Graham's Blog

The Big Interview Presents: Barca – The Making Of Pep

HE enjoyed a glittering and remarkably successful reign as manager of FC Barcelona, but Pep Guardiola had to come through some dark times in order to get there.

In this extract – which is taken taken from my book, Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World – I tell that story, and reveal how it influenced the man who would become head coach of arguably the best club side of all time.

There was the injury which robbed Guardiola of 14 months of his playing career at the Camp Nou and false accusations of nandrolone use while in Italy, after he walked away from his beloved Barca feeling undervalued by those who ran the club at the time.

I explain how Guardiola went on to play in Qatar and Mexico, but turned down a move to English side Wigan Athletic and a chance to experience first-hand a style of football which he had always respected.

His return to the Camp Nou as coach of Barca B, and his success in that post paved the way for Guardiola to take over the first team and lead them to a period of unprecedented success.

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My books on FC Barcelona and Spain are both available in full as audiobooks from Audible. You can get one of them for free if you sign up for a 30-day trial membership at audible.co.uk.

Win A Copy Of Barca: The Making Of The Greatest Team In The World

WE’RE giving away THREE copies of Graham’s Barca book to coincide with the release of the latest podcast in our summer series: an exclusive extract from the audiobook!

Barca: The Making Of The Greatest Team In The World is available now from Audible and documents the creation of the all-conquering Camp Nou side led by Pep Guardiola.

We will launch our exclusive extract on Monday, as Graham narrates the chapter ‘The Making Of Pep’ in which he tells the story of how Guardiola went from being a gifted midfielder in Johan Cruyff’s Dream Team to become head coach of the Catalan club.

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Here’s what you have to do to get your hands on a copy: sign up to the Big Interview mailing list by 7pm on Monday by putting your email address into the ‘Subscribe’ box directly beneath this post. (If you’re on the mailing list already you don’t need to do anything).

We’ll then email you a Guardiola-related question. Hit ‘reply’ to Monday’s email with your answer, and we’ll announce the three lucky winners later in the week.

And if you don’t win, don’t worry. You’ll now be on our mailing list and will have the chance to win more goodies in the future and will have the latest podcasts sent directly to your inbox.

Good luck!

The Big Interview Presents: Spain – English Lessons

ARE you sitting comfortably? You are about to listen to an extract taken from my book on Spain and the inside story of La Roja’s historic treble.

This is Chapter Six: English Lessons. During the extract, I describe how some of Spain’s better footballers – Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Pique, Alvaro Arbeloa, players easily recognised today – began to extend their horizons beyond the boundaries of their country, and how this helped improve the fortunes of their national side.

Playing abroad had traditionally been a foreign concept for Spanish footballers. But I explain that, for many of the country’s young stars, playing in other European leagues brought opportunities they weren’t getting back home.

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British football, in particular, helped La Roja to dominate at the three major tournaments between 2008 and 2012, with Joan Capdevila acknowledging that the Spaniards who played in England learned to become hardy competitors, as well as skilful footballers.

My book on Spain is available in full as an audiobook from the good people at Audible. You can get it absolutely free if you sign up for a 30-day trial membership at audible.co.uk. We will bring you the Making of Pep, an extract from Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World, in a couple of weeks.

Enjoy!

Win A Copy Of Spain: The Inside Story Of La Roja’s Historic Treble

WE’RE giving away THREE copies of Graham’s Spain book to coincide with the release of the latest podcast in our summer series: an exclusive extract from the audiobook!

Spain: The Inside Story Of La Rojas’s Historic Treble is available now from Audible and chronicles that team’s remarkable triumphs at Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

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We will launch our exclusive excerpt on Monday, as Graham narrates the chapter ‘English Lessons’ in which he reveals how playing abroad – and in England, in particular – transformed Spain’s players into hardy competitors.

Here’s what you have to do to get your hands on a copy: sign up to the Big Interview mailing list by 7pm on Monday by putting your email address into the ‘Subscribe’ box directly beneath this post. (If you’re on the mailing list already you don’t need to do anything).

We’ll then email you a Spain-related question. Hit ‘reply’ to Monday’s email with your answer, and we’ll announce the three lucky winners later in the week.

And if you don’t win, don’t worry. You’ll now be on our mailing list and will have the chance to win more goodies in the future and will have the latest podcasts sent directly to your inbox.

Good luck!

La Liga Live At The Sugar Club, Dublin: Part Two

WELCOME back for the second part of the La Liga event I recorded live with Mr Sid Lowe at the Sugar Club in Dublin earlier this year.

On the night, we opened up the floor to questions tweeted to us from members of the audience, with Sid and I talking about unforgettable characters from the Spanish game like Laurie Cunningham and the madcap Joaquin.

We discuss Lionel Messi – how could we not? – and how he is now playing his best football ever, while we also talk about Cristiano Ronaldo and his obsession with becoming known as the greatest of all time.

We also take questions about Diego Simeone and why it has still to fall into place for Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

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This was organised by Con Artist promotions, who have put on some truly fantastic live football talks across Ireland and the UK. The next event is being held tonight at Union Chapel, London, where James Richardson, James Horncastle and Paolo Bandini will mark the 25th anniversary celebration of Gazzetta Football Italia.

Information about this and future Con Artist events can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Enjoy!