Handy Read: Anti Gallicans, Nietzsche, Keynesian economics

Handy Read! FFT.com presents the best of the weekend's football writing. Your opinions are welcome...

So Tottenham are out of the bottom three, and jubilation reigns across half of North London as Harry Redknapp helps Spurs fans out of the gutter while they, as ever, look to the stars. The Observer's Andrew Anthony encapsulates what it's like to support "a true giant that walks on its knees".

It may not have escaped your attention that a patched-up England side won in Germany last week. It was certainly noticed by The Telegraph's Patrick Barclay, who discusses England's chances of winning the next World Cup with his usual fine judgement.

Food for thought: Young Lions give Capello selection dilemma 

It's less than a month since Paddy warned that England are their own worst enemies when they get cocky, but anyone who thinks the Scotsman may be on an elaborate wind-up – in the week that his compatriots created a banner thanking Diego Maradona for the Hand Of God – hasn't had enough business with Barclay.

Another of the fourth estate's most respected football writers, Martin Samuel, is soon to move from News International (where he writes with equal panache for the very different readerships of News of the World and The Times) to the Daily Mail. He's obviously getting in training for that paper's overarching political ethos, judging by his warning about the Gallic threat to England posed by Michel Platini. Presumably, whoever added the poll "Do you want English football to be controlled from Europe?" wants to join Martin at the Mail.

England forever! Europe never! etc, etc 

Speaking of Them Foreigners Coming Over Here Telling Us How To Do Things Betterer, anyone given a copy of Gianluca Vialli's book The Italian Job for Christmas by a well-meaning relative may well be forgiven for giving a frozen grin of mirthless thanks.

After all, with a title like that it could be a dull self-serving biography of a rich boy made famous by football. However, it's a richly entertaining book which reveals Luca's well-researched deep thinking about the similarities and differences between English and Italian football.

So it's no surprise to see Vialli quoted by his Italian Job co-writer (and Martin Samuel's current stablemate at The Times) Gabriele Marcotti comparing Jose Mourinho to the Übermensch in Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra.

Vialli's theory, expounded on Sky Italia and ably expanded as ever by Marcotti, is that like Nietzsche's Superman, Jose – whose Inter side went clear atop Serie A on Saturday after seeing off Claudio Ranieri's Juventus (see our Serie Aaaargh blog here) – embraces adversity as it makes him stronger.

It's not a comparison we'd expect on the MotD sofa from Alan Shearer, somewhat mystifyingly lined up for a future England job by the Independent's Sam Wallace.

We're not sure what that says about English players, managers, media, expectations or mindset, but we're sure Vialli and Marcotti could explain it for us. (Not that Italians have the monopoly on thoughtful comparisons, as proved by Amy Lawrence's excellent Observer blog on the contrasting popularity of English and Italian football.)

Keynesian economics vs Nietzschian philosophy. Probably a draw 

Also evoking thoughtful comparisons is Gooner Talk writer Andrew McPhail. In the Times Fanzine Fanzone, he kicks off a transfer wish-list by entertainingly comparing Arsene Wenger to Gordon Brown via Keynesian economics.

In the same section, we wonder how Portsmouth fan Gareth Beavis – who had recently written off Hull's Geovanni as a "luxury player" Pompey were better off without – felt on Saturday as the Brazilian's 30-yarder arrowed ominously towards David James's top corner.

And finally, speaking of corners: Fashion Corner. It may have escaped your attention that Nike launched a frankly startlingly pink boot this weekend - a launch not helped by (1) not giving us their rather fun viral video to show you all, and (2) having it on the feet of Nicklas Bendtner, wearing a low-contrast red strip while trooping disconsolately round the City of Manchester Stadium getting a sound larruping off the home team.

"Virus quarantined" 

But if it's sportsfolk in preposterous clothing you're after, try the Observer Sport Monthly for a frankly bizarre video of Olympic gold-collector Rebecca Adlington dressed up like a Busby Berkeley flapper. No, we don't get it either.

Any suggestions for the next round-up? Send them to FourFourTwo.com editor Gary.Parkinson@haymarket.com

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