Pitchside Europe

  • FA going about ‘Y-word’ issue in the wrong way

    Spurs fans, beware. Partaking in your regular chants at White Hart Lane could now land you in court and lead to a lengthy ban from attending football matches.

    The Football Association have announced that fans who use the word ‘yid’ will face criminal charges after publishing new guidelines on the controversial term.

    On the face of it, what they are doing is correct. Yid is used as a racist insult and continues to offend certain sections of the Jewish community. A 2011 campaign titled the ‘Y-Word’ featuring Gary Lineker, Frank Lampard and Ledley King raised the issue, and made those previously

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  • English striker could become the ‘new Bosman’

    Football transfers may be in line for another Bosman-style shake-up as an English striker considers taking legal action to seek more freedom for journeymen players to move clubs.

    English-born striker Joe Yoffe, 26, currently plying his trade in the Icelandic second division, is planning to challenge FIFA regulations that he says limits his freedom of movement and his ability to earn a living as a professional footballer.

    The Manchester-born player is facing an uncertain future as his contract runs out at the end of September and he will not be allowed to register for a new club until January.

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  • Is Joe Hart really a world-class keeper?

    Last season, after Joe Hart's performance against Dortmund in the Champions League, many footballing icons were arguing that the Manchester City keeper was world class.

    In November last year, Wayne Rooney even tweeted that he thought Hart was the best keeper in the world. But it hasn't been the dream start to the season for Hart this time around.

    The Manchester City and England keeper continues to come under pressure for his performances in goal, with his recent appearances on the international stage certainly not inspiring a great deal of confidence.

    It’s led many to question if Hart is a

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  • British football clubs' treatment of their supporters has been described as "an outrage" by an MP following an investigation into the prices paid by fans of the national game.

    The BBC's annual Price of Football report, which analyses costs across 166 clubs in the top 10 divisions in Britain, found that on average, ticket prices had dropped across the four professional divisions in England, but the associated costs of going to a football match are still cause for consternation.

    Ticket prices remain some of the highest on the planet - watching Arsenal can cost up to £126 per ticket - while clubs

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  • Struggling Freiburg paying the price of success


    The team from the Black Forest region finished fifth last term, their second best performance in the Bundesliga, and only missed out on a Champions League qualifying round place on the final day of the season.

    But, while the big guns such as Bayern Munich were able to build on success with more lavish signings, Freiburg's reward was to have their team ripped apart as players took advantage of contract release clauses.

    The result has been that Freiburg, who visit Augsburg on Saturday, have yet to win in four outings and find themselves languishing in 16th place in the 18-team table.

    Freiburg's

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  • Following the departure of Giovanni Trapattoni, we look at some of the favourites for the vacant Republic of Ireland manager’s job.

    Legendary Italian coach Trapattoni was sacked following a 1-0 defeat in Austria which, given the Irish also lost to Sweden this international break, left them all-but out of the reckoning to qualify for the World Cup finals in Brazil.

    ‘Trap’s’ record was good enough given limited resources, but the Irish have decided to go for new blood, with a homegrown coach widely expected to be the solution.

    So who are the bookmakers tipping to be the next Ireland coach? (all

    Read More »from Republic of Ireland runners and riders: Martin O’Neill favourite

  • Gael Kakuta and Patrick van Aanholt of Chelsea on loan at Vitesse Arnhem

    Chelsea may have a better chance of winning the Dutch title this season than the Premier League. Or at least six of the London club's players will. Patrick van Aanholt, Gael Kakuta, Lucas Piazon, Cristian Cuevas, Sam Hutchinson and Christian Atsu are representing Dutch Eredivisie side Vitesse Arnhem in the Netherlands this season rather than attempting to prove their worth to Jose Mourinho on the King's Road.

    Throwing in the Portuguese midfielder Francisco Junior from Everton brings the Dutch club's total of temporary

    Read More »from Chelsea’s 75-man ‘squad’. Why abuse of the loan system threatens England team
  • Why do Werder want Wiese back?

    Hoffenheim goalkeeper Tim Wiese trying to score against Eintracht Frankfurt last season

    At Torsten Frings' recent testimonial in Bremen, the second-biggest cheer was reserved for Tim Wiese. The Werder fans want the flamboyant Hoffenheim outcast back.

    There certainly have been highlights in Wiese's career. For a man who clearly loves his hair, highlights were probably not the only thing the former Werder goalkeeper asked his habitual Bremen barber for.

    The haircutting burghers of Sinsheim have had the joy of styling Wiese's locks (can I just add a disclaimer? I assure you, despite my own

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  • Sir Alex Ferguson grabbed all the headlines when he retired from the game at the end of last season. And why shouldn't he? Manchester United grew into the dominant force in English football as a result of his influence.

    But there was another significant departure from both the club and the game. Paul Scholes left the game of football as one of England and United's finest ever players. He played a huge part in Ferguson's era of dominance after breaking into the side back in 1994.

    So often a game-changer when the ball was at his feet, the quality of his vision and execution was matched by very

    Read More »from Manchester United needed to replace Scholes – and they failed

  • A Real Mallorca side that won 5-1 at Real Madrid a decade ago pose for a team photo. Two pillars of that team - Miguel Angel Nadal and Samuel Eto'o - stand at either end of the back row.

    “When they ask me in the street if I’m Barca or Madrid, I respond with pride and tell them that I’m Mallorca.”

    That’s what 300 vocal Mallorca supporters sang during Saturday’s match against Alcorcón. A year ago, the Palma side were top of the Primera Liga. By Saturday, they were bottom of the second division after losing their opening three matches and conceding 11 goals under new coach Jose Luis Oltra, the

    Read More »from The rise and fall of Real Mallorca, the club Samuel Eto’o calls home