First a note from our editor, James Brown.
When I asked the FourFourTwo staff at an editorial meeting who they felt the coolest footballer around is, they all replied “Andrea Pirlo”.
The answers came one by one from around a boardroom table, a chain of admiration and appreciation. It was the shortest cover meeting I’ve ever held, and once we’d put together the supporting list of contemporary names, we were off commissioning a mix of football writers, style writers and fans with a basic brief: tell us why you love these guys away from the pitch.
We’ve compiled a combination of shorter profiles and longer reads, like Chelsea fan Clive Martin’s loyal last stand on Jose Mourinho and sportswear expert Neal Heard’s fascinating back story on the coolest international shirts ever. The cover feature, though, is something else. I asked Italian football expert James Horncastle to go to town, to write as stylishly as Pirlo lives life, and he certainly didn’t disappoint.
I read it on the London Underground, and three stops and seven paragraphs in I was laughing in delight. It’s one of the best articles I’ve published, and I’ve been doing this since goalkeepers were allowed to pick the ball up from a backpass.
At a time when we are publishing more interviews following the introduction of The Players Lounge, it was just a pleasure to sit back and read great football writing like this.
My aim is to make FourFourTwo better and different, to have its own energy and editorial outlook. Great writing is at the heart of that. You, the readers, help too, especially with one of the most popular sections, You Ask The Questions. This issue’s subject is Kevin Phillips and it’s a compelling read. The man scored a lot of goals for a lot of clubs.
Arsenal fans should enjoy our alternative cover and in-depth feature on reasons to be cheerful in 2019/20. We give you 23 reasons, in fact...
23 reasons it's still good to be a Gooner
Arsenal have waited 15 long years for a Premier League title, but a telepathic twosome can end that barren run – and they're not the only cause for optimism.
Why everybody loves Pirlo
Andrea Pirlo won the lot in a 22-year career, but his sharp, axe-wielding style – a symphony in what the Italians call 'studied carelessness' – is pure football genius.
Jose Mourinho: always special
Mourinho's 2004 appointment at Chelsea proved to be a perfect synergy between club and manager, money and ambition, man and moment. One fan reflects on how that title-winning season and style of football will live on forever.
Madness in Monterrey
FFT hops on top of a police riot van and heads to Monterrey, as the Mexican giants take on city rivals Tigres in CONCACAF Champions League final.
A new book hailing a golden age for UK films shines the spotlight on hooligan flicks and origins of The Football Factory. Let's 'ave it...
Millwall on Panorama
An infamous 1977 Panorama film – focused on Millwall – blew the lid off football hooliganism and tarnished fans' reputation for decades to come.
When chevrons ruled the world
In a Euro '88 semi-final, two daring – and now legendary – kits clashed in a spectacle that changed footballing fashion forever.
Robbie Savage, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Mario Stanic, Steve Nicol and Darren Eadie reveal life lessons and more in a series of wide-ranging interviews.
Football's finest kit, fashion, art, design and tech – as compiled by our in-house style guru Hunter Godson.
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