Editor’s Note – Jonathan Wilson
It’s almost a decade now since The Blizzard was conceived in the Chart Room in Fitzgerald’s pub on Green Terrace in Sunderland.

The Best of the First Five Years

The Conversion of St Pauli? – Uli Hesse
Back in the Bundesliga, Europe’s most noted counter-cultural club is having to balance its ethos with the desire for a secure financial future

The Man who Made Calcio – James Horncastle
How Gianni Brera shaped the language and style of Italian football

The Collaborator – Philippe Auclair
The treacherous life and traitor’s death of Alexandre Villaplane, France’s first World Cup captain

The Brain in Spain – Sid Lowe
Juanma Lillo, mentor to Pep Guardiola, explains his thinking on clubs, coaching and why society is sick

The Bomb and the Bowler Hat – Barney Ronay
How modern football was shaped in an internment camp in Berlin

Corrida of Uncertainty – David Winner
How the cruelty of tiki-taka resembles bull-fighting

The Kindling of a Flame – David Tryhorn
The former Brazil captain Socrates talks about why footballers have a political responsibility

My Name is Ally MacLeod and I am a Winner – Dominic Sandbrook
How Scotland’s humiliation at the 1978 World Cup knocked nationalism off course

Paying the Penalty – Karel Haring
The Czechoslovakia great Antonín Panenka discusses how his famous dinked penalty came about and the impact it’s had

The Rise of the Technocrats – Tim Vickery
How attitudes to the dictatorship shape Brazil’s change of approach in the seventies

Everything is Politics – Jonathan Wilson
The great Bosnian coach Ivica Osim reflects on the war, Japan and Alan Mullery’s lack of fair play.

Notes on Street Football – Aleksandar Hemon
What kickabouts reveal about the tortured artists of neoromantic myth

Football on TV – Scott Murray
Key moments in the history of televising the game

The Death of Mystery – Rory Smith
Is the modern thirst for knowledge taking the fun out of football?

Literally on Fire – Jonathan Liew
How the game’s relationship with smoking has changed over the generations

Booze Boys – Dion Fanning
Tracing the history of Irish football’s sizzled relationship with alcohol

Closure – Igor Rabiner
Travelling through Siberia with Avram Grant to find the graves of his grandparents

The Van Basten of Hartlepool – Harry Pearson
Adam Boyd and the glory of a talent that flickers without ever catching light

Tour of Duty – Davidde Corran
With the Vietnam War at its height, Australia sent a team to play in a tournament in Saigon

Sleeping Giant – Robin Bairner
In 1982, Jean-Pierre Adams was given anaesthetic before knee surgery. He hasn’t woken up

The Turf War – Ann Tornkvist
How the murder of the promising footballer Eddie Moussa sheds light on Sweden’s gang culture

Fallen Eagle – Ewan MacKenna
The death of the former Nigeria striker Rashidi Yekini remains shrouded in mystery

The Peter Principle – Rupert Fryer
Promotion to a level of incompetence is a common idea in business, but is it true in football?

The Best of the First Five Years


Released in December 2019, The Best of the First Five Years is a selection of 23 of our favourite contributions from 2011-2015. There’s Uli Hesse on St Pauli’s ethos, David Tryhorn sits down with Socrates and Igor Rabiner travels with Avram Grant through Siberia. Plus lots, lots more.