Written by Maggie Lin
Wait, who’s in bed with Maradona? What does that even mean?
With a blog name that would make anyone do a double take, In Bed With Maradona or IBWM is actually a highly influential soccer blog that gathers together short and well-written soccer stories from all over the world, vintage photography and art, soccer books, music, player rankings, and gear into one place and showcases them to you in a simplistic format that might make you, at first glance, mistake it as a photography blog.
That is, until you click the pictures.
With photographs set as links, the stories and other posts may be difficult to preview, but that is, in my opinion, the beauty of this blog. It may be odd for you not to see soccer statistics, gossip, or bolded headlines of the latest scores, but I think it is more about not knowing that makes each and every post more interesting. Perhaps you will stumble upon something great, but you will never know unless you click to see the following page.
For those of you who are completely irked at the fact that the pictures are linked by pictures without titles, not all hope is lost. On the All page, there exists links to the archives of all the different sections of the blog. Fortunately, the archives do include article titles and a few lines about the article.
What is the purpose of IBWM? As founder Jeff Livingstone explains in a 2010 Backpage Football interview:
I like something different, I like to hear about new players and read articles that are off the beaten track. … Tell me about some kid breaking goalscoring records in Honved’s youth team, or some loon in Iceland that celebrates goals by punching a linesman, and I’m all yours.
…There’s a whole world of football out there, not just the top clubs. I like to think IBWM’s a bit different in our approach and I hope that appeals to our readers.
Here’s a bit more about the logistical breakdown of the blog. IBWM is divided into seven subsections that each contribute in different ways to the blog. Some sections such as Division that includes posts about music recommendations is quite irrelevant to soccer, but the blog is otherwise overwhelmingly focused on soccer.
The two main article sections called Journal and Retro, which are both dedicated to short soccer articles with topics that you have likely never heard of or known much about before. In the Journal section, you can read about the English player Carl Hoddle, who was Glenn Hoddle’s lesser known little brother or the forgotten genius of Vujadin Boskov.
In the Retro section, you can envision the beginnings of the German Bundesliga or the greatness of the Santos club in 1962. These are just a few of the many article posts that date back a couple of years, so there is plenty of content to pour over on a rainy day.
The major difference between the two sections is that articles in Journal are solely written by the many contributors of the blog, and that articles in Retro were previously published elsewhere, and more likely than not, published some twenty plus years ago. I, like many others, truly appreciate IBWM for bringing these old stories back to light because it allows all modern soccer fans to understand how the sport has progressed and evolved over the years. As James comments on the previously mentioned Santos 1962 article:
I absolutely love stuff like this. Wonder what happened to all the young Santos players, quite a few names there that I don’t recognise (not talking about Pele!). Thanks very much for sharing this,
Regardless of whether you are a die-hard fan, a new fan, or not even a fan at all, I recommend you to stay a while and at least explore these article sections. They are rich with the nuances of history and politics, and span the four corners of the globe in terms of geography. As soccer is played all throughout the world, these articles also reflect the global reach of soccer by shedding light on stories, games, and players who are often left out of major soccer blogs or those that have been collecting dust in the archives section of older print magazines.
If you wish to delve further into other resources on soccer, you can check out the Subculture section that includes a hodge podge of random soccer-related content such as Soccer Jesus paintings by Paula Morales, a YouTube link to a commercial of Jeep and the Italian club team Juventus, and a recommendation for the book The Nowhere Men by Michael Calvin that is about English soccer talent scouts. The Gallery section is solely dedicated to soccer-related photography, and often includes poignant pieces that capture moments or art in a way that words may not be able to.
The Division section posts music, the Gear section refers you to places to buy jerseys and memorabilia, and last but not least, the 100 section links to the top 100 up-and-coming players as named by IBWM in both 2012 and 2013. For those interested in following fresh faces on the pitch, the blog provides their own rankings and not only explains their methodology but also follows up on each player at the end of the year, giving ratings for each player’s performance throughout the year.
Reading IBWM is entertaining, informative, and most of all interesting. However, you don’t just have to stick with reading. You can also write for them or submit photography through Flickr or Instagram. Or tweet them @Inbedwimaradona, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Google+.
Last but not least, to answer those curious questions about the origins of the name of the blog, Jeff Livingstone explains in the same 2010 Backpage Football interview as before:
Anyway, the good lady wife turned to me and said “you spend more time in bed with Maradona than you do with me”. Priceless.