We’re back with a new episode of the podcast and this time we’re talking about one of the most dominant teams in football history: Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona.
I was delighted to be joined by Darryl Geraghty, a football writer who covers the League of Ireland, but is also mad about Spanish football and is a bit of an expert when it comes to Barça.
We focused on the 2009 Champions League final between the Catalan outfit and Manchester United, the match that lit the fire on the greatest side we have probably ever seen in the sport.
Darryl and I talked about the final, why it was such a unique event (only to be reenacted two years later), how Man United could have approached the game differently, and the lasting legacy of the team.
Freelance football writer David Sneyd also contributed to this podcast to give us the United side of things and to let us know what it was like to attend the match itself.
And yes, this only happened in 2009, but it was over a decade ago so it counts as nostalgia for us.
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:
When it comes to dazzling crowds with insane skills and incredible dribbling skills, there is nothing quite like the old school winger. Taking the ball out wide, beating not just one, but several bamboozled men, before smashing the ball past a helpless goalkeeper and into the net.
Few players possessed this ability quite so clearly as Paddy McCourt, also known as ‘Messi with a beard’. While he never played at the highest level, the Northern Irishman proved his worth to all the clubs he represented, including Derry City, Celtic and Barnsley.
Recently retired, having fired Finn Harps to promotion into the League of Ireland Premier Division in the final game of his career, we ponder whether or not McCourt is the last of a dying breed, and why, on the latest episode of the Nostalgia Ultras podcast.
We also tackled the rather philosophical question of whether football is about entertainment or results, Ste’s local team Ballybrack FC, and the new documentary Take The Ball Pass The Ball.
Listen to the latest episode of Nostalgia Ultras here:
Patrick O’Connell is not a household name when it comes to Irish football, but it should be.
A footballer who grew up across the road from Croke Park, the Dubliner was the first Irishman to captain Manchester United, joining the Red Devils for a then record fee of £1000. But that’s not even the most interesting part of O’Connell’s story.
Listen to the full story here on the latest Nostalgia Ultras podcast:
A committed socialist, O’Connell was running guns for the 1916 Easter Rising while he worked in a munitions factory in England. Conflict would be a familiar feature of his time in football, especially when he was manager of FC Barcelona as the Spanish Civil War broke. He is widely credited with saving the famous club from extinction by bringing the team on a tour of Mexico to raise much needed funds.
In between he was a hugely successful manager at a number of different clubs, including Racing Santander, Real Oviedo and Sevilla. But his greatest triumph was capturing the La Liga title with Real Betis in 1935. To this day it is Los Verdiblancos only league win and he is fondly remembered at the club for guiding them to the top that season, earning the moniker ‘Don Patricio’.
Sadly, Patrick O’Connell died destitute in London in 1959. He couldn’t find work upon returning to the English capital, where no one knew of his successes in Spain. It would stay that way for decades.