Playing it Right: Rhyl FC's Strong Beliefs

Paul Grech Sunday, August 25, 2013 , ,
What was your most cherished possession as a child?  Ask that question to anyone with an interest in football and more often than not you'll be told of some fancy pair of boots or a kit of their favourite team received as a gift at Christmas or on their birthday.

Even though years will have passed since they last wore them, they'll go on to describe every little detail about them and just what it was that made them special.  More than their words, however, it is their faces that typically do most of the communicating as these usually light up at the memory of the games they used to play and the fun they had.

Playing football should always be about creating such memories yet, unfortunately, that’s not always a priority when a child signs on for an academy or a centre of education.  Suddenly it becomes all about the pressure of keeping up with the rest so as to be retained and the fear of being let go.

Not at Rhyl FC, however.  “When a player signs for us they get their own football,” says the club’s manager Greg Strong.  “We strongly believe that everything should be done with the ball.”

The rest of this interview can be read at Blueprint for Football.

England's Way Forward

If you’ve got any interest in the development of talent, particularly in England, then the chances are that you have come across Matt Whitehouse at some point or another.  The author of the hugely popular blog The Whitehouse Address owes a lot of his success to his hard hitting; no hold barred style of writing that doesn’t shirk from criticising those that he feels are failing football in England.

What few people know, however, is that Matt is also a qualified coach who has worked for professional academies and for whom writing about the game is a way of understanding it better.

Perhaps that is why he has written ‘The Way Forward’.  But, more likely, it is an attempt to try and influence a system that  - as seen this summer – seems to be failing at producing players who are good enough for the highest level.  As he admits in this interview with Blueprint for Football, the aim is to “to give a comprehensive insight into the issues which have plagued English football in the past and the concerns of what is holding us back in the present and future.”

The rest of this interview can be read on Blueprint for Football.

A Nice Bit of Praise

Paul Grech
There is always a little bit of trepidation when you submit an unsolicited piece to a website; an expectation that it will come back with a note saying that it isn't good enough.

That was the feeling when I sent a piece on Vujadin Boskov to the editors at In Bed With Maradona.  But instead, I received what is probably one of the finest compliments I've ever received:

"Gems such as these are not just welcome here, they are cherished".

They Are They, We Are We: The Forgotten Genius of Vujadin Boskov

"Rigore e' quando arbitro da"

If during the eighties you followed Italian football with any degree of interest, then those words (that, incidentally, mean "penalty is when referee gives it") should sound familiar.  As should "se vinciamo siamo vincitori se perdiamo siamo perditori" (if we win we are winners, if we lose we are losers) and "loro sono loro, noi siamo noi" (they are they, we are we).


Sports Book Chat: Chris Anderson

In the beginning, there was Moneyball.

Well, not really.  What kicked off sport’s interest in statistics was an underground movement in baseball headed by Bill James and which eventually made its way into the mainstream in the form of statisticians being employed by clubs. It was James who coined the term ‘sabermetrics’ (the search for objective knowledge about baseball) and who started publishing his theories in the highly influential Baseball Abstract books.

Copyright 2010 Paul Grech: Writer