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Hakuna Matata #7: Got, got, got, need!

Yet another cracking entry in our Hakuna Matata series, Scandinavian football connoisseur Charlie Anderson has penned a reflection on something that conditioned football supporting for many of us in our childhood – Merlin Premier League stickers.

My favourite television period drama is The Forsyte Saga, which aired about a decade ago. Admittedly it’s the only television period drama I’ve seen, so I consider it my favourite in the same way that I consider Hermann Hreiðarsson to be absolutely the best Icelandic left-back ever to play for Crystal Palace. The Forsyte Saga, anyway, is a pan-generational epic about the erosion of social structures as Victorian Britain lurches helplessly toward the twentieth century.

Stig Inge Bjørnebye

Stig Inge Bjørnebye: The personification of a childhood

Soames Forsyte, one of the series’ central characters, has trouble moving with the times. He doesn’t understand why London is full of these new-fangled automobiles, or why members of his family have started marrying for love rather than social betterment. He longs for the days of horse-drawn carriages and stifling emotional repression.
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Serie A 2011-12: Preview

Serie A was due to kick off two weeks ago, but because those poor, disenfranchised players couldn’t agree a deal for a standard contract with those mean, horrid, nasty chairmen there was a strike and they will now be kicking balls into goals starting from this Friday. The only positive to have emerged from this scenario is that it has given us time to collate our thoughts for a Serie A preview which will be judged upon when the season ends, making us look like ridiculous court jesters.

On the panel will be: -

Rocco Cammisola (@rcammisola) – Editor and writer for this fair site, you’ll also find him tweeting about Serie A-D. Searching out obscure stories from deep in the Italian leagues, trying too hard to be a hipster.

Matthew Campbell (@mattc236) – Writes for The Football Express, focusing mainly on English football – the Championship to be a little more precise.
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Hakuna Matata #6: European Nations ’80 Italy 1-0 England

By Giancarlo Rinaldi

Not every child gets to see their father rolling around the living room floor with his two brothers. To the outsider, it might have looked like a fight that had got out of control as three grown men writhed around on the carpet. But what looked like aggression was actually ecstasy.

Marco Tardelli: Hero of the night

Marco Tardelli: Hero of the night

This was what growing up was like for me. There were not that many football games on television, even fewer involving Italian teams. So when the Azzurri played at a major championships it was a real occasion. A time for family, food and a few bottles of wine.
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Hakuna Matata #5: A VHS tale – Play, Pause, Rewind, Repeat

George Ogier recognises that for many of us discovering our enduring love of football is difficult to attribute to a single moment, football is a far more insidious affliction. In his Hakuna Matata contribution he describes how he became an acolyte of the game.

People often speak about the defining moments of their lives. The events that would be in super-slo-mo, high-definition, 3D magnificence were you to put together a highlight reel of your time on earth. I have had plenty in my life. The first time I met my wife, the birth of our daughter, the time my Mum found out I’d been smoking cannabis. You know, the usual suspects. However, when I consider how big a part football plays in my life there isn’t one particular moment where it all fell into place. There wasn’t a goal that I was mesmerised by or a game that I was taken to that really cemented my love of the sport. My obsession with football was a more gradual affair and it owes a huge debt of gratitude to VHS and one particular video, 20 Golden Years Of The World Cup.

Italia ’90 was the first World Cup I really cared about. It was the first time I had watched football regularly and it had given me a potent sense of excitement about the coming season. The team I supported, Tottenham, had Gary Lineker and Paul Gascoigne coming back from Italy as undoubted stars of the competition and I could not wait for it all to get going again. Except I had to.
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Hakuna Matata #4: A new dawn – England v Poland ’86

By Chris King

In a bedroom, in North West London, an 11 year old boy is woken by the light of a new day. The thin material of his curtains no match for the glare of the rising summer’s sun. In later years it will take him an age to rise from his bed; forever hitting the snooze button on his alarm – praying for five more minutes peace before the horrors of the daytime resume. But now, at such a tender age; he is up in an instant – resuming his intergalactic battle with figurines and transformable characters. All under the watchful eye of heroes – both fictional (superman wall paper) and sporting (an A1 poster of Glenn Hoddle).

At first glances it appears to be a normal, everyday morning – but on closer inspection, there is something different about his room today. As his head raises with the swooping motion of arm and robot in disguise, the boy notices an old, used envelope propped up against the mirror above his drawers. He moves closer to inspect the envelope, trying to guess what reason it had to be there? He could see there was nothing inside it – ripped as it was, with such haste so as to leave just one side intact.
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Tuesday tit-bits: French Fancy

A decidedly French feel to this week’s links, at least to begin with. Most of this has been influenced by the recent goings on at PSG where their new shareholder appears to have given them license to print money, bringing in a number of new players. One such star has been Javier Pastore, whom I wrote an ode to at the weekend (go and read it if you haven’t already). James Horncastle has written a comprehensive profile of El Flaco’s career complete with a number of very interesting quotes from former coaches Angel Cappa, Walter Zenga and Delio Rossi. You can read it here.

Continuing our promenade, Ben Lyttleton sums up the ten storylines worth keeping track of in French football this season for Sports Illustrated. Storylines such as ‘Are Paris Saint-Germain the new Manchester City?’ and ‘Is this Yoann Gourcuff’s last chance?’

Sports Illustrated – Ten storylines to follow entering the French Ligue 1 season

Whilst there has been a huge exodus of talent from Serie A this transfer window, there have also been a couple of names arriving. Michael Cox (of Zonal Marking fame) profile one such arrival in the form of Bojan Krkic, who has moved from Barcelona to Roma.

ESPN – Bad blood as Bojan leaves Barca

Football stickers are great. Three Match Ban have produced a player quiz based on football stickers that is quite fun. See how well you get on with their latest offering on Copa America stars (old and new).

Three Match Ban – Guess the Copa America star from their classic sticker

Over at the Oval Log, @FilippoInzaghi (not THE Filippo Inzaghi) takes a look at the shambles going on in Argentina with the league restructuring which initially appears to be happening entirely in order to save River Plate.

The Oval Log – The new look Argentinian Premier League and the hope to avoid it

It wouldn’t be right for an Italian summer to pass without some reason for football fans to be cynical and concerned. The latest betting scandal could see Atalanta captain and club legend, Cristiano Doni banned for three years – effectively ending his career now that he is thirty eight years old. James Horncastle (again) explains how he got himself into this mess and why he’s regarded so highly by the locals of Bergamo.

Four Four Two – Atalanta fans in denial as hero Doni accused of match-fixing

Finally, a video of Javier Pastore put together by @AlexSLDN. Enjoy.

Hakuna Matata #3: Out on the stairs

Italia ’90 was remembered by some for few goals and Pavarotti’s rendition of Nessun Dorma, but for Richard Pye from Headers and Volleys it also bore the stain of early bedtimes and sneaking down on the stairs. He continues our Hakuna Matata series here.

In the summer of 1990, our old brown, battered TV shone a beam of light into my world. Italia ’90. With it came my first taste of dashed hopes, but also the birth of my understanding as to why indeed this game was so ‘beautiful’.

Gazza's tears

As the tournament and England progressed, I had become obsessed with the team of David Platt, Gary Lineker and of course, Paul Gascoigne. Wanting to be just like them I’d be in the street with my partners in crime Gav and Graham, desperately trying to replicate Platt’s hooking volley, or Lineker’s ducking runs to near and far posts, attempting to latch onto the crosses of Waddle and Barnes. In reality, the only move I was able to repeat turned out to be Gazza’s semi-final tears.

When England were knocked out by West Germany, my dad threw his mug of tea at the wall and I, sat on my haunches in the middle of the sofa, was not really sure what had happened. Dad had explained to me that whilst we certainly hadn’t lost, West Germany had somehow contrived to win because Waddle and Stuart Pearce had messed up their penalties. And so the waterworks began for the first time. Being past my bed-time, I was consoled and put to bed with the comforting reassurance “it’s alright boy, there’s another World Cup in four years”. If only I’d known I’d probably still be crying now.
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