Fergie, transsexual internationals, football's biggest con-man and the death of the tackle

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Our New Year’s Resolution at FourFourTwo Towers was to give you more (and to try and not get so worked up about the state of public transport) – so here goes. In our new February 2012 issue, now on sale, we present... two magazines!

That’s right, ahead of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, we have a special 23-page mini-mag on the tournament, to be found on the reverse of your usual issue. Click here for more details on that.

New Year’s Eve marked a big occasion: Sir Alex Ferguson turned 70. But how much longer can he lead Manchester United to the very top? In a special report, FourFourTwo looks back on Fergie’s career and forward to what is still to come, focusing on how he can overcome his two biggest challenges yet: bouncing back from European humiliation and keeping City in their box.

Certainly, exciting times are ahead, and not just in the UK. We pick our ’12 for 2012’ – a destined dozen to watch this year, from superstars Mario Goetze and legend-for-hire David Beckham to bright young things Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling, including interviews with Rickie Lambert and Euro 2012 hopeful Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

We also have an exclusive interview with Newcastle boss Alan Pardew, who reveals his secret behind winning the hearts and minds of thousands of disillusioned Geordies – plus why he wants to manage abroad as well as take charge of England.

Meanwhile, we investigate the death of the tackle. “It isn’t a quality to aspire to,” says Xabi Alonso, and Rio Ferdinand agrees – but why is tackling a dying art form, replaced by visionary defenders and intercepting midfielders? And can centuries of English tradition catch up with the modern game?

It’s one of the most incredible football stories you’ll ever read: the Brazilian who had a long playing career without ever kicking a ball. Meet ‘the Kaiser’, and marvel at his stories of hiding his inability to play football while starring at the very top level. Just how did he do it? Read and find out.

Frankly, it’s enough to make you want a drink. So quench your thirst with our Action Replay on the history of beer and football as one, from pre-match whiskies to hoolies abroad.

Heard the one about the transsexual who helped a football team win their first ever football match? Thought not. FourFourTwo was there as American Samoa broke history, overcoming years of disappointment – and ribbing over a 31-0 defeat to Australia – to claim three points for the first time, with a highly unusual defender...

Things are just as odd up in Bradford, where 90th in the Football League played 92nd as the Bantams took on the Pilgrims of Plymouth. Was it all misery and moping? We sent our travelling trouper to find out.

Of course, that’s not all. The February issue also features a One-on-One interview with Dietmar Hamann, the former Liverpool man answering YOUR questions – including the one about the copy of Mein Kampf he received as a Christmas present at Newcastle.

Then there’s exclusives from Darijo Srna, Michel Salgado and Roger Hunt, our search for the longest away-day trips in England and Chris Smalling, Sebastian Larsson and Alan Shearer all offering advice in our Performance section.

Oh, and did we mention the Africa Cup of Nations?

We profile every team in this special magazine, from Ghana to Guinea and everyone in between.

Plus, we’ve a complete guide on what games to watch and when, a fascinating history on the hosts, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, and a rundown of why the ACN is the craziest of all international tournaments. Leave your sacrificial birds at the door.

Oh, and we had a chat with two men who sadly won’t be at the competition, to see what they make of the candidates. Steven Pienaar offers his opinion on this year’s tournament, and Samuel Eto’o gives his verdict on every team.

Don’t miss out.

The February 2012 issue of FourFourTwo and the Africa Cup of Nations magazine were brought to you by... Rio Ferdinand, Roger Hunt, Bobby Hassell, Alan Pardew, Samuel Eto’o, Andy Cole, Pepe Reina, Andy Butler, Dietmar Hamann, Roy Barry, Lee Sharpe, Darijo Srna, Allan Ravn, Graham Potter, Brian Wake, Leon Cort, Steven Pienaar, Eamonn Bannon, Keisuke Honda, Ryan Giggs, Phil Parkinson, Rickie Lambert, Mark Hughes, Tony Cottee, John Gorman, Willie Miller, Alan Shearer, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Michael Salgado, Neville Southall, Michael Mancienne, Steve McManaman, Brazil’s Ricardo Rocha, Carlos ‘Kaiser’ Henrique, the stars of American Samoa and the shortest player in Europe...