Previous
Aston Villa
Arsenal
0
3
FT
Game Details
West Ham United
Liverpool
3
1
FT
Game Details
AC Milan
Juventus
0
1
FT
Game Details
Deportivo La Coruña
Real Madrid
2
8
FT
Game Details
Atletico Madrid
Celta Vigo
2
2
FT
Game Details
America
Pachuca
2
1
FT
Game Details
New York Red Bulls
Seattle Sounders FC
1
0
LIVE 45' +1'
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
FC Dallas
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Hamburg SV
Bayern Munich
0
0
FT
Game Details
Mainz
Borussia Dortmund
2
0
FT
Game Details
New York Red Bulls
Seattle Sounders FC
1
0
LIVE 45' +1'
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
FC Dallas
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Queens Park Rangers
Stoke City
2
2
FT
Game Details
Aston Villa
Arsenal
0
3
FT
Game Details
Burnley
Sunderland
0
0
FT
Game Details
Newcastle United
Hull City
2
2
FT
Game Details
Swansea City
Southampton
0
1
FT
Game Details
West Ham United
Liverpool
3
1
FT
Game Details
Deportivo La Coruña
Real Madrid
2
8
FT
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Granada
0
1
FT
Game Details
Atletico Madrid
Celta Vigo
2
2
FT
Game Details
Espanyol
Malaga
2
2
FT
Game Details
FC Augsburg
Werder Bremen
4
2
FT
Game Details
Hamburg SV
Bayern Munich
0
0
FT
Game Details
SC Paderborn 07
Hannover 96
2
0
FT
Game Details
Schalke 04
Eintracht Frankfurt
2
2
FT
Game Details
VfB Stuttgart
TSG Hoffenheim
0
2
FT
Game Details
Mainz
Borussia Dortmund
2
0
FT
Game Details
Cesena
Empoli
2
2
FT
Game Details
AC Milan
Juventus
0
1
FT
Game Details
Marseille
Stade Rennes
3
0
FT
Game Details
Lorient
Stade de Reims
0
1
FT
Game Details
Metz
Bastia
3
1
FT
Game Details
Nantes
Nice
2
1
FT
Game Details
Toulouse
Caen
3
3
FT
Game Details
Watford
AFC Bournemouth
1
1
FT
Game Details
Brighton & Hove Albion
Blackpool
0
0
FT
Game Details
Derby County
Cardiff City
2
2
FT
Game Details
Fulham
Blackburn Rovers
0
1
FT
Game Details
Leeds United
Huddersfield Town
3
0
FT
Game Details
Middlesbrough
Brentford
4
0
FT
Game Details
Millwall
Nottingham Forest
0
0
FT
Game Details
Norwich City
Birmingham City
2
2
FT
Game Details
Rotherham United
Charlton Athletic
1
1
FT
Game Details
Sheffield Wednesday
Reading
1
0
FT
Game Details
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Bolton Wanderers
1
0
FT
Game Details
Colchester United
Bradford City
0
0
FT
Game Details
Doncaster Rovers
Chesterfield
3
2
FT
Game Details
Fleetwood Town
Bristol City
3
3
FT
Game Details
Gillingham
Walsall
0
0
FT
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Crewe Alexandra
6
1
FT
Game Details
Notts County
Oldham Athletic
0
0
FT
Game Details
Port Vale
Barnsley
2
1
FT
Game Details
Preston North End
Crawley Town
2
0
FT
Game Details
Rochdale
Coventry City
1
0
FT
Game Details
Scunthorpe United
Leyton Orient
1
2
FT
Game Details
Swindon Town
Sheffield United
5
2
FT
Game Details
Yeovil Town
Peterborough United
1
0
FT
Game Details
AFC Wimbledon
Morecambe
1
0
FT
Game Details
Bury
Burton Albion
3
1
FT
Game Details
Cambridge United
Luton Town
0
1
FT
Game Details
Cheltenham Town
Dagenham & Redbridge
1
1
FT
Game Details
Mansfield Town
Carlisle United
3
2
FT
Game Details
Northampton Town
Accrington Stanley
4
5
FT
Game Details
Oxford United
Stevenage
0
0
FT
Game Details
Plymouth Argyle
Hartlepool United
2
0
FT
Game Details
Portsmouth
Wycombe Wanderers
1
1
FT
Game Details
Shrewsbury Town
Newport County
0
0
FT
Game Details
Tranmere Rovers
Exeter City
1
2
FT
Game Details
York City
Southend United
2
3
FT
Game Details
Aldershot Town
Lincoln City
1
0
FT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
Nuneaton Town
1
0
FT
Game Details
Barnet
Altrincham
5
0
FT
Game Details
Bristol Rovers
Woking
2
0
FT
Game Details
Dartford
Forest Green Rovers
1
2
FT
Game Details
Eastleigh
Braintree Town
1
0
FT
Game Details
Halifax
AFC Telford United
5
0
FT
Game Details
Kidderminster Harriers
Grimsby Town
0
1
FT
Game Details
Macclesfield Town
Southport
3
0
FT
Game Details
Torquay United
Dover
2
0
FT
Game Details
Welling
Gateshead
1
1
FT
Game Details
Aberdeen
Ross County
3
0
FT
Game Details
Hamilton Academical
Kilmarnock
0
0
FT
Game Details
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
St Johnstone
2
1
FT
Game Details
Linlithgow Rose
Fraserburgh
2
1
FT
Game Details
Recreativo Huelva
Lugo
0
0
FT
Game Details
Barcelona B
Llagostera
0
1
FT
Game Details
Mirandes
Sporting Gijon
0
2
FT
Game Details
Real Zaragoza
Alavés
1
0
FT
Game Details
CD Sabadell
Ponferradina
1
0
FT
Game Details
Las Palmas
AD Alcorcon
4
1
FT
Game Details
Bari
Livorno
2
0
FT
Game Details
Bologna
Crotone
0
2
FT
Game Details
Brescia
Ternana
0
0
FT
Game Details
Catania
Modena
0
0
FT
Game Details
Cittadella
US Pescara
3
2
FT
Game Details
Lanciano
Frosinone
1
5
FT
Game Details
Latina
US Avellino
1
2
FT
Game Details
Perugia
Vicenza
2
2
FT
Game Details
Pro Vercelli
Varese
4
0
FT
Game Details
FSV Frankfurt
VfL Bochum
1
5
FT
Game Details
SpVgg Greuther Furth
Kaiserslautern
2
1
FT
Game Details
TSV 1860 Munich
FC Ingolstadt 04
1
1
FT
Game Details
Le Havre AC
Troyes
3
2
FT
Game Details
Excelsior
Dordrecht '90
1
1
FT
Game Details
ADO Den Haag
Go Ahead Eagles
1
1
FT
Game Details
Vitesse Arnhem
Heerenveen
1
1
FT
Game Details
Roda JC Kerkrade
Jong Ajax
1
0
FT
Game Details
NEC Nijmegen
FC Emmen VV
4
0
FT
Game Details
RKC Waalwijk
FC Volendam
1
3
FT
Game Details
FC Penafiel
Vitoria Setubal
2
0
FT
Game Details
CD Nacional de Madeira
Braga
1
1
FT
Game Details
FC Ufa
Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast
0
1
FT
Game Details
Rostov
Zenit St Petersburg
0
5
FT
Game Details
Kuban Krasnodar
FK Rubin Kazan
2
1
FT
Game Details
Spartak Moscow
Terek Grozny
1
1
FT
Game Details
Erciyesspor
Akhisar Belediye
1
2
FT
Game Details
Balikesirspor
Galatasaray
2
0
FT
Game Details
Mersin Idmanyurdu
Caykur Rizespor
2
0
FT
Game Details
FC Xanthi
Levadiakos
2
0
FT
Game Details
OFI Crete
Atromitos
1
0
FT
Game Details
Olympiakos
Veria
3
0
FT
Game Details
Mouscron-Peruwelz
Racing Genk
1
2
FT
Game Details
Anderlecht
Cercle Brugge KSV
3
2
FT
Game Details
KV Oostende
KAA Gent
1
3
FT
Game Details
KVC Westerlo
Lierse SK
6
1
FT
Game Details
Rapid Vienna
Wolfsberger AC
3
0
FT
Game Details
FC Trenkwalder Admira
SV Grodig
0
0
FT
Game Details
SC Rheindorf Altach
FC Magna Wr. Neustadt
2
0
FT
Game Details
SV Josko Ried
SK Sturm Graz
0
1
FT
Game Details
Hobro IK
Esbjerg
1
1
FT
Game Details
Brommapojkarna
BK Hacken
1
5
FT
Game Details
Falkenbergs FF
Orebro SK
1
3
FT
Game Details
Bodo/Glimt
Stromsgodset
0
4
FT
Game Details
Valerenga
Molde
0
2
FT
Game Details
Sligo
Drogheda Utd
0
2
FT
Game Details
Portland Timbers
Vancouver Whitecaps
3
0
FT
Game Details
Philadelphia Union
Houston Dynamo
0
0
LIVE 51'
Game Details
Columbus Crew
New England Revolution
0
0
LIVE 38'
Game Details
Montreal Impact
San Jose Earthquakes
0
0
LIVE 39'
Game Details
New York Red Bulls
Seattle Sounders FC
1
0
LIVE 45' +1'
Game Details
Chicago Fire
DC United
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
FC Dallas
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
America
Pachuca
2
1
FT
Game Details
Puebla
Chiapas
1
1
FT
Game Details
U.A.N.L
U. de G.
1
0
LIVE 18'
Game Details
León
Veracruz
1:06 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlas
Cruz Azul
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlanta Silverbacks
Ottawa Fury FC
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Carolina RailHawks
New York Cosmos
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Indy Eleven
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
San Antonio Scorpions
Minnesota United FC
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Estudiantes La Plata
Gimnasia La Plata
0
0
FT
Game Details
Olimpo de Bahía Blanca
Belgrano de Córdoba
1
0
FT
Game Details
Vélez Sarsfield
Atletico Rafaela
0
0
LIVE 50'
Game Details
Altamira
Lobos BUAP
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Mérida
Zacatepec
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
At. San Luis
Celaya
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Irapuato
Correcaminos
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Oaxaca
Necaxa
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Atletico Paranaense
Internacional
0
1
FT
Game Details
Criciúma
Botafogo
0
0
LIVE 15'
Game Details
AA Ponte Preta
Oeste
5
1
FT
Game Details
CR Vasco da Gama
Náutico
2
1
FT
Game Details
Joinville
Goianiense
2
0
FT
Game Details
Sampaio Correa-MA
ABC
2
1
FT
Game Details
Santa Cruz FC
Icasa
1
1
FT
Game Details
Vila Nova-GO
América Mineiro
0
1
FT
Game Details
Boa MG
Paraná Clube
0
0
LIVE 0'
Game Details
Bragantino
Luverdense
0
0
LIVE 0'
Game Details
Sud América
Cerro
0
0
FT
Game Details
El Tanque Sisley
Peñarol
1
1
FT
Game Details
Boyacá Chicó FC
Deportivo Pasto
0
0
FT
Game Details
Deportes Tolima
Atlético Huila
1
5
FT
Game Details
La Equidad
Once Caldas
2
0
LIVE 90'
Game Details
Millonarios
Atlético Junior
0
0
LIVE 60'
Game Details
Independiente Medellín
Patriotas F.C.
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sport Huancayo
Real Garcilaso
3
1
FT
Game Details
Unión Comercio
UTC
3
0
FT
Game Details
León de Huánuco
Juan Aurich
0
3
FT
Game Details
César Vallejo
San Simón
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo Capiatá
3 de Febrero
2
3
FT
Game Details
Cerro Porteño
Sportivo Luqueño
4
0
FT
Game Details
Manta F.C.
Deportivo Quito
1
1
FT
Game Details
Independiente del Valle
U. Católica
Postp
Game Details
Dep. Metropolitano
Deportivo Lara
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
The Strongest
Blooming
4
0
FT
Game Details
Universitario de Sucre
Club Petrolero de Yacuiba
4
3
FT
Game Details
Gamba Osaka
Cerezo Osaka
2
0
FT
Game Details
Kashima Antlers
Yokohama F. Marinos
1
0
FT
Game Details
Kawasaki Frontale
FC Tokyo
0
0
FT
Game Details
Sagan Tosu
Vegalta Sendai
2
1
FT
Game Details
Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Albirex Niigata
2
0
FT
Game Details
Tokushima Vortis
Omiya Ardija
0
2
FT
Game Details
Urawa Red Diamonds
Kashiwa Reysol
3
1
FT
Game Details
Vissel Kobe
Shimizu S-Pulse
3
1
FT
Game Details
Next

Blanc: PSG not in best shape

PSG 2 days ago
Read
Sep 24, 2012

Fight the good fight

In Eamon Dunphy's wonderful book 'Only a Game?' he narrates, in semi-diary style, the events of a season in the old English Second Division, warts and all. Loadsawarts. It's a carbuncular book. It was the first of its kind, but it remains the best, and it spawned a whole genre of inferior imitators.

At one point late in the book, Dunphy's career with Millwall is going down the tubes, because he's getting older and a younger midfielder is being preferred to him - among other reasons. Left out of the squad for the first time in years for a Saturday match, he stays at home and mopes on his sofa, switching on the old BBC sports programme Grandstand to watch the final scores. Millwall have lost at home, and he is exultant. He shakes his fist with glee in front of the TV, as if his team-mates' defeat were an endorsement of his own feeling that he is not finished yet, that he shouldn't have been dropped. And yet as an intelligent man he feels guilty. He knows he is supposed to ring them and sympathise - but he doesn't.

When I first read this book back in the 1980s, I was stunned by its brutal honesty. I couldn't put it down. It seemed as though the whole lid had been lifted on how pro footballers behaved and thought, as if up to that moment we had preferred to believe that they were really super-human beings, existing on a different level to us, with distinct emotions and a different mindset. And then Dunphy recounts how he celebrated his own team's defeat, and of course we could all identify with the dirty reality of his confession.

Playing team sport is both wonderful and painful. It's wonderful because of the companionship it provides, and the occasional moments of euphoria it yields, but it's painful in the constant pressure it exerts, and the fear of failure it induces. The moment you realise that the manager doesn't rate you - it can be a word or a glance, or the fact that he's stopped berating you in training (he doesn't care anymore), it's a terrible thing. And that kid who joined in the summer, whom you recognise in your heart of hearts to be better than you - he's taking over. You're on the way out, you're losing your mates, you're getting older.

They are not the only ones in Europe, but the Spanish press likes to see a bit of internecine warfare on the training ground or even better, out on the pitch. The recent nonsense about the sadness of Cristiano Ronaldo has been smoothed and massaged by the pro-Madrid elements of the Spanish press to such a remarkable extent as to almost take Spain back to the days of the documentary news programme 'El Nodo', used by Franco to keep the folks thinking that everything was just fine, and that Real Madrid really were super-humans.

And of course, the unexpected dropping of Sergio Ramos against Manchester City only fuelled these flames. Perhaps Ramos had spoken out of turn (wouldn't be the first time), or played badly in Seville (he played well, I thought). Again, the Madrid press were quick to print the 'Aqui no hay conflictos' headlines (here there are no conflicts), printing photos of a smiling Ramos on the training ground, and then, on Saturday, after Barcelona had struggled to a late 2-0 win over Granada in the Camp Nou, the papers and the Sunday highlight programmes were all focusing on a tiff between David Villa and Leo Messi, in which Messi appears to criticise his team-mate for not playing the ball back to him with a first-time pass. 'A la primera!' he scowls, prompting Villa to shout back that he was trying to do just that.

The intention is obvious here - an attempt to divert attention to Barcelona, to try to nurture a petri-dish of conflict where it doesn't really exist. Surely, players berate each other all the time? That certain programmes chose to suggest that Messi was really a bad-tempered little fellow (he shouted at Tello last season against Milan for not looking up and centring the ball to him) is clearly absurd.

Messi does appear to be a fairly calm chap most of the time, and it might be news if he gets cross, but when I played football, I loved it when there was a guy in the team who would shout and complain, just so long as he was fair, and just as long as he was good enough himself. It kept you on your toes. The best teams have always had a shouty guy, one to whom the rest deferred. Football is a canine world - it's very hierarchical. There's a certain way of behaving in a dressing-room, a certain way of talking, depending on where you are in the pecking order. If you ignore this, as some over-confident young players sometimes do, they are soon put in their place.

Indeed, Tito Vilanova shrugged off the inevitable questions in the post-Granada press conference, claiming that it was a healthy sign, and that top professionals will always demand the maximum from their team-mates. It was a good answer. Also, Barcelona weren't playing very well, Xavi was on the bench, Andres Iniesta was in the stands, and there was a little bit of tension floating about. Sounds fairly normal to me. It will take more than a little spat to destabilise Barca this season, you suspect. They aren't stuffing teams like last season, either on the domestic or the international front, but they are continuing to win. Glass half empty or half full? Your answer will be conditioned by your preferences, and possibly by where you live.

It is true, however, that factions can exist among large squads of players, and that this can affect on-field performances, with players convinced that others never pass to them, because they only play ball with their mates. Kevin Keegan famously remarked that when he joined Hamburg, none of the players passed to him for the first month, making his baptism intolerable. Then he did a press conference, and tried to do it in German. So impressed were his team-mates that they gave him the ball next game, and he never looked back. All these dumb little tensions are an integral part of the game (as Dunphy was trying to say in his book), and to overcome them is part of the secret of success.

Spanish players are, in general, much more publicly critical of each others' play than say, the English. In England, I was always taught to encourage my team-mates, even when they messed up. In Spain, on the basis of the few games I played when I first came here, it's open-season on feelings. Make a mistake and you know about it. There's much less verbal diplomacy here, which is why I find the recent stuff about tensions-at-the-top rather amusing.

It filters right down to junior level and to the relationship between players' parents. My son Harry has re-joined Antiguoko here in the north of Spain after his season in the States, and at this pre-professional level - and with this club especially - the stakes are high. Parents gather at the training sessions and banter amicably, but cliques form and people are wary of saying the wrong things, although they often do.

The father of the kid who plays in my son's position clearly feels threatened by his sudden re-appearance on the scene, and tries to avoid me in the evenings, up at the ground. When the team lost a rare game last Saturday, with my son on the bench, I was dying to point out to the gathering, when they were discussing it a few nights later, that two of the goals were clearly the fault of the central midfielder, but I guessed that they would know why I was saying this. His father kept looking at me, quietly murderous, as if he knew what I was thinking. He knows his son's days in the comfort-zone are numbered. It's a dog-eat-dog world, and it teaches you loads of stuff.

Of course, the bigger news this weekend was the suspension of the Rayo Vallecano-Real Madrid derby, a game that had been hyped for a variety of reasons but mostly for the economic and political contrast that if formed with Real's previous game, at home to the new aristocrats of football, Manchester City. Rayo are many things, but aristocratic is not one of them. Indeed, the failure of their floodlights, allegedly disabled by the cables having been deliberately cut, is proof of that.

As I write this late on Sunday night, Jose Mourinho wants the game to go ahead on Monday at 17.00, in natural light, but Paco Jemez, Rayo's trainer, prefers later so that the fans can come after work. The Spanish don't do nine-to-five, preferring nine-to-eight, with a three-hour mid-day break.

Ah - they've just announced that it'll start at 19.45. Some folks (the few who are still employed) will miss the first half then. Deportivo v Sevilla is scheduled to be shown on the open La Sexta channel at 21.30 the same night, and so clearly, Canal Plus (who are offering the Rayo game) have decided on the time so as not to clash with the later game. So much for football being a live sport eh?

Elsewhere, Mallorca kept up their good work with a 2-0 defeat of a poor Valencia, and remain in second place in the league table, followed by Malaga who managed a draw up in Athletic's San Mames. Atletico Madrid moved into the fourth Champions League spot with a 2-1 win over Valladolid, who put up an unexpectedly good fight. At the other end, Osasuna remain rooted to bottom spot after a 3-1 defeat at Zaragoza, but as of this Sunday evening, they are only three points behind Real Madrid. All to play for!

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.