In 1914 one of Britain’s most famous sportsmen went off to play his part in the First World War.

Like millions of others, he would die.

Unlike millions of others, nobody knew how or where. Until now.

Lost in France is the true story of Leigh Roose: playboy, scholar, soldier and the finest goalkeeper of his generation. It’s also the tale of how one man became caught up in a global catastrophe – one that would cost him his life, his identity and his rightful place as one of football’s all-time legends.

Lost In France is the biography of goalkeeper Leigh Roose, football’s first genuine superstar, a man so good at his position on the field of play that the Football Association made one of the most significant rule changes in the game’s history just to keep him in check. Small wonder that when the Daily Mail put together a World XI to take on another planet, Leigh’s was the first name on its team sheet.

Read our review here: Book Review: Lost in (footballbookreviews.com)

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. July 2016. Paperback: 192 pages)


The Year We (Nearly) Won the League charts one of the closest ever top-flight title battles in English football.

It was 1974/75 and with just four games to go, no fewer than ten clubs had a chance of winning. One was Stoke City, fielding the best team they had ever had. This book follows Stoke as they rise to the top spot, only to fall at the final hurdle.

You’ll discover the unorthodox methods of Tony Waddington, a manager with an eye for talent and a flair for sensational signings. Some of them are legends of English football: Banks, Hurst, Hudson and Shilton.

This campaign was the final glorious hurrah of that team, before the club met near bankruptcy and relegation.

Half a century on, the players themselves recall a time when hearts – and legs – were broken, when the football flowed, and the drink did too.

Although the focus is on one club, this story of Stoke’s ‘nearly men’ will resonate with every fan whose team has promised much, but never quite scaled the summit.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. February 2022. Hardcover: 352 pages)


After a trophy-laden and record-setting club and international career, England’s greatest ever goalkeeper, Peter Shilton, could rightly look forward to an equally successful post-playing career. But a gambling habit forged in his playing days soon spiralled into a gambling addiction: a silent, self-destructive and ruinous obsession that destroyed relationships, his mental health and very nearly himself.

With the love and support of his wife Steph, he was able to face up to his addiction, find hope for the future and overcome his 45-year secret and turn his life around.

Peter and Steph – who has over 20 years’ experience working in the NHS – now campaign to raise awareness of this, and other destructive addictions, helping both addicts and their partners weather the long and arduous journey back to recovery. Their support for and work with ‘The Big Step’ campaign aims to bring in stricter advertising controls and team kit sponsorship rules.

Steph and Peter bravely tell both sides of their journey with a direct honesty and an empathy born of real-life experience, offering advice and hope to not only those affected by gambling, but sufferers of other chronic addictions. They also shine a light on football’s obsession with gambling, taking millions of pounds from the gambling sites and bookies who sponsor the game, while neglecting to support both the players and fans who fall prey to addiction.

This is the ultimately uplifting story of how he was saved – by Steph’s love and support, and his own strength and determination.

(Publisher: Ad Lib Publishers Ltd. September 2021. Hardcover: 288 pages)

Book Review: Rhapsody in Blue – How I Fell in Love with the Great Chelsea Team of the Early Seventies by Neil Fitzsimon

Chelsea Football Club were founded in 1905 playing their homes games at Stamford Bridge, which they still do, to this day. Up to the First World War, The Blues were very much a yo-yo club, as they bounced between the First and Second Division, but did make an FA Cup Final appearance in 1914/15 losing 3-0 at Old Trafford to Sheffield United. After the war and the resumption of football and up to the start of the Second World War, Chelsea continued to drift between the two divisions, leaving their best performances for the FA Cup as they appeared in a number of Semi-Finals.

It wasn’t until 1954/55 that the club made its mark in the English game, when they won the First Division title for the first time. However, it was not a success that The Blues built on and in 1961/62 they suffered relegation back to the Second Division, only to bounce straight back up the following season under Manager Tommy Docherty. It was to see the club have up to that period its best years, with players coming through the youth set-up and the League Cup won in 1964/65 after a 3-2 aggregate win over Leicester City. The club then also made it through to the 1966/67 FA Cup Final against Spurs, going down 2-1 to their London rivals. Docherty was sacked in 1967 heralding the start of the era under Dave Sexton, with Chelsea at the centre of the ‘swinging sixties’ with celebrity fans and the bars and clubs of the Kings Road the places to be.

Neil Fitzsimon’s book, Rhapsody in Blue – How I Fell in Love with the Great Chelsea Team of the Early Seventies, picks up the story of the Stamford Bridge club, as the author attends his first games in SW6 during the 1968/69 campaign and charts the success of the early 70s. In that period Chelsea won the FA Cup in 1969/70 after a replay against Leeds United and in the following season picked up the (now defunct) European Cup Winners Cup, also after a replay against Spanish giants, Real Madrid. The Blues made it to a third cup final in 1971/72 only to lose 2-1 to unfancied Stoke City in the League Cup. As the author details and believes, from that point the club suffered a decline that was only halted in the 1990s with the advent of the Premier League and the financial backing of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, that has subsequently brought unparalleled success to Chelsea.

Fitzsimon’s focus though is not only of that four or five year period back in the late 60s and early 70s at the Bridge and the stereotypical view of grim northern teams, but also of his formative years growing up into a young adult and the nostalgic days of playing football in the streets and on local pitches, Subbuteo football tournaments and of travelling to games with his mates. This is undoubtedly a tale of a time never to be repeated as money and the media has changed the professional game and the matchday ‘experience’ beyond recognition and for Fitzsimon’s the loss of the innocence of youth.

Stylistically, it is written in a very conversational and at time laddish manner, with vignettes of varying length covering from a football perspective, the highs and lows of the cup triumphs at Old Trafford, Athens and Wembley, other memorable games Fitzsimon attended, as well as his observations and memories of homelife, friendship and growing-up. There is a passion in the text that demonstrates and captures the love that fans have for their club, whether in the biased admiration of their own team or the sometimes illogical dislike of opposition teams. For those of a similar age to the author, so much of the book will ring true with their own experiences of the time and for younger readers it will give a view into a life and a sport that was different in so many ways to that of the current generation.

As an aside, is there a story behind the choice of title Rhapsody in Blue? The Oxford Dictionary definition states: a popular musical work for piano and orchestra by George Gershwin. It combines jazz and classical music and was first performed in 1924 by the band of Paul Whiteman, with Gershwin at the piano. The film ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ (1945) was about Gershwin’s life. Much is made that of the fact that football in the 70s was very physical, with every successful club having its ‘hardmen’, with Leeds United having, Norman Hunter, Peter Storey at Arsenal and Tommy Smith at Liverpool. Chelsea though were seen as a flare team, with Alan Hudson, and Peter Osgood, but the reality was that they had their share of those who could dish it out such as Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris and David Webb. The Blues were in fact a combination of the two styles of the 70s, as with the musical Rhapsody in Blue was described as a combination of jazz and classical. Coincidence? Given Fitzsimon’s background as a songwriter maybe it isn’t.


(Pitch Publishing Ltd. April 2020. Paperback 224pp)


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Book Review: I, Robot – How to Be a Footballer 2 by Peter Crouch

Peter Crouch’s How to Be A Footballer was one of the publishing hits of last 2018, notching shortlist nominations for both the National Book Awards and Telegraph Sports Book Awards. Unsurprisingly, therefore, Crouch’s publishers have been quick to make hay on the former England striker’s seamless transition into the literary world by bringing out a second book – I, Robot – How to Be A Footballer 2 – a little over twelve months later. It’s a rather unprecedented move in the world of sports autobiographies, which tend to be separated by years, or even decades (if at all), rather than months (Crouch’s strike partner Michael Owen waited fifteen years for the privilege), but such was the runaway success of Crouch’s first offering, in large part thanks to his dry wit and entertaining take on life as a footballer, in contrast to the often predictable, and dare I say it bland, rags to riches tales of old.

Book two is very much more of the same with regards to the format and tone. The chapters take a theme – Strikers, Nerves, Tackling, etc – and Crouch offers musings and anecdotes from his own experiences. I did feel a bit of déjà vu in the initial chapters and worried maybe this would be a case of the dreaded second-book syndrome, especially coming so soon after the first book, whose novelty and freshness had set it apart. The wit and playfulness are still there from the offset, but I felt the book grew into its own after a few chapters and once again gave that same sense of fun and humour as its predecessor. The chapter on referees particularly showcases everything that Crouch, and this book excels at, with the sort of relatable comic observations associated with the best stand-ups. Similarly, the chapter on the subs bench captures, with perfect wit, the footballer’s relationship to being a substitute. And what Crouch does so brilliantly is take apart the standard football clichés and discloses what really goes on in the minds and dressing rooms of modern footballers – sometimes, there is an I in team, especially, according to Crouch, if you’re a striker. In truth, a lot of what Crouch says isn’t shocking or revealing – nobody wants to be a sub, strikers can sabotage goals for other strikers, some players feign injuries, there’s nothing wrong with 4-4-2 – but footballers have become so accustomed to being part of the diplomatic PR machine that oftentimes the reality is masked behind commercial savoir-faire. Crouch’s honesty, therefore, is a breath of fresh air. And yet, even as he throws playful jibes at his team-mates, it all feels exactly that – playful and harmless. He’s not a footballer with a grudge and this is not a book with an agenda – it’s purely an open, light-hearted, savvy take on football from the inside and it is great fun to read.

Although the book touches on all the main aspects of the game, there’s one glaring omission in the current climate – VAR. I suspect, given that the book published in October, when it went to print, there was little chance to observe the new technology in all its ‘glory’, but it would be interesting to have Crouch’s thoughts on this. Perhaps, that’s lined up for Book 3? To my mind, despite the success of this second book, I think a third in the same vein may be pushing it, but personally I’d love to see a book in the mould of the recent Ask a Footballer (James Milner) with Crouch fielding questions from fans on all manner of football-related queries. But, for now, Crouch has certainly struck gold for a second time with I, Robot. His publishers may have to change the subtitle of the book for the paperback release to How to Be a Footballer and Also A Best-Selling Publishing Sensation.


Jade Craddock



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Book Review: Lost in France – The Remarkable Life and Death of Leigh Roose, Football’s First Superstar by Spencer Vignes

In the modern age football feels like it is at saturation point in terms of coverage. Every detail about a player, manager or club is scrutinised to an infinite degree, so much so that nothing feels new, fresh or indeed inspiring.

Therefore, it was a joy to read, Lost in France – The Remarkable Life and Death of Leigh Roose, Football’s First Superstar by Spencer Vignes. Here is a story from a very different age, a game in which amateur players still had a place alongside professionals, when football itself looked different to that we watch today and a world unknowingly stumbling towards the First World War.

This is the story of a man described by the author as, “playboy, soldier, scholar and maverick”, and one that had been lost in the annals of time, until now. The book proclaims that Roose was, “football’s first genuine superstar”, and on the evidence presented, it is difficult to argue otherwise.

The reader is treated to tales of Roose’s exploits on and off-the-pitch, where his popularity with the crowds as a player, was matched by that with women up and down the country, including a dalliance with the famous music hall star, Marie Lloyd.

However, to classify Roose as merely a showman and womaniser would be an unfair one, here was a player who was regarded as one of, if not the finest goalkeeper of his era, and went on to play for Wales on 24 occasions, and included amongst his clubs, Stoke City, Everton and Sunderland. Indeed, his style of keeping really was pioneering and has to be the precursor to the way that current custodians such as Manual Neuer the German national goalkeeper, act as a sweeper for his team. Vignes argues justifiably that Roose’s style even instigated a rule change, which in June 1912 saw Law 8 change from, the goalkeeper may, within his own half of the field of play, use his hands, but shall not carry the ball to, the goalkeeper may, within his own penalty area, use his hands, but shall not carry the ball.

It is said that goalkeepers are born not made and have a bravery that outfield players don’t possess. Roose was undoubtedly was one such case, in an era when goalkeepers were not afforded the protection they have today. However, he was not just brave on the field of play and in the later part of the book the author skillfully puts together the story surrounding Roose’s service and subsequent decoration in action during the First World War.

This book maybe only be 192 pages long, but it is an absorbing story of a larger than life character and innovator in the football world and is indeed a poignant and timely tale given that it is 100 years since the Battle of the Somme.

Forget the 24/7 banal and inane coverage of the satellite age of pampered players, sound-bite management and corporate chairman, where the losing of a game is a catastrophe; instead be transported to an era where amateurs played for the love of the game and expenses, and of men who paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives in the suffering and real tragedy that was the First World War.


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2015/16: Capital One Cup Third Round – Fulham v Stoke City

My League Cup adventure had taken me to two new grounds in the previous rounds – Carlisle United and Hull City – but today it was a return to much more familiar territory, that of my own team Fulham for their Third Round tie with Stoke City.

Stoke had come through the Second Round after beating Luton Town 8-7 on penalties, whilst Fulham had reached this stage of the competition after a First Round 1-0 win at Wycombe Wanderers and a Second Round 3-0 victory over Sheffield United.

With the League Cup games played in midweek it was a dash after work to catch the train from Leeds down to London. Attending games ‘suited and booted’ always has a strange feeling and this sensation was reinforced arriving at Kings Cross in rush-hour and blending in with the other ‘suits’ in travelling on the tube to  Putney Bridge.

It really didn’t feel like a match-day as I emerged into Bishops Park for the walk to the ground with very few others making their way to Craven Cottage. Indeed it was a very subdued atmosphere in the stadium as I grabbed a beer and watched the sunset over The Thames.

By kick-off time just over 9,000 fans had congregated for this game with the travelling contingent from Stoke making themselves heard from the first whistle.

As is the trend these days in the cup competitions, Premier League Stoke made wholesale changes to their line-up with experienced squad players Shay Given, Steve Sidwell, Peter Odemwingie and Peter Crouch getting a rare first-team start.

The opening half-hour produced very little in terms of real opportunities for either side. Fulham were neat in possession but had no cutting-edge in the last third, whilst Stoke were reduced to an effort that Odemwingie dragged well wide of the Fulham goal.

On thirty three minutes Stoke made the breakthrough although there was a touch of fortune about it. Crouch collected the ball and looked to play a one-two with Odemwingie, as the Stoke player looked to make the return pass, Fulham’s Ben Pringle made the challenge and diverted the ball back into the path of Crouch who coolly finished past Lewis.

The goal provoked a response from the Whites and the crowd rallied as Pringle had an effort on goal and Burn hit the post from a header, although it was flagged offside.

Stoke led 1-0 at the break in what had been a pretty tight opening forty five minutes.

During the interval there was time to wander back out to the riverside amongst those queuing for half-time refreshments and take in the sights, sounds and smells. Reassuringly, these never seem to change, with optimistic talk of a second-half comeback floating in the air, mingling with the steam of hot drinks and the smell of fried onions.

Soon though it was time to return to our seats with a chilly wind following us from the Thames.

Fulham started brightly in the second period with an early effort from Pringle whistling over the bar. As the half continued, Stoke continued to be resolute at the back, but began to concede a number of free-kicks in and around their penalty box. However, McCormack could not make them count, with his efforts striking the visitors wall.

Just past the hour mark Fulham looked to ring the changes with a double substitution as Kacaniklic and Woodrow were replaced with Tunnicliffe and Dembele. Still they continued to press and create chances with McCormack unable to convert a Pringle cross and Dembele volleying over.

As the game entered the last fifteen minutes, Stoke were still clinging onto their slender lead and should have sealed the victory as Odemwingie was played into the box after Affelay had broken down the left, but the Nigerian international contrived to fire over the bar.

Fulham made their last substitution with eight minutes remaining in what was to prove a dramatic finale. First Christensen produced a long range lobbed effort from a poor clearance from Given, which ultimately dropped wide. Then with ninety minutes on the clock, Fulham were unable to clear and Stoke substitute Arnautovic with plenty of time and space curled his effort wide.

The fourth official indicated five minutes time added on and the Stoke faithful howled derisively. Fulham threw everything at the Potters, with Given making a great save from Christensen. Then with barely seconds left a header from Burn caused havoc in the Stoke defence and after a ricochet eventually came back to him, this time he crashed a shot against the bar. It had been a grandstand finish from Fulham, but Stoke had survived to progress 1-0.

Given that it was a small attendance tonight the exit was swift from the ground and within minutes walking back through the park along by the river the crowd had thinned and once again the feeling that it didn’t feel like a match-day returned. Across the river, the bright lights of the Star and Garter dazzled and voices enjoying an evening drink echoed over the water.

Back on the underground I was just another a weary looking commuter, although this one still had the delights of the last train North and arrival in the early hours in Leeds to navigate.

Book Review: And She Laughed No More by Stephen Foster

Danny Blanchflower once said “The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning. It’s nothing of the kind. The game is about glory. It’s about doing things with style, with a flourish, about going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom

I had never seen this quote before Stephen Foster brought it to my attention in this book, and I am grateful to him for it. If anything encapsulates my view of the beautiful game then this is it. As Foster opines, if anything was the complete opposite of Tony Pulis’ approach to the game, this quote would be equally perfect. Here lies the quandary, here lies the paradox. How can a supporter of Stoke City dislike a manager so intently when he has just delivered the incredible – a return to the top flight of English football for the first time in 25 years, a feat which seemed less likely to many than finding the lost city of Atlantis? Indeed as a long suffering Stoke supporter of 22 years I have witnessed the worst era in the club’s history, dark days, and storylines so ludicrous a fiction writer would be hard pressed to make up, dismissed by his public as too unrealistic. But amazingly here we are about to face the most exciting season in 25 years, a season in the Premiership, the high point so far so in many supporters’ lives. Am I excited? Oddly not really, and Foster’s book goes a long way to explain why.

Several years ago I read Foster’s excellent “She Stood There Laughing: A Man, His Son and Their Football Club”, an account of Stoke City’s first season back in the Championship. Hard to put down I moved through the book at pace marvelling at the quality of poetic language used to describe so many bleak events. There was much laughter too; Foster’s observations are sharp, witty, and frankly accurate. This hilarious autopsy of Pulis’ first season saw me nodding my head in agreement and wishing I had the talent to express my near identical views in this way. In short it was spot on.

So it was with eager anticipation that I awaited “And She Laughed No More”. In the intervening years I had met the author, attended the weekend in Brussels recounted in the book, and was a regular recipient of the call to arms – the “Pulis out” text message. If anything this book is better than his previous account of the Stoke experience. It deals with the contrasting emotions of revulsion towards all that is wrong with the Premiership – greed, money, high ticket prices, prima donna footballers, silly transfer fees, and sycophantic media – and the opposite side of the coin, the joy of being there, the experience of competing against the best and not coming up short too often. His accounts of matches I attended capture the moment so wonderfully, be it on the pitch or general atmosphere, that I trust the descriptions of games I could not make in person. Indeed these are often the most enlightening, for Foster sums up so well, I might honestly think I’d been there. Again the author’s analytical nature and self-deprecating wit shine through the inebriated haze of the average supporter to deliver an entertaining and honest account of Stoke City’s first Premiership season. His inclusion of family and friends who endured the season with him adds colour and depth to the account. There is the human story as well as the football story. It would be enjoyed by football fans and Stoke fans alike.

The sub plot to the book is the relationship of the author with the manager Tony Pulis. Considered a dour, negative, cautious individual who has played for “respectable” 0-1 defeats in his time, one might expect that Pulis would be both out of his depth at this level and his dull brand of football could only be the complete opposite of what’s required to remain in the Premiership. Many of us thought so, including the author, and I definitely did! As if in a state of disbelief and denial, I still do, wondering how such an average manager with such a limited set of tactics and almost at times a contemptuous disdain for football could manage such a remarkable achievement. This book elaborates how. Foster set out to chronicle the Premiership adventure not knowing where it might lead, suspecting an instant return to the Championship like many more of us. However in the course of the season he describes the sometimes dire, sometimes lucky, and sometimes heroic way that a team of largely average footballers come together as a galvanised determined unit for their gaffer, and keep him and the club in the Premiership. The infuriating tendency to sit deep away from home and invite defeat was an insult to the hardy travelling supporters and for likes of Foster and myself, exiles living many miles from Stoke-on-Trent, the home matches were like going away too. But here the experience was different. Not always pretty, rarely in my view entertaining, the Britannia experience was a passionate one, and the willingness to compete and clinch hard working results proved enough for the majority of the fans. Foster captures this feeling within this book superbly, and it is this match day experience that sees his attitude to Pulis change. While I found Pulis’ negative style increasingly depressing, and had seen enough of it over the manager’s too long tenure to consider it predictable and less deserving of my time, Foster sees the unexpected competitiveness of the underdog team as unpredictable and increasingly engaging. Slowly Pulis earns his respect, and while there are deserved criticisms and cynicism along the way, Foster finds numbering the Premiership managers he’d actually swap for Pulis as very few. Football is about being there cheering on your side, the glory and flourish as Blanchflower said. Apart from Aston Villa and Arsenal at home there seemed little glory and flourish for me throughout the majority of the season, which resulted in my absence towards the tail end. It is a credit to Foster that his accounts of matches in the latter stages of season actually make me regret my decision to avoid them.

This book is a must for Stoke fans, whether Pulis is too your liking or not. Both can savour the fine and amusing account of Stoke’s first Premiership season, a tale of the unexpected, a memento of the roller coaster ride that led to unlikely survival. Both can perhaps re-evaluate their positions, a new grudging respect for the manager by the anti-Pulis camp, while his ardent fans might acquire an understanding and acceptance of justified criticism towards him. Those looking in from outside can enjoy a humorous and true depiction of Stoke City’s season far removed from the clichéd media and their lazy journalism. They might portray Stoke and supporting the club as simple and easy to summarise, but Foster demonstrates it is far more complex than that: the games, the heartbreak, the boredom, the frustration, the excitement, and the joy of supporting your team are skilfully detailed in this book. It is a story that any supporter could relate to. A story enhanced by the unlikely outcome.

What I’ve seen and listened to when Stoke play  has not altered my view of Pulis, the frustrations remain, the pleasures are not derived from his methodology but solely the result. When Tuncay signed there was some excitement at his coming to Stoke and it no doubt augmented further the ‘Pulis love” felt by the author, who described the Turkish international in the book as the second best player to grace the Britannia pitch that season. I might not fully agree with Foster’s change of heart towards the manager, but I heartily recommend this enjoyable and well written book. I would have given the book ten out of ten, if it wasn’t for Foster’s surprise admiration of BBC Radio Stoke’s John Acres, a man whose standing with me runs close to Pulis, and the author’s treacherous desertion from the anti-Pulis appreciation of the beautiful game in favour of graft, mediocrity, and single digit score lines – I’m still with Danny Blanchflower, but get yourself a copy any road.

Book details

And She Laughed No More: Stoke City’s (first) Premiership Adventure

Stephen Foster

ISBN  9781906021627

Short Books Limited

Review by Andrew Pointon

2010/11: Football – where did the romance go?

The sixteen Third Round ties this week will feature six all Premier League pairings. However, my bet is that none of the teams lining up on Tuesday and Wednesday this week will resemble those that take the field when the respective fixtures take place in the League. For instance at White Hart Lane, the fixture might be better titled as Spurs Reserves v Arsenal Youth. At the Britannia Stadium, tickets are available at £12, testament to the lack of drawing power of Fulham and a major hint at the selection policy of Tony Pulis for his Stoke line-up.

At Stamford Bridge, ticket prices for the League Cup have been slashed to £20 and Chelsea have been rewarded with a full-house. Newcastle will be concerned about the Blues fire power and the number of goals visiting teams have conceded at The Bridge this season, but may also be questioning that if reduced ticket prices are de rigueur, will post match meal prices also be reduced after Blackpool passed on the £15.50 plus VAT a head, lasagne offered to them after Sunday’s League fixture?

There are possible banana skins fixtures for Everton (away at Brentford), Liverpool (home to Northampton), Manchester United (away at Scunthorpe) and Wolves (home to Notts County). However, these days it is less likely as even teams outside the top flight, look to “focus” on the League. Presumably The Iron will care more about ensuring their Championship status rather than victory over Manchester United?

Is it time the competition was discarded or can it be saved? As a passing thought, what about making it a joint League Cup with teams from Scotland? It may for a couple of seasons create a novelty value around the competition (and some nervous police forces both here and North of the border), but little sustainable interest in the long-term. The reality is that in England clubs are only interested in money and that is generated through participation in the Premier League and the Champions League. Both the FA Cup and League Cup have been reduced to “nice to haves”, mere trinkets, because of their lack of financial clout.

Clubs strive to finish in the Champions League places at all cost. It is a curious fact that teams will battle all season to finish in a European spot, but then some of those who earn Europa League places, proceed in the following season to treat the competition with disdain.

Regrettably cash is king….will the romance of the Cup ever live again?