Stopping Smoking – A Sport Psychology View

The truth is – many top sportsmen do smoke. They always have done. And not the nearly men, either. Zinedine Zidane, Johann Cruyff, Diego Maradona, Shane Warne, the Charlton Brothers and Dino Zoff are all inarguable top achievers and all inarguable smokers. There’s a pretty talented British Division to add to the list: Paul Gascoigne,…


Bobby Fischer in 1972

It’s hard not to feel that this film is really about cars and not chess. Some fine automobiles in evidence, including a Citroen DS and an early Range Rover. This was when the world was young. A year after the fall of Bretton Woods, but before the deployment of the Oil Bomb. Some consider 1972…


West Ham 2 Manchester United 1

A great game – victory for the underdogs, plenty of skill on display, and a crowd riot at the end. But you won’t find the highlights at 101 Great Goals. They’re here instead: [youtube=]


Scottish Football in 1973

It was no small peak: the national side made it to the World Cup Finals for the first time since 1958, and took a genuinely competitive squad. Holland aside, it’s hard to identify who, really, were better than Scotland player for player at that time. Rangers were European Cup Winners Cup holders, and Celtic still…


2007 Review

A hideous shipwreck of year, for me personally, with the sole and comparative comfort being that 2007 is not quite over: the first part of 2008 promises far worse and quickly. At first sight, the same might be said of sport. The BBC Sports Personality of the Year did its best to put on a…


The Problems Facing Fabio Capello

My own pleasure at the appointment of Fabio Capello to the England manager’s post is largely down to non-footballing reasons. In England, there’s a sense that football is an acceptable interest for men, but more cultural pasttimes are suspect. Not so for the gastronome aesthete Capello. That’s not to argue that hinterland makes a manager….

A First, Brief Look at Capello

From today’s Graun: The young centre-half listened to Mozart and Bach. He also adored jazz, particularly Ella Fitzgerald. He developed a love for the painting of Giorgio De Chirico, founder of the metaphysical school. He liked films too, arthouse movies by the likes of Visconti and Fellini. His interest in modern art endures. He has…


The Perfect Pub For Football – London and Environs

We all have our Platonic Pub ideal. Orwell’s Moon Under The Water comes closest to what most have in mind. But that’s a fictional tavern, and we know that when fictional taverns have the electricity applied to their nipples to bring them to life, terrible things result. Some Platonic Ideals have remarkable shadows, however. The…

That Word “Soccer”

There have been a lot of – mostly – young – mostly – men on the web lately, all making the same point very loudly: it’s called “football”, in this country, yanks, not “soccer” (the real wastes of time will spell it “sawker” or some such at this point). Even sensible people can fall into…


What Will Remain Of Us Are Blogs

When I first came across his blog, Damian Counsell was a research scientist in Cambridge. Then, in August 2005, it all changed. The Rosalind Franklin Centre closed down, and he moved to a new career in a totally different field, and to a different home, in Brighton. Damian is now regarded by discerning people as…