From the San Siro to Gusen

Paul Grech Friday, March 29, 2013 , , ,

Although inconsequential when compared to the horrors that were inflicted elsewhere, the Second World War robbed a whole generation of footballers of the finest years of their career.  Those who went to war as young men returned to find that they only had a few years left in their legs and yet they were the lucky ones.  Others either didn't return at all or else didn't have the strength to continue playing.

Unlike many, however, it was during the war that Ferdinando Valletti played the most important games of his life in a setting that was as distant from the stadia of the Serie A as possible.


Up Pohnpei

Paul Grech Monday, March 18, 2013 , ,
Leafing through the history of the English game you come across a number of visionary managers whose greatness stems from their achievements abroad.  Vic Buckingham almost became the first manager to win the double with West Bromwich Albion yet his biggest contribution to the game was that of laying the foundations for Total Football at Ajax. Jimmy Hogan was another who went against the flow by championing a game based on quick passes.  He too found that his theories were more appreciated in Hungary and Austria - where they gave birth to two teams that were to dominate the game - then they were at home. Then there's Fed Pentland who became a legend at Athletic Bilbao, Tony Waiters who took Canada to the World Cup and Bob Houghton who help shaped tactics in Scandinavia.

Comparing Paul Watson to such legendary figures would be foolhardy for in no way does he possess their coaching talent or vision. Yet in his own way he too has helped shape the footballing culture of a whole nation.

Copyright 2010 Paul Grech: Writer