Exciting match: Scotland's Ikechi Anya (foreground) in the UEFA qualifying match against Germany. Photo: Getty
If Scotland votes Yes it’ll make no difference to football
By Hunter Davies - 25 September 10:00

Hunter Davies’s The Fan column. 

A delight to watch: Mooen Ali on the first day of the fifth Test match between England and India on 15 August. Photo: Getty
Bigotry is bigotry – shame on those who booed Moeen Ali at Edgbaston
By Ed Smith - 25 September 10:00

Why was there such deep reluctance to state what was obviously the case – that Ali, a British Asian, was booed by other British Asians?

Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea. Photo: Getty
Football is escape, not a moral maze. Isn’t it?
By Martin Cloake - 22 September 16:07

It is not the job, we are told, of those who regulate football to regulate football. What?

The stand at Brunton Park, home of Carlisle United. Photo: Getty
I drove up to Carlisle, armed with treasures to prove that, once upon a time, small clubs made it to the top
By Hunter Davies - 18 September 8:58

I still can’t believe that Carlisle were ever in England’s premier league – with a small p – yet on 24 August 1974 they were top of Division One, having beaten Chelsea, Spurs and Middlesbrough.

Oscar Pistorius arriving at court. Photo: Getty
Oscar Pistorius found guilty of culpable homicide
By New Statesman - 12 September 10:04

The South African athlete has been cleared of premeditated and second-degree murder.

Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: William Murphy on Flickr, via Creative Commons
From inflexible nationalism to Sky Sports: Ireland’s Gaelic games have come a long way
By Oliver Farry - 05 September 17:04

In 2014, Gaelic Athletic Association games are being broadcast by Sky Sports for the first time. Oliver Farry looks at the history of two sports that have deep connections with Ireland’s identity.

The greatest leaps in sport come from trial and error – not the conventional wisdom of coaches
By Ed Smith - 04 September 9:03

Innovative sporting cultures become wealthy, so they can afford to have more coaches. That doesn’t prove that the coaches caused the innovation and wealth.

The politician and his playmaker: Tony Blair and Alex Ferguson in 1996. Photo: Steve Eason/Getty
Pitch perfect: the ten football matches that changed the world
By John Bew - 31 August 11:11

Jim Murphy’s book combines a blokey ethos with a serious tone, and includes the Eton-smashing 1883 FA Cup final, the 1943 Spanish Cup semi-final and Robben Island’s  “Makana League”.

MK Dons striker Benik Afobe celebrates the team's third goal against Manchester United. Photo: Getty
Why MK Dons’ 4-0 victory over Manchester United didn’t cause universal joy
By Martin Cloake - 29 August 14:36

How would you feel if the club you supported had been stolen from you, relocated, renamed, made into something entirely different?

Glutton meets gourmet: our ideas about healthy eating are becoming ever more confused. Image: Valero Doval
Slightly overweight people live longer – so is it time to rethink our dietary advice?
By Julian Baggini - 21 August 11:50

One of the most unfortunate consequences of this constant revising of recommendations is the belief that no one knows what a good diet is. But look at the bigger picture and the consensus holds steady over time.

DNA strands on display in a double helix model on display at the Science Museum. Photo: Getty
DIY diagnosis: how an extreme athlete uncovered her genetic flaw
By Ed Yong - 19 August 12:13

When Kim Goodsell discovered that she had two extremely rare genetic diseases, she taught herself genetics to help find out why. Ed Yong tells her story.

Harriet Harman at Wimbledon this summer. Photo: Getty
The problem with Harriet Harman’s proposed gambling tax
By Martin Cloake - 18 August 15:30

Labour think the levy can be used to fund elite sports development as well as grass-roots sports. So, they must be hoping for a lot of gambling in order to generate the sums needed.

Ched Evans playing for Sheffield United in 2012. Photo: Getty
Ched Evans and Ma’lik Richmond: why should rapists get a second chance to be celebrated?
By Sarah Ditum - 15 August 12:31

Sports stars who are convicted of rape get to return as heroes on the field. If there were justice for women, rape would be a crime that makes us all turn in disgust from the perpetrator.

England captain Alastair Cook (R) and teammate James Anderson walk off the pitch after defeating India in the fourth Test match between England and India, 9 August. Photo: Getty
The true meaning of success – and why we should never listen to the impatient mob
By Ed Smith - 15 August 11:07

After England’s defeat by India in the second Test at Lord’s, almost every leading voice in English cricket called for Alastair Cook to be sacked as captain. 

Moeen Ali wielding the bat for England in Bangladesh earlier this year. Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Could cricketer Moeen Ali be the saviour of multiculturalism in Britain?
By Harcharan Chandhoke - 05 August 11:23

Moeen Ali has shown it is possible to be both a devoutly practising Muslim and a ‎loyal participating citizen of Britain. There is no contradiction at all between the two.

Outside the Matchroom Stadium. Photo: Getty
It’s not you, Leyton Orient: why a sexist song means I’m walking away from my football club
By James McMahon - 01 August 14:47

After tweeting his disapproval of a sexist song sung in the stands, James McMahon found himself on the receiving end of a social media onslaught.

Dismayed: England captain Alastair Cook after losing the 2nd Test match between England and India at Lord's, 21 July. Photo: Getty
Ed Smith: We can’t fix English cricket without tackling what’s wrong at county level
By Ed Smith - 31 July 10:00

I used to hate it when the failings of the England team were blamed on the counties but there is no way of avoiding the fact: English cricket is getting a very poor return on its investment.

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke. Photo: Getty
The FA needs to start acting like a national football association
By Martin Cloake - 28 July 17:24

Until it promotes a greater diversity of interests, the FA will continue to function as the executive of an elite group.

Australia's Michael Rogers celebrates before crossing the finish line at the end of the sixteenth stage of the Tour de France, July 22, 2014. Photo: AFP/ Eric Feferberg/Getty
Explained: how to win a Tour de France sprint
By Bryce Dyer - 22 July 17:11

The Tour de France reaches a climax this weekend as the cyclists head towards the Champs-Élysées final stage. Here's the theories, tactics and sprints behind the race to the finishing line. 

Fluoro feet: Ghanaian players sport colourful boots during a World Cup training session, 18 June. Photo: Getty
Bright boots, shaving foam, dodgy slogans and nice teeth . . . What a World Cup that was
By Hunter Davies - 18 July 13:00

For about ten years, the back pages of football magazines have featured coloured boots. I thought they would never catch on – but blow me, they’re everywhere now!

Not so strong: Lance Armstrong apologises for taking performance-enhancing drugs in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, January 2013. Photo: Getty
After the beep: when mental strength hits a wall, doping helps you get over it
By Ed Smith - 17 July 10:00

The relentless professional era has taken elements of the beep test and incorporated these into real sports, even disciplines we usually think of as “skill” sports.

The German team celebrate their World Cup victory. Photo: Getty
After the World Cup final, the streets of Copacabana ran with urine and the bars ran out of beer
By Jonathan Wilson - 15 July 16:35

Even amid the camper vans and the seemingly anarchic raucousness of the beach, Sepp Blatter reigns supreme.

Centre Court at Wimbledon. Photo: Getty
Thrilling in the name: Wimbledon on BBC Radio 5 Live
By Antonia Quirke - 10 July 11:58

Is it just me or is everyone enjoying saying the word “Kukushkin” rather a lot?

A TV reporter commentates in the rain. Photo: Getty
Ex-pros fill the pundits’ chairs – but giving a good game isn’t the same as talking a good game
By Ed Smith - 10 July 11:21

A problem arises when it is assumed that professional playing experience is the sole source of authority.

The German team celebrate their fourth goal against Brazil in the 2014 World Cup semi-final. Photo: Getty
It has been the World Cup of the individual, but Germany showed us the power of the team game
By Jonathan Wilson - 09 July 12:10

Germany, superbly well drilled, provided the perfect example of the superiority of the team game with their 7-1 evisceration of Brazil’s emotionally overcharged individuals in the semi-final.

Brazil fans celebrating their team's success. Photo: Getty
Best World Cup ever! Or is it? Why we should beware the deception of enthusiasm
By Oliver Farry - 07 July 11:02

Is being wary of enthusiasm just intellectual masochism, or are we missing out on a powerful force for good in the world?

Entourage too small? Joe Hart and Wayne Rooney at a World Cup press conference, 21 June. Photo: Getty
Next time, let’s give our lads their own hair stylists and some major surgery
By Hunter Davies - 04 July 17:06

And of course give up all training or playing for five weeks before their first game, perhaps even have some major surgery, spend some time in a wheelchair, like Luis Suárez.

Boys' done good: Jack Wilshere and Frank Lampard of the England team after the Costa Rica game, 24 June. Photo: Getty
Why we should actually be proud of England’s World Cup performance
By Hunter Davies - 04 July 11:12

I am honestly and truly now coming to the conclusion that England did astonishingly well. In fact, they overachieved. 

Orange squash: Ron Vlaar and Andrés Guardado during the Netherlands v Mexico match, 29 June. Photo: Getty
This is Fifa-land: colourful, attractive spectators in team shirts playing by the rules
By Jonathan Wilson - 03 July 17:35

There is a set way to behave. Team shirts and face paint have become de rigueur, while Mexican waves now interrupt the view of anybody trying to watch the football with irritating regularity. 

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