David Beckham. Photo: Getty
The Fan: what happened to David Beckham's silly voice?
By Hunter Davies - 08 April 11:21

For years, his teammates and the whole world mocked his silly, high-pitched voice, suggesting he was a bit simple, making endless jokes about his stupidity. Now, he sounds clear and low and serious.

The statue of Bill Shankly outside Anfield stadium. Photo: Getty
How the Liverpool Supporters’ Union proved it’s possible to change football for the better
By Martin Cloake - 07 April 15:08

The work of the Liverpool Supporters’ Union, known as Spirit of Shankly, is a much-needed good news story in modern football.

Buckingham Palace footmen bring out half-time oranges at the palace’s first football match, October 2013. (Photo: Getty)
The Fan: now Jermain Defoe has left Spurs, can we stop calling him a loyal servant?
By Hunter Davies - 20 March 10:00

When top bankers retire, no one ever says they’ve been great servants to HSBC, but in football romantic notions of service linger on.

Spurs merchandise on sale outside White Hart Lane. Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images.
“We are the Yids”: should Spurs fans be prosecuted for using the Y word?
By Martin Cloake - 12 March 11:20

The case against three Tottenham Hotspur fans accused of “a racially aggravated public order offence” undermines the battle against bigotry. Now that the prosecution has been discontinued, the threat to freedom of speech has been resisted – for now.

Blinking like a pit pony: it can be hard to reacclimatise to the British gloom after a spell in the sun
The Fan: the pointlessness of “warm-weather training”
By Hunter Davies - 06 March 10:00

Does sending the boys out to Dubai to kick balls around really achieve anything?

Cardiff City's owner, Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan. Photo: Getty
Are football’s authorities finally going to have to concede on supporter-owned clubs?
By Martin Cloake - 05 March 17:05

A report from a cross-party group of MPs could provide the much-needed impetus to clear away the mess around club ownership structures.

Most fans will want the captain chosen on merit.
Sol Campbell is wrong - for most England fans, race is irrelevant
By Sunder Katwala - 03 March 11:36

When it comes to choosing an England captain, fans are more likely to have a biased opinion based on club colours than skin colour.

Sol Campbell on the pitch. Photo: Getty
Did Sol Campbell really miss out on the England captaincy because he was black?
By Musa Okwonga - 02 March 16:36

Like Kanye West, Sol Campbell has the habit of making headline-hogging statements that allow us to evade wider and more uncomfortable questions – in this case, about institutional racism in football.

The Fan: putting the clap-monitor into action at White Hart Lane
By Hunter Davies - 28 February 17:47

From Thierry Henry to Christian Eriksen, It is fascinating to note which names the fans cheers loudest for.

The introduction of "safe-standing" at Premiership football grounds.
Why it's time for football clubs to reintroduce standing areas
By David Skelton - 21 February 17:49

The introduction of "safe-standing" at Premiership football grounds would allow clubs to reduce ticket prices and prove that clubs are prepared to listen to their fans.

Will to power: Pietersen works his way towards a double century
Kevin Pietersen: the man who fell to earth
By Ed Smith - 20 February 14:19

Kevin Pietersen willed himself to become an Englishman, and is as troubled as he is gifted. But who is he? And will we miss him now that he is banished from the team?

A young Crystal Palace fan enjoys his hot dog before a match
Everyone’s equal in the eyes of the law – unless you are a football fan
By Martin Cloake and Darren White - 17 February 11:33

Are we seeing the emergence of a two-tier legal system in which football fans are treated as a class apart? Martin Cloake and solicitor Darren White examine the evidence and ask whether we should have cause for concern.

Social media and the second Hillsborough inquest
By David Banks - 14 February 12:30

The depth of feeling that exists about the disaster and what came after is entirely understandable. The attorney general has a difficult task ahead deciding what consititutes contempt of court in this unique circumstance.

Passengers on a crowded tube train, 2014. Photo: Getty.
Behold how the wage-slaving grunts welcome the invasion of the rent-a-squaddies
By Will Self - 13 February 17:21

Britain’s ongoing flirtation with a military way of life.

The Fan: The players that didn’t quite make it
By Hunter Davies - 13 February 12:11

Modern footballers are about as hard to get access to as the Queen. Outsiders, on the other hand, have stories to tell.

Despite his successes, Andy Flower became too dogmatic
By Ed Smith - 11 February 13:08

Though overseeing a period of glory for the English team, Flower became a cowing figure rather than an inspirational one.

At the Sochi Winter Olympics, the Russian establishment is trying to out-gay the gays
By Eleanor Margolis - 04 February 11:19

Russia has given its Olympic volunteers a rainbow-coloured uniform. This is a country that, as of last year, has criminalised homosexuality and banned its citizens from publically brandishing the Pride flag. What's really going on here?

Remembering “Those Glory Glory Days” – a film that understood what football can mean to people
By Martin Cloake - 31 January 9:14

Julie Welch’s semi-autobiographical 1983 film <em>Those Glory Glory Days</em> is that rarest of things, a film about football that works.

For gay sportsmen, coming out can still be tougher than any opponent
By Ed Smith - 22 January 9:39

Sport is defined for some by its macho (and often homophobic) tone of behaviour, but beneath the adversarial veneer it is one of the ties that bind us together.

New Statesman
Beth Tweddle tries to do a Twitter Q&A; outrageous sexism ensues
By Media Mole - 21 January 16:52

Only five per cent of sports media coverage features women. Wonder why?

How to counter the menacingly authoritarian tendencies of modern football
By Martin Cloake - 16 January 13:51

It's enough to test the most passionate fan’s devotion.

The Fan: the year in football
By Hunter Davies - 09 January 14:25

Come on, Cameron, get your togs on!

Just four months ago, England were the victors. How did it all crumble into ashes?
By Ed Smith - 09 January 8:45

Dynasties, after all, can wind up frighten­ingly quickly, with or without hubris at the top.

Phil Thornton: “Football is a gangster’s game and it always has been”
By Martin Cloake - 03 January 9:15

Ten years after Phil Thornton's insightful cult book <em>Casuals</em>, Martin Cloake discusses with him how the state of football's counter-culture has changed.

What a £26,400 cricket ball tells us about our mania for sport
By Martin Cloake - 19 December 16:20

The ball that cricketing legend Sir Garry Sobers smashed for six sixes in one over at St Helen's in 1968 was sold at Christie's in 2006 - only, it turned out to be the wrong ball.

The Fan: topless goal celebrations
By Hunter Davies - 19 December 16:11

In the old days, goal celebrations were gentlemanly affairs – and what's wrong with showing a bit of skin?

Illustration of Alex Ferguson by Ralph Steadman
Alex Ferguson: the last great Briton?
By John Bew - 19 December 15:37

From shipyard socialism to the pioneer spirit of the American dream, the evolution of Alex Ferguson’s political thought.

Obama snubs the Sochi Games, giving Putin a star spangled middle finger
By Eleanor Margolis - 18 December 17:43

By snubbing the Sochi Games himself and picking tennis star and lesbian icon Billie Jean King to represent him, Barack Obama is effectively waving a rainbow flag in Putin's face. Three cheers for the “we’re here, we’re queer”-ness of the US Olympic delega

Aeris Houlihan speaking about her dispute with her local team on YouTube.
Is enough being done to remove unfair obstacles to transsexual people playing football?
By Juliet Jacques - 13 December 11:37

Progress on their participation is being made – but not quickly enough.