Posts

Showing posts from February, 2013

Sectarianism - The Dirty Word?

Image
I adore competition, there isn’t much better than it.

When it comes to sport competition become even more of a drug, even if it’s me and my brother trying to guess the attendance of the Cardiff City matches for the past 3 seasons (1-1 overall, leading 10-4 this season)! Then we look at football, the absolute height of competition worldwide. There have been days I've travelled 5 1/2 hours from Cardiff to Scunthorpe to watch us scrape a 1-1 draw with an 82nd minute equaliser, a rubbish game but superb day for one reason: the fans! There is something about a tiny attendance of 5000 of which 750 are City away fans making incredible amounts of noise that produces feelings not replicated by anything else any other sport has to offer. Separation amongst football fans is what differs us but not necessarily for bad reasons. 


For anyone who says anything other than football being the sport with the best atmosphere then they’ve never been to an away match where as a collection of like-minded s…

The Rise of Swansea City - By a Cardiffian

Image
On Sunday Swansea City will play arguably the biggest game in the club's 100 year history… the League Cup Final. 
In many of my previous blogs I have made reference to going back in time to make comparisons with the modern-game.Whether it be 500 years ago withTudor Football or 80 years into the past for the role of footballers in World War II. This time, we only need to look back 10 years to a club narrowly avoiding dropping out theFootball League, performing in a crumbling stadium and the sheer thought of a WembleyCup Final seeming impossible. The rise of Swansea City Football Club and indeed Welsh Football is nothing short of a fairy-tale.
Prior to2011 and the start of my first year in Swansea University, any feeling of compassion towards the Swans was scarce. Being brought up in Cardiff made the thought of ever rooting for the South-Wales rivals insane! However, the clubs emergence from the depths of the Football League, its footballing philosophy and ethos has prompted me to ret…

England's Greatest

Image
While browsing twitter recently I came across the 'Twitter Trend' #Englandsgreatest. Many fans were putting good cases towards their favourite players, while others were tweeting the fairly obvious and boring Emile Heskey jokes... yawn. While Heskey had a fairly average England career, playing 62 times and supporting Michael Owen in their integral partnership for both club and country, he certainly isn't in my top ten!

An England cap has slowly decreased in value over the past ten years, Beckham got his 115 caps in 13 years while it took 20 years for Shilton to grab his 125. The sheer amount of friendlies that are organised nowadays mean that even the most average player can nab a cap (Messrs Ricketts, Jeffers, Bothroyd and Nugent). This makes Charlton, Moore, Shilton and Wrights 100 plus caps look quite incredible.

Hundreds have been capped but only a few have become legends. Just the seven have played over one hundred games and only one team have won a tournament. Many w…

The Crest Dissected - US Women's Soccer, Mia Hamm & Kristine Lilly

Image
The first of my Crest Dissected series saw me focus on FC Barcelona and their origins, I now take a look into the growing world of women’s football and particularly that of the USA. I shall l be looking at the badge of the recently folded Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) but mainly investigating the beginnings of a game which for women is more popular than all the traditional American sports. With that in mind this probably isn’t a Crest Dissected but more a look at how near a total gender demographic of a country has adopted something totally alien to it not much longer ago than 30 years.

 If you asked most people to name American superstars from the modern game then you’d probably get answers such as Landon Donovan, Brad Friedel or Clint Dempsey but what about the women? Well if you followed football more thoroughly then you’d know about Abby Wambach, Christie Rampone or Alex Morgan but there are two ladies that changed the game of Women’s football like none other: Mia Hamm and Kri…

FA at 150: The Birth of the Modern Game

Image
“Success to football, irrespective of class or creed”, the toast given after the first exhibition game played using FA rules on 9 January 1864. 

This was the birth of the modern game of football as we know it. Before this point there had been no universal rules for the game, they were just formalised depending on local conditions. Different areas of the country would play the game by different rules. Evidently, this caused mayhem from time to time but most notably when the generation that had grown up playing football regularly went off to university. Although this was 150 years ago, Britain had developed significantly since the Tudor period and things were a little more civilized, Britain had become the greatest industrial power of Europe (although we still had Queen Victoria as our monarch). The intellects at Cambridge University devised a set of rules in 1848 which were known as the Cambridge Rules. These rules allowed for forward passes, goal kicks and throw ins and became widely a…

1954 World Cup: The Miracle of Bern

Image
The Mighty, Magical, Marvellous and Magnificent Magyars....It sounds like the start to the "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers" but I can assure you these are just a few of the superlatives used to describe the Golden Team that represented Hungary between 1950-1956. In 1954 however, the World Cup and its Jules Rimet trophy arrived in Switzerland with the show piece event, the final taking place in the Wankdorf Stadium, Bern. Who would the Magyars face? West Germany. 9 years after the end of World War II and the collapse of Hitler's "Thousand Year Reich". The match would go down in History for the miracle it produced and the sheer power football can have... 

Puskas, Kocsis and Hidegkuti...the list goes on of world-class players and Hungary's disposal. From 1950, Gusztav Sebes had instilled a ruthless animosity to the Magyar's game. The attacking nature adopted by Sebes resulting in a 3-2-1-4 formation. From 1950-1956 the Hungarians would play 50 games...th…

Footballers at War: 1939-1945

Image
One of my last blogs was on football during the Tudor era (1485-1601), for many the game back then could be described as a "war zone" with people sometimes dying on the pitch. However, in September 1939 Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany invaded the peaceful, neighbouring country of Poland and the Second World War began. A war that would change the face of Europe and indeed that of Great Britain.  Today footballers are accused of being divers, cheats and constantly attacked by the media for their off-the-pitch antics. From 1939-1945, this was simply not the case... 

The Second World War was the biggest, bloodiest war to unfortunately take place. A total of 40-60 million soldiers and civilians perished during the conflict. The idea adopted the use of "Total War" meaning everyone in the country would have to play their own respective roles in achieving success. Whether you were a member of the Home Guard (like in Dad's Army), a soldier in the front line or a woman ma…

Jose Mourinho - Still the Special One?

Image
Arrogant. A one word description that many use to depict Jose Mourinho. The self named 'special one' does indeed exude an aura of arrogance. Yet to term him as arrogant in a demeaning sense is to completely miss understand the man. For example, history portrays Muhammed Ali as a great and he is remembered as such. Many believed his outrageous claims and complete self belief stemmed from his arrogance. However, you would not question his position in sporting history and can he really be called arrogant if what he was saying was true? 
The same can be applied with Mourinho, although I admit he still has work to do to be as prominent a figure as Ali. The reason I compare the two is because of their personalities but more specifically their personalities in front of the media. Everything they do in front of the cameras is calculated and done for a particular reason, almost down to every syllable they utter. This is, perhaps, best displayed by Mourinho's opening press conference…