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In the mag: Haaland exclusive, how the Lionesses made history PLUS Baggio, Grobbelaar, Mike Dean, FC Mariupol and 30 years of Champions League lunacy

September 2022, FourFourTwo
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First a message from our editor, James Andrew:

When working on a monthly football magazine, there’s sometimes an element of risk when settling on a cover star – especially when it’s just one player.

Will they be in form when the magazine comes out? Will they be a player people want to read about? Will they suffer a bad injury when we hit the shelves? We have no control over those answers, but this month we reckon the first two will be yes and yes. Fingers crossed that number three is no.

Erling Haaland was already a superstar when he signed for Manchester City this summer – if his start to life in the Premier League was anything to go by, he could move to stratospheric levels at the Etihad Stadium. We sat down for a chat with the Norwegian to discuss his move to England, and how he celebrated Sergio Aguero’s title-winning goal a decade ago. Spoiler: includes shirt-twirling.

Haaland wasn’t the only one making headlines this summer – England’s Lionesses captured the hearts of the public to win the Euros, scoring 22 goals and conceding just two on their way to the crown. Regular readers won’t have been surprised – in our tournament preview, we did tell you they’d win it.

Now, it’s up to Gareth Southgate’s men to match that. No pressure...

City’s first Galactico

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Manchester City have had many great players during Pep Guardiola’s reign, but none have arrived with quite the same status as Erling Haaland. His task? To help them finally win the Champions League, as he explains to FFT...

How the Lionesses made history

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England Women lifted their first major trophy at Euro 2022, beating Germany at a joyful Wembley – 31-cap Lionesses midfielder Izzy Christiansen covered the epic competition for BBC Radio 5 Live and talks FFT through an inspirational summer.

Bruce Grobbelaar answers YOUR questions

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Was he offered a US baseball scholarship as a youngster? How did it feel when Michael Thomas snatched the title for Arsenal in 1989? And did he really pee on the Anfield goalposts to help Liverpool win the league? The goalkeeping icon reveals all...

30 years of the Champions League

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UEFA’s premier club competition returns in September – since the European Cup was rebranded for 1992/93, every campaign has produced the unexpected, from an exploding volcano to swimsuit models and a partying Tino Asprilla...

Derby: Pride after a fall

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The Rams are a third-tier outfit for the first time in 36 years, after nearly falling into financial oblivion. Through it all, players and fans remained united – now there’s hope they can rise again, as gaffer Liam Rosenior and others tell FFT...

Tales from a whistleblower

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Mike Dean divided opinion during two decades as a top-flight referee, but became one of the Premier League’s most unique characters – after all, who else has sent off a player while they were flat out on a stretcher? Now retired, the ex-official reflects on an eventful career.

All hail the Divine Ponytail

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Roberto Baggio wowed a generation with his mesmerising displays for club and country – he was so popular, he even sparked a riot. No wonder QPR were so keen on signing him.

When the music stops

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Footballers experience a life of adulation in their playing days, but it’s a whole different ball game after retirement. Adjusting to a new existence can be really tough, as Dean Windass & Co admit to FFT...

The fight to save FC Mariupol

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Three years ago the Ukrainian club were inspiring youngsters in the Europa League – now their existence is in real peril after a Russian siege put them through hell.

In the Players Lounge…

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David Seaman recalls Arsene Wenger’s first rant as Arsenal boss, Jesper Blomqvist reveals the best way to handle Big Dunc, Peter Lovenkrands insists no derby is bigger than the Old Firm and Ruel Fox remembers King Kev’s pranks at Newcastle.

Around The Grounds…

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Our dedicated section for the EFL, non-league and Scotland brings you an interview with Ross County gaffer Malky Mackay, while in Birmingham’s Best & Worst we reminisce about Christophe Dugarry and Cheikh N’Doye. Elsewhere, we profile Sheffield United loanee Tommy Doyle, look back on Bedale AFC’s sausage-themed kit and revisit Rochdale’s nightmarish 1973-74 campaign in Season of Shame.

Upfront…

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Our busy front section on all things Planet Football kicks off with the Playboy model hoping to buy a Chilean club using cash raised via her OnlyFans page. Meanwhile, Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno waxes lyrical on Leicester in My Football, Boudewijn Zenden lists the games that changed his life and Bojan Krkic discusses his shock playing for Stoke over Christmas, plus his stint alongside Andres Iniesta in Japan.

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