Odysseys

Shimizu Impulse: Falling For The J.League

WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY: BARRY VALDER

After arriving in Japan with visions of ageing Western stars seeing out their careers in the J.League, it was quite an eye-opener for an English fan to discover a whole new football culture and a young, exciting league. It wasn’t long before he became one of the regular faces at Shimizu S-Pulse…

kokuritsu national stadium (1)

Racing Club: The Long And Loyal Wait

WORDS: DANIEL EDWARDS                         PHOTOGRAPHY: NACHO POY

After a desperate search for a ticket to the first Copa Argentina final, a 15-hour bus ride to San Juan, and a skinful of cheap alcohol, an English supporter of Racing Club was ready to see his once-great club end an 11-year wait for glory, yet the wait goes on for the country’s “most long-suffering fans”

racingibwm13

Alan Black: From Clyde to California

INTERVIEW: DOMINIC BLISS

When Alan Black moved from Glasgow to California, he discovered that the kids in suburban America didn’t react too well to his Scottish coaching technique. After writing a critically acclaimed book about his experiences, he spoke to TheInsideLeft about the game’s transatlantic cultural differences…

The 1906 Ultras group support San Jose Earthquakes home and away and drive the atmosphere at games

Wonder Wall: Emerson Thome In Japan

WORDS: RICHARD GODDEN

Emerson Thome had the character and footballing traits that earned him a place in the hearts of fans wherever he played and, during two seasons in Japan, with Vissel Kobe, the man nicknamed “The Wall” for his defensive stoicism became a local hero. He relives his enriching career finale…

Emerson Thome was given an emotional send-off when he departed Kobe in 2007 and ended his playing career

A Russian Revelation

WORDS: ROBERT DILLON

Russia is still the Churchillian enigma of old, still barely fathomable to the Western mind, but for this Englishman, there is a certain appeal to the diverse cultures and cities represented in the Russian football leagues. In the image of the statue of Mother Russia overlooking the crumbling stadium of a faltering Rotor Volgograd, a student from Grimsby found his own, imperfect footballing Mecca…

Simon Dawkins: A Loan Less Ordinary

WORDS: LUKE JAMES

Simon Dawkins has worked hard to get where he is in the game. Unsuccessful trials and injury problems had the winger worried a few years back, but after earning a new contract at his parent club, Tottenham, the North Londoner is enjoying a loan spell with a difference across the pond in the MLS…

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Tom Curtis: An Englishman In Antigua

INTERVIEW: DOMINIC BLISS

Antigua and Barbuda have already progressed further than ever before in World Cup qualifying and, this week, face back-to-back fixtures against Guatemala to try and place themselves in a strong position in their group. We spoke to Tom Curtis, the English coach at the helm of the Benna Boys…

Gerry Armstrong: A Balearic Odyssey

INTERVIEW: DOMINIC BLISS

After scoring in Northern Ireland’s famous victory over hosts Spain in the 1982 World Cup, Gerry Armstrong later spent two years playing for one of the nation’s great overachievers, RCD Mallorca. It was the start of a love affair that endures to this day for Sky Sports’ longest-serving La Liga expert

Football at London 2012: An Olympic Odyssey

WORDS: DOMINIC BLISS

An absence of sneers and jeers, a lack of cynicism and an overriding sense of tolerance and euphoria. Following the Japanese men’s team in the 2012 Olympic football tournament showed me that passionate support doesn’t have to be aggressive or divisive, just heartfelt…

“It Was Like Two Of My Brothers Were Fighting”: Ossie Ardiles Remembers The Falklands War

WORDS: GARRY HAYES

When Ossie Ardiles made the pioneering move from Argentina to London alongside Ricky Villa in 1978, his South American flair captured the imagination of supporters up and down the country. But the outbreak of the Falklands War in 1982 turned everything upside-down for Tottenham’s star import…

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