Perhaps Marcus Rashford was trying to be too precise. Whilst Frank Lampard, my dad and thousands of others criticised Rashford’s stuttering steps in the build-up to his penalty, he successfully sent Gianluigi Donnarumma the wrong way. Had his effort been just a few inches to the right it would have been hailed as a brilliant penalty. But elite sport is a game of inches.
By Isaak Lewis-Smith
Tonight, at the Estadio do Dragao in Porto, Chelsea play Manchester City in what is set to be a mouthwatering finale to this year’s UEFA Champions League. The only sporting competition I know the theme tune for, I’ve hardly missed a final since that famous night in 2005 when Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool hauled themselves back against Carlo Ancelotti’s inimitable AC Milan.
by Howard Green
From a certain perspective, mobilisation amongst football fans is something that is wasted in the route toward social progress. Frequently individuals sacrifice their money and a vast amount of their free time to follow their football club, or just to participate in the general activity of football. If this sort of frequency and mass of mobilisation were done in the name of protest and justice, we would probably see greater change in our society. But since the initial announcement of the breakaway European Super League, the views of the most loyal of football fans are not being taken into account. A powerful elite are changing their audience, and in many ways it is necessary that football fans must call out what this is: mere capitalism.
By Howard Green
Norwich City’s glossy matchday programme for their home match against Stoke on February 13th is emblazoned with the face of fan favourite winger, Onel Hernández. Hernández, a famously bubbly and humorous character who has played for the Canaries since the beginning of the 2018/19 season, made a late substitute appearance against Stoke during Norwich’s 4-1 win. On this occasion it was a brief outing for the programme cover star – but recent developments in Hernández’s career are much more significant than this match might suggest.
by Howard Green
There are few people in this world who have had a more eventful life than Diego Armando Maradona, who has unfortunately passed away aged 60 years on Wednesday 25th. His existence has been a tale of spectacle and interest. The man has died as one of the best footballers ever to play the game, and a hero to the Argentine people.
Content warning: racism, xenophobia, homophobia, examples of racist abuse
Children in Norfolk schools are usually taught about Black history within the context of the American Civil Rights movement — predominantly through figures such as Martin Luther King Jnr. or Rosa Parks. However, despite there only being a relatively small community in the county, Norfolk has a rich Black history going back centuries, much of which has largely been forgotten.
By Howard Green
Professional football has been hyper-commercialised by every means available. Billion pound deals between private entities to secure TV rights, ridiculous sponsorship schemes that see clubs partner with the most strange or dangerous of companies, and ever-rising ticket prices turning the sport into an occasional daytime activity for the well-off rather than dedicated working-class fans. But there are still instances of defiance, of fans and players organising and speaking out against the commercial elements of the sport.
by Jonathan Lee
Content warning: sexual assault, racist slurs, violence
On Monday 14th October, a UEFA Euro Qualifiers match between Bulgaria and England was forced to stop on two occasions after racist abuse from Bulgarian fans was aimed at Black players on the England team. The match, which was already subject to a partial stadium ban for previous incidents of racism, saw black clad, nazi saluting, monkey-chanting skinheads hijack the proceedings and force the stadium to issue announcements and the refereee to halt the game.
The three step UEFA protocol (which reached the second step on Monday night, the third would have abandoned the match) has been criticised for being ineffective and too soft to counter discrimination. Whilst UEFA’s public reaction to the racism has been firm, calling for “football’s family” to “wage war on the racists”, whether or not neo-nazis should be given two free gos at abusing Black English players before they are punished is a valid point.
By Robyn Banks
In the last few weeks Bury Football Club has been facing eradication due to complete mismanagement by their owner. Whilst this is sad for the fans, it isn’t the first time that we have heard this story this summer, let alone in the last few years. Bury are the victims of the shifting focus of the English Football League and club owners from the survival of teams to the creation of profit.
by Jonathan Lee
After the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, England football fans had enjoyed a slightly improved reputation internationally for behaving themselves a bit better at away games in Europe. This illusion was shattered last week in Portugal for all the world to see, as boozy lads in shorts and polos attacked locals with bottles, wrecked cars, and clashed with police on the streets of Porto. It turns out that, without Russian ultras and law enforcement to keep them in line, England’s lads-on-tour stag party of intolerance and imperialist nostalgia is just as present in the travelling fan culture as it always has been. Embedded homophobia, a staple of the hooligan culture of old, also reared its ugly head again in Portugal with some England fans feeling unsafe among their own supporters.
“I experienced more homophobia in 3 hours here than I did in 3 weeks in Russia,” said Joe White, an English football fan and co-founder of LGBT+ supporters group Three Lions Pride. “And this has all come from England fans” he added. “LGBT+ is clearly not welcome.”