Category Football

In defence of excuses

“It is excuses after excuses” thundered Roy Keane this weekend, in a damning assessment of Liverpool’s collapse over recent weeks. Having won the Premier League last year, they are all but out of the running barely halfway through the season this time around. The ferocity of Keane’s criticism is unsurprising: he has little natural affinity […]

On football and creating your own value

I’ve written a piece for, arguing that the possibility of the Premier League season being abandoned, and of Liverpool being robbed of a title they had all but sealed, highlights the inherent subjectivity of value. Liverpool fans, I suggest should define success and failure for themselves, regardless of the what the Premier League decides: […]

VAR and Virtue

Rebecca Lowe has written a piece arguing against the introduction of video assistant referees (VAR – additional referees who monitor football matches on video, and intervene if they believe the lead referee has made an error) in this year’s World Cup. She claims that the reform undermines sportsmanship by reducing players’ freedom to choose not […]

Is supporting a football team irrational?

Anyone who has really, passionately followed a sports team must at some point wondered whether it is worth it: all the heartbreak, disappointment and frustration. Take Arsenal Fan TV: does it look like a bunch of people having a good time, or just making themselves miserable for no good reason? A fascinating new paper by […]

The tragedy of Robert Enke

I have just finished A Life Too Short, Ronald Reng’s biography of Robert Enke, the German international goalkeeper who stunned the world of football by committing suicide in 2009, aged 32. It is the best book I have read all year – movingly written, with the pacing of a novel, a powerful, claustrophobic insight into […]

Is it cos Sturridge is black? A call for research on race and football

Sachin Nakrani posted a thoughtful and thought-provoking article over the weekend asking why Daniel Sturridge is received with so little affection, despite being one of (I would say the) the most talented and prolific English footballers of his generations. Nakrani tentatively raised the possibility that it is because of his race. Not so much due […]

What the Euro 2016 squads tell us about migration

One of the recent themes of commentary around Euro 2016 has been migration. It may be because of the resonance of a major tournament returning to France, where 18 years ago a multiracial team defied the far right to unite the nation. It may be because of the emotional match between Switzerland and Albania early […]