Author Archives: Simon Bracken

Deportivo La Coruna: Champions of La Liga’s maddest season

Deportivo 2000

Deportivo La Coruna celebrate their one and only league title, achieved in a strange, strange season.

Season: 1999/2000

This was one of the maddest seasons La Liga has seen, the kind of thing that is hard to imagine now, regardless of Atletico Madrid’s 2014 heroics.

Deportivo La Coruna, a small provincial club who had been growing in stature in the 90s with the likes of Rivaldo making a name for himself there, went on to win their first and more than likely only top flight title. But remarkably they secured the title with just 69 points. In the season just gone Real Madrid finished second with 92. Continue reading

Lazio and their Millennium Millions

Sven Goran Eriksson and Sergio Cragnotti.

Sven Goran Eriksson and Sergio Cragnotti were the men at the helm during Lazio’s most successful period. Courtesty of Calcioweb.

With Lazio flying in Serie A it seemed like a good time to look back at the days when the capital club were one of the major players in the division.

That position was down to the millions of Sergio Cragnotti who bankrolled the assembly of brilliant squad under the guidance of Sven Goran Eriksson. The Swede arrived in 1997 after years of near misses and in his second season in charge Lazio would have the greatest anti-climax of their history, as they let a seven-point lead slip and Milan clinched the title by defeating Perugia on the final day.

The previous season had seen the capital club win the Coppa Italia but they disappointingly lost out on a chance of their first ever European silverware in the Uefa Cup final. A Ronaldo-inspired Inter proved too much for even this vaunted Lazio defence. They would though get their hands on a European trophy the following year beating Mallorca in the final of the last Cup Winners’ Cup in 1999. Continue reading

Dynamo Kyiv: Would they have stopped United’s treble?

The trophy in the middle could easily have been Old Big Ears.

The trophy in the middle could easily have been Old Big Ears.

Season: 1998/9

When people think of the 1999 Champions League one thing springs to mind: Manchester United’s seminal comeback in the final against Bayern Munich.

However, they could easily have been playing Dynamo Kyiv in the final rather than the Germans, as the Ukranian outfit surprised everyone by making the last four. Continue reading

Adriano: A story of what might have been

Not the look of a man who once terrified defenders all around Europe.

Not the look of a man who once terrified defenders all around Europe.

2005 Confederations Cup final: Brazil 4-1 Argentina. The Brazilians battered their rivals and looked a simply unstoppable force on their way to retaining the World Cup in Germany in a year’s time. Adriano scored a brace in the final, taking his tournament tally to five on his way to the Golden Shoe as top goalscorer and Golden Ball as best player. The 24-year-old had the world at his feet. Continue reading

Guti: The forgotten Madrid legend

Guti Football Nostalgia

“Why wouldn’t anybody trust me?”

Until recently we’d forgotten about Guti. Hard to imagine you could forget someone who played over 500 times for Real Madrid, but forget him we did. Perhaps that’s because despite winning three Champions Leagues and five La Liga titles with Madrid, Guti never really realised his potential. Continue reading

The Nearly Men: Bayer Leverkusen

Butt and Lucio look on as Zidane scores THAT goal

Butt and Lucio look on as Zidane scores THAT goal

Season: 2001/2

Roberto Carlos runs down the left. He hooks the ball high into the box hoping a team-mate can make something of his hopeful ball. Thankfully the ball falls to Zinedine Zidane. The French genius swings his left boot and scores the most replayed goal in Champions League history to clinch a 2-1 victory in the 2002 final at Hampden Park. Continue reading