Scythe Matters - AFR Voice Ep.37

Well, it’s been an interesting Easter weekend for David Moyes. First he was stared down by the Grim Reaper at Goodison Park, and now his sacking is confirmed. We’ll be taking a look at what’s gone wrong for the Scotsman, and who the Red Devils can turn to next.

Elsewhere in England, it’s been a big weekend for the Liverpool winning machine which took another big step towards the title, beating Norwich as Chelsea lost a home league game under Jose Mourinho for the first time in 77 games. But what will the ramifications of that result be at both the top and bottom of the table?

Then it’s off to the Continent where Chelsea will have to forget about the weekend very quickly, as they take on Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals. We’ll be previewing this game, as well as another huge one across town when Real Madrid take on Bayern Munich in the other last four tie a day later. Strap yourselves in: it’s definitely business time.

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Lille in the Limelight - AFR Voice Ep. 16

The show has cast a spotlight on a huge collection of leagues this season – La Liga, Serie A, MLS and even the top tiers in Afghanistan and Mongolia. This week, we finally uncork our coverage of Ligue 1 by getting a full lowdown from French football expert, AFR contributor and French Football Weekly editor Andrew Gibney. We’ll find out the latest on the hooliganism that recently blighted the league, salivate over Zlatan, hail the unexpected brilliance of Lille and try to make sense of the zero to hero national team.

The show’s main debate circles around an increasingly beleaguered Jose Mourinho – is ‘The Special One’ no longer special? Read AFR writer Nicol Hay’s fantastic article to find the spark of the discussion. We’ll also be profiling the dramatic rise of 21-year-old Basel centre-back Fabian Schär – from Swiss banker to one of the most promising defenders in Europe in the space of three years. And if you want to hear all about a very unlikely candidate for the most competitive league on the planet, this is the show to tune in to.

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This is not José Mourinho

By Nicol Hay

Picture José Mourinho. Now let me guess what’s in your head. 

I think the José in your mind is raising his fists, celebrating another crushing of a weaker opponent. He is wearing a luxurious winter coat over a suit so finely tailored it would be impossible for any other man to wear it. Yes, his ego shines through – but it is backed up by the imperious display of towering athletes so devoted to his guidance that they perform unbelievable feats in roles they would otherwise consider beneath their skill. You love him, you hate him, he is indifferent. The José in your mind is in total control of a team and a club that expresses his personality completely.

Now look at the Stamford Bridge touchline. You see that man in the crumpled sportswear, peripheral to the game in front of him? The man with all of the rage, but none of the fire?

This is not José Mourinho.

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AFR Voice Ep3 - Exploring Israel’s Lower Leagues 

The AFR Voice team have trekked all over the globe once more this week - making sense of Jose Mourinho’s cautious tactics at Old Trafford, questioning the ethics of Manchester City trying to buy a club in the A-League and hailing the phenomenal attendance at the Seattle-Portland Cascadian derby. The latter was the scene of this week’s #whereisfootball winner and proudly adorns our cover art for the next seven days.

All that audio travelling pales into insignificance compared to photographers Gad Salner and Vadim Tarasov, who have clocked up hundreds of actual miles to explore the lower-leagues of Israeli football.

In an interview with Gad, we hear how the pair went about compiling a set of photos that powerfully depict the grit and spirit at the bottom of the footballing pyramid, and its ability to carve through political and social tensions. There’s a film in the works too.

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The return is sweet, but Chelsea’s identity must transcend Mourinho

By Isi Lewis

Can’t live with him and can’t live without him, Jose Mourinho is the loveable rogue who gave Chelsea fans some of the greatest nights of their lives and then left them in a heap with a hangover; the ex they tried to get over. And now he’s coming back.

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Business Time - AFR Voice, Ep 18.

It’s early May, which in footballing terms generally means one thing: it’s business time. And AFR Voice is punching in for this week’s audio shift with plenty to talk about. Whether it be a 33-man match in Norway, horror challenges on reporters in Denmark, or the hottest thing out of the Madrid branch of IKEA since someone burnt the meatballs, we’ve got it covered.

The Premier League title may be all wrapped up and tucked away safely in Manchester, but there’s still plenty to play for. We’ll be taking a look at the cross-London melee for the final Champions League places, whilst at the other end, any team not in the top half of the table will be nervously looking over their shoulders as Wigan make their customary late push for survival (if they’re not too busy winning the FA Cup).

Then we hop down into the lower leagues where there was a crazy final day in the Championship, and Paddy waxes lyrical about the play-offs as the league pyramid continues to shuffle itself for a couple more weeks yet.

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The work looks completed, but the Champions League painting flows on.

The siesta is over as we edge closer to kickoff in Madrid. The scorelines lie in Germany’s favour, but the beauty of this competition is that you never know. With Mourinho, with Messi, you just never know. Here’s to the artistry on the pitch providing us with a few unexpected turns before we march to Wembley. [Posted by EricGIFs by Dale con Comba.]

Muitos Parabéns / Happy Birthday, José!

Today, Mourinho turns 50. Since his managerial career started at Benfica 13 years ago, the man who’s known as the ‘The Special One’ became the first to win the league titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain, not to mention his pair Champions Leagues. As Inter Milan owner, Massimo Moratti, puts it: he loves to win.” He really does, but he’s also one who loves to entertain.

"I’m a coach, I’m not Harry Potter. He is magical, but in reality there is no magic. Magic is fiction and football is real." - the quotes are really there for the taking.

Wherever he’s been, his name has not been forgotten; although not even Bobby Robson expected Mourinho to have built such an illustrious successful career for himself. This remark is highlighted in a recent documentary, which is well worth your time.

His future remains more uncertain than ever, whether it’s remaining at Real Madrid, seizing the opportunity to coach the Portuguese national team that still lies in the distance, or returning to England. But some things never change: "I have the same or even more ambition than I did before." [Posted by Dom.]

This is the Life of a Manager

By Jordan Brown

The chant rang around Tehrir Square over the weekend—the chant of the revolution, the chant that brought down deposed Mubarak, ‘The people want to bring down the regime!” They shouted it this time for a new leader, the democratically elected Mohammend Morsi—a man who is suddenly discovering the confines of power, the limits of his reach.

Somewhere in London a dour Frenchman was ending his day, and if he were to have seen the scenes in Cairo, heard the chant of the young revolutionaries, it would probably sound to him much like, “You don’t know what you’re doing.” A game as ubiquitous in global culture as football finds itself mirroring many other spheres of human society, none so often as politics, and no role in football is so neatly politicized as Manager.

Football is a republic built on popular momentum; it is the modern circus maximus played out in coliseums of steel and glass, and the mobs are still the masters. In every seat of the stands sits a revolutionary, a fan who holds their own individual ideal of their club’s perfection. They know the way their team should play, who they should sign, and exactly what great heights of achievement each season should hold. Their minds are filled with gleaming trophy cabinets and memorable performances, and to all of them the one standing in the way of the dream made life is the flesh and blood man in the puffy jacket pacing the byline in front of them. Everyone is the best fit for the job except for the one who currently holds the title.

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