The British football monthly When Saturday Comes runs a feature in the back, where they review a season from times gone by and track what has happened since then to selected teams and individuals. I thought it would be fun to do that for the Romanian league. Let’s see if I’m right. Cast your mind back to a time when the iPhone was brand new, Avril Lavigne was a superstar, and the USA had its stupidest ever president… up to that point… Continue reading
One month into a cold, football-less desert, and with a couple of weeks remaining before the Liga I season resumes, it’s about time for a winter break update… Continue reading
It’s Romania’s National Day, my family are away, and Voluntari are playing the league leaders at home. This has the makings of a day to be frittered away watching military parades, reading about football on the internet, and getting drizzled on near some mediocre sport. Continue reading
“Coming up this week: the giants of Charlton play host to the titans of Ipswich… making them both seem normal size.” …as David Mitchell says so portentously in this marvellous clip.
This Saturday – Rapid v Steaua – is a clash between giants and titans, two of the biggest clubs in the country facing off in (of all places) the fourth division, almost the bottom level of the senior football pyramid. The occasion permits us to pretend. Continue reading
My second Academia Rapid home game – again well attended, but seriously lacking in quality and notable mainly for the appearance of the much-loved 40-year-old striker Daniel Pancu, is detailed here.
Excitingly, Romaniaballs also paid a visit to second-division Metaloglobus București in far-off Pantelimon. Field notes here.
Direct your mouse pointer or index finger to the “I was here” section on the menu if you want more whimsical, inaccurate match ‘reports’. And who doesn’t?
In other good news for the old guys, 39-year-old Bogdan Lobonț showed the strength in depth of Romanian goalkeeping by being named in the provisional squad for the national team’s World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Denmark. “Lobby”, a former team-mate of Pancu’s at Rapid, before going on to play for Ajax and later Dinamo, won 85 caps between 1998 and 2013. He is now in his ninth season at AS Roma, where he has made the grand total of 22 competitive appearances for the club. This man, who was the oldest member of the squad when he last featured for Romania in 2013, is apparently still considered the country’s fourth-best goalkeeper four years later, despite not having played a competitive match at all during the intervening time.
The squad was selected the day before Christoph Daum’s successor as national team boss, Cosmin Contra, started work at the federation. The qualifiers, incidentally, are dead rubbers, since Romania can no longer qualify for Russia 2018. The club Contra has just left, Dinamo, have appointed Chiajna coach Vasile Miriuță to replace him; they have lost to FCSB and Chiajna in the week since then and the Pit is not a happy place. The team Miriuță coached last season, CFR Cluj, now under Dan Petrescu, are still top of the table and going strong.