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Our favourite things online this week: from Lionel Messi to Stephen Hunt

Featuring a future star of motor racing, one of the great football writers, Arsenal’s badge in Spurs colours, Tim Cahill’s son and the pay-gap in professional tennis

Not many football writers dictate their match reports to their grandsons, but Brian Glanville is unlike any other journalist in the business. He has been covering the game for 66 years, doesn’t bother with Twitter and can remember the days when he travelled to England matches with Sir Alf Ramsey and his players. In this interview on the setpieces website – a new venture from Iain Macintosh – Glanville recounts a story from the 1954 World Cup, explains why Bobby Robson was a “grotesquely over-rated manager” and calls Ramsey a “very strange man”. Glanville has always been worth reading and his unwillingness to push advice upon young writers is typical of his quest for independent thought:

When young people ask for your advice on becoming a football writer, what can you tell them?

Very, very little. I’m 83 years old and I started off at the age of 17 and things have changed so absolutely radically, not least in the last few years. My experiences are simply irrelevant. It’s very difficult now to get in. Everything is changing, papers are shutting down. There are simply fewer papers there to work on. The internet is becoming more powerful. My advice is irrelevant, futile and useless.

Tennis is played and followed in most nations worldwide. But professional players aren’t making much money. Fewer than 1,000 pro players break even at the sport. Far fewer make a decent living.

“Six months on from the Brazil World Cup, football wastelands pockmark the country, each with empty cathedrals to excess and greed. If only it hadn’t all been so predictable. When it was all over back in July, there was a warm glow emanating from a tournament that was by and large seen as a success. There were few dissenting voices. But that’s the problem with judging a World Cup in its immediate aftermath. It’s like the queen thinking the world smells of paint because every room she walks into has been given a fresh lick. But the effects of the event last far longer than a month and now the glitz and glamour are done, there’s a lot of rubbish piled high awaiting a costly clean-up”

Everyone is lost in the euphoria. There were men I trusted with everything and men I considered rivals. At that moment we were all united, joined together by one common bond, belting out the words as if nothing else mattered, believing this was just the beginning. In that nightclub, I felt it was more than the culmination of something, I felt it was a sign that our unity and our team spirit would help us overcome whatever we encountered in the European Championships. I didn’t know that would be as good as it got. That I would never feel this happy about qualification again and that the summer to come would be a story of frustration, humiliation and bafflement.

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