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Author Archive for Barney Ronay

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World Cup questions: why did gifted England not beat Argentina in 1998? | Barney Ronay

Using the Fifa archive we rewatch a series of memorable games in search of answers we didn’t find at the timeHistory, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.Back in the early days of the Covid-19 lockdown there was a tendency to t…

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The Last Dance is spectacular but leaves the real Michael Jordan up in the air | Barney Ronay

Though closer to hagiography than documentary, Jordan’s Netflix series offers a lavish and beautiful courtside seatThat thing you like? It’s actually rubbish. Here’s why. No wait, come back! This isn’t that. Although, as it happens, there has been a ba…

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The Last Dance is spectacular but leaves the real Michael Jordan up in the air | Barney Ronay

Though closer to hagiography than documentary, Jordan’s Netflix series offers a lavish and beautiful courtside seatThat thing you like? It’s actually rubbish. Here’s why. No wait, come back! This isn’t that. Although, as it happens, there has been a ba…

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Premier League will be allowed to ride shotgun into unknown frontier

The top flight will probably resume in June despite health concerns for players, officials and stadium staff And we’re off. Project Refund: Phase One is now operational. Although in the interests of accuracy the plan to complete the Premier League seas…

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Eerie silence resounds as Germany ushers in football’s new abnormal | Barney Ronay

Borussia Dortmund’s win over Schalke was a welcome return for a sport that has been reborn as a deeply strange spectacleIn Leipzig the players bumped elbows and grinned like this was all a little bit silly. In Dortmund Erling Haaland scored the first g…

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Mike Tyson’s crazy comeback talk is the perfect lockdown story | Barney Ronay

This is an ideal confection of nostalgia and viral oddity – with an eerie synchronicity for anyone who, like me, has spent their confinement watching Tyson’s startling early career blitzMike Tyson wants to make a comeback. And who can blame him? So do …

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Premier League must be very careful or the empire will come crashing down

Resuming the season is absurd and the ‘safety’ ideas are terrible, but whatever football decides it must decide together“You eat alone, you choke.” During the years of plenty it became a habit to compare the Premier League’s wielding of power – always …

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World Cup questions: what did Zidane’s head-butt in Berlin mean? | Barney Ronay

Using the Fifa archive we rewatch a series of memorable games in search of answers we didn’t find at the time“It was like knocking four quick times on the door of unhappiness” – Albert Camus, the OutsiderThe World Cup final, France v Italy in Berlin’s …

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Is the gravity-defying Manchester United brand facing a fall back to earth? | Barney Ronay

United are the most extreme debt-loaded commercial model, predicated on constant growth. What happens when it crashes?What’s your favourite bit of non-football-football so far? In my opinion the best new sub-genre to emerge is pictures of José Mourinho…

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Is the gravity-defying Manchester United brand facing a fall back to earth? | Barney Ronay

United are the most extreme debt-loaded commercial model, predicated on constant growth. What happens when it crashes?What’s your favourite bit of non-football-football so far? In my opinion the best new sub-genre to emerge is pictures of José Mourinho…

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World Cup questions: Were England robbed by Argentina at Mexico 86? | Barney Ronay

Using the Fifa archive we rewatch a series of memorable games in search of answers we didn’t find at the timeYou can take our freedom. But you can’t take our grainy old football videos. In this short series I will be exploring the contents of Fifa’s ne…

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Resistance to Fifa is futile: fall in line or prepare to be Normalised

There is plenty up for grabs after the collapse of club football’s TV rights power base – and Fifa is ready to grab itNobody wants a visit from the Normalisation Committee. This was the fate of the Samoan FA in June 2008 after concerns were raised abou…

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Exit, the House of Karrimor. Enter, the austere and unforgiving House of Saud | Barney Ronay

Newcastle may be the headline act but they’re not even half the story – the fact is, the Saudis aren’t coming. They’re already hereAs the takeover of Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund loomed closer this week, an uplifting tweet f…

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World Cup questions: Why didn’t the great Dutch teams of the 1990s win it?

With the help of the Fifa archive we rewatch a series of memorable games in search of answers we didn’t find at the timeYou can take our freedom. But you can’t take our grainy old football videos. In this short series I will be exploring the contents o…

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Everything exists in a vacuum in the month that never was | Barney Ronay

In the weeks since sport came to an abrupt ending, its only significant story has been its own cancellationThe best way to annoy a group of scholarly historians, if you ever have an urgent need to annoy scholarly historians – perhaps in some kind of em…

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My favourite game: Italy v Brazil, 1982 World Cup

Two classic teams in two classic kits played out a classic match with John Motson’s excitement a perfect accompaniment“Socrates scores a goal … That sums up the philosophy of Brazilian football!” Even during John Motson’s mid-80s pomp, I was always mor…

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Closing the UK’s parks and public spaces really could be a tipping point | Barney Ronay

There is always compromise, always managed space – but banning exercise in this country would be a disasterYou can take our pubs and our shopping centres. You can wall us up behind the front door with Netflix and newsagent wine. But don’t take away our…

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Jamie Vardy’s shot at golden boot is one of season’s great unfinished subplots | Barney Ronay

Spare a thought for the Premier League’s current top scorer, whose own season is one of the great unfinished subplotsThere have been a lot of lists doing the rounds this week of the best foods to boost your immune system. These seem to be mainly things…

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Tokyo 2021 is golden chance to close Big Sport circus and give the Olympics back | Barney Ronay

Games officials have the power to purge profiteering from elite competition and rewrite how we watch and enjoy sportCitius. Altius. Cancelled by a bat virus. In the end the decision to postpone the Olympic Games came as no surprise to anyone. Tokyo 202…

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Far from the gladdening crowd: live sport is our collective therapy

There are lots of unpleasant things about large crowds but many like being part of one – to congregate is part of our nature“The future belongs to crowds,” Don DeLillo wrote in Mao II, a quote that makes DeLillo sound po-faced and serious, when he also…