Omar Saleem

Editor-in-Chief

Louis van Gaal: a divisive success story

TO SOME, HE’S ONE OF THE BEST MANAGERS OF THE PAST TWO DECADES, willing to sacrifice style for substance and flair for formality. To others, he’s an unnerving disciplinarian, an expert at…

Belgium: twenty years for overnight success

IT WASN’T LONG AGO that the only Belgian name mentioned in relation to a transfer deal in the Premier League was Bosman. It’s easy to forget that prior to the Belgian revolution in…

The death of football’s classic number 10

“FOOTBALL IS THE WORKING CLASS BALLET.” The hallowed and revered words of Alf Garnett. There’s no debate either – football is beautiful, in so many ways akin to the ballet. Both require…

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…

Rwanda manager Johnny McKinstry talks to TFT

IT HAS BEEN THE MOST UNORTHODOX OF JOURNEYS for Rwanda national team manager Johnny McKinstry as he looks back on his brief but hugely impactful time in the professional. Born and raised in…

André Villas-Boas and the long con

I have seen the future. Football’s future. It’s both exciting and tragic. Amidst the reliance on strength, pace and fitness, players have taken centre stage like never before. Long gone is the…

Arda Turan and the story of reaching the top

Occasionally, a player comes along whose talent is paradoxically matched by their worldwide under-appreciation. A player who mesmerises opposition fans and leaves them wondering what would be possible if he played for their…

The storied career of Juan Pablo Ángel

AS HE SAT DOWN TO WATCH HIS NEW EMPLOYERS register a sodden display at Villa Park in 2001, little could Juan Pablo Ángel have known about what lay ahead. For the Colombian, one…

This is Russia: a story of west and east

“Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Winston Churchill’s famous words in October 1939 at the breakout of World War Two ring out as loudly today as they did…

Why it’s time for the New York Red Bulls to stand up

Illustration by Soccer Patterns. View more here As the dominant talk in global football centres around whether Real Madrid and Manchester City can wrestle back the title in 2016, across the Atlantic, fans…

In praise of Jordan Henderson, a genuine all-rounder

JORDAN HENDERSON JUST CAN’T WIN OVER THE MAJORITY IT SEEMS. To some, he can’t pass, can’t dribble and doesn’t have a fixed position. He has underwhelmed for England, doesn’t really offer much in…

A world of writing

It has been four years since I started These Football Times and the landscape of football writing has changed beyond imagination in just that short period. I never intended to create a site…

How Francesco Totti became the eternal man of Rome

Rome, the Eternal City, has hosted some of the game’s all-time greats – among them Conti, Falcão, Signori and Chinaglia. None, however, are greater than current captain and symbol, Francesco Totti. It…