Christmas 2009: Scotland v Brazil 1974

Scotland drew the World Champions – and such World Champions! in their first round at their first World Cup. And played them off the park. Only Rivelino would have deserved a place in Willie Ormond’s side that day. Scotland could, if they wished, remember 1974 for this. Only the Netherlands, against the same opponents, would…

Scotland’s National Team: Eleven Impossible Jobs, Plus Substitutes

The first thing Capello said on becoming England manager was that when an Englishman pulled on his international shirt, he lost all the confidence he felt at his club: he played in fear. The task for Capello was to create the conditions for confidence that already existed at Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool. And in…

The Friendly Clubs: Ipswich Town

There was a period in the early 1980s when the great clubs of England’s industrial cities gave way to smaller clubs from quieter places. Southampton, Ipswich, Norwich, Watford and Luton all had their great days between Clough’s first European Cup and the end of the Falklands Conflict. To this south-eastern boy, they were¬† home teams,…

Passion and Commitment vs Skill and Composure

I never meant it to be a central theme at this site. You can blame the press that it has been. It was their myth after all – that the kind of feelings fans experience watching football are the same feelings that the team needs to have on the pitch in order to win. It’s…