Saturday, 15 November 2014
Wednesday, 12 November 2014
Wolfgang-Felix Magath wasn’t always the sadistic, cheese-toting crank he’s now portrayed as being. A long time ago, before Fulham, Hangeland and the Quarkwickel, he was a footballer.
And a very good one at that: for parts of the seventies and eighties, he was considered Germany’s finest playmaker, a cerebral presence at the heart of one of Europe’s best domestic sides. This was Hamburg-era Magath: subtle, creative and intelligent, a man the great Ernst Happel labelled “a monastery student”.
Yet this unlikely image of Bruder Felix, a benign and thoughtful football monk, flies in the face of the current perception of him as some sort of autocratic OAP with a hatred for lethargy. For when it comes to Magath, a gloomy present masks an illuminated past.
Friday, 7 November 2014
Thirty years ago, Joe Fagan’s Liverpool took on Argentinian club Independiente for the honour of becoming “World Club Champion”. It was the only title that had eluded the Merseysiders, but in order to win it they would have to overcome one of South America’s finest cup teams and a miserable English record in the competition…
In December 1984, near the midpoint of the English domestic season, the players and coaching staff of Liverpool F.C. took some time off from the First Division grind and travelled by plane to Tokyo. They had flown halfway round the globe not as part of a drive for the introduction of a winter break, but in order to contest the wonderful, wild and often dangerous Intercontinental Cup.
Opposing them in their efforts to become the de facto best team in the world would be Independiente, Argentina’s “El Rey de Copas”, the undisputed kings of the Copa Libertadores. It was to be a clash of the world’s two most prolific continental sides of the previous 20 years; between them, Liverpool and Independiente had won 11 European Cups and Copas Libertadores from 1964 to 1984. As it turned out, the match would also be a curtain call for both teams as masters of their continents.