The Briefing (22/02/16)

Good morning. Here is your briefing. Let’s start with some news.

Louis van Gaal has suggested that Shrewsbury won’t be scared of Manchester United. And he’s probably right. We’re starting to feel a bit sorry for Van Gaal now, something that only emphasises his point. 

We’re not alone in wondering Van Gaal’s replacement has to be Jose Mourinho OR Ryan Giggs, as if they’re the only two football managers left in the world. Ian Herbert in the Independent says that Mark Hughes should be a contender too.

Sean Ingle compares Barcelona’s front three to the Dad’s Army opening credits and makes it work over on the Guardian. He’s brought some numbers to the party.

The draw for Copa America 2016 (yep, there’s another one this year, centennial edition, hosted in the US) has been made and you have to say that Brazil have done all right out of it. Hosts USA….not so much. Kevin McCauley from SB Nation has first reaction.

ON YOUR TELLY THIS WEEK (Assuming that you live in the UK) 

This is an enormous week of live football and it gets off to an incredible start tonight when Southend United take on table-toppers Burton Albion. It’s Phil Brown vs Nigel Clough. The Shrimpers are driven by revenge, haunted by memories of Luke Prosser’s own goal handing Burton victory when these two sides last met back in October. Cancel your plans, turn your phone to aeroplane mode and get the kettle on, because this shit is real and it is happening and it needs to be in your life. It’s on Sky Sports 1 at 1945. Alternatively, you can watch Manchester United labour to an unsatisfying 2-0 victory over Shrewsbury on BT Sport 2, Napoli vs AC Milan is on BT Sport Europe at 2000 and Sporting vs Boavista is on BT Sport ESPN at 2000, but why would anyone would watch that?

The Champions League is back on Tuesday with its next set of first leg games, staggered across a fortnight so as to suck up all available advertising revenues, slowly strangling all other football, killing it without mercy or remorse to achieve the ultimate aim; one long series of exhibition games between Real Madrid and their own reflections, played in a subterranean arena underneath the sands of the Middle East and beamed onto the side of the fucking moon. You can watch Arsenal prepare to concentrate on the league against Barcelona or Juventus vs Bayern Munich. Catch them both on BT Sport.

There’s more Champions League action on Wednesday when Manuel Pellgrini’s disintegrating Manchester City take on Dynamo Kiev and PSV Eindhoven take on Atletico Madrid. If that’s not enough, perhaps you can try some Europa League football as a starter? There’s Braga vs Sion at 1700.

The rest of the Europa League is on Thursday and there’s masses of it. Lokomotiv Moscow vs Fenerbahce at 1600, Liverpool vs Augsburg at 1800, Manchester United vs FC Midtjylland at the same time and Tottenham vs Fiorentina at 2005. There are of course lots of other games, but you can click this for the link because we’re massively behind schedule here.

We’ll be discussing Eibar in a minute and you can watch them on Friday night when they play Las Palmas on Sky Sports 5 at 1930. You might not want that though. You might want to watch Cologne vs Hertha Berlin on BT Sport Europe at 1930. Or even Nice vs Bastia on BT Sport 2 at 1930. And what about if you’re a Celtic fan, breathing a little easier now that results have improved and Aberdeen have wobbled. They play Hamilton on BT Sport 1 at 1945. And all that’s without considering the lure of Hull vs Sheffiedl Wednesday on Sky Sports 1 at 1930. Frankly, you’re spoiled for choice.

Full TV listings can be found over here on the Live Football on TV page. 


The funny thing about the Eibar miracle, the promotion of a tiny, tiny Spanish side to La Liga, is that it’s far more miraculous than you might first think. The battles they’ve fought, the disadvantages they’ve overturned, it’s absolutely astonishing. And Euan McTear tells the whole story, with help from some of the principal characters, in Eibar the Brave. It’s a chirpy book, collections of contemporary writings interspersed with history and interviews, and like the best of its genre, it tells you as much about the country and the league as it does the team on which it focuses. It also introduced me to one of the finest tweets in recent history: 


If you’re of a certain vintage, you might recall that state of the art games machines used to be a little different. The games were stored on cassettes, they took about seven minutes to load and they were a little more basic (though not necessarily easier as this will remind you). If you miss your Spectrum, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s an excellent emulator now available for your phone. Now, it should be said that many of these games date terribly. But not Chaos by Julian Gollop. Chaos by Julian Gollop is still amazing. And you can download it on Spectaculator as part of a pack of Gollop’s greatest hits. Unleash the Golden Dragon!


Speaking of classic gaming, do you remember the original Football Manager? We do. And we interviewed that visionary programmer Kevin Toms last year. If you missed it, it’s here.

FOOTBALL_MANAGER_AD (1)If you’d like to recommend something for next Monday’s briefing, get in touch by emailing [email protected] 

The Briefing (22/02/16)
5 (100%) 5 votes