Posts Tagged ‘Maradona’

Classic Shots from Pre-Season Training Featuring the likes of Best, Jennings, McLintock, Auld & Moore


With the start of the new season on the horizon BOBBY has delved into it’s archives to bring you a random selection of photos from years gone by of footballers preparing for the new campaign.

Whilst some approaches were perhaps a little less scientific than others, the pics are a great snapshot of the enthusiasm players brought to the game. They may not have been super-rich like footballers of today, but they certainly realised they were happier being paid to play than work down a pit for example.


Two Bob: A great photo of Bobby Robson and Bobby Charlton training with England at Roehampton ahead of the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.

Soccer - Chelsea - Training - Stamford Bridge

Lumber-Up: Chelsea players workout using a 125lbs tree log to stretch during a pre-season training session in 1953.

Bobby Moore

Poetry: West Ham centre-half Bobby Moore heads the ball during a pre-season training session in Chadwell Heath in August 1962.

Soccer - Tottenham Hotspur Training

Burn Out: Pat Jennings and his epic sideburns in action during a Tottenham training session in 1973.

Soccer - Football League Division Two - Millwall FC Photocall

Lion King: Goalkeeper Brian King of Millwall springs into life in July 1969.

Soccer - Football League Division Two - Fulham Photocall - Craven Cottage

Photocall: Fulham’s Len Fisher limbers up with some stretching in pre-season at Craven Cottage, 1939.

Football - Chelsea Training - Stamford Bridge

Balls Up: Champions Chelsea get in some heading practice at Stamford Bridge in 1955.

Jimmy Hill goes through his paces at a Craven Cottage training session, 1958

Chin Up: Jimmy Hill goes through his paces at a Craven Cottage training session, 1958.

Diego Maradona

New Boy: Diego Maradona seen here training with his new Napoli teammates in the mountain resort of Castel del Piano in central Italy on July 27th 1984.

Arsenal favourite Frank McLintock showing off his leaping skills before the 1968-69 season

High Gunner: Arsenal’s Frank McLintock showing off his leaping skills ahead of the 1968-69 season.

Manchester United manager Wilf McGuiness with George Best during a training session in 1970

Scorcher: Manchester United manager Wilf McGuiness with George Best during a training session in 1970.


Hoops: Celtic assistant manager Sean Fallon watches Bertie Auld and Bobby Lennox enjoying a bit of the old running in-and-out-of-tyres routine in this training shot from 1967. Earlier that year Jock Stein’s brilliant collection of local players became the first British team to win the European Cup when they beat Inter Milan in Lisbon.


Hairy: Chelsea defender Dave Webb, sporting an impressive beard, seen here in training in Mitcham, south London, before the 1970-71 season. At the end of the previous campaign, Webb had scored the extra-time winner in that feisty FA Cup final replay against Leeds at Old Trafford.


Natter:  Tottenham captain Danny Blanchflower (left), and team-mate Dave Mackay, sit and chat tactics during a training session at Cheshunt, in July 1962 as they prepare for the start of the 1962-63 season.


The Greatest Tackle Ever – and it’s not by Bobby Moore!

by Rob Shepherd.

There are some people (often Arsene Wenger) who don’t seem to think the tackle is anything to shout about anymore.

But without solid, honest, properly timed tackles what would dazzling footwork and skill mean if it went unchallenged with the sort of ‘After You Claude’ attitude that the Arsenal manager seems to think should be adopted by opponents.

Indeed, much of the magic of Lionel Messi would become meaningless if there was no threat.

That’s not to suggest turning the clock back to the days of Norman ‘bites yer legs’ Hunter, Ron ‘chopper’ Harris or Italian hitman Claudio Gentile. While Hunter and Harris were symbols of an area where enforcers were given more leeway in this country, it was Gentile who took the role of defensive midfielder to another level on the international stage not least when he man marked and harassed Diego Maradona out of the game at the 1982 World Cup finals, a tournament Italy went on to win.


Claudio Gentile of Italy puts in an ‘old fashioned’ tackle on Diego Maradona in the 1982 World Cup.

It was the way that Maradona was effectively kicked out of the tournament, as Pele had been in 1966, which began FIFA’s process of changing the laws, starting with outlawing the tackle ‘through from behind’, and insisting referees issue cards for violent tackles.

In the main it has been positive, promoting more attacking free-flowing football at home and abroad.

When people try to compare Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to Maradona and Pele it should always be remembered that the latter thrived when the advantage was with the defenders in the Seventies and Eighties, even up to the 1990 World Cup after which FIFA stepped up their crusade to ‘clean up the game’ (well, on the pitch at least).

Footage of Gentile stalking Maradona during that game in 1982 which Italy won 2-1 is quite extraordinary and would surely have resulted in a red card and not too long into the encounter either. It makes Hunter look like Snow White…

Some of the challenges bordered on assault. Yet a defiant Gentile, who was eventually showed just a yellow card (Maradona had earlier been cautioned for complaining at the rough-house treatment), stated afterwards that: “Football is not for ballerinas.”

Without the sort of shackles players have on them now Gentile, sometimes with stealth, sometimes subtly, sometimes slyly, often outrageously, then went on to hound Zico of Brazil in one of the all time classic matches which Italy won 3-2 to put them into the final against West Germany, a game the Italians would win 3-1.

That said, there has been an ironic twist to the clamp-down on the dark arts of defending that Gentile turned into a sort of science, one which we are starting to see too often in the Premier League.

Few and fewer players seem to know how to tackle properly which often results in woefully timed lunging challenges that are often far more dangerous than the ones iron feet men like Hunter, Harris or Gentile used to plough in – well at least until they were upset or angry.

Of course another unwanted side effect is that more and more forwards dive, buying free kicks and getting opponents into trouble.

And when you look at old footage is should be noted that whilst a lot of the tackling was fierce it was more often than not fair, in a time when a lot of players shunned shin pads and some played with socks rolled down around their ankles.

Bobby Moore takles Jairzinho in 1970

Click here to see Bobby Moore’s tackles v Brazil in 1970.

And for many there is tackle back in the day that proves that tackling is a form of skill in its own right when performed properly.

It came in the 1970 World Cup finals when Bobby Moore bided his time before caressing the ball of the advancing Jairzinho then immediately setting up a counter attack.

Yet footage has just come to light which in many ways betters Moore’s tackle – because it led to a goal from inside the scorers own half.

OK, it was in an obscure lower league in Italy but it’s worth looking at it and asking: ‘Is this the greatest tackle of all time..?’



The Saviour in Training
30 years ago Maradona arrived in Naples – it was never the same again

Diego Maradona


Our latest shot is of Argentine soccer superstar Diego Armando Maradona (centre) seen here training with his new Napoli teammates in the mountain resort of Castel del Piano in central Italy on July 27th 1984.

Maradona was transferred from Barcelona to Napoli with ambitious president Corrado Ferlaino forking out a then world-record £6.9 million.

At that time there was a huge North/South divide in Italy economically, and teams from the north – such as Juventus, Roma, AC and Inter of Milan – dominated domestic football.

Maradona gave people hope and his impact on the area simply cannot be overstated. After his signing was officially announced a local newspaper proclaimed that despite the lack of a “mayor, houses, schools, buses, employment and sanitation, none of this matters because we have Maradona.”

In his time there Napoli won the league twice and were runners-up twice. It’s important to remember that before Maradona arrived in Naples no team from the south of Italy had EVER won the Italian league title.

He finished as the clubs all-time leading scorer with 115 goals and in honour of his achievements the number 10 shirt was later retired by Napoli.

(AP Photo/Massimo Sambucetti)


Ribery to Break the Messi Monopoly…?
The betting for the 2013 Ballon d’Or

by Rob Shepherd.

The nominations for FIFA’s Ballon d O’r have been made and the shock early favourite is Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery.

Ribery may not have the glitz or the glamour of Lionel Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo, but the French man’s contribution to a brilliant Bayern team that won the Champions League – as well as the domestic double – has not been underestimated.


Ribery embodies the team ethic at Bayern

It should also be remembered that the award is not entirely down to who the best player on the planet (or at least in European club football) is in terms of ability, but which player has made the biggest contribution to one of the best teams.

Mind you for the past four seasons Messi has won the award on whatever criterion you wish to use or whatever solar system he has been playing.

That said Cristiano Ronaldo, who won in 2008 but has narrowly missed out ever since, now believes there is a conspiracy against him from FIFA explaining why he has not been regarded as Numero Uno on Planet Football.

His case was strengthened when the ever strange and sometimes sinister FIFA president Sepp Blatter not only said he liked Messi better but then did a weird ‘mickey-take’ out of Ronaldo when speaking at the Oxford Union at the end of October.

Gareth Bale, Robin van Persie and Zlatan Ibrahimovic despite being brilliant individuals are all considered to be rank outsiders.


Kevin Keegan receives the Ballon d’Or from France Football Editor-in-Chief Jacques Thibert, in May 1979.

There is not one English player in the long 23 man list.

The first winner of the award in 1956 though was English.

Stanley Matthews won the inaugural prize after the Ballon d’ Or was dreamt up by the French football magazine France Football.

Since then there have only been five more British winners.

Scot Denis Law in 1964, Bobby Charlton in 1966, Belfast’s George Best in 1968, (all when with Manchester United although Charlton’s was as much to do with his display at 1966 World Cup) Kevin Keegan in 1978 and 1979 while with SV Hamburg in Germany and Michael Owen for his Liverpool and England displays in 2001.

The only winner from the Premier League was Cristiano Ronaldo when at Manchester United in 2008.

Originally the award, which commonly used to be known as the European Player of the Year award, was just for Europeans.

That is the reason Diego Maradona never won it when at the height of his club career with Napoli.


Ronaldo (the original one) was the first Brazilian to win the Balloon d O’r

After it was thrown “open” Liberian striker George Weah won it 1995 when with AC Milan and in 1997 the old Ronaldo was the first Brazilian to win when at Barcelona.

The award is voted for by a group of elite football writers and will be announced in January.

It appears there is groundswell to salute Bayern Munich in the form of French international Ribery. Indeed there are five other Bayern players nominated; Philipp Lahm, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer, Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

So the “Bayern” vote could be split, but there is a feeling there could be a lobby to single out Ribery, who embodies the German clubs’s ethos underpinning his individual ability with a fierce work ethic.

Then again Messi’s immense importance to Barca was displayed last season when they were without him, not least in the Champions League semi final defeat to Bayern.

Courtesy of Betway here are the odds for the winner of the Ballon D’Or 2013:

Franck Ribery                  9/10
Lionel Messi                      7/4
Cristiano Ronaldo             8/1
Zlatan Ibrahimovic            28/1
Arjen Robben                  40/1
Neymar                           40/1
Bastian Schweinsteiger    50/1
Andres Iniesta                  50/1
Thomas Muller                 50/1
Radamel Falcao               50/1
Robert Lewandowski        50/1
Gareth Bale                     50/1
Robin van Persie              66/1
Philipp Lahm                    66/1
Mesut Ozil                       80/1
Manuel Neuer                  80/1
Xavi Hernandez                80/1
Luis Suarez                     100/1
Edinson Cavani                100/1
Thiago Silva                     100/1
Yaya Toure                      125/1
Andrea Pirlo                    125/1
Eden Hazard                    200/1

Maradona Gets Into The Groove The Musical Legacy of La Mano de Dios


There has been much debate over who the greatest player the world has seen is, and usually after much discussion it comes down to a straight fight between Pele and Maradona.

To find a definitive or utterly compelling argument in favour of either is a difficult task – most people have their mind made up already – but if the deciding factor was the number of songs written about a player then Diego Maradona would win hands-down. I mean by a country mile, total no-contest. The guys got hundreds of songs dedicated to his great name and sung in adoration of him, and that’s just from Napoli’s fans.

Music is clearly a big part of Maradona’s life. Our photograph is of a young Diego digging through some vinyl and listening to some of his favourite tunes back in 1980. He has also sung many times on TV and over the years has been seen gracing dance-floors the world over.

But never has a figure from the world of sport evoked such a response from the world of music.

Some of the biggest Maradona inspired hits include: Maradó by Argentine suburban rock band Los Piojos, a favourite of Napoli fans is Maradona è meglio ‘e Pelé by Enzo Romano which translates as  ‘Maradona is better than Pele’, ‘O reggae e’ Maradona was a big hit for Neapolitan reggae band Jovine in 2007, and an all-time classic Neapolitan anthem is O Surdato ‘Nnamurato made famous by Massimo Ranieri which Napoli fans have tweaked in homage to their idol.

Unquestionably the most famous song about Maradona was by cuarteto music legend Rodrigo Bueno and is called La Mano de Dios. For the linguistically challenged among you that translates as ‘The Hand of God’ but don’t let that title put you off this song, it’s regarded as a dance classic in Argentina and it tells the story of Diego’s rise to greatness. Bueno tragically died in a car accident in 2000, but he lives on through this song and occasionally Maradona will even perform it himself (as he does in the link below) in thanks to Bueno.

Maradona – La Mano de Dios (The Hand of God)

In a slum I was born, it was gods will
That I grow up and survive
This humble example to face adversity
Eager to succeed in life. With each step I took

On the playground I forged an immortal left hand.
With experience A buringing ambition to make it
As a young buck, I dreamed of the world cup
And rising to the top in Primera
Perhaps by playing I could help my family

From the very outset
The Doce cheered
My dream contained a star
Full of goals and dodges
And all the people sang
The Hand of God was born
Sowed joy in the people
Brought glory to this land

Bearing a cross on my shoulders for being the best
For not selling out I confronted the powerful
Curious weakness if Jesus stumbled
Why shouldnt I too
Fame introduced me to a white woman
Of mysterious taste and forbidden pleasure
Who addicted me to the desire to use her again
Taking my whole life
And this is a match that someday
I am going to win

From the very outset
The Doce cheered
My dream contained a star
Full of goals and dodges
And all the people sang
The Hand of God was born
Sowed joy in the people
Brought glory to this land


Messi or Maradona..? Here’s what the experts think…

shepand hod

Rob and Glenn agree on what wine to go for

By Rob Shepherd

I had spot of lunch with Glenn Hoddle, Ossie Ardiles and their old Spurs team mate Paul Miller at Planet Hollywood recently.

It’s always great to hear former stars tell tales about the old days and of course how the game compares now to back then. It is what BOBBY is all about.

So with ex-England legend Hoddle and Argentine World Cup winner Ardiles around the table, the BIG question had to to be asked didn’t it..?

Maradona or Messi..?

Hoddle: “Maradona. He did it when defenders were kicking lumps out of you. Amazing player. He won a World Cup on his own…”

Ardiles: “For me Messi. Not just for the way he plays, but how long he has delivered and how he lives his life. Of course Diego was a great player, but really, really great for too short a period. He didn’t live well and sometimes when he turned up to play his condition was bad.”

Paul Miller ordered another bottle of red; Hoddle went for a Rioja, Ossie a Malbec….

Who would you vote for..?

By the way If you haven’t seen it before here is Maradona and Messi going head to head at football-tennis. In the supporting roles  are no less than Carlos Tevez with Messi and Uruguay legend Enzo Francescoli playing with Diego.