Blast from the past

’11 goals, two hat-tricks, three pens, one red and several punch-ups … it was the greatest final ever played on American soil’

* Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber recently announced plans to extend his organisation’s geographic reach by adding five new franchises by 2020. The new entrants will boost MLS to 24 teams – a haunting reminder for older American fans who witnessed the North American Soccer League’s swift demise after peaking at 24 franchises in the late 1970s. But, as Ian Thomson writes, it's not as if the NASL or its predecessors, including the 'one year wonder' of the United Soccer Association, were without their thrills and spills.   By Ian Thomson 23 September 2013 Factors underpinning soccer’s current growth in the United States bear...


125 years ago this Saturday, a Scottish draper from Aston Villa wrote a letter that made history (and football as we know it)

By Nick Harris SJA Internet Sports Writer of the Year 26 February 2013 It was 125 years ago on Saturday, or 2 March 1888, that William McGregor, then the president of Aston Villa, wrote a letter to a small group of other football clubs, floating the idea that they should organise a league. In doing so, he changed the world, or at least the large parts of the world that know football as the only truly global game. McGregor, a draper by trade from Perthshire in Scotland, wrote to Blackburn, Bolton, Preston and West Brom saying: "I beg to tender the following suggestion as a...


Wales, Bale, Giggs & Co: from historic outcasts to the heart of Team GB

By Steve Menary 22 May 2012 It seems almost certain now that the number of Welshman ever to have played Olympic football for Great Britain will double or treble this summer - from two in total at present since 1908 to five, six or even seven. The Welsh have been the worst represented of the Home Nations in all the previous incarnations of the GB side. The only Olympic Games where Welsh players have ever played was in 1948, when three Welshmen were among the squad of 22 chosen by a panel of selectors for Manchester United manager Matt Busby to oversee. And only...