Or how pol­i­tics en­ters foot­ball

PA­TRICK WIN­TERS picks his team with a def­i­nite po­lit­i­cal lean­ing

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - Contents -

Ihad been think­ing of com­pil­ing a team of past and present foot­ballers who hap­pened to have in­ter­est­ing or even ex­treme pol­i­tics. Of course, prob­lems arose. Would a fas­cist winger track back to help out a com­mie full-back? Would that full-back over­lap for the winger? The an­swer is: prob­a­bly. Nev­er­the­less I de­cided to make a team with vaguely right-wing sen­si­bil­i­ties, from Thatcherites to full­blown Nazis.


Gian­luigi Buf­fon With 113 caps and a World Cup win­ner’s medal to his name there is no doubt that Buf­fon is one of the finest goal­keep­ers of all time. How­ever, con­tro­versy has fol­lowed Buf­fon since his early days at Parma, where he chose the squad num­ber 88. ‘H’ is the eighth let­ter of the al­pha­bet and 88 is used by neoNazi groups world­wide to sig­nify ‘HH’ or Heil Hitler. De­spite this be­ing com­mon knowl­edge (par­tic­u­larly in North­ern Italy), Buf­fon pleaded ig­no­rance when it be­gan to cause a stir. He did not of­fer any ex­pla­na­tion as to why he did choose the num­ber, how­ever, and Parma even­tu­ally per­suaded him to change to 77. Another shirt added fuel to the con­tro­versy years later. This time a t-shirt that he reg­u­larly wore to train­ing em­bla­zoned with the Ital­ian fas­cist motto:‘Credere, obbe­dire, com­bat­tere’ (be­lieve, obey, fight). Buf­fon is not known for his love of lit­er­a­ture and took only one book to the 2002 World Cup – a lengthy tome on the Third Re­ich.


Wayne Brown A tough, jour­ney­man at the back. Brown briefly graced the Pre­mier League in Hull City’s colours but played most of his foot­ball in the Champi- on­ship. It was while play­ing for Le­ices­ter City that Brown re­vealed he was a proud sup­porter of the BNP. Le­ices­ter is a multi-cul­tural city and the foot­ball team are no dif­fer­ent. In the dress­ing room in May 2010 some play­ers were dis­cussing the re­cent na­tional elec­tions when Brown made his po­lit­i­cal al­le­giances known. He is be­lieved to have launched into a tirade re-hash­ing some of the BNPs favourite lines to his shocked team-mates. Winger Lloyd Dyer and coach Chris Pow­ell ob­jected but Brown re­fused to back down and the row es­ca­lated be­fore other play­ers nar­rowly pre­vented any blows be­ing thrown. Brown was swiftly sus­pended and never played for the Foxes again. He left the club ‘by

mu­tual con­sent’ that sum­mer.

Wayne Brown Sin­isa Mi­ha­jlovic Pos­si­bly one of the best free-kick tak­ers of all time Mi­ha­jlovic was an un­com­pro­mis­ing de­fender for a clutch of Serie A clubs. His pol­i­tics were sim­i­larly un­com­pro­mis­ing and he played a cen­tral role in the in­fa­mous 1991 Yu­goslav Cup fi­nal. Play­ing for the Ser­bian side Red Star Bel­grade against their Croat ri­vals Ha­j­duk Split, Mi­ha­jlovic tar­geted his (not en­tirely in­no­cent) op­po­site num­ber, Igor Sti­mac. The duel soon took cen­tre stage as tack­les flew in and the two play­ers tried to in­jure one another. Mi­ha­jlovic fi­nally did man­age to se­ri­ously in­jure a Split player and was sent off. Play­ers and staff from both sides were soon squar­ing up all over the pitch. All this against the back­ground of the ex­plod­ing con­flict in the re­gion. Mi­ha­jlovic has al­ways been an ar­dent Ser­bian na­tion­al­ist and re­cently con­trib­uted to an ar­ti­cle prais­ing the no­to­ri­ous Red Star hooli­gan and war crim­i­nal, Arkan, the leader of the Serb Vol­un­teer Guard.

Jamie Car­ragher Jamie Car­ragher was a one club man. The cur­tain fell on his ca­reer at the end of last sea­son and he was feted as a dy­ing breed. The lo­cal lad done good and was loyal to the end. One of the rea­sons he is a dy­ing breed is be­cause the com­pe­ti­tion for places at clubs like Liver­pool is in­tense th­ese days. This can, in part, be at­trib­uted to play­ers from over­seas mak­ing An­field their home. This is some­thing that Jamie is not so pleased about. Here’s a quote from his auto-boiog­ra­phy:

“There’s def­i­nitely too many for­eign­ers in the game. What’s the point of spend­ing all this money on the acad­e­mies if we’re not push­ing lo­cal kids through? Liver­pool FC is our club. It’s a big part of our city and you’ve got to give young Scousers with as­pi­ra­tions the chance to suc­ceed.”

Right wing? Not re­ally sure, to be hon­est. But he was cer­tainly a great right back at times!


Zvon­imir Boban Link­ing mid­field and at­tack will be mas­ter­passer, Boban. A very classy player and one whose place in the his­tory books is as­sured thanks to one timely kick. Of course, it was not a

kick to the ball for which Boban is most fa­mous but a kick to a po­lice­man. In May 1990 as Yu­goslavia were just be­gin­ning to crum­ble, Boban lined up for Dy­namo Za­greb in a cru­cial game against Red Star Bel­grade.

The strug­gle on the pitch soon moved to the stands as scuffles be­gan to erupt be­tween Croat and Ser­bian Ul­tras. A Dy­namo fan slipped and was set upon by a po­lice­man. Boban spot­ted it and ran over, de­liv­er­ing a fly­ing kick to the cop. It was a small vic­tory on a day when Red Star fans came out on top thanks to the com­plic­ity of the pre­dom­i­nantly Ser­bian po­lice force. Boban’s kick be­came a ral­ly­ing cry for his beloved Croa­tia, the em­bry­onic na­tion about which he had this to say:

“Croa­tia is the rea­son I live. I love my coun­try as I love my­self. I would die for Croa­tia.”

Boban did not have to wit­ness the killing and dy­ing that con­tin­ued long af­ter the match as he moved to AC Mi­lan.

Al­berto Aquilani

Another in­ci­sive passer and play­maker in mid­field. Aquilani is yet to ful­fill his po­ten­tial and seems to have dif­fi­culty ce­ment­ing his place in any of the big sides that he has played for. Not much is known about Al­berto’s home decor but he has con­firmed that he has a mar­ble statue of Mus­solini in his home. Here’s what Al­berto

told La Gazzeta dello

Sport: “There are too many for­eign­ers in the coun­try and most of the vi­o­lence and trou­ble you see

Aquilani is caused by them.”

In case you’re won­der­ing he was re­fer­ring to Italy not Liver­pool.

Hristo Sto­ichkov

With a lack of width up un­til here an ex­cit­ing, ca­pa­ble player is needed for the wing. There was lit­tle that Stoihkov could not do with the ball at his feet. He was fast, skill­ful, un­pre­dictable and ag­gres­sive. Sto­ichkov was al­ways con­fi­dent of his own abil­i­ties and it came as no sur­prise that he was not wor­ried about fac­ing Mi­lan’s ex­cel­lent Mar­cel De­sailly but was it re­ally nec­es­sary to point out that he “al­ways ex­cel(s) against blacks”.

Paolo Di Canio

One of the finest play­ers I have been lucky enough to see in the flesh. Each time he col­lected the ball a wave of ex­cite­ment moved through the stands. Fun­nily enough he claimed to be wav­ing to his fam­ily in the stands at the Sta­dio D’Ol­limpico when he per­formed this par­tic­u­lar salute.


Boban at­tacks the po­lice


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