show episodes
 
The Blizzard is dedicated to sharing football stories you won't find anywhere else. Hear fascinating tales from behind the matches which changed the course of footballing history with Jonathan Wilson, Marcus Speller and a special guest every week on 'Greatest Games'. Exclusively available on The Blizzard's podcast feed.
 
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show series
 
Adrian Jones was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Irish Army in 1983. As a 23 year old officer he served in the United Nations Peacekeeping Force UNIFIL in Southern Lebanon from 1987 to 1988. The Irish battalion consisted of 580 personnel which were rotated every six months, plus almost 100 others in UNIFIL headquarters and the Force Mobile Rese…
 
This week on Greatest Games, Michael Walker joins Jonathan Wilson and Marcus Speller to remember Northern Ireland’s return to Windsor Park after three and a half years of international football exile. The Northern Ireland national team had been playing their “home” games up and down England since their last Windsor Park international in October 197…
 
In August 1960, a Soviet colonel called Oleg Penkovsky contacted the West to offer to work as a 'soldier warrior for the free world. MI6 and the CIA ran Penkovsky jointly, in an operation that ran through the showdown over Berlin and the Cuban Missile Crisis. He provided crucial intelligence, including photographs of rocket manuals that helped Kenn…
 
On this week’s Greatest Games Jonathan Wilson and Marcus Speller are joined by Dominic Sandbrook to discuss the 1954 exhibition match between English champions Wolverhampton Wanderers and Hungarian champions Budapest Honvéd. Under the Molineux floodlights and broadcast on the BBC, excitement swept across Wolverhampton and the entire nation for this…
 
70 years ago today would have been the middle of a desperate battle by outnumbered British forces at the battle of the Imjin River in Korea. The Korean War was among the most destructive conflicts of the modern era, and one of the few times when the Cold War turned hot. There were approximately 3 million war fatalities and a larger proportional civ…
 
We’re off to a cup final, everyone! Faye Carruthers joins Jonathan Wilson and Marcus Speller to discuss the 1988 Littlewoods Challenge Cup Final between Luton Town and Arsenal. Defending champions Arsenal were considered heavy favourites, but Ray Harford’s Luton Town had been performing well in the First Division and were raring for this cup final.…
 
John Matisonn is a South African journalist who grew up in the suburbs in Johannesburg. In 1979 he was sentenced to jail for refusing to reveal his news sources. Matisonn describes life as a journalist in apartheid South Africa as well as his meetings with some of the key South African personalities of that period. He met with several South African…
 
David Jones joins Jonathan Wilson and Marcus Speller to remember the second 1997 FA Cup semi-final at Old Trafford. About the panel: Jonathan Wilson founded The Blizzard in 2011 and is editor of the magazine. He’s contributed to a number of publications including the Guardian and Sports Illustrated as well as having authored Behind the Curtain, Inv…
 
9.07 a.m., April 12, 1961. A top-secret rocket site in the USSR. A young Russian sits inside a tiny capsule on top of the Soviet Union’s most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile and blasts into the skies. His name is Yuri Gagarin. And he is about to make history. We speak with Stephen Walker author of “Beyond” a new book that tells the thri…
 
It’s a World Cup final edition of Greatest Games! Herbie Sykes joins Jonathan Wilson and Marcus Speller to discuss Italy’s first World Cup triumph on home soil in 1934. Mussolini’s Italy greeted the world for the second Fifa World Cup competition, the first to feature teams from three continents. In a tournament designed to highlight Italian superi…
 
In April 1966, a state-of-the-art Soviet aircraft, the Yak-28P crashed into the British Sector of West Berlin. This intelligence gift to the Allied forces resulted in a tense confrontation with the Soviet forces We speak with historian Bernd von Kostka of the Allied Museum in Berlin-Dahlem who has researched this story for his upcoming book Capital…
 
Back to Wembley for this week’s Greatest Games as Maciej Iwański joins Jonathan Wilson and Marcus Speller to discuss a famous draw between England and Poland in October 1973. After suffering defeat in Chorzow in June, Alf Ramsey’s side needed to win in order to avoid missing the World Cup finals for the first time since their first entry in 1950. H…
 
We speak with Chris Summers who as a 22 year old was sent by his employers to East Germany in a Ford Escort to install British factory machinery. He provides us with interesting insights into life in the provinces of the GDR. Long term listeners of the podcast will recognise one of Chris’s colleagues was Tim, husband of Antje who was our guest in e…
 
Soviet Tours is a Berlin-based tour operator focussed on off-the-beaten-path destinations across the globe. Their core area, as the name suggests, lies mainly in and around the former USSR. From the mystic forests of Central Siberia to the austere peaks of the High Caucasus, from the scorching deserts of the Soviet Stans to the windswept steppes of…
 
Rory Smith joins Jonathan Wilson and Marcus Speller on this week’s Greatest Games to reflect on one of football’s most highly-anticipated fixtures to have never even happened – the postponed 2018 Copa Libertadores final second-leg between River Plate and Boca Juniors. A rousing 2-2 draw at La Bombonera had perfectly set-up a winner-takes-all Copa L…
 
Our conversation with Rob Forsyth continues with his posting as a Lieutenant Commander or second in command to HMS Repulse, a Polaris nuclear missile. We hear in detail the challenges of command on these boats, their launch procedures and the conversations Rob had with his captain about the circumstances when they might refuse to launch the missile…
 
This week on Greatest Games, Jonathan Wilson and Marcus Speller discuss a 1954 World Cup semi-final with Martin Da Cruz – Hungary 4 Uruguay 2. Going into the match in Lausanne, Switzerland, Hungary’s ‘Mighty Magyars’ hadn’t lost a full international since 1950 – winning Olympic gold and thrashing England a couple of times in that time. But of cours…
 
Rob Forsyth joined the Submarine service in 1961. By March 1962 as a young officer, he joined HMS Auriga a 1945 vintage diesel submarine. Within 7 months the 22-year-old was loading live torpedoes and preparing for a war mission during the tense days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Robs tell of many fascinating incidents in his career including under-…
 
Leon Mann is this week’s guest on Greatest Games, joining Jonathan Wilson and Marcus Speller to remember the 1991 FA Cup semi-final North London Derby between Terry Venables’ Tottenham and George Graham’s Arsenal. Rather than traipsing the sides up to the midlands, the tie became the first-ever FA Cup semi-final to be hosted at Wembley. This meant …
 
Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp was a protest camp established in 1981 to protest against the deployment of USAF controlled Ground Launched nuclear armed Cruise Missiles at RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire, England. On the eve of International Women’s’ Day 2021 I talk with Jan Castro-Fraser who chose to challenge the existence of nuclear weapons…
 
This week on Greatest Games, Brian Homewood joins Jonathan Wilson and Marcus Speller to discuss the 1981 Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final first-leg between West Ham United and Dinamo Tbilisi. So to the Boleyn Ground for this one, where the ardent West Ham crowd – then used to cruising second division and on the verge of promotion – warmly welcom…
 
The events of 1949 in China reverberated across the world and throughout the rest of the century. That tumultuous year saw the dramatic collapse of Chiang Kai-shek's 'pro-Western' Nationalist government, overthrown by Mao Zedong and his communist armies, and the foundation of the People's Republic of China. I talk with author Graham Hutchings who h…
 
On Greatest Games this week, Jonathan Wilson and Marcus Speller are joined by Cecilia Lagos to remember the 1962 World Cup group stage tie between hosts, Chile, and two-time World champions, Italy – the ‘Battle of Santiago’. David Coleman’s introduction to the BBC’s broadcast of this game is the stuff of legends – “The game you are about to see is …
 
Acclaimed author and journalist Simon Kuper, has written The Happy Traitor, the story of British spy and Soviet Union double agent George Blake, the last major British traitor of the Cold War. In 1961, Blake was sentenced to forty-two years imprisonment – at the time, the longest sentence in modern British history. He had betrayed all the western s…
 
Laurence McKenna is our guest on Greatest Games this week to rewind back just five years to Liverpool’s last-gasp Europa League quarter-final win against Borussia Dortmund at Anfield. Laurence, Jonathan and Marcus remember the landmark moments of Jurgen Klopp’s early days on Merseyside, recall the stars of the side that Jurgen inherited from his pr…
 
Germany has been at the heart of the British Army's story since 1945. After the Second World War, the Army helped rebuild a devastated and divided nation. It provided protection during the Cold War, and later used Germany as a base from which to deploy troops across the world. Foe to Friend is a major exhibition at The National Army Museum in Londo…
 
This week on Greatest Games, Paul Myers joins Jonathan and Marcus to discuss the 2012 Cup of Nations final and one of the most emotional stories in football history. Extraordinarily reaching the final meant that Zambia would compete to win their first-ever Cup of Nations in Libreville, Gabon – the city where 30 passengers and crew, including the Za…
 
Commodore Eric Thompson MBE is the author of the book “On Her Majesty’s Nuclear Service. He is a career nuclear submarine officer who served from the first days of the Polaris missile boats until after the end of the Cold War. He joined the Navy in the last days of Empire, made his first sorties in World War II type submarines, and went on to becom…
 
On this edition of Greatest Games, Gary Al-Smith is on the pod to remember a dramatic Afcon semi-final which took place six years ago on Friday alongside Jonathan Wilson and Marcus Speller. Tournament hosts, Equatorial Guinea, meet a Ghana side managed by Avram Grant and looking in great stead to win the Cup of Nations. The hosts’ fans weren’t shor…
 
Vadim was at school in Moscow during the 1970s and 80s. He attended an Advanced English Studies School where all subjects were taught, however the focus was on English. He provides us with insights into the setup of Soviet education as well as the school life, teaching methods and pop culture. We hear how the British newspaper “Morning Star” was a …
 
This week on Greatest Games, Richard Jolly joins Jonathan Wilson and Marcus Speller to discuss one of the Premier League’s most extraordinary results ever – Manchester City’s 6-1 win away at Old Trafford in 2011. 'A statement' undermines quite what happened on this day. The trio looks back on how the Manchester clubs reached this point, the starrin…
 
We continue the story of Bill, a US Army Intelligence Analyst with Combined Analysis Detachment-Berlin (CAD-B) from episode 127. Germany has now been re-unified and Russian troops have withdrawn from East Germany. Bill tells us of the little known story of continued US Army involvement in intelligence gathering alongside the German security service…
 
On this episode of Greatest Games, Jonathan Wilson and Marcus Speller are joined by Uli Hesse as they remember the 1985-86 Bundesliga relegation/promotion playoff which could’ve seen Borussia Dortmund drop out of the top-flight. Uli, Jonathan and Marcus discuss the troubles facing of German football in the 80s, the remarkable desperate situation Bo…
 
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