The clocks have gone forwards, which can only mean one thing. No, not an hour less in bed, but a brand new issue of FourFourTwo! And may we humbly say what a spring cracker it is.
Is there a cooler manager on the planet than Jurgen Klopp? Short of slipping Tony Pulis into a tight-fitting suit with skinny tie, we happen to think not. Yet Kloppo has endured a chastening domestic season with Borussia Dortmund.
Bottom on three separate occasions, they have spent much of the campaign in the relegation zone and are near certainties to miss out on the Champions League. Our cover feature this month ponders why Die Schwarzgelben's popular chief may fancy a change of scenery, potentially in the Premier League...
The race for the Champions League is hotting up in the Premier League, too. We ask the big questions of the contenders: Can Philippe Coutinho be Liverpool’s Neymar, is Daley Blind Manchester United’s secret weapon and will Gabriel Paulista fix Arsenal’s leaky defence? Plus Simon Mignolet, Ryan Bertrand and Nacer Chadli talk us through their hopes for the rest of the campaign.
If your allegiances lie away from the Prem, though, this is the issue for you. Voted for by fans, we run down the Top 50 Football League Players, the eighth time we’ve done so. We also chew the fat with Leeds prodigy Lewis Cook, compare the Championship and Segunda with Brentford’s Spanish playmaker Jota and get Bristol City’s Jay Emmanuel-Thomas’ guide to the West Country. Who’s No.1, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to buy the mag to find out, then tell us how wrong we are on Twitter, using the hashtag #FLTOP50.
There’s even more Football League fun as we speak to four future Mourinhos – including Aitor Karanka, the Special One’s Real Madrid assistant – serving their apprenticeship in the English game.
Plus, Roy McDonough, the Football League’s hardest ever player, who received a record 13 red cards in a career as a lower-league striker for Chelsea, Colchester and Southend, among others, tells us about life on the edge. It’s fascinating, if hardcore, stuff.
Another ex-Blue John Sitton could also handle himself, and his famous “you can bring your dinner” half-time team talk as Leyton Orient boss features in our investigation into the football’s 15-minute break.
This month’s One-on-One was no less fond of a tackle than either Sitton or McDonough. Former Leeds and Manchester United hard man Alan Smith reflects on Champions League highs, leg-breaking lows and his love of BMX. And did he really say he’d never join the Red Devils?
In Upfront we find out what King Kong and the Kraken are doing on a Belgian Sunday League kit, investigate a samurai football Viking app and ask Darren Anderton 13 silly questions.
Planet Football includes an interview with Premier League-bound Shakhtar Donetsk forward Luiz Adriano, details of how to hire the limo in which Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal got married and why an Estonian oak has been voted European Tree of the Year.
Flick to Performance, and Atletico Madrid playmaker Koke will share his secrets on bossing the midfield, strength and conditioning coach Nick Grantham explains how to turn your garage from an oversized dustbin into the perfect place to hone your big-game physique, and a German called Dirk kicks a punch bag. To find out why, you know what to do.
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