Real Madrid, Spain’s Civil War and a homage to an improbable hero

John McCormick mugs up on his Spanish history

McCormick’s Craic has one of its more scholarly moments. Here, inspired by recent musings on football and fascism, John McCormick traces the history of one of the men most closely associated with Real Madrid and finds him commemorated in places you’d expect people with handed-down memories of Franco atrocities to bristle at any mention …

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McCormick’s Craic: where was England’s flair?

John McCormick: nostalgic reading calls for a beer

Spain stutters through to the final, France ponders the rights and wrongs of stripping surly players of their bonuses and, once again, the national side leaves a major competition, outplayed and outclassed. John McCormick, on furlough in Westmorland, reflects upon the words of his wife and asks “where’s the flair?”…

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Mussolini, Lazio and Di Canio: getting Swindon players to run on time

SanSiro saluta i tifosi biancocelestiImage: Oscar Federico Bodini

Fascism is on the rise again in Europe as far-right parties take electoral advantage of widespread disillusion with mainstream politicans. Witness the skip-a-generation election of wicked old Jean-Marie Le Pen’s granddaughter, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen (just a rank, I know, but what an evocatively Pétainist name!) while his daughter demands a recount after failing to win a seat by just 118 votes. Where does football come into any of this? Salut! Sunderland’s John McCormick has a scholarly reply, with inevitable reference to Paolo Di Canio, who has just led Swindon Town to League One …

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Hughton, Norwich and the scourge of over-expectation

Jake's vision of plenty

Drawing us away from the shores (and laboured irony) of Northern Ireland – and thank heavens for that – John McCormick assesses the appointment of Chris Hughton as Norwich City manager …


I’ve just heard
that Chris Hughton has been appointed manager of Norwich and I have to ask, how long will he last?

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A Sunderland footballing odyssey from Gateshead to Southport

Bobby Gurney through Jake's eyes

Crikey! John McCormick has turned writing for Salut! Sunderland into the craft of jigsaw creator, or perhaps more like that of the inventor of snakes and ladders. Discussing ups and downs that have followed the exclusion from the Football League of Gateshead 52 years ago, always looking out for SAFC links, he weaves an intricate pattern of football history …

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Tyne-Wear derby: Sunderland fan commemorates Newcastle player who caught his eye

West Brom is beginning to be no more than a bad memory. Not entirely true, of course, but it is time to start thinking ahead to Sunday – early in any ordinary week, but derby week (even if Newcastle United v Sunderland takes place, strictly speaking, next week) is never ordinary. John McCormick is a staunch Sunderland supporter. But it was a Mag who made the earliest impression on him – as John recalls more than half a century later, 45 years to the day after the player in question met a tragic death just a few days before an earlier Wear-Tyne encounter played on the 4th of March …

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