Your typical hard man of football — the no-nonsense, hard tackling, kick-it-into-Row-Z, tough bastard of a footballer — used to be a staple of the game. Every team in England needed one if you were to win a game of football.
Some players, like Vinnie Jones, made a career out of it when they had little else to offer. Others, such as Stuart Pearce and Roy Keane, were magnificent players who brought an edge to proceedings. Sometimes they went well over that edge, but they wouldn’t have been the same players without it and fans loved them for it.
Over time, however, these hard men of football have been phased out. Where did they go? Why don’t we see them at the top levels of the game?
Ste McGovern, Colm Boohig (Off The Ball) and Peter Henry (TheFootballFaithful.com) investigate the causes of this, how football has changed through the decades, and how popular culture has had its effect too.
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1.00: Who is the quintessential football hard man?
8.19: The difference between hard bastardry and shithousery.
15.30: The fine line between toughness and cowardice.
19.40: Why did the hard men of football get phased out?
28.40: Why VAR will be the death of shithousery.
32.20: The time Vinnie Jone’s arse fell out.
36.40: Was David Beckham and metrosexuality the catalyst for change?
41.46: The dissipation of toxic masculinity.
49.18: Listing off the hardest football men of them all.
What was the greatest title race of all time?
Was it 1996 when Manchester United and Newcastle United went head to head? Perhaps it was Arsenal overcoming an 11 point deficit in 1998 to win their first league title under Arsene Wenger? Or maybe it was Liverpool slipping up to Manchester City in 2014?
In light of the insanely close battle between Liverpool and City for this year’s title, Ste McGovern, Peter Henry (The Football Faithful) and Maurice Brosnan (Balls.ie) discuss some of the most entertaining, thrilling and dramatic title races over the years.
Huge thanks as per usual to The Shaker Hymn, who provided the intro theme for the show, and Michael Raisch who created our incredible logo and artwork.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from everyone at Nostalgia Ultras! To celebrate our first year as a podcast and somehow reaching 25 episodes, Ste McGovern and Colm Boohig bring you the first annual Christmas Selection Box.
Rather than focus on one subject as we usually do, we talked about a number of things for which we didn’t have to do any research, and for that, we are truly grateful this holiday season.
We each revealed our favourite Irish footballers of the Premier League era, talked about Ireland’s footballing diaspora, our favourite sports books of the year, some choice moments from our first few months in podcasting, and gave our unpopular opinions.
Listen to our latest podcast here:
Currently we have no time frame for when the pod will return in the New Year, but we will be taking some time to improve the podcast, get it on more platforms, and bring you more content in the future. Thanks to everyone who invested their time in following our work throughout 2018. Hope you all have a wonderful 2019 and continue listening to our show!
Thierry Henry is one of, if not the, greatest strikers in the history of the Premier League and English football as a whole. We covered his glittering career on the latest podcast:
Ste McGovern (Balls.ie, Football.London, MARCA), Maurice Brosnan (Balls.ie, Irish Examiner, Irish Times) and Kevin Beirne (Football.London, UK Independent, BBC) talk about the Frenchman’s special qualities, how he revolutionised the forward position, and why Arsene Wenger was the perfect manager for him at the right time in his career.
We also wonder why great players like Henry struggle to adapt to punditry, his fourth great evolution at Barcelona, and an extended chat on how athletes and sports personalities are allowed to get away with reprehensible actions and behaviour.
Here are a select few of the goals we mentioned on the podcast: