WHO ARE YA? Amar Shah, World Cup Legends

Image1.  Who are ya?
Amar Shah, born and bred in the North West, currently living in the East Midlands, working in London.
2.  Who do you support?
Manchester United (insert first sarcastic response that comes to mind here!)
3.  What was your first game?
I think it was in the late 90s, a Champions League match (unfortunately I had to become an adult before I could actually get to my first live game, before that the stadium tour was as good as it got for me!).  It was a routine win for United and I remember Solskjaer getting on the score sheet.  Those were better times!
4.  What do you do for a job?
Work Life
 – Work in the banking industry specialising in Risk Management
Personal Life
 – Creator of the World Cup Legends project (www.wclegends.com)
 – Voluntary fundraiser for various charities
 – Voluntary football coach (FA Level 2 qualified)
5.  Have you played/worked for any football clubs?
I’m afraid I wasn’t good enough as a kid to make the grade on the football pitch, but that didn’t stop me playing.
In one of my previous work roles I supported the commercial team by hosting overseas competition winners and suppliers as part of our corporate relationship with Manchester United.  It involved visiting United’s training complex at  Carrington and taking part in player Q&As, coordinating stadium tours and corporate hospitality on match days.
Most recently, my World Cup Legends project has brought me into contact with a number of clubs such as FC Bayern Munich, Manchester City FC and the Spanish National Team.
6.  How did you get into it?
World Cup Legends:
When I was a kid, I had a dream of collecting World Cup match balls and one day meeting my World Cup heroes.  A few years ago I got hold of a World Cup ball collection from 1970-2010 and so I started to see if I could make the dream a reality and I succeeded.  24 World Cup winners from the past 40 years signed up, from Pele to Xavi.
So far I’ve raised c.£2000 for charities through my project – www.justgiving.com/teams/wclchallenge
7.  What do you get out of it?
A great buzz and sense of achievement!  I love football and if there’s an opportunity to combine that passion with helping others then I’m there whenever possible.  I’ve also learned some great skills through my project too, such as web development and social media marketing.
8. What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?
I try to apply the same advice in the work place and in my personal projects, that is ‘work smart, think smart’.  There’s no bigger advocate/stumbling block to what you can achieve than yourself.  Oh and talk to people.  A lot!
9.  If you could do it all again what would you change?
I wish I’d got into the football industry when I was younger and possibly took a study path which would’ve increased my chances of getting into the industry.  I’m currently considering the possibility of a career switch from banking to football but its not going to be easy!
10.  Who’s your footballing hero?
Diego Armando Maradona, the hero/villain of my first World Cup memories as a kid, Mexico 86.
Twitter – @worldcuplegends
Many thanks, Amar. All the best with the plans for the exhibition.

Christmas Morning – The Lost World of Football

Got, Not Got

You can still get ‘The Lost World of Football’ in time to re-live the Christmas mornings of your childhood… if you hurry up…

xmas morning pressie subbuteo

It never, ever snowed round our way at Christmas. Sometimes it rained.

Christmas dinner was the same as normal Sunday dinner, but with turkey instead of roast beef and added parsnips and sprouts. Rather than the mouthwatering spreads portrayed on the front cover of the Radio Times.

But somehow, on Christmas morning, with Noel Edmonds visiting children in hospital as a televisual backdrop, we still managed to reach a goose-bump inducing level of excitement.

Because we knew that, concealed in cheap Woolies wrapping paper and piled up under the shit tree, there lurked Shoot annuals, Wembley Trophy footballs, full football strips and Subbuteo accessories housed in their pale green boxes.

xmas morning umbro paisley


Our Christmas present to you is the first 16 pages of ‘The Lost World of Football’…

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WHO ARE YA? Geoff Pearson, Senior Lecturer in Sports Management and Law at the University of Liverpool


WHO ARE YA? Geoff Pearson, Senior Lecturer in Sports Management and Law at the University of Liverpool

1) Who are ya?

Geoff Pearson, 39, from Manchester

2) Who do you support?

Manchester United

3) What was your first game?

Manchester United 0 Nottingham Forest 4, December 1977

4) What do you do for a job?

I am a Senior Lecturer in Sports Management and Law at the University of Liverpool. I teach Football & Law and Sports Operations Management and I am Director of Studies for the MBA (Football Industries) programme. My research interests include football crowd behaviour and management, policing, legal responses to crowd disorder and the impact of EU Law on the football industry. I have published two books on football fan behaviour and managing ‘hooliganism’ along with many articles and reports.

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?


6) How did you get into it?

I completed a PhD at the University of Lancaster looking at legal responses to football ‘hooliganism’. When I submitted my thesis in 1999 a job came up to teach football and law on the MBA (Football Industries) programme at the University of Liverpool.

7) What do you get out of it?

It’s an incredibly rewarding job for someone who loves football. It’s great to see the MBA(Football Industries) students progress and go to work in the football industry. Researching a topic I love is also intellectually stimulating and rewarding when my work can have an impact on improving the management of football fans attending matches.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

There are jobs out there in academia for those wanting to focus on football or sport. If you can get taken on to study a PhD in this area, and are able to publish on the subject, it’s a rewarding and stimulating career choice.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

I would probably have been more ambitious earlier on in my academic career in terms of publication and research funding. But then I wouldn’t have enjoyed the last 15 years quite so much!

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Bryan Robson – best midfielder I’ve seen and an inspirational captain and leader.

WHO ARE YA? Pedro Afonso


Pedro Afonso

1)      Who are ya?

My name is Pedro Afonso. I ‘m 28 years old, I’m Portuguese. I´m currently not directly connected to a club, I generate football performance analysis.

O meu nome é Pedro Afonso; tenho 28 anos, sou português e atualmente não estou diretamente ligado a nenhum clube, gero o site performance analysis in football.

2) Who do you support?

I’m a Benfica fan. A bit disappointed with the last season but hopefully we can return to European triumphs.

Eu sou fã do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (Portugal).  Um bocado desiludido com a época passada mas espero que possamos regressar aos triunfos europeus brevemente.

3) What was your first football game?

Honestly, I do not remember very well. I remember assisting at a preparation game – Portugal National Team U-21 against Ulkraine – I think in 1998, in my hometown. Me and my colleagues missed School and we all went together to assist at the game. I was about 13/14 years old… Good times.

Sinceramente não me lembro muito bem; Lembro-me de ver um jogo de preparação da Seleção de Portugal U-21 em 1998 na minha Hometown. Eu e os meus colegas faltamos as aulas e fomos todos ver o jogo devia ter uns 13 /14 anos, bons tempos.

4) What do you do for a job?

Recently, I moved to Paris (France) and I’m still studying the best way to return to [employment] in Performance Analysis.

Mudei recentemente de pais de residência (Paris/França) ainda estou a estudar a melhor hipóteses para regressar a vida ativa na Performance Analysis.

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

Yes, I coach Sporting Covilhã U-12 (Portuguese second division), also in Benfica Football Schools, Académica Coimbra U-17 and internship FC Porto U-17 and the professional team of Sport Lisboa e Benfica.

Sim claro; Tenho passagens pelas U-11 do Sporting da Covilha (Portugues Secund division) pelas escolas de futebol do Benfica, Académica de Coimbra U-17 e estágios na equipa U-17 do Futebol Clube do Porto e equipa profissional do Sport Lisboa e Benfica.

6) How did you get into it?

I attended the bachelor and master’s degree in Sports Science; always looking for opportunities that the University could give me. There, I met a teacher who influenced me in analysis performance and from there I developed a huge passion for this area. In college, I was contacted by an older student to coach the U-10 team of Sporting Covilhã (Local Team). I went through a whole process of meeting people in lectures and workshops, and I must admit I’ve had some luck in meeting many people linked to major clubs. Finding my way to Académica Coimbra U-17 (first team coached by Andre Villas-Boas for those unaware) was due to needing a sample for my Masters thesis, but turned out to be a much more enriching experience as I assumed the role of Performance Analyst.

Frequentei a licenciatura e o mestrado em Ciências do Desporto sempre procurando oportunidades que a Universidade pudesse-me dar. Ai conheci um professor que me influenciou para a Analises de desempenho a partir dai ganhei uma enorme paixão por essa área. Ainda na faculdade fui contactado por um aluno mais velho para treinar a equipa U-10 do Sporting da Covilhã (Local Team); dai a outros clubes passei por todo um processo de conhecer pessoas em palestra e workshop devo admitir que tive alguma sorte em conhecer muitas pessoas ligadas a grandes clubes. A ida para a Académica de Coimbra U-17 (primeira equipa que Andre Vilas-Boas treinou para quem não sabe) deveu-se a eu precisar de uma amostra para elaborar o meu trabalho de mestrado, mas acabou por ser uma experiencia muito mais enriquecedora e assumi funções de Performance Analyst.

7) What do you get out of it?

In all clubs where I’ve worked I’ve always grown in knowledge about the game and as a person. But, in general, I conclude that the combination of characteristics that define if you are a good or a very good performance analyst are organisation and planning, ability to critique, self-taught knowledge about the game; and the ability to work under pressure; plus adaptability, experience training and impartiality. That’s what I learn all this years.

Pelos diversos clubes onde passei tive sempre um grande crescimento em todos os sentidos quer humano quer a nível de conhecimento sobre o jogo. Mas em linhas gerais conclui que para ser-se um analista de desempenho é necessário a combinação de características como: Organização e planeamento; Autocritico; Autodidata; Conhecimento sobre o jogo; trabalhar sobre pressão; Adaptação; experiencia de treino e imparcial; Argumentação.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

The advice I can give is that you have to have a great passion for the game and performance analysis before deciding to be a Performance Analyst, since it is very painful work, because we have to spend long periods of time watching football. Another piece of advice is definitely to gain training and update your knowledge of the game either through reading or discussion with other performance analysts; so creating many connections is extremely important. Getting out of your comfort zone is essential for the growth of the performance analyst.

O conselho que poderei dar é que se tem que ter um grande gosto pelo jogo e analise antes de tomar a decisão de ser Performance analyst, uma vez que é um trabalho muito penoso, pois temos que estar longos períodos de tempo a ver futebol. Outro concelho é definitivamente a formação e a atualização do conhecimento sobre o jogo quer através da leitura ou do debate com outros analistas dai criar muitas conexões é extremamente importante. Sair da sua zona de conforto é essencial para o crescimento do performance analyst.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

Cannot say I would change anything … Because I learned a lot from mistakes … mistakes are very positive for learning process. As Alvin Toffler says “You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.”

Sometimes the things we think are mistakes at first make more sense in the future, when the “big things” go in your life.

Não posso dizer que mudaria algo..pois aprendi muito com os erro… os erros são muito positivos para o processo de aprendizagem. Como diz Alvin Toffler “You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.”
Por vezes a quilo que pensamos serem erros num primeiro momento…farão mais sentido no futuro numa grande “think da minha vida”.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

If it was a sports hero the answer would be simple “Ayrton Senna”; Now Footballing hero? I have a huge respect for Eusébio and Rui Costa but I like many others players.

Se fosse um herói desportivo a resposta seria simples “Ayrton Senna”;  Agora Footballing hero? Não tenho um específico gosto de uma serie deles; nutro um carinho especial por Eusébio and Rui Costa.

Muitos agradecimentos, Pedro.

Great football club names

Put Niels In Goal

The world of football is blessed with some glorious names. Having stumbled across the Mysterious Dwarfs of Ghana and the Liberian International Shipping & Corporate Registry FC of, well, Liberia, I thought I’d dig a little deeper. Thanks are also due to Nikos Overheul who suggested a couple of entries. I’ve avoided the overtly comedic, such as Deportivo Morón, which is, after all, just the name of a city in Argentina, or Deportivo Wanka, which is named after a Quechua people who live in the area from which the team hails. Here, then, are the ten that made the grade.

Liberian International Shipping & Corporate Registry Football Club – Liberia

As Rose George notes in her masterful study of international shipping, Deep Sea and Foreign Going, Liberia is one of the foremost registries for foreign ships, a keeper of the details for a flag of convenience. While this is…

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