The Best of Football Writing in 2011

Compiled by Eric Beard

Let’s go with a classic scenario. What if you spent the last 12 months fighting for your life on an island after a shipwreck? How would you acclimate back into society? Well, you would probably want to catch up on what you missed. If you’re a fan of football and love reading about the game, then you would want to read the best pieces from 2011. That’s the idea behind “The Best of Football Writing in 2011” list. We were all figuratively shipwrecked for a few weeks this year. Whether it was work, a personal issue, an addition to your family, or a horrible set of final examinations, life left us isolated from football. But not to worry, now you can catch up.

Compiling a list of everything you’ve enjoyed in a year is an arduously joyful experience. If there’s anything to say about joys and woes of independent football writing, it’s that the feelings (as well as the content) come and go. You don’t set a blog post up on your bookshelf when you’re done reading. No, it goes back into the infinite abyss of the internet. But a year is a long time, and we’re proud to share The Best of Football Writing in 2011 from fellow bloggers and writers alongside The Best of AFR in 2011. Intelligence on the web is plentiful, and even though internet writing inherently places a date next to every piece, we hoped to handpick articles that are relatively timeless in their nature. For the sake of simplicity, the Best of Football Writing in 2011 (from outside the confines of AFR) is featured first, followed by AFR’s Best of 2011. Without further ado, let’s review. And here’s to 2012…

The Best of Football Writing in 2011:

January 3rd to October 6th - The Equaliser's “Decade by Decade” project

January 19th - “In defence of the sporting spirit” by Steve Reynolds on The Football Ramble

January 29th - “Sex Discrimination and Football” by Gavin on Two Hundred Percent

February 18th - “The Xavi Experience” by Supriya Nair on The Run of Play

February 28th - “On Soundtracks” by Richard Whittall on The Run of Play

February 21st - “Immanuel Kant’s ‘Kick and Prush’ Years” by Russell Berrisford on Fisted Away

February 21st - “A Moment In Time: The Ball Goes In” by Andrew Weber of Arsenal FC Blog

March 7th to the Present - The Elastico's “Next Wave” Series

April - “Thou Shall Not Worship False Idols” by Miriti Murungi of Nutmeg Radio

April 1st - “The laws of the game: a principled approach” by Steve Reynolds on The Football Ramble

April 18th - “Are You Committing Formation Fraud?” by Kyle Martino and The Shin Guardian

April 29th to the Present - Poetry and Vintage Futebol. Jack Lang's Games Against Nature.

May 2nd - “Jose Mourinho, Slavoj Zizek, Matrix, & the Real Perversion: Us” by Futfanatico

May 13th - “Last Tango in Paris (Saint-Germain)” by Chris Woolfrey on Just Football

May 16th - The “Rough Diamonds” Series by The False 9

May 21st - “4,000 Miles East” by Domm Norris on BackPage Football

May 21st - “Xolos Rising” by Eben Lehman on This is American Soccer

May 31st - “The 50 Greatest European Club Sides” by Miguel Delaney of Football Pantheon

June 6th - “When Will Soccer Stand Up To Homophobia?” by Tom Dunmore on Pitch Invasion

June 14th to August - Twisted Blood’s “Gardening Leave” series

July 1st - “Louisa Necib, Algeria, and the Redemption of French Football” by Laurent Dubois of Soccer Politics

June 17th - “Definitevez” by Daniel Colasimone on Surreal Football

June 20th - “It’s okay to eat fish because they don’t have any feelings” by Andi Thomas on Twisted Blood

June 28th - “Titanic day for Argentine football sinks the unsinkable” by Ed Malyon on FourFourTwo

June 28th - “Of Rivalries and Race” by Dan Wiersema of the Free Beer Movement

July 19th - “The Women’s World Cup and English-American Cultural Differences” by Chris Nee on Two Footed Tackle

July 19th - Man Utd 24’s “Retrospective” Series

July 28th - “The Dangers of a European Super League” by Ian King on Two Hundred Percent

August - The Futfanatico Book: An Illustrated Guide to Soccer and Spanish by Elliot Turner (aka Futfanatico aka Fakefutfanatico)

August-December - The Oval Log's brilliant “How to fix football” series

August 3rd - “A Farewell to Cannavaro” by Alan Jacobs on The Run of Play

August 26th - “Why the maestro never gets his standing ovation” by Meg Ryan on totalBarca

September 6th - “Searching for the Bobby Fisher Moment” by Wes Pickard of The Other 87

September 7th - The “Why American Soccer” Essays on The Free Beer Movement

September 7th - “A Closer Look At The Marquez Experiment” by Andrew Villegas on The Yanks Are Coming

September 10th - “Style, the Image of Character” by Jason Davis on Match Fit USA

September 11th - “Mad Béticos and Englishmen” by Danny Last on EFW

October 3rd - “Tweeting History: Argentina 0 Colombia 5” by Sam Kelly on IBWM

October 19th - “Picturing Hope Solo” by Jennifer Doyle of From A Left Wing

October 25th - “Andrea Pirlo: A Giant of his Generation” by Michael Cox on ESPN

October 25th - “Reconstructing An Identity: This is Dynamo Dresden” by Jonathan Lines on IBWM

October 28th - “Retro Ramble: Arsenal 0 Fiorentina 1, 27th October 1999” by James Horncastle on The Football Ramble

October 31st - “La Historia de Los Pineyeros” by Rupert Fryer on IBWM

November - The 100 by In Bed With Maradona

November 1st - “Breaking the big three” by Simon McPolin on Lovely Left Foot

November 2nd - “How Mario Balotelli became MARIO BALOTELLI!!!” by Brian Phillips on Grantland

November 2nd - “The Search for ‘Objective Truth’ in Soccer Analysis is a Fool’s Errand” by Richard Whittall on The Score’s “The Footy Blog”

November 13th - An Interview with Steve McClaren that turned into a media vs. blogger controversy by Gav of Les Rosbifs

December 1st - “Manchester City: The Masterplan” by The Swiss Ramble

December 4th - “One Gary Speed” by Greg of Dispatches From A Football Sofa

December 9th - “The Herald of Gálacticos” by Fredorrarci on The Classical

December 13th - “The (mercifully) short footballing career of Muammar Gadaffi’s son” by Paolo Bandini on The Score’s “The Footy Blog”

December 19th - “The New Germans” by James Tyler on The Classical

The Best of AFR in 2011:

January 5th - “One Small Step for Real Madrid, One Giant Leap for Cantera” by Saheli RC

January 8th - “The Return of the King: Kenny Dalglish” by Amy Eustace

January 28th - “Rules, rules, stupid rules” by Darshan Joshi

February 1st - “Is Fernando Torres’ name worth £50m?” by Dominic Vieira

February 6th - “Centenary Ambitions Crushed” by Gordon Fleetwood

February 9th - “Where did it all go wrong at Wolfsburg?” by Amy Eustace

February 21st - “Can math determine the best club in football?” by Gordon Fleetwood

February 28th - “A Shandy-Manc* on the Sandy Banks of Marseille” by Oliver Sparrow

March 15th - “Return of La Fabrica; back, and better than ever!” by Saheli RC

March 23rd - “The Ajax Experience” (3 Parts) by Eric Beard

April 9th - “Football and Cricket: Is there room for both in India?” by Saheli RC and Kaushik Lakshman

April 25th - “Fairytale in New York: On superstars, movie stars, Cosmos, and Uniting for a Good Cause” by Tom Goulding

April 27th - “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” by Amy Eustace

May - “FIFA Elections ‘11” (3 Parts) by Soraya Soemadiredja

May 19th - “From Colombia With Love” by Dominic Vieira

June 1st - “Edwin Van Der Sar: A trendsetter. A pioneer” by Mohamed Moallim

June 12th - “Egil Olsen, the ingenious Norwegian” by Sindre Trygsland

June 14th - “How Udinese Beat the System and Stands at the Gates of La Liga” by Eric Beard

June 28th - “The Advent of the Squad Player” by Amy Eustace

July 4th - “The Dominant Force in the Women’s World Cup? Subjectivity.” by Eric Beard

August 3rd - “A Quiet Revolution Brews in the South of Spain” by Saheli RC

August 18th - “The 2014 World Cup and its Price on Brazil” by John Burn-Murdoch

September 9th - “The Ongoing Learning Process” by John Smith-Ramos

September 26th - “Transcending Culture: On Barcelona’s Campaign Against Smoking” by Eric Beard

September 29th - “Hype and the monster that is modern football” by Darshan Joshi

October 12th - “To Basque… or not to Basque?” by Elizabeth Hanchett

October 14th - “How to run a football club: a tale of several Americans” by Saf Hossain

November 11th - “What are the Implications of Early La Liga Kickoffs” by Tanuj Lakhina

December 12th - “How The SOPA will stifle Soccer in the United States” by Elizabeth Cotignola

So there we have it. The Best of Football Writing in 2011. If you made the list, give yourself a nice pat on the back. Did we forget your most beloved read of the year? Well, of course we did. Comments and further recommendations below please.

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