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First a message from our editor, James Andrew:
Five men have given their best shot at bringing the kind of glory back to Old Trafford that Sir Alex Ferguson made look so easy. Nearly all of them arrived with credentials to do so. None came anywhere close.
Now it’s the turn of Erik ten Hag to try reining in runaway rivals Manchester City and Liverpool. The Dutch tactician’s deadpan obsession for the game was notorious well before he worked alongside Pep Guardiola in Munich – a trait that proved effective when taking Ajax to a run of titles and the Champions League semis. But as usual, that big old question persists: why is he the man to finally get it right? FFT finds out from plenty of those who should know.
Elsewhere, we preview a wide-open Women’s Euros as the Lionesses bid for glory on home soil, and trace their eventful journey since last hosting it in 2005. With Norway talisman Ada Hegerberg back, tournament favourites emerging from nowhere and England in with a huge shout, it looks set to be unmissable viewing this summer.
Finally, it’s 30 years since Nick Hornby published Fever Pitch, his glorious book on fandom that still hits the spot three decades on. We grabbed lunch with the legendary author to chat about its lasting legacy.
Enjoy the mag, and don’t forget that the next issue will be our giant Season Preview – in shops July 20…
The new King Erik
A sizeable list of super-gaffers have tried to restore Manchester United’s glory since 2013, but none have been like Erik ten Hag. The fastidious, obsessive Dutchman’s unique style will shake things up at Old Trafford. It’s worked before… with some patience.
The Lionesses’ bumpy ride
England hosted their most recent major women’s tournament back in 2005, when the landscape was rather different for the Lionesses. It’s taken snubs, blunders and no shortage of serious heartbreak to make serious progress – but now, Sarina Wiegman’s ambitious side have a nation dreaming of glory…
Women’s Euros preview
A former Ballon d’Or winner making her long-awaited major international comeback; the favourites steaming in from nowhere; France finally trying to make their individual qualities count in a season where one of their biggest clubs absolutely lost the plot; the Englishman managing reigning champions Holland…
It’s all going on ahead of the most wide-open women’s tournament in history.
Alessandro Del Piero exclusive
Del Piero made himself an icon of late ’90s football in the world’s best league, then lifted the 2006 World Cup in an explosive summer for both club and country. The man himself relives his bumpy ride with FFT: scandals, Jagger and all…
Nick Hornby on Fever Pitch
Nothing speaks to fandom like Hornby’s 1992 classic, published when Highbury was crumbling and football literature amounted to little more than your matchday programme. Thirty years later, FFT grabs lunch with the author himself to chew the pasta over Arsenal, Fever Pitch’s legacy, the wider game – and just a touch more Arsenal…
Chris Coleman answers YOUR questions
How did he inspire Wales to the Euro 2016 semis? What was it like in the goldfish bowl for Sunderland Till I Die? And why did Michael Jackson surprise him? The Swansea man gets stuck in to all those and more…
Montserrat’s non-league heroes
Montserrat were unofficially the world’s worst international team 20 years ago, but now they have real dreams of reaching a major tournament. Just one thing: nearly all of their players come from England’s lower reaches. FFT rallies the troops in, er, north London.
Nadia Nadim’s incredible story
She was forced to flee Afghanistan as a child, before finding asylum – and football – in Denmark. Now, nearing her 100th cap and a newly qualified doctor, the forward takes FFT through her amazing life.
How the super-agents took charge
Mino Raiola’s death was global news in April, given his extraordinary reputation for doing deals for football’s top stars. From pizza restaurant to mega-broker, Raiola became the face of super-agents – an eye-watering phenomenon 65 years in the making. FFT finds out more…
In the Players Lounge…
Jimmy Bullard opens up on Phil Brown, England regrets and the prospect of playing for… er, Germany; Ronny Rosenthal explains why he’s glad about that miss, actually; Gianluca Festa remembers Gazza and Boro; while Tony Woodcock chats Cloughie, Forest’s glory days and following Keegan to Germany.
Going Around The Grounds…
Hull boss and former Rangers hero Shota Arveladze tells FFT about his opening months on Humberside. Elsewhere, we chat to Leicester Women’s Melton Mowbray native Ashleigh Plumptre about her unlikely summer ahead with Nigeria, and Chester’s new 28-year-old gaffer Calum McIntyre.
Ian Holloway inks his final column, we reminisce about Sol Campbell at Notts County, Millwall are featured in Best & Worst, and we profile Celtic’s former MK Dons star Matt O’Riley.
Last but not least, find out what links Wycombe and Lionel Richie…
In our fun-packed front section, we bring you the latest madcap tales from Planet Football.
Discover why Saint-Etienne fans went rogue at the end of the campaign, Dida‘s most important matches, then behold in the beauty of Greenland as they bid to get into… well, CONCACAF of course.
Elsewhere, we remember Jimmy Hill’s rebel tour to South Africa, chat to the Brazil-born Ukraine international Junior Moraes about twice escaping war, chart the demise of Ostersund and take a look at football’s most curious crossovers.
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