Melting pot

In search of Louis van Gaal: dictator, drama queen, legend

. REVIEW . By John Roberts 28 November 2014 When the flamboyant Ron Atkinson was the manager of Manchester United, he answered a routine check call from a football reporter and told him: “I’m about to sign Ruudi Wakening from Vasta Sleep.” Big Ron was chuckling even before the reporter had time to make a note. It seems unlikely that examples of such levity will be forthcoming from Louis van Gaal’s dealings with the media during his reign at Old Trafford if a new book, 'O, Louis: In Search of Louis van Gaal', is a guide. The insightful story concerns a love/hate relationship between Van Gaal and...


“Catterick: ruthless, demanding, never courted popularity. Mr Success”

REVIEW By John Roberts 31 October 2014 During Everton’s celebratory dinner after winning the League title in 1963, Harry Catterick, the club’s manager, mentioned to Roy Vernon, one of his stellar players, that he was considering writing an autobiography. “I don’t want it published until after I’m dead,” Catterick added, to which Vernon replied dryly: “I look forward to reading it.” Catterick never did publish his memoir, but his manuscript from the mid-1960s provided invaluable material for a fascinating new biography, Harry Catterick: The Untold Story of a Football Great, written by Rob Sawyer with the intention of vaulting his subject above “the status of...


‘The top 20 teams in England pay $2.9BN in wages a year. All of MLS pays $129.5m’

By Roger Pielke Jr 30 October 2014 As the MLS's 2014 season moves towards a conclusion with the play-offs underway, it is notable there is no place in the post-season for the biggest-spending team, Toronto FC. Despite having a salary bill of almost $17m (£10.6m), which is the highest in MLS, the Canada-based franchise is not among the 10 teams in the play-offs. This is anomalous in football (soccer) because the team with the biggest wage bill is generally up there with the challengers, if not winning every season. The reasons for Toronto's failings are too complex for this article but the fact...