Andoni Goikoetxea: The Butcher of Bilbao

Tread a path through every football-obsessed city on earth and seldom would you find the home of a retired professional footballer without the walls or spare rooms of their home habitually decorated with awards, medals, or shirts; mementos and keepsakes from their playing days proudly displayed for all to see. Their careers cruelly eroded by…

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The last stand of Diego Maradona

The Stadio delle Alpi was a cold, cavernous, characterless stadium. The architectural monstrosity was designed by Studio Hutter and built from scratch ahead of the 1990 World Cup. Tucked away on the outskirts of Turin, shortly after its inauguration it became loathed by just every individual unfortunate enough to set foot inside the supposedly ‘futuristic’…

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Going beyond the game of football in Naples

In the historic Italian city of Naples, football goes very much beyond the game. This is the story of one man’s journey through the tifosa-laden streets of the Mezzogiorno and his Enterprise VIP match day experience at one of the world’s great sporting arenas. NAPLES IS A CITY LIVING IN PURGATORY. Trapped between the heavenly Tyrrhenian…

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Núñez, Maradona and Venables: the Barcelona years

As 2015 approached its conclusion one team had dominated the European football landscape. The five trophies claimed by Barcelona set a standard that many will struggle to match. Just as impressive as the trophy haul are the statistics surrounding the attacking trident of Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi and Neymar, who combined to score an incredible…

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Paul Gascoigne and the death of the flawed hero

FOOTBALL IS CAPABLE OF BEING PURE THEATRE, producing storylines that would be tossed aside by even the most shameless Hollywood scribe as too implausible. Liverpool in Istanbul in 2005, Manchester United in Barcelona in 1999, even Greece in the 2004 European Championships (fittingly, with the indelible mark the country has left on the literary landscape)…

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