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First a message from our editor, James Andrew (opens in new tab):
There aren’t many life mottos I try to live by, but one rule I’ve always believed in is ‘never go back’. Once something is over, it’s over: move on and look forward.
But as with all rules, there are exceptions – and the last transfer window showed us in two cases where going back could potentially be exactly the right thing to do.
After seven years, Romelu Lukaku’s return to Chelsea might end up being a perfect fit for player and club. And then there’s the small matter of Cristiano Ronaldo back at Manchester United after his incredibly successful 12-year spell away from Old Trafford with Real Madrid and Juventus.
We look at both and their grand returns for what promises to be a thrilling season. As someone without a dog in the fight, I’m excited to see how silverware will be divided among so many genuinely strong squads.
As mentioned on this page before, it’s brilliant to be watching football again with the stands full of fans – but the big question is: which is the best ground in Britain? While donning our tin hats, we attempt to answer that question with our countdown of the 100 greatest grounds. It certainly provoked a lively debate in the office, so I’m sure it’ll be the same for you at home.
Here's what's inside this issue...
Cristiano: return of the king
Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United a Premier League champion in 2009, but it’s been eight long seasons since the Red Devils ruled English football. Their prodigal son has come back, though, and he wants trophies…
100 greatest grounds in Britain
From Anfield to Oakwell, via Craven Cottage and Cae Clyd, FFT ranks the finest homes by their matchday experience. We’re convinced there’ll be absolutely no arguing about it...
Inside the new Milan
After 10 years without a scudetto and seven out of the Champions League, the Rossoneri are back in Europe’s elite club competition – and they mean business. FFT goes inside Milanello to meet the key figures ushering in a bold new era
Big Rom's redemption
Ronaldo isn’t the only man back at his old club and chasing Premier League glory – Romelu Lukaku has rejoined Chelsea a different player to when he departed in 2014, largely thanks to a title-winning spell at Inter
Sol Campbell: the manager
Campbell was a serial winner as a player, but successive jobs in the bleakest of circumstances at Macclesfield and Southend have only led him to closed doors. The former defender tells FFT of his struggle to shine in the dugout – and why he isn’t going to give up
Fernandinho: You Ask The Questions
How close was he to leaving Manchester City in the summer? How did it feel to be left out of the Champions League final? What's it really like moving from Brazil to Ukraine? And why is his hometown full of British gear? All of those and more of your social media posers answered...
Steve Cotterill vs COVID-19
Cotterill was a fit 50-something enjoying life in his new role as manager of Shrewsbury – until coronavirus took its grip and left him fighting for survival. Having mercifully won that war, he relives the ordeal with us in his own words
Puskas: the 10 commandments
Hungary visit Wembley in October, 68 years after Ferenc Puskas orchestrated a 6-3 win under the Twin Towers. FFT gained access to the Galloping Major’s personal diaries, and a 10-part philosophy that led him to greatness
In the Players Lounge
Southampton hero Martians Pahars chats government gigs and Jaap Stam nutmegs, Ian Harte explains why he was basically better than David Beckham, Quinton Fortune mourns the greatest talent that never was at Old Trafford, while Chelsea's Champions League winner Jose Bosingwa says he'd insult ref Tom Henning Ovrebo again if he needed to. Oo-er...
Going Around The Grounds...
In our featured interview, Accrington Stanley boss John Coleman discusses two spells and 20 years as the Lancashire side's manager.
Elsewhere, Guillem Balagué talks FFT through his nightmare summer as Biggleswade United chairman, columnist Ian Holloway remembers his draining days as a player-manager, Bolton Wanderers get the Best & Worst treatment, and we explain why Plymouth were once absolutely massive in Poland. All that and more...
Our regular front section carries the most amusing tales from Planet Football, including the Slovakian who both won and lost a game, plus the brains behind the brilliant Twitter account 80s Footballers Ageing Badly.
Meanwhile, ex-Saint Francis Benali answers silly questions, Everton's homecoming queen Toni Duggan reflects on stints away with Barça and Atletico Madrid, Manic Street Preachers frontman James Dean Bradfield remembers the day he annoyed Roberto Carlos, and there's the usual set of brain-tickling quiz questions.
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