Previous
AS Roma
CSKA Moscow
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bayern Munich
Manchester City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Ajax Amsterdam
Paris Saint-Germain
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Barcelona
Apoel Nicosia
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Chelsea
Schalke 04
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
NK Maribor
Sporting Lisbon
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Shakhtar Donetsk
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Porto
BATE Borisov
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Blackburn Rovers
Derby County
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Nottingham Forest
Fulham
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Fleetwood Town
Barnsley
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Montreal Impact
New York Red Bulls
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Bayamon FC
America
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Municipal
Real Espana
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Huachipato
U. Católica
9:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Universitario de Sucre
César Vallejo
10:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
River Plate
Godoy Cruz de Mendoza
12:15 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Libertad
Barcelona
12:15 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
San Lorenzo
Defensa y Justicia
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nueva Chicago
Boca Unidos
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Huracán
Crucero del Norte
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Aldosivi
Douglas Haig
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Guarini A. Franco
Ferro Carril Oeste
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Independiente Rivadavia
All Boys
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Patronato
Atlético Tucumán
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sarmiento de Junín
Santamarina
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy
Instituto de Córdoba
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
At. San Luis
Correcaminos
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Irapuato
Altamira
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Oaxaca
Lobos BUAP
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Chiapas
Veracruz
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Queretaro
U.A.N.L
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
U. de G.
Atlas
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Cruzeiro
Atletico Paranaense
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
EC Vitória
Fluminense FC
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Figueirense FC
Criciúma
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sport
Internacional
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Botafogo
Bahia
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Coritiba FBC
São Paulo
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Palmeiras
Flamengo
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Alianza Lima
Inti Gas Deportes
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
12 de Octubre
Nacional
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Seoul
Western Sydney Wanderers
0
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Bay United
Mamelodi Sundowns
Postp
Game Details
Chippa United
Orlando Pirates
Postp
Game Details
Free State Stars
Moroka Swallows
Postp
Game Details
Mpumalanga Black Aces
Ajax Cape Town
Postp
Game Details
Silver Stars
Pretoria Univ
Postp
Game Details
SuperSport United
Bloem Celtic
Postp
Game Details
Alajuelense
Belen
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Patriotas F.C.
La Equidad
8:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Atlético Junior
Llaneros
11:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Boyacá Chicó FC
Once Caldas
12:30 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Deportes Tolima
Independiente Medellín
12:30 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Independiente Santa Fe
Cucuta
12:45 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Next

The Unbeatables

FC Reviews Jul 23, 2014
Read

FC Reviews: Six Stickers

FC Reviews Jul 3, 2014
Read

FIFA World Cup - Brazil

FC Reviews Jun 13, 2014
Read

Javier Zanetti: 'Play Like a Man'

FC Reviews Jun 4, 2014
Read

The Hooligan Factory

FC Reviews May 29, 2014
Read

The Class of '92

Blog - FC Reviews Nov 20, 2013
Read

Adidas Copa Mundial

Blog - FC Reviews Nov 7, 2013
Read
Jan 28, 2014

The Stupid Footballer is Dead

Rating:

Paul McVeigh was always a decent player, and was also -- the earliest days of his career apart -- one who made sure he maximised his talent. The Northern Irish forward knew he wasn’t one of the game’s outstanding performers but, by paying close attention to every mental and physical aspect of professional sport, he could play at (or close to) his best on a regular basis.

And, as “The Stupid Footballer Is Dead” reveals, the approach works. McVeigh blossomed as a Norwich player after arriving from Tottenham and got to where he wanted to be by setting a series of targets: become a first-team regular, start scoring goals, get a certain number of goals. He achieved all of them. If you know what you want to do, keep telling yourself you can do it, he says -- and you've got every chance. He has used the same approach in his media career, he explains -- he didn’t like speaking in public, but told himself, every day, that he loved it. Now he thrives on it.

Without the right approach, McVeigh argues, even the highest ability will fail to translate into consistent success (Mario Balotelli is the example cited at this point). English football falls down because it puts a huge emphasis on physical coaching but very little on what psychology can do. Being an England international shouldn’t be any more pressured than playing for Germany -- yet England use the “pressure” argument to explain away failures that could equally be blamed on a lack of proper mental and technical preparation. Penalty shootouts loom large here.

Other countries are unquestionably ahead of the UK in terms of helping a sportsman or woman use their mind to help their body, and perhaps there’s a deep-seated English suspicion to be overcome here. The game’s profound unease with the issue of mental health is perhaps the darkest spin-off of the narrow attitudes McVeigh detects in a game in which dismal machismo still rules the roost all too often, and in which broadening your approach might mean you don’t fit in. When McVeigh left London, the then Spurs manager George Graham told him he was too small to make it at White Hart Lane. He may not have liked the Norwich chant for him ("We love you Paul McVeigh, and if it’s quite alright, we love you Paul McVeigh, despite your lack of height"), but his determination to prove Graham wrong meant he earned the fans’ affection.

He scored a brilliant flying header in the playoff semifinal win over Wolves in 2002 (and his description of the thrill it gave him shows why some players have problems after quitting the game). He was on target at Old Trafford when Norwich spent a year in the Premier League in the mid-2000s. He worked constantly on his game, telling himself he could make steps up as the team did. He visualised the things he wanted to do -- “Focus on winning that tackle, scoring that goal” – although, as he explains, he found it genuinely impossible to tackle Thierry Henry (he wasn’t the only one).

Throughout the book, he uses role models to illustrate the points he makes. Striker Grant Holt, briefly a Carrow Road teammate when McVeigh returned for a second stint with the team in League One, embraced new challenges fearlessly and went on to score goals in the Championship, then the Premier League as Norwich won back-to-back promotions. At the other end of the spectrum there was Rory Allen at Tottenham, a gifted player who didn’t actually enjoy playing football. He eventually gave it up and, McVeigh says, was right to do so. What would have been the point?

The Stupid Footballer Is Dead won’t be to everyone’s taste. Some will dislike its motivational, occasionally very earnest tone and its message that, without excuses, every player at every level could do better. But this is a superb book -- and it's unlike anything anyone has written about football in this country for quite a while. Read it and (as McVeigh might urge) make up your own mind.