Silent Heroes of Football – Part 3

Saturnino Navazo, along with eighty thousand other POWs survived the harsh and brutal treatment thrashed out by the SS. Despite the callousness of the guards, there seemed to be some sort of soft spot in those hardened hearts. And that soft spot was for football and moreover for the Spanish midfielder’s dexterity and deftness ….

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Silent Heroes of Football – Part 2

Saturnino Navazo’s boots took him across the Pyrenees to Toulouse, France, to seek exile. Unfortunately, he went from the frying pan into the fire! escaping the horrors of one war to end up enrolling in the French Armada to fight the Nazis. In 1940, he was captured and taken to the most notorious of all…

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Money Makes the Ball Go Round!

Once again, women’s football hit the headlines world wide on Sunday, 17th March.  Once again, it was in Spain, where the Wanda Metropolitano welcomed 60.739 spectators to the match between Atlético and Barça. The attedance was higher than that recorded almost a century ago when 53,000 spectators turned out for the encounter between Kick Kerr’s…

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Reinventing Refereeing Part 1

The contentious Ajax goal disallowed in Wednesday’s match against Real Madrid in the knockout stage of the Champions, is just one of the reasons why so many fans are against the VAR – Video Assisted Referee. What led to the introduction of this sophisticated piece of technology when soccer has always been very conservative in…

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The Family From Foreign Parts – 3

The days and nights in January in Grado del Pico are cold and bitter. The low temperatures have no mercy on man or beast. And indeed, the elements did not have clemence on the mares that had once belonged to the family from foreign parts. They continued to wander from one frozen field to another…

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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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