Best of Football Writing This Week: Forgotten Hero, The Barca Philosophy & Mexico

All good things come to an end. Much though I have enjoyed compiling the Cultured Football newsletter it hasn’t developed as I would have hoped and apart from a core of around 140 subscribers that joined soon after its launch, there hasn’t been any take-up.

Cultured Football has been going for over a year now and has become part of my weekly routine. Yet with time being at a premium it is also eating into time that I could be using to write my own stories rather than promote the work of others. As such, next week’s issue will also be the final one.

Don’t despair, however. I will still be linking to stories on a daily basis my Facebook page as well as on Twitter (look for #finefootballwriting). If you could follow me on those two platform it would make me immensely happy.

In the meantime I would like to thank all those who have read and sent their kind thoughts over the months. Just know that your words meant a lot to me.

Anyway, here are this week’s links.

[ 1 ] THE GARRINCHA OF THE NORDICS YOU MAY NEVER HAVE HEARD OF
Nils Henrik Smith for Nutmeg magazine, part of the Guardian Sport Network
Much has been made of another Roald this year (Dahl) but this is just a delightful story of a player that had all but been lost to the world (barring fans of the clubs he played for).

Memorable Quote: “He developed into the ultimate Kjuagutt — local slang for the archetypal street-smart, irreverent, flamboyant kid, essentially a Scandinavian, social-democratic version of the Argentinian cult of the Pibe (if such a concept is imaginable)”

[ 2 ] “I NEVER LOOK FOR PLAYERS WHO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEIR PHYSICAL POWER AT YOUNG AGES”
Paul Grech for Blueprint for Football
The success that Barcelona have had at youth level is the result of a philosophy that flows through all levels. That is evidenced not just by the players that come through that system but also the mentality of their coaches. Albert Capellas was once the youth co-ordinator at La Masia and, although he has since moved on, his thoughts are still very much shaped by his time at the Catalan giants.

Memorable Quote: “Guardiola was a very slow player, but he was the fastest player on the field. He was always in the right position, always knew what to do, had the skills to perform at the highest level and every time when he received the ball the rhythm of the game changed immediately.”

[ 3 ] AZTECA ADVENTURES: FOOTBALL IN MEXICO CITY
Santokie Nagulendran for The Set Pieces

Just as a lot of people like to read travel books to wistfully dream of places that they’ll probably never visit, then so do I enjoy reading about football in countries that I will probably not get to see. Mexico falls in that category and getting a glimpse at the football in a country that usually piques interest — football wise — whenever the World Cup comes around was particularly fascinating for me.

Memorable Quote: “Before the game kicked off, the club mascot, an Eagle, was paraded on the field to rapturous applause.”

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