Tag Archives: Football

On This Day in Football: Cologne gets a new club

On This Day in Football: Cologne gets a new club – originally posted on Sportslens.com

On this day in 1948, German Bundesliga club FC Koln were formed.

But the foundation of Koln was successful after the merger of different clubs. In 1901, a group of young men dissatisfied with a gymnastics club called FC Borussia Koln decided to form a football club and named it Kolner BC. They played professionally in the Zehnerliga West prior to the start of the First World and even won the Westdeutsche Championship in 1912.

In 1907, Spielvereinigung 1907 Koln-Sulz was established as Sulzer Sportverein and merged with Fußball Club 1908 Hertha Sulz to form SpVgg in 1919. This club won the Westdeutsche Championship in 1928.  Five years later, the Third Reich oversaw the establishment of 16 divisional league competitions as part of a major reshuffle of German football. FC Koln’s predecessors played in the Gauliga Mittelrhein, one of the 16 leagues.

FC Koln was established in 1948 after a merger of these clubs and won their first divisional championship in 1954. They also reached the final of the DFB Pokal that season but lost 1-0 to Stuttgart. In 1963, they were one of the original 16 teams to play in the newly formed German Bundesliga. Koln were also the inaugural champions in the 1963-64 season by finishing six points above second placed Meidericher SV.

From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog

On This Day in Football: Duncan Edwards caught by the coppers, Yeovil beaten 8-0

On This Day in Football: Duncan Edwards caught by the coppers, Yeovil beaten 8-0 – originally posted on Sportslens.com

On this day in 1955, former Manchester United and England star Duncan Edwards got himself into a bit of a pickle.

United had just been humiliated by rivals Manchester City who won 5-0 at Old Trafford in a First Division fixture. Edwards, on his way home after the game, was caught by the police for riding his bike without putting on the lights. The courts fined him five bob or 25p while United fined him two weeks’ wages for bringing the club’s name into disrepute.

Edwards was widely regarded as the future of both club and country but tragically lost his life to the Munich Air Disaster in 1958.

Yeovil hammered 8-0

On this day 1949, Manchester United beat Yeovil Town 8-0 in an FA Cup tie with Jack Rowley scoring five goals.

Non-league Yeovil had been on a giant killing run on their way to the fifth round of the FA Cup after beating Second Division side FC Bury and First Division heavyweights Sunderland. United meanwhile were in the fourth season under Sir Matt Busby and were the defending FA Cup champions.

Played at Maine Road, as Old Trafford was still going through construction work for wartime damages, United opened the scoring in the 6th minute through Rowley who went on to score five. Ronald Burke added a brace and Charlie Mitten scored one to make the final score an emphatic 8-0 for the boys in red.

By the time Rowley left United in 1954 for Plymouth Argyle, he was the club’s leading goals scorer with 211 goals in all competitions.

From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog

On This Day in Football: Argentina sink Brazil, Bonetti hit by a plate of chicken

On This Day in Football: Argentina sink Brazil, Bonetti hit by a plate of chicken – originally posted on Sportslens.com

On this day in 1946, Argentina lifted their eighth South American championship trophy by beating Brazil 2-0 at the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires.

Colombia, Peru and Ecuador had withdrawn from the tournament leaving Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay to decide the title. La Albiceleste started the final round one point ahead of Brazil, meaning they only needed a draw to clinch the title.

Played in front of a jam packed Monumental crowd, Argentina took the lead in the 14th minute courtesy of a goal from Noberto Mendez. The Huracan forward scored again to ensure a comfortable 2-0 victory as Argentina lifted the South American championship for an eighth time.

Zidane scores first goal

On this day in 1991, footballing legend Zinedine Zidane, aged 19, scored the first goal of his senior career in Cannes’ 2-1 league win over Nantes.

The former Juventus and Real Madrid midfielder had made his professional debut in the previous year and had established himself as a first team regular in the 1990-91 campaign making 31 appearances in total. He moved to Bordeaux in 1992 signalling the start of a stellar career that saw him win every trophy imaginable, including the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA World Cup.

 Bonetti hit by a plate of chicken

On this day in 1996, Grimsby Town lost 3-2 away from home against Luton, leading to a bizarre incident that saw Grimsby manager Brian Laws throw a plate of chicken wings at midfielder Ivano Bonetti.

The former Juventus, Sampdoria, Atalanta and Bologna player shocked the world when he moved to Lincolnshire in 1995. An instant fan favourite, Bonetti brought a lot of attention to Grimsby Town following his transfer. Unfortunately, it did not last for long.

Brian Laws was seething after the Mariners’ 3-2 defeat as they had beaten Luton 7-1 in an FA Cup third round tie only a month ago. Frustrated at his players, Laws launched a plate of chicken wings at Bonetti in the dressing room, fracturing his cheekbone. This effectively ended the Italian’s time with the club and he moved to Tranmere Rovers on a free transfer at the end of the season.

From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog

On This Day in Football: First million pound transfer, Bomb scare at Bramall Lane

On This Day in Football: First million pound transfer, Bomb scare at Bramall Lane – originally posted on Sportslens.com

On this day in 1979, Trevor Francis became the first million-pound man in English football history when he moved from Birmingham City to Nottingham Forest.

A prolific goal scorer, Francis began his professional career with City in 1971. A brief loan spell in the North American Soccer League saw him score 22 goals in 19 league matches for the Detroit Express. In February 1979, the Brian Clough managed Nottingham Forest put in a bid for Francis that amounted to £1,150,000 which included add-ons and a 15% commission to the Football League.  Clough insisted that he only paid £999,999 for Francis as he wanted to ensure that the huge transfer fee did not go to the player’s head. But Francis later admitted that it was tongue-in-cheek.

The former England striker went on to win two consecutive European Cups under Brian Clough.

Francis’ transfer broke the previous English record set by West Bromwich Albion who had signed David Mills from Middlesbrough for £516,000 in the previous month. The million pound mark had already been broken in world football, however, as Napoli paid Bologna £1,200,000 for Guiseppe Savoldi in 1975 setting a new world record. Paolo Rossi’s move from Juventus to Vicenza in 1976 cost a reported £1,750,000.

Bomb scare at Bramall Lane

On this day in 1985, a Second Division fixture between Sheffield United and Oldham Athletic had to be abandoned because of a bomb scare at Bramall Lane.

Forty years since the end of the Second World War, an unexploded bomb was found near Sheffield’s home ground. The match was rescheduled for 12 February and the Blades won 2-0 with 8,857 fans in attendance.

From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog

On This Day in Football: Best puts six past Northampton, United sign Pape in stunning fashion

On This Day in Football: Best puts six past Northampton, United sign Pape in stunning fashion – originally posted on Sportslens.com

On this day in 1970, George Best scored six times as Manchester United beat Northampton Town 8-2 in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Best had been suspended for four weeks for kicking the ball out of the referee’s hands and was very eager to return to action. Northampton keeper Kim Book had his work cut out as Best was in an unforgiving mood. The six goals included fantastic headers, delightful finesse and trademark runs from Best that eluded the Northampton defenders before he put the ball in the back of the net. The Northern Irish international single-handedly destroyed a hapless Northampton defence.

United went on to play the semi-finals against Leeds United but were narrowly beaten 1-0 after two scoreless replays.

United sign Albert Pape

On this day in 1925, Manchester United completed the signing of Albert Pape in stunning fashion.

Born in South Yorkshire, Pape began his senior professional career with Rotherham County before moving to Notts County in 1923. A year of irregular football with County forced him to switch clubs and he joined Clapton Orient (later Leyton Orient).

In 1925, Orient travelled to Manchester to play United at Old Trafford. United had recently sold their striker Bill Henderson to Preston North End and were looking to add to their attacking arsenal. Club manager John Chapman decided to make a phone call to his Orient counterpart Peter Proudfoot before the O’s left London.

Chapman and Proudfoot had a chat over Pape’s availability and the two clubs quickly agreed upon a fee of £1,070. Pape was friends with United captain Frank Barson and had relatives in the Bolton area. He quickly agreed to the terms of his contract after getting off at Manchester’s Piccadilly Station.

The details of the signing were wired to the offices of the Football Association and the Football League by 1:30 PM. Pape had been named in Orient’s starting XI to play United later that day but was confirmed as a United signing an hour before kick-off. What is even more amusing is the fact that Pape started the game in Manchester United colours against Orient and scored as United won 4-2.

From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog

Football hasn’t changed that much, but fandom has

Considering there’s a North London derby on Saturday it’s pretty quiet in terms of general news. Maybe it’s because we won so comprehensively last weekend and wins seems to have a natural life cycle.

We win, we enjoy it – well, most of us anyway – and then it sort of fades away into the past. Defeat, however, resonates for much longer. You can understand why. There’s usually more to chew over when we lose a game, more questions to answer.

  • Why are we so rubbish?
  • When are we going to stop being rubbish?
  • Why is that rubbish player being picked?
  • What on earth made that good player do something so rubbish?
  • When will this rubbishness end?
  • Are we even more rubbish than we actually think?

And so on and so forth. Personally, I prefer the winning thing, but you can’t argue that the being rubbish thing lends itself to greater discussion. And as we talk about all the ways that football has changed down the years, the lifespan of each game is something that we rarely consider in any great detail.

The game itself is more or less the same. There have been some changes down the years, of course. More subs allowed, the backpass rule, the constant meddling with what’s offside and what’s not, goal line technology, holding World Cups in the desert, the introduction of VAR and all that it entails, but in essence the game is the same: stick the ball in the back of the net more than the opposition.

Which isn’t to say the way that’s done hasn’t developed down the years. Arsene Wenger  imprinted a very different style of play on Arsenal during his reign. Which isn’t to say we didn’t have teams before who were capable of playing exciting, attacking football – think 1991 and the almost invincible side who won the title losing only a single game, and ended up with goal difference of +56 in the process – but Wenger’s teams took it a new level and added consistency to that.

As players became more technically proficient, the importance of physicality diminished. For some it was their be all and end all, such as Stoke. But Barcelona showed gifted footballers could do it all regardless of size. Even now, Guardiola’s Man City are playing a very definitive brand of football, but basically the main aim is the same: Score goals, win games, lift trophies. That part of it remains relatively simple.

The big change has come in fandom though. The globalisation of the sport, coupled with the technology that allows everyone to see every game, means that clubs are no longer local. It doesn’t mean they don’t have a local element which remains at the heart of their existence, but their reach is far greater than it used to be.

The modern world means that fans are not simply fans though. They’re numbers on a spreadsheet, they’re reach, they’re clients and customers, they’re potentially opportunities for clubs to “synergize the brand in emerging markets”, and all that other stuff that the business of football drives.

And yet they’re also a community. A very disparate one, but a community nonetheless. They are connected and interconnected, not just on the day of a match but every second leading up it, during it, and after it. There is not a single moment anymore when there isn’t an Arsenal discussion, from big to small, from positive to negative and everywhere inbetween, and it means that everything that happens echoes for far longer than it used to.

It’s a feedback loop which reverberates and sometimes when you think it’s fading away it returns even louder and stronger than before. And whether we like it or not, it seems to be a common theme – not just in football – that what’s negative gets the most traction. As I said, it is understandable.

If there’s a good thing, most people will think it’s good and there’s not a lot more to say about it. When a player spanks a ball into the top corner from 30 yards, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t enjoy it for the glorious, beautiful thing it. Of course there are some, ‘there’s always one!’ etc, but they’re easy to ignore.

But, when you make a calamitous defensive error that costs you another game on the road, the discussion is endless. Is it the player? Is it the system? Is it the manager? Why are we so rubbish? When are we going to stop being rubbish etc? And within all of those things you find countless arguments and counter-arguments. Some who think we’re not rubbish at all and it’s actually the fault of some people who have nothing to do with any of it, and those who think we’re far more rubbish than you can possibly imagine. There’s middle ground, naturally, but it becomes increasingly hard to find amidst the noise of those who shout loudest and most often.

It’s not just fandom that has changed, the media has too. Now, you can ask whether fans are driven by the media, or whether the media has taken advantage of fans relentless thirst for knowledge and content about their clubs. I think it’s symbiotic really, one wouldn’t exist without the other. It’s like good and evil but it exists on both sides at all times and at the same time.

It’s like that tabloid justification when people object to a spurious, exploitative story that’s often not in the public interest. The message is: if people weren’t interested we wouldn’t print it, overlooking the fact that if they didn’t print it the world might be a nicer place and nobody would be missing out on anything important.

Why do we have clickbait? Because people click on it. Why do people click on it when they know 99.999% it’s garbage? Human nature. It’s a dirty word ‘clickbait’, you’d say it the way you might say ‘cockroach’ and in the real world people kill cockroaches, they exterminate them, because they’re disgusting. Yet online the clickroaches run wild and free because there are enough people out there who think ‘Oooh, maybe …’ when they see a blatantly false transfer story or they just can’t help themselves when they see a headline which tempts them into reading a story they know deep down is bollocks.

Existence on the planet has, over millions of years, taught us that cockroaches are gross and to be avoided. We’re barely 20 years into the life of the Internet and we still have a lot of learning to do.

Finally, if it comes across as if everything negative is simple negative, that’s not the case. There has to be room for criticism, there must be room for considered analysis, and when your team loses or under-performs, there’s genuine discussion to be had about that which isn’t going to be cheerleading, Pollyanna sweetness and light. You shouldn’t ignore problems.

But you can have that discussion without resorting to the worst excesses of online behaviour. You can do it without name-calling, without abuse, without deliberately provoking others, and without dismissing the opinions of those you differ with.

People are far too willing to nail their colours to one mast or the other, taking divisive positions that leave no room for nuance. If you declare yourself THIS or THAT, or label somebody else in the same way, you’ll never bridge the gap because you’re unwilling to see their point of view in any way whatsoever. Too many people become extremists – and that’s the only word I can use – who will not even consider the idea that their position is polarising and thus damages any debate.

We need to listen more and shout less. Accept the fact that disagreeing with someone’s opinion on something doesn’t make them the enemy. It’s just a difference of opinion, it’s not a scary thing that can hurt you that you have to lash out at. It’s ok to disagree, it’s not necessary to try and convince someone they’re wrong and convert them to your viewpoint like some kind of Internet missionary.

No doubt there will be plenty who disagree with that, or this entire post, but that’s fine. I’ll live. So will they. The world will keep turning.

Anyway, stream of consciousness stuff this morning a bit. Hopefully we’ll have team news and the rest of the derby build up start to emerge throughout today and the rest of the week. More from me tomorrow.