Nations

World Cup Hangover helping smaller nations to qualify  (Image from AFP)Three games played and maximum points obtained for Northern Ireland and Iceland has placed them in a good position in their quest to end their respective hiatuses from international competitions. Having never qualified for the European Championships and possessing only limited exposure at World Cups (Northern Ireland have qualified three times – 1958, 1982 and 1986 whilst Iceland have never made…

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Platini Views Changes to Champions League Amidst Pressure From Others

Changing the Champions League? (Image from UEFA)Once a giant of European football, AC Milan have struggled in the past few seasons and as a result do not feature in this year’s Champions League. Given their absence and the loss of revenue they would have received having participated; AC Milan Director Umberto Gandini has called for changes to be made to the qualification process for the Champions League with the introduction of a wildcard or…

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Henry lines Up Ligue 1 Swansong

Henry lines Up Ligue 1 Swansong

Where next for Henry? (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

The name of Thierry Henry is one of the most recognised in world football. The World Cup and European Championship winning striker is second only to Lillan Thuram as the most capped French footballer of all time with 123 caps for France and leads the ways in goals scored with 51 to his name, 10 ahead of French legend Michael Platini and 20 ahead of Just Fontaine. Whilst his time on the…

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Could A Facebook Post Have Ended Jourden’s France Chances Before They Have Even Begun?

Over before it began? Geoffrey Jourden (Image from AFP)As France gear up to face Portugal on Saturday in an international friendly, spare a thought for Didier Deschamps.  The French national coach has had a torrid week not at the hands of the press or his players but online. For the second time this year, Deschamps has been blasted on social media by the partner of a player he did not select. The wife of Montpellier goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourden took…

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Di Matteo Dreaming Of Champions league Success One More After Joining Schalke

Champions League success targeted again by Di Matteo

After a brief hiatus, Roberto Di Matteo is back in football management after taking over at FC Schalke 04. The former Chelsea boss has been appointed by the German club, replacing the exiting Jens Keller.  Surprisingly it’s Di Matteo’s first job since leaving the London club almost two years ago. Di Matteo, who won a lot of praise for guiding Chelsea to the Champions League crown, takes over the…

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Hope Solo Remains Part Of US Plans Despite Domestic Abuse Allegations

US star Hope Solo selected for US womens team despite facing domestic abuse charges (Image from Getty)

It’s been fourteen years since Hope Solo burst onto the international scene. The US goalkeeper has had to battle her entire career against a system designed for men but has done so with conviction and courage which over time made her one of the most iconic women’s players in the game today. But now Solo faces up to a different sort of challenge as she tackles a domestic abuse charge laid against…

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A Changing Of The Guard In Scottish Football?

Between them, Rangers and Celtic have won every title  since 1986 (Image from Getty)There was a time in Scottish football where two Glasgow teams dominated the country’s top league. The Old Firm, better known as Rangers and Celtic have for the last 30 years had a stranglehold on the title, with one of the two winning every championship since 1986. The last team outside of the Old Firm to win the title was Aberdeen who managed to do so thanks in part to the managerial skills of…

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Las Vegas Moves A Step Closer To A MLS Franchise

Will Las Vegas finally land a sports team? (Image from MLS2LV)

For anyone who has ever visited Las Vegas will know, entertainment options are a plenty. Everything from live shows from top performers like Britney Spears and Celine Dion to spectacular magic shows by David Copperfield and Criss Angel to dramatic live events such as Cirque du Soleil is available for the millions of tourists that visit the city annually. However there is one notable absence,…

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Calls For The Rooney Rule To Be Introduced To English Football Intensify

Chris Hughton (Image from AP)With the pressure mounting on Alan Pardew at Newcastle, the clubs fans are looking towards who could potentially become their next manager. A familiar name keeps reappearing on the fan blogs that of former boss Chris Hughton with speculation about whether he could return to the club to save it from its current predicament. Hughton has established himself as one of the game’s best managers after…

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October Poll - Who Will Win This Years Champions League?

October Poll – Who Will Win This Years Champions League?

Can Real win it again? (Image from Action Images / Carl Recine Livepic)

September saw the return of Europe’s top club competition, the Champions League and with it the speculation over who will lift the coveted trophy come May. Defending champions Real Madrid find themselves in a fairly easy group along with Swiss champions FC Basle, EPL runners up Liverpool and newcomer’s Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad. A comfortable 5-1 win on week one against Basle has…

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Man United’s Captain Calamity Will Remain For Now

Man United’s Captain Calamity Will Remain For Now

Should he remain as captain? (Image from Getty)

The problems at Old Trafford continue with captain Wayne Rooney suspended for the next three games after wildly lashing out during Saturday’s crunch game with West Ham. Rooney received a straight red card for aiming a kick at Hammers winger Stewart Downing on the 60th minute mark, leaving referee Lee Mason little option but to send him off. As United captain, Rooney is expected to lead by…

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Raising Awareness Of The Silent Killer Affecting Football

Raising Awareness Of The Silent Killer Affecting Football

The late Robert Enke (Image from Getty)

On the morning of November 10th 2009, Hannover 96 goalkeeper Robert Enke kissed his wife goodbye and said he was off to training. Two years later, Wales’s manager Gary Speed said farewell to his colleagues at the BBC after filming Football Focus, saying he would see them next week. Unfortunately it would be the last time that anyone would see these men alive again as shortly after their…

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Pretty sure whoever’s behind this is a Gooner :D.


Where Unrest Fights Regret: A Reflection on Maradona

By Kizito Madu

The folly of youth is thinking itself invincible; so the adage of not declaring a man as having lived a happy life until he is on his deathbed still holds true mainly because of youth’s naïveté. Diego Maradona isn’t dead –in fact he’s full of life; recently recorded participating in a street fight after a night out—but he is an old man, and from his own words, he’s much older than his age suggests. In a recent interview with TyC Sports, Diego lamented that if he had not taken drugs, he would be a phenomenal player, adding “However, my daughters know that their old man - even though I am 53 years old - in reality it is as if I am 78 because my life has not been normal. It’s as if I had lived 80 years.”

There are two tragedies in this story: One of lost time and talent in the sense that the best player to ever bully and prance through a football pitch could have somehow been better, and the more funereal allegory of an ancient tragedy; the same characteristics that makes a hero endearing and admirable, become the cause of his downfall. Achilles with pride, Diego and grit. 

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