The Inside Left

Italy and the Cult of the Ageing Number 10

WORDS: DOMINIC BLISS

Last weekend was the 22nd anniversary of Francesco Totti’s debut for Roma and, at 38, he continues to produce the moments of magic that have made him not just a club legend but a cult hero for casual fans of Italian football. Yet he is not the only ageing playmaker thriving in the bel paese, far from it…

Off The Beaten Track: Polish Football Landscapes

PHOTOGRAPHY AND WORDS: PRZEMEK NICIEJEWSKI

Away from the big cities and the major leagues lie Poland’s forgotten football fields and during the off-season they are at their most beautiful. Neglected, they simultaneously blend in and jar with their surroundings, but come the end of the winter break, they will be ready for action once again…

DSCF2996

Julian Speroni: Hands of God

WORDS: BRYAN DAVIES

The fans at Selhurst Park call him ‘Manos de Dios’, but it took a while before the safe hands of Julián Speroni were truly appreciated by the many Crystal Palace managers who have come and gone since the Argentinean arrived in south London over 10 years ago. Now he is a bona fide club legend…

Brian McBride: ‘Fulhamerica’

INTERVIEW: DOMINIC BLISS

Ahead of the United States’ visit to Craven Cottage for tomorrow’s international friendly against Colombia, we spoke to legendary centre-forward Brian McBride about his time at Fulham, the continuing growth of the game in America and the heritage of his old west London stomping ground…

Searching for Erbstein

WORDS: DOMINIC BLISS

Ahead of the launch of my debut book, I began to reflect on the difficulties faced by a writer trying to uncover an untold story. The name Ernő Egri Erbstein means very little even to those of us who claim to know our football history, but the Hungarian Jew who built the Grande Torino was a key influence on the modern game. So why was his story forgotten for so many years?

Stood astride his Lucchese squad

A Certain Romance: Banstead Athletic And Me

WORDS: DOMINIC BLISS

As a teenager with dreams of becoming a sports writer, I answered an advert in the local paper to cover Banstead Athletic matches and my love of non-league football was born. Even amid the ugliness and emptiness of a local sports ground on a cold midweek evening, there is beauty to be found in our game

Margate v Banstead

Empty Promises: Depression In Football

WORDS: CHRISTOPH WAGNER

It is now four-and-a-half years since Robert Enke tragically took his own life in autumn 2009, but despite calls at the time for a wider discussion about depression in sport, the subject very quickly slid off the agenda. Andreas Biermann’s suicide on Saturday shows that nothing has changed…

Andreas Biermann

A World Cup Covers Album

INTERVIEWS: DOMINIC BLISS

The World Cup is a cause of great agonising in publishing offices around the world as the editorial teams of football magazines sit down and figure out how to make their cover stand out from all the others looking to depict the tournament in unique and original ways. We looked at some of this year’s finest World Cup covers with the help of the people who designed, illustrated and commissioned them…

Covers Collage

Kerzhakov: A Great Russian Novelty

WORDS: ROB DILLON

The ups and downs of Aleksandr Kerzhakov’s career could fill a Russian novel, but he popped up when it mattered in this World Cup to salvage a point from an opening game to forget against South Korea. Yet that record-equalling goal was just the latest episode in his long-running international saga…

AAKerzahkov

Thirty-One Nil: On The Road With The Outsiders

INTERVIEW: DOMINIC BLISS
PHOTOGRAPHY: JAMES MONTAGUE

James Montague travelled the world following the game’s ultimate underdogs as they attempted to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. We asked him about the highs and lows of a journey on which he was tear-gassed in three different continents and witnessed football’s first American Samoan victory haka…

San Marino 2 The World Cup

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