A rotten day for the beautiful game: Johan Cruyff’s death, Adam Johnson’s digrace

Down at the Riverside
Sixer celebrates Johan Cruyff’s life

On the second name in the headline, Pete Sixsmith is rightly brief and disapproving. To the first, he devotes many more words, of tribute this time, to a man who personified all that can be good about football. Ordinarily, reflections on the death of Cruyff from cancer at just 68 and the six-year jail sentence handed out to Johnson would not occupy the same space. Only coincidence dictates otherwise – and, after striking just the right tone on both, Pete also has some salutary words for Chris Sutton, who spoke this week of how wretched life must be as a Sunderland supporter …

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1974, Cruyff and Tito: World Cup memories (3)


Pete Sixsmith‘s World Cup reminiscences reach 1974. It was a year the Scots made it to the finals and England didn’t, Johan Cruyff should have ended up in the winning side and didn’t and Marshal Tito would have made Pete’s day by turning out on the left wing for Yugoslavia, but also didn’t …

This was the first tournament where they played for the “new” World Cup, Brazil having won the right to keep the old one in in perpetuity (which translated as 13 years, the time it took for someone to steal it).

It was staged in the Federal Republic of Germany (West) and it came at the end of my teaching career at Broom Cottages Secondary Modern School as it was subsumed into Ferryhill Comprehensive School.

England didn’t make it to the finals, having been knocked out by a splendid Polish team. How these names roll of the tongue: Gregor Lato, Jerzy Gorgon, Kazimiersk Deyna, Robert Gadocha, Zbigniew Gut and Jan Tomaszewski.
They really were a good side and had had little trouble dumping a poor England team out of the qualifiers, sending Sir H’Alf to spend more time with his family.

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