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.
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.
How many footballers have had as big an effect on British football in the last thirty years as Eric Cantona? There have been better footballers (although not many), but the Frenchman’s influence on the game in England is demonstrable and far-reaching.
To find out why this is the case on the latest Nostalgia Ultras podcast, Ste McGovern and Colm Boohig look into his complex and often contradictory personality and how this was reflected in his style of football. We also tackle a blasphemous suggestion; was The King in fact overrated?
During the course of the episode, we talked about Cantona’s piece in The Player’s Tribune and his willingness to talk about his background, including the incredible story of his grandparents fleeing Spain from General Franco’s Nationalist forces. This story has helped to shape who Cantona and the type of footballer he became.
Since retiring from football Eric The Red has moved into acting and poetry, but how is it that this person who often comes across as soft-spoken and in touch with his emotional side has been prone to flashes of severe violence on the football pitch? How is it that a player who came across as stunningly arrogant and a showboat on the field of play, is also incredibly humbly and socially concious?
We tried to thread these contradictions of Cantona into a cohesive answer, but the Frenchman is a mercurial character, and perhaps will never be fully understood. But at least we can remember what a bloody great footballer he was.
This week marks a quarter of a century since Roy Keane’s landmark transfer to Manchester United from Nottingham Forest, but was it the most important signing in the history of the Premier League?
Ste McGovern and Colm Boohig discuss the move that broke the British transfer record, while somehow trying to avoid the controversies that pot marked his career and focusing on what made him such a great player and how he liked to play football.
Was the greatest destroyer the English top tier has ever witnessed? Or is his passing ability and all-round play criminally underrated? Is he more a significant signing than Eric Cantona?
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.