From the greatest team, to the not so great

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I read Graham Hunter’s brilliant ‘Barça: The Making of the Greatest Team’ while on holiday - and loved it so much I’m buying the hard copy to keep as well as my Kindle version.

It’s fascinating, vivid and everything in it is relevant, unlike some books on clubs which waste chapters - and my attention - on politics and background .

It’s got a Falkirk connection too through one of the publishers at BackPage Press - and Aarnau Riera’s mentioned quite a bit.

I can’t recommend it highly enough.

It’s also interesting to note the Barca philosophy of bringing homegrown talent through the ranks playing the same system at every age-group.

Now where have I heard that before?

In fact on the subject of Spanish football, the book has actually re-kindled (get it?) my La Liga viewing and I’m looking forward to El Clasico this weekend.

This week I’ve been watching a video online on a youth team who are defeated weekly and never score.

Despite reminding me - a lot - of my childhood Saturday morning misery, it is a wonderful feel-good video and lit up by the smiles of the kids in it.

Their smiles and laughter about the game is mesmerising - because they enjoy it even when they are being convincingly beaten.

What’s more, they are determined to carry on every week seeking first a goal, then a victory.

There’s no pressure on them and they just have fun.

There should be a link on the Twitter account but have a look here had a real bout of déjà vu at the weekend.

Celtic, in a cup semi-final at Hampden. Referee Euan Norris. A manager on the pitch and questions over a penalty call. Sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it? This cold weather’s even felt a bit like January too.