I Was Not Wrong When I Said……

Four years ago, when I was writing The Verb To Be of Football, I included an article in unit 6 related to women in football.  In it, making use of the future tense, I mentioned that the world would be hearing more of women’s football.  Unfortunately, some of my male students laughed and scorned the article for its…

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The Very Basic Facts of Irish History

In this article we shall look at the basic facts of Irish history. The first farmers arrived in Ireland around 4000BC.  Now, how more basic can one get!  But don’t worry, even sticking to the basics, Irish history is a complicated story to retell. The Celts arrived 300BC.  They had a huge influence on Ireland….

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The Story of the Family From Foreign Parts

Although there are only a handful of people living in Grado del Pico today, stories, tales, yarns and of course tittle-tattle can be heard, discussed and debated in whispered tones in the narrow, shadowy streets of the village. The latest chattter concerns a family from foreign parts. It all started one summer, when the family…

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Basketball Before Football; Santa Before the Kings!

There is a football pitch of some description in Grado del Pico. There is even a paddel court. Yet, neither of these sports was played in the village well over sixty years ago. To the surprise of many, basketball was what the few youngsters in the village played then. How did that sport, incidentally invented…

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The Story of Two Tales in One

Grado del Pico is a peaceful village tucked away in the Sierra de Ayllón. To the visitor, life seems to have stood still there. A place where nothing could ever have happened or ever would. In 2018, there is still no public telephone box, no mobile telephone range, no Internet, and no public transport to Madrid,…

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The Sad Story of the Adopted Daughter

This story dates back to the days of poverty and shame. There was once a family in Grado del Pico, and just as the nursery rhyme goes There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,who had so many children she didn’t know what to do, so does this story. The numerous children in…

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When Flame and Fire Ignited Football

The ethnic Azerbaijanis and Armenians had always managed to live shoulder to shoulder for decades despite the long standing conflict that has its roots in the events that ensued World War 1.  Banquets and not battles followed the friendly matches between FK Karabkh Stepanakert and FK Qarabag Agdan until the late 1980’s when the Soviet…

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Azeri Football – A history full of Flame and Fire

Football reached Azerbaijan at the beginning of the twentieth century when the oil industry began to flourish and many football loving foreigners settled in Baku, the country’s capital.  Since its very beginnings, Azeri football has beeen through flame and fire! In 1905 the first clubs bearing such names as Circle of football players of Surakhany, Friends…

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Bye, Bye Baku

Before I said goodbye to Baku, I was invited to give some workshops and talks at TISA – the renowned international school in Baku. Pupils of TISA, attentive and enthusiastic. With the rising sun, I hopped on the school bus with Asia and was soon in the staff room with a welcoming cup of coffee…

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Back To Baku

My short, but intense stay in Lahic came to an end all too soon.  On another hot morning, I sat with the staff of TISA outdoors on the terrace that offered splendid views of the boundless and timeless mountains.  The last hearty breakfast was served at a pleasantly slow pace, giving us the time to…

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