This article will act as introduction to a Lombardia Special which will replace the planned Euro 2020 preview for the June edition of Football Weekends to be published at the end of May.
Anyone who has been reading Football Weekends for any length of time will know from many of my articles that I love Italy. Indeed in a separate article on Como in this edition you’ll discover where that love started. It was a tremendous honour to be asked to write this regional guide to Lombardia, linking in
It's been, what, two weeks without football? The withdrawal is already so bad that I gave in to the Football Manager 2020 free trial; after 12 years on the wagon I'm now obsessing about how to get Weymouth out of the National League South. Either I pay full whack for the game or I face being locked in my childhood bedroom for a week being fed nothing but pea soup. Choose life, choose a job, choose a career, choose '4-2-4 wing play custom route one'. But my tremors and nightsweats are nothing co
In case you haven't noticed, Covid-19 (let's be a bit pedantic and call it that, since there are plenty of other coronaviruses of varying severity, including causes of the common cold) is coming. At the time of writing there are 27 cases in Scotland, but that number is going to increase impressively. For what it's worth it seems to me (from my day job perspective as a GP) that the powers that be are dealing with things pretty appropriately at the moment. I'm not an expert in virology or epidemi
Lower League Ramblings
Here I am again, baring my soul for all you lot to see. Yes I watch Love Island. I’m not proud of it but I live for the drama in the villa and I make sure I rush home to watch it every night. Like everyone else I am praying for them to chuck in a wee ugly fat guy from Greenock with incredible patter to represent our fine nation in front of millions. My prayers have not been answered. Instead they have chucked in an Edinburgh born hunk of a man, tattoos covering his chest
This is a piece that has been penned with a view to publication in Scottish football periodical Nutmeg No.16 in the summer about my friend Fabian Yantorno.
The mere mention of the word Uruguay in a footballing context might still send shivers down the spine of Scotland fans of a certain age. The scars following the clash between the two nations at the World Cup in 1986 in Mexico live long in the memory, as well as with those immortal words of the late, great Hugh McIlvanney “These Uruguayans a
On the one hand, it must be noted that these figures are essentially a year old, as they are for the 2018/19 season. There can also be pretty legitimate reasons for clubs either losing money or not making as much as expected, such as investment in infrastructure. On the other hand, we now have access to the 2018/19 season accounts for eighteen of Scotland's twenty-two full-time SPFL clubs (assuming no-one is counting Airdrie as full-time yet). We also have an idea of what's to come in two other
In case you haven't heard, the Caley Thistle One has been freed. To recap: a couple of weeks back, ICT forward James Keatings was shown a second yellow card in the Challenge Cup semi-final against Rangers Colts after referee Greg Aitken felt he had dived. It was a terrible decision; even without the benefit of multiple forensic camera angles, it was clear as day that he had been bumped and knocked over. The resultant suspension would rule him out of the Challenge Cup Final which, for the sake o
So there's only, what, three months of the season left? We're getting to that time where managers are beginning to think of who will be in next season's squad, where some players are either getting their agents to try and get them a move or panicking that they might be unemployed by the end of May. Going by the information available, 117 players with first team experience are out of contract in the summer. Let's break them, and their likely fates, down... ABERDEEN Luc Bollan, Tomas Cerny, Dan
To be fair, Aberdeen fans probably aren't alone in suffering from a kind of collective footballing dementia. On the one hand, their long-term memory is generally outstanding, especially when it comes to the 1980s and the word "Gothenburg" is mentioned. More Aberdonians claim to have been there than hippies at Woodstock. And you can hardly blame them for suppressing any recollection of the early part of the 21st century, the era of managers such as Ebbe Skovdahl, Steve Paterson, Jimmy Calderwoo
I have had the pleasure of bringing more than a dozen towns, cities and regions of Italy to life for Football Weekends and only once from Serie A when newly promoted SPAL rumbled into the top flight. My world is more the characterful under card of Serie B, C and D, and writing a piece about Como has been high on my “must do list” for a long time, as it was on the banks of this beautiful lake where my love for Italy started way back in July 1982! I was on holiday with my parents in Como the night
I guess the Austro-Hungrian and Ottoman Empires both helped the displacement of people throughout the Eastern side of Europe in particular with Bosnia, Macedonia, Romania to name just three who have significant ethnic populations. I had certainly experienced morsels of such in Trieste, with its dual language status for Slovenian and Italian, but in Italy’s most Easterly outpost, it still felt distinctly Italian, with their language and the cuisine the dominant partner, albeit in a more Austrian
Okay, so in terms of finances the headline is just an eensy weensy bit OTT. Inverness Caley Thistle should have enough cash to get through the season. And given that a club of the size of Queen of the South can still manage to stay full-time there's not really any likelihood of ICT having to go part-time in the near future. Still, they have suffered losses of £2m in the last three years - £400,000 in the 2016/17 relegation campaign and £800,000 in each of the last two seasons. That's really qui
The reaction to St. Johnstone's decision to give three McDiarmid Park stands to Rangers and Celtic fans was somewhat mixed. There was, for example, this piece from the Daily Record's Michael Gannon claiming that they were trying to 'make a quick buck' by exploiting the biggest supports in the country - because giving said supports more tickets is, apparently, 'exploitation'. Especially when said tickets are £28 a pop. Sure, we'd all like to pay less for football tickets, but criticizing the pr
Outgoing Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne gave an interview a few weeks ago where he criticized the refusal of Rangers and Celtic to allow change in Scottish football. It was almost as ridiculous as the toupee he sported at the start of his 21 year reign at Pittodrie. Many, including former St. Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour, were more than willing to lay into Milne for his hypocrisy and his apparent attempts to rewrite history. It's no secret that other Premiership clubs were willing to use Ra
Aside from a game between Morton and Queen of the South that needs rescheduled, the Scottish Championship has reached its halfway point. Eighteen games down, eighteen to go. It would be a stretch to say there is a title race.
Thirteen points clear with eighteen games left? Surely Dundee United can't blow this. United haven't been perfect (their three defeats include a loss to Alloa and a 4-0 trouncing in Dumfries) but they have been close enough. At the time of writing they've won nine st
I have rarely ventured to the famous parthenons of World football, although I have gradually ticked a number of them off, albeit on a tortoise timescale. Occasional big gigs have been drip fed onto my stadia CV over a forty plus year passage of time! The Azteca in Mexico City and Racing Club’s Il Cilindro in Avellaneda run the Centenario in Montevideo close as my favourite, but It took the first ever Kazakh club side to play in England to get me eager to head to Old Trafford to notch up only my
Scotland's Euro 2020 campaign was pretty much a disaster. The only thing good about it is that it's over now.
It's now twenty-two years - nearly two-thirds of my life - since Scotland made it to a major tournament. That's eleven qualifying campaigns we've failed in.
But was the most recent debacle the worst of the lot?
My own football awakening was in 1991, aged seven. I'm not old enough to remember Italia '90, but I am old enough to remember what came after it. So let's rank, and remini
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I am sure when you hear the name Monza in sporting chat, unless you are a Formula One guru, you’ll switch off! The town just slightly north of Milan is synonymous with the race car scene, so fire up the guitar solo from Fleetwood Mac’s, The Chain, but while Monza might be the home to the Italian Grand Prix, there is also a football team too, and they might just be on the cusp of the clubs grandest days!
AC Monza are the football option in the town that have been up to t
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As Henley the Scrounger said to the poorly sighted Colin the Forger, “twenty minutes over this ridge, next stop Switzerland” !! Buckle up, we are off to the land of clocks, chocolate, cheese and Calcio Swiss style!
I am sure when readers are planning a trip there is always a desire to collect information on all available fixtures within a given travel distance of your chosen base ahead of making the finalised plan. It is always a little more of an allure if that plan in
So yeah, this tweet about Rangers' finances got some serious traffic and clogged up my mentions for a couple of days.
Is it worth noting that not one of however many hundred people who saw that tweet noticed the mistake? Apparently I'm not the only one who can't count to seven... The numbers there though. Ooft. You don't have to be an accountant - and I'm not - to know that companies don't publish accounts late on a Friday evening if they want attention drawn to them. Though last year Ran
Another international week endured, and the national team came remarkably close to accomplishing an impossible task - increasing the apathy already surrounding them. It started in Moscow on Thursday night, where Scotland survived a first half onslaught mostly through luck rather than ability and then started the second period with purpose. And inevitably their best fifteen minute spell of the match culminated in a goal...for Russia. The subsequent collapse felt like just another humiliation to
To celebrate Football Weekends 50th edition next month, Jim the editor asked me to nominate three of my favourite “old school” stadiums there. Having been at 40 Italian grounds I am undoubtedly qualified to make such a call, and it was quite entertaining coming up with my choices, which I guess true to form are quite eclectic! This is a relatively short piece as it will be incorporated into a much larger Pan European article in the November edition of the magazine, but ahead of publication, here
Why would McCall want to leave this behind? Ayr United are in glorious form right now. Ian McCall said himself afterward that their first half performance at the Indodrill was as good as any he'd ever managed. Alloa were completely outclassed, unable to cope with United's passing and movement in open play or their physical presence at set plays. If anything, the 4-0 half-time score flattered the home side. As their victory over Dundee United last week showed, this sort of performance is current
Statement from ICTFC: THE JOINT RESPONSE GROUP CAN CONFIRM THE DECISION OF THE SCOTTISH FA BOARD TO SUSPEND ALL DOMESTIC PROFESSIONAL AND GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE SCOTTISH FA UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
Caley Jags weather the storm: Inverness ran out comfortable winners as the game was played out in a mini storm. James Vincent opened the scoring on the half hour from a corner in a dull first half. A brighter second half saw James Keatings score a tremendous swerving free kick from 35 yards before Semple pulled one back for Queens in the middle of a storm. We'll put that one down to the weather. Miles Storey put the game to bed ten minutes from the end when David Carson slid a ball into the box for Storey to poke home off the post. The outcome was never really in doubt and just the tonic on a freezing night when the weather deteriorated as the game went on. Credit to both sets of players for getting through the game without hypothermia setting in.
The Queens visit: Another Tuesday, another game at the Caledonian Stadium, this time we host Queen of the South looking to get over the disappointment of a poor result at Alloa on Saturday. The game kicks off at 7:45pm
Inverness had to re-shuffle the back four in the third minute with Lewis Toshney unable to continue, Kevin McHattie replacing him. A deflected shot by Lee Connelly opened the scoring after 12 minutes, the ball entering the net off Brad Mckay......