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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


Heroes From The Past And The Greatest Soccer Trivia Question Is Answered

Written by on March 14, 2012 | 15 Comments »
Posted in General

Back Page Football has an interview with Charlie Cooke. The article focuses of Charlie’s time with Chelsea but I can remember his relatively short spell with Dundee that came before. When Alan Gilzean was sold by Dundee to Spurs in 1964, Cooke was commonly regarded as Gillie’s replacement. He was in terms of star power but the players were of very different styles.

Gilzean was the consummate goalscorer and leader of the attack. Charlie Cooke was never a consistent goal threat but he was the king of the dribble. One of the greatest performances I have ever seen was Charlie against England at Hampden in 1968 on a frost hardened field. The game finished 1-1 but Cooke was man-of-the-match.

The greatest thrill I have had as a media soccer analyst was meeting Charlie at a NSCAA convention a couple of years back. I had to admit that I was one of a group of boys that used to play football on the street outside his house when he lived in Dundee. One of my best friends lived next door to Charlie and another across the road.

His time at Dundee only lasted 16 months but he is still fondly remembered around those parts.

Tommy Docherty took Charlie Cooke to Chelsea and when the “Doc” took over at Old Trafford he signed another incredible dribbler Gordon Hill.  This is Gordon Hill’s column for Total Football Magazine.

Sam Fayyaz looks at the often strained and strange relationship between Argentina fans and Lionel Messi.

Gabriele Marcotti says it is crass to consider Lionel Messi’s statistics but he decides to go ahead and do it anyway.

Another hat-trick for Lionel Messi – with an assist from David Lacey.

About ten years the idea of a “North Atlantic League” comprising teams from Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Scotland and Belgium was the subject of a lot of discussion. The troubles currently experienced by Rangers may have been the spark needed to put the proposal back on the table according to Richard Wilson.

MLS in underway and so is the Fantasy League. Here is a list of the top ten choices made by participants. How four rookies finish up on this list is beyond me. Hype over substance?

The Secret Footballer tells us that there is often a good reason why a #2 is a #2 and often should stay a #2.

Simon Kuper is an insightful, entertaining and normally a thoroughly enjoyable journalist. He often punctures conventional wisdom with rational arguments, facts and statistics. But perhaps this is a case of playing the role of the contrarian one too many times. In this interview with Josh White Kuper claims “Football is recession-proof” and tries to establish that we should not be worried about overspending by clubs because they don’t go bankrupt and are almost always saved.

He is correct that clubs do not go bankrupt but this is only because in the UK only persons can be declared bankrupt. Organizations enter administration and then sometimes proceed to liquidation.

Anyone who follows the game in Europe, and in particular in the UK, knows that administration is now a common occurrence.

To take the position that we should not care ignores the financial and emotional pain inflicted on a community. Just because a club survives doesn’t mean that the creditors do not pay an often hefty price. The creditors don’t have white-knights riding to their rescue ready to save the day as the liquidation-clock ticks. recounts the Burnden Park tragedy of 1946 in which 33 people lost their lives.

In Bed with Maradona provides the answer to my trivia question that I have never had anyone answer correctly. The question “Name the only player to wear glasses on the field of play and who scored a goal that knocked Real Madrid out of the European Cup.” I always added “and it was not Edgar Davids.” 

Last week Mr. Beckham came to Toronto and John Doyle wrote this piece on all that is wrong the many perceptions of the aforementioned superstar.

Graham Ruthven offers thoughts on where the New York Cosmos sits in the thinking of MLS and how the Cosmos of yesterday still resonates so strongly.

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15 responses to “Heroes From The Past And The Greatest Soccer Trivia Question Is Answered”

  1. Alberta Gooner says:

    Simon Kuper’s comments were interesting given some of the recent financial results released by clubs. Aston Villa recorded a record loss. While it excluded the sales of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing, what interested me is I’ve been getting several e-mails a month from them pitching discounted tickets to upcoming home matches. I also note their attendance figures have fallen to 34,100 this season, well below Villa Park’s capacity of 42,000 or so and a significant drop from last year’s figure of 37,200 (and 38,500 from two seasons ago, when we last attended a match there).

    While some of it is down to discontent with the dire brand of hoofball played at Villa Park these days, I can’t help but think some of those closed factories in the Midlands have affected the level that people are able to support their clubs. It was something David Moyes had in mind when he recently suggested everybody in football should take a 20 per cent pay cut in order to ensure the price of a ticket remains within the reach of the traditional supporter.


    The Swiss Ramble’s latest posted last week on Villa’s financials. The more I think about Kuper’s comments more they strike me as flippant with more than a healthy dose of arrogance.

  3. From this morning’s LA Times on CONCACAF Champions League LAG vs TFC

    “The Galaxy will advance to the tournament semifinals later this month with a win or by holding Toronto to less than two goals in a tie. Because of a complicated tiebreaking formula involving goals scored on the road and, apparently, the barometric pressure on Saturn, a 2-2 tie Wednesday would be followed by overtime while a draw in which the teams combine for six or more goals would send Toronto to the next round.”

    Is it too much to ask that the LA Times employ someone that can simply state that “in the event of a tie over the two games away goals count double. If still tied after extra time it will be decided by a penalty kick shoot out”?

    If that is complicated then god help America.

  4. John Bladen says:

    AG: Villa Park isn’t the only EPL facility ‘showing it’s seat backs’ these days. Not sure quite where Kuper is coming from on this one… supporters will give up a lot before they cut their club spending activities, but everything has it’s limits.

  5. Ed Gomes says:

    Have you guys seen the managers salary rankings for 2012. More than a few are stealing money.

    Top 30 Manager Salaries 2012

    1 José Mourinho Real Madrid 10.000.000 €
    2 Pep Guardiola Barcelona 7.500.000 €
    3 Guus Hiddink Anzhi Makhachkala 7.500.000 €
    4 Roberto Mancini Manchester City 6.000.000 €
    5 Carlo Ancelotti Paris Saint-German 5.900.000 €
    6 Jupp Heynckes Bayern Munique 5.000.000 €
    7 Alex Ferguson Manchester United 4.800.000 €
    8 Kenny Dalglish Liverpool 4.800.000 €
    9 Arsène Wenger Arsenal 4.700.000 €
    10 Harry Redknapp Tottenham 4.700.000 €
    11 Luís Felipe Scolari Palmeiras 3.600.000 €
    12 David Moyes Everton 3.600.000 €
    13 Mark Hughes Queens Park Rangers 3.600.000 €
    14 Martin O’neill Sunderland 3.600.000 €
    15 Diego Maradona Al-Wasl 3.500.000 €
    16 Manuel Pellegrini Málaga 3.500.000 €
    17 Luciano Spaletti Zenit S. Petersburg 3.000.000 €
    18 Muricy Ramalho Santos 2.600.000 €
    19 Ottmar Hitzfeld Swiss 2.600.000 €
    20 Alex McLeish Aston Villa 2.400.000 €
    21 Joachim Low Germany 2.400.000 €
    22 Vicent del Bosque Spain 2.100.000 €
    23 Abel Braga Fluminense 2.100.000 €
    24 Massimiliano Allegri AC Milan 2.100.000 €
    25 Jurgen Klopp Borussia Dortmund 2.100.000 €
    26 Dorival Júnior Internacional 1.900.000 €
    27 Tite Corinthians 1.900.000 €
    28 Claudio Ranieri Inter de Milan 1.800.000 €
    29 Mano Menezes Brasil 1.700.000 €
    30 Antonio Conte Juventus 1.600.000 €

    A couple of thoughts;

    – Brazil showing economic might on manager salaries alone.
    – I see where Villa should be saving some money staright away.
    – With King Kenny in front of him, Wenger all of a sudden looks like a bargain even without trophies.
    – Mark Hughes comands that kind of salary because …?
    – Klopp at Dortmund has to be bargain of the year.
    – Pelligrini at Malaga isn’t far behind as a bargain.
    – AVB isn’t on the list, althought this list came out before his firing.
    – Is Ancelotti making more at PSG than he did at Chelsea?
    It doesn’t matter since he’s still collecting from Abram as well.

  6. Alberta Gooner says:


    Agreed. Some people may argue Villa’s lower attendance stems from supporter discontent with McLeish but its not the only club with this problem. Ticket prices almost certainly have something to do with it as does the ability to watch matches from home or at the local. But it also has something to do with the economy malaise in the west Midlands. I suspect if you look across Europe, you’ll see it reflected in softened attendance figures. What will be really interesting to see is how it affects coming negotiations over media rights and whether television executives can get commitments from advertisers to pay a premium for Bolton-Blackburn or Real Madrid’s weekly tonking of an overmatched La Liga minnow.

  7. Ed Gomes says:

    People will always watch Real, Barca, Man United, Milan, Juve, Arsenal, Benfica, etc… pummel a minnow.
    They won’t always watch a Bolton play Blackburn.

  8. John Bladen says:

    Ed: The $ list makes for interesting reading, thanks. Several of the names on that list just shouldn’t be there… but a fool and his money, as the saying goes…

  9. Rob says:

    John Bladen-“but everything has it’s limits”

    I was trying to come up with an angle in which I could agree with Kuper here and everytime I came up with something, you’re line there hits it on the head why he is wrong.

    I think football is a special case and one that is not like normal businesses BUT football is not recession-proof. That’s just non-sense.

    Of course, what I will say is that I don’t think the decrease in revenue across Europe will be as bad as is predicted.

  10. Alberta Gooner says:


    There’s a big difference in whether people will watch a team play and how much a media company is willing to pay for the rights to screen their matches. There’s a half-dozen examples I could list off the top of my head but I’m not sure whether you want to learn or argue so I’ll just suggest you do your own research on it if you are interested in that topic.

  11. Ed Gomes says:

    Advertisers will pay if people watch. Especially if the right demographic is watching.
    there’s a reason why Real and Barca make so much off their TV rights. There’s a reason why Benfica is about to cash in on their new TV deal.

    I’m sure the CL took a hit when Man United went out, but that doesn’t mean they would receive any less on future contracts. The expectations are that the “big” clubs will be there. Trust me when I say the CL wants Arsenal and Liverpool.

    I think that we can agree that Blackburn vs Bolton or Catania vs Lecce would not bring in much money unless backed by the power of the league.

    Demographics are key, but there better be enough of them.

  12. Astronomer says:

    Fascinating figures in that list.

    Sir Alejandro, though ranked a respectable no. 7, should get more in pure dollar terms — in my humble opinion.

    By the way, what is the source of these figures?

    Any links?


  13. Alberta Gooner says:

    I want to follow the house rules but some people are very difficult not to mock when they post opinions and assumptions as facts rather than educate themselves on very complicated issues.

    You could type “Juventus” “television” and “rights” into a search engine and discover the Old Lady’s revenues dropped from €132 million to €89 million this season. Now, there are complicated reasons for why this happened but it sort of flies in the face of the whole notion that television revenues for football clubs will continue to go up because advertisers are willing to pay for an audience of people who support a certain team and will buy their products. This idea would make a few people who’ve actually negotiated television deals for network television have a very good laugh. The value of media rights is not guaranteed to go up any more than the stock market. This is something that the owners of NHL, NBA and MLB franchises have found out.

    That this concept is difficult to grasp amazes me. Perhaps I’ve not made myself clear enough and if that’s the case, could somebody other than Ed please let me know? I’d like to think I’ve made myself clear.

  14. Re managers. Even more interesting if you have read the Soccernomics take on team performance and how it relates more directly to player salaries than managerial competence. Only in a handful of cases do managers over achieved based on player salary level.

  15. J Rob says:

    I think TV revenues should continue to go up for the EPL over time. Regardless of its technical merits it’s the most watched sporting league in the World. Go to any continent and you’ll find it on TV on a bar or your hotel room TV.

    All these foreign owners are betting that as incomes rise outside the major Western economies that the value of foreign TV rights continue to grow exponentially as well.

    Am I right in thinking that the EPL now gets more from international rights than it does domestic rights?

    That said many clubs are still going to find it hard to stay viable because of the increase in wages for players and to some extent managers.

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