50 Football Myths Revealed

I am delighted that Bloomsbury has published my latest book, “What You Think You Know About Football is Wrong: The Global Game’s Greatest Myths and Untruths”. Matt Lowing, Commissioning Editor at Bloomsbury Publishing, approached me about the possibility of a book about football, past and present, drawing on my experience as CEO of the National Football Museum for England for 20 years, and my academic research and writing on football. For further details: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/what-you-think-you-know-about-football-is-wrong-9781472955685/

I was thrilled that ‘Motty’, John Motson, OBE, ‘the voice of football’, and current leading BBC TV football commentator Guy Mowbray, both agreed to write Forewords to the book!

To whet your appetite, the 50 myths featured in the book are:

1. The ball did cross the line in the 1966 World Cup Final – and we knew this in 1966

2. Premier League players are not overpaid

3. Rugby could have been the global football game, rather than soccer

4. English fans do not care about the England team, and they never have done

5. FIFA does not make the rules, and never has

6. England did not win the World Cup fairly in 1966

7. British players can and have succeeded abroad

8. Soccer, and not American football, could have been the main winter sport in the USA

9. Most fans are not loyal to one club – they play the field

10. Black players are not new in English football

11. The English didn’t spread football to Brazil – it was the Germans

12. There‘s no such problem as scoring too early

13. Cambridge and not Sheffield is home to the world’s oldest football club

14. Arsenal should not be in the Premier League

15. Leicester City will never win the Premier League again

16. The Dynamo Kiev team were not executed after beating a German SS team in 1942

17. 2-0 is not the worst lead

18. Most football managers make no difference at all

19. Denis Law’s back-heel goal for Manchester City did not relegate Manchester United

20. Women’s football is not new

21. Penalty shoot-outs are a lottery

22. It will never be a global game – European countries will increasingly dominate the World Cup

23. Hooliganism is not, and never has been, a major problem in English football

24. Football shirt colours do matter

25. Africa is not, and never has been, a football backwater

26. English football has never been clean, cheating has always been part of it

27. England is not the centre of football, and for much of its history it’s been a backwater

28. The Germans do not always win on penalties

29. Home advantage is not as vital as we think – and its value is declining

30. It’s science, not artistry, that made the Brazilians the best at football

31. The World Cup has always been controversial

32. There are gay footballers – and there always have been

33. The FA did not ban women’s football in 1921

34. Football hooliganism is not the ‘English disease’

35. Footballers singing their national anthem does matter

36. The FIFA World Cup has not always been the most important international competition

37. The prawn sandwich brigade is not new

38. The Chinese did invent football

39. Women’s soccer has never been more important than men’s soccer in the USA

40. It will not be too hot to play football in Qatar

41. It’s not a game of two halves

42. Wembley is not a world-class stadium, and never has been

43. Disabled players are not new – they have always been part of the game

44. England will never win the World Cup again

45. Football in India is not new – and has a greater tradition than cricket

46. The Zaire player in that World Cup moment did know the rules – he was in fear of his life

47. There are great football films

48. The Premier League is not exciting – it’s increasingly dull and predictable

49. Sir Alex Ferguson is not the greatest ever manager in English football

50. Association football will not last forever