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Who’s The Daddy? Football’s Fathers & Sons.

Posted by Jordan Florit on

Who doesn't remember enjoying a kickaround with, being coached by, or going to matches with their dad? Whether it was playing every minute of every game because your old man was the manager – or being subbed all the more for it - or playing against other fathers and sons down the park, if you're any good at football, he's probably got something to do with it.

I was fortunate enough to be managed by my dad as a kid and then play in the same team as him for five-and-a-half years as a teenager, three of which I managed him for! Together, we won three title and thus three promotions, and a cup, across two teams. We rarely agreed on tactics and style -he was a no-nonsense defender and a goalkeeper, and I was a flamboyant winger - but we enjoyed it so much, and the Saturdays we spent playing for the same team are some of the best days of my life.

The fact a three-man defence has spent the past few years back in vogue has vindicated my decisions, as did Spain's choice to play without a striker at Euro 2012, something I had us doing on multiple occasions in the year preceding that tournament.

With Father's Day approaching, The Terrace has decided to look back at some of its favourite father and son partnerships in football, as well as picking out a few for the future. 

The Sheringhams

In 2005, Charlie Sheringham was part of the Ipswich youth side that won the FA Youth Cup with a 3-2 aggregate win over Southampton. At 16 years of age, he looked to have a bright future ahead of him, having previously spent time in the academies of Millwall and Tottenham. His father, Teddy was still playing, and when Charlie earned a contract with Championship side Crystal Palace, his father was in the Premier League with 2006 FA Cup finalists West Ham.

Unfortunately, that's as close as the two came to sharing a pitch, with Sheringham senior spending one last season in the top flight, taking his Premier League goal tally to 147 - the tenth highest - and earning the record of the oldest outfield player to appear, and oldest player to score, in the Premier League, at gone 40. Charlie, meanwhile, dropped down the divisions at a rapid rate, before settling in the Conference South, where he's enjoyed goal-laden spells for Welling United, Bishop's Stortford and Dartford.

Though brief spells in the lower echelons of the Football League, as well as a season in Bangladesh for Saif Sporting Club, have peppered his career, his standout level is at the top of the nonleague pyramid; a stark contrast to his 51-times England international dad.

The Rivaldos

Another international level striker who played into his 40s is Rivaldo. A 24-year career spanning 6 countries and 14 clubs repeated itself just once: 20 years after leaving Mogi Mirim, Rivaldo returned for a second stint. Drawing him back to the Sao Paulo side wasn't just nostalgia. Coming through the ranks was a certain Rivaldinho, his son - 23 years younger.

At first, it seemed as if their careers were barely going to overlap, when Rivaldo retired in March 2014. However, 15 months later, he came out of retirement and within a matter of weeks the two of them both scored in a 3-1 win over Macae in Serie B. Rivaldo would go on to become president of the club, while Rivaldinho earned a move to Portuguese club Boavista just a month after that wonderful moment with his father. Since then, he has struggled to live up to his father's name- who wouldn't? He was a Ballon d'Or and World Cup winner - but nobody can take away their special moment in the red and white of Mogi Mirim.

The Gudjohnsens

The younger one becomes a father, the greater chance he has of one day playing in the same side as his son. Aged just 17 when Eidur was born, Arnor Gudjohnsen's career ran concurrently to his son’s for seven years. The way in which their careers crossed is still a sore point. Two years into his professional career, Eidur was called up to the Iceland squad for an April 1996 friendly with Estonia. His father started the match and in the second half his son would replace him from the bench, symbolically passing on the baton. Eggert Magnusson, the president of the Icelandic FA and future West Ham United chairman, had instructed the coach, Logi Olafsson, not to field them together as he wanted that occasion to occur on home turf. It was a nice enough gesture, if it wasn't for the fact that a month later Eidur broke his ankle and by the time he had recovered, his father had retired from international football.

They are the only father and son to play for a national football team during the same game, but never actually played together. "It remains my biggest regret that we didn't get to play together," Arnor has said, "and I know it's Eidur's too." Ten years earlier, he'd been asked what his biggest wish was. His answer? "To play international football alongside Eidur.”

The Halands

Alf-Inge Haland and his son Erling Braut were never likely to play together. Although Erling made his senior debut for Bryne in 2016 aged 16, his father had retired 13 years earlier, aged just 30. Subject to thattackle from Roy Keane, Alf-Inge was already struggling with a reoccurring knee injury, and despite various differing accounts as to the root cause, he retired two years later, having never completed a full game again.

Though his father was a defender, Erling is a confident baby-faced striker, much like another famous Norwegian. The Leeds-born striker is one to watch for the future and has already openly stated that he wants to follow in his father's footsteps and play for Leeds United. With Marcelo Bielsa at the helm and trusting in youth, the club could do a lot worse than making that happen this summer. Don’t take our word for it, though. On Thursday 30thMay, Erling scored 9 goals in a 12-0 slaughtering of Honduras, at the U20 FIFA World Cup.

The Weahs

One is the 25thPresident of Liberia and the other is an American international striker for PSG. One is a father and the other is his son. As well as Timothy, George Weah also has another son, Geroge Weah Jr, but his professional career never really got off the ground, despite a four year education in AC Milan's academy.

Things look much more promising for Timothy, although living up to a father who is the only African player to win the FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d'Or, and is now president of his country, will be hard to say the least. While George spent the first three years of his professional career in Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon, Timothy has had the head start and advantage of two footballing parents and years in the US Soccer Development leagues, before transferring to PSG's academy at the age of 2014.

He is currently at the U20 FIFA World Cup in Poland with the US, after a six-month loan spell at Celtic. George Weah also has a famous footballing cousin………..

The Cloughs

Managers playing their sons lends itself to nepotism; look no further than the fact Darren Ferguson has a Premier League winners medal despite going on to spend the majority of his career in League One and below, and Anthony Pulis managed a 10-year career in England, even if he made just 68 professional appearances in that time. That was not the case with Brian and Nigel Clough.

Brian Clough wasn’t just the greatest manager England never had but could potentially be the best striker England never had. With 267 goals in 296 games, his ratio of 0.9gpg is up there with Messi’s 0.88gpg and comfortably above Ronaldo’s 0.75. For an out-and-out striker who unapologetically played within the width of the penalty areas, his record rivals all to have played in the English football pyramid. So iconic was Brian Clough the coach, Brian Clough the player is often forgotten.

Breaking into the Nottingham Forest first team in the 1985/86 season, Nigel missed out on the club’s highest points of not only his father’s 18-year reign, but of their history. Nevertheless, he earned his own place in the annals, scoring 131 goals for the club, making him the second highest scorer in the club’s history, and the highest in the post-war era, even eclipsing Ian Storey-Moore’s 118.

“He always said: ‘You’ll never be as good as me’,” recalled Nigel, in 2015. “It irked him a little bit that I got a few more England caps than him. He said: ‘You’ll never get as many goals as me’. He was joking about it but there was also a seriousness.”

The Zidanes

Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane has four sons, all of whom have come through, or are in, the Real Madrid academy system. Aged between 14 and 24, their successes have been mixed, but his second-oldest, Luca, is gradually being lined up to become Real Madrid 's #1.

Seven years ago, you could sign Enzo Zidane and Gerard Deulofeu for a combined fee of under £10m and you were halfway done in winning it all on Football Manager. They were that good. Fast forward to 2019 and Enzo is 24, contracted by a Swiss club, and on loan at Madrid club Majadahonda, and Deulofeu is still an underachieving maverick, now at Watford.

Zidane's youngest two sons - 14 and 17 - are still in the academy, but Luca is now firmly in the Real Madrid first team as second choice to Thibaut Courtois. When the club had all but signed Kepa from Athletic Bilbao last January, Zidane told an interviewer that they did not need another 'keeper. It was a very public defiance shown against club president Florentino Perez. Zidane refused to green light the move and it fell through. At the end of the season he left. "If you're not going to trust my judgement," was the implicit message, "then I am off."

Now he's back, Luca is benefitting from a keen advocate in the form of his father. But this isn't your usual nepotism. He's allowed Enzo no favours, and since starting against Huesca on his father's return to the club, Luca is keeping sticks for Castilla - the reserves - and impressively so. At 21, this is very much a budding father and son success story

The Maldinis

If the latest Maldini - Daniel - to represent Italy continues his promising development, we could be looking at the start of the first great footballing dynasty to stretch into three generations, in the modern era. 

Cesare Maldini, father of Paolo Maldini, and grandfather to Daniel and Christian, made over 400 appearances for AC Milan, between 1954 and 1966. Five years after retiring from playing, he began a 30-year managerial career that would encapsulate both club and country. While manager of the Italy U21 team, he handed debuts to Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluigi Buffon, Francesco Totti, and a certain Paolo Maldini. All but his son, who had since retired from international football, went on to win the 2006 World Cup.  

A defender himself, Cesare nurtured his son's career early on, watching him become one of the greatest defenders to have ever played the game, forming memorable partnerships with Franco Baresi and then Alessandro Nesta. While Paolo's own son, Christian, is also a defender, it is his other son, Daniel, who looks more likely to carry the mantel.

Christian, 22-years old, is already disappearing down the leagues, and plays for Serie C side Fano. Daniel, a winger, is 17-years old and was handed his Italy U18 debut in March. Cesare was a European Cup winner as a manager, Paolo won the European Cup/Champions League five times as a player; will we see Daniel achieve similar?

The Alcantaras

What with the myriad of names, nicknames, and nom de plumes in Brazilian football, it is not always clear to follow any lineage that may exist. Such is the case with Thiago Alcantara, his brother Rafinha, and their father Mazinho 

Those who remember USA '94, will remember Mazinho as a vital, hardworking cog alongside Dunga in Brazil's pragmatic but ultimately successful World Cup campaign. His impressive performances led to a move to Spain, to LaLiga mainstays Valencia (who had just hired his international manager Carlos Alberto Parreira), a decision that would ultimately influence his two sons' own careers.

Although born in Italy - while his father played for Lecce - to a Brazilian future World Cup winner, Thiago is now a fully-fledged Spanish international, having spent a cumulative eight of his 13-year youth career in Spain. His brother Rafinha, born during his father's spell with Palmeiras, during which he won two Brazilian Championships, two São Paulo State championships, and the Rio-São Paulo Tournament, chose to represent his homeland, despite playing for Spain at youth level.

Between the three of them, they can boast winners' medals for a World Cup, the Copa America three Brazilian Championships, three Brazilian State Championships, three Brazilian regional cups, six LaLigas, four Copa del Reys, three Supercopa de Españas, two UEFA Champions Leagues, two UEFA Super Cups, two FIFA Club World Cups, the Summer Olympic Games, six Bundesligas, two DFB-Pokals, and three DFL-Super Cups. That's 42 titles in the family - some achievement.

The Cruyffs

It was going to be nothing short of impossible to live up to a father's legacy when that father is Johan Cruyff. Arguably the greatest influence on modern football, Cruyff absorbed footballing wisdom from the majority of the coaches he worked with as a player, filled his own knowledge gaps with experts from other fields - long before such practice was fashionable - as a manager, and distilled it all into a philosophy that now lives on through Ajax and Barcelona like a phrase in a stick of rock.

When Cruyff senior re-joined Ajax in 1981, Jordi was put into the academy. He'd spend seven years there, three of which his father was manager of the senior team for, and when he left it was because Johan left. Their destination? Barcelona.

In 1988, Johan was appointed as the first team coach at Camp Nou and Jordi joined the youth team aged 14. It would be another six years before he debuted for the first team, scoring two hat-tricks on a preseason tour, and going on to establish himself in the first team that season, making 28 league appearances and scoring nine times. 

In 1996, both would move on again. Johan Cruyff was done with management - bar a sojourn as manager of the Catalan side 13 years later - and Jordi moved to Manchester United, where, despite a promising start, he barely featured after the first season, in which he made enough appearances to earn a Premier League winners' medal.

Injury plagued his stay in England, as little as four months into his time there. He has gone onto shown some of his father's eye in his role of Director of Football at Maccabi Tel Aviv, picking out managers that were either relatively unknown at the time, or underappreciated, but have since gone on to become recognised names, including: Paulo Sousa, Pako Ayestaran, Slavisa Jokanovic, and Peter Bosz.

Show your Dad you love him this Father’s Day and check out our fantastic range of gifts especially for the occasion.

JORDAN FLORIT

Wordsmith at The Terrace.
 @thefalselibero


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