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Football and the past as an indicator of modern day trends | By @MoreThanAGame66

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As an Arsenal (something I often say as a disclaimer), I was saddened to hear the news of the closure of The George on Holloway Road. Although I lived near the stadium some years ago, my rent meant attending a match was too expensive, but an ‘Arsenal’ pub I could attend. The pub was rammed match days but less so on other days. This has not been uncommon at Arsenal. Other pubs of note that Arsenal fans have frequented have also closed in recent years including The Bailey (now a high end chicken shop - surely an oxymoron?) and The Herbert Chapman pub became ‘Filthy’s’ which has since closed. "So what" I hear you say? A recent press release stated that British pubs are closing at a rate of two a day. But, I was interested in the new variant of ‘the pub’. The restaurant which attaches itself to a football team or a period of football. The two restaurants I was interested in were The Piebury Corner, which has two restaurants now. One on the Holloway Road and one near Kings Cross…

The Forgotten Brilliance of Michael Ballack

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Sometimes lost in this crazy sport of football are the players who showed very brightly, but weren’t world class players. German midfielder Michael Ballack played at the top level for most of his career, but there hasn’t been much run deep on him. Why would such a great player not have so much written about him in this age of longform writing? He played for so many good to great clubs. 
Maybe it was because Michael was hard to figure out in many ways. We tend to define players by characteristics we can put into flowery prose. David Beckham while a very good player could be one of the more overhyped players to come out of this generation of players. Sure we had Zinedine Zidane who was a little bit of everything put into one of the most well rounded players of all time. Roy Keane, was one of the last great hardmen allowed in the sport.

That being said, he competed against a small number of midfield greats, very few of which were able to play all the roles that Michael was asked to do. Ba…

The Competition That Paid For A Stand - The Short History of the Ford Sporting League

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There are many short-lived competitions throughout the history of the English leagues. The Watney Cup, the Simod (later Zenith Data Systems) Cup, the Football League Group Cup and the Football League Super Cup for example (the stature and regard for the latter epitomised by the alleged team talk given by Howard Kendall to his Everton team prior to playing Norwich City: “What a waste of time this is – out you go.”). 

During the 1970/71 season a new competition was formulated incorporating all 92 of the clubs across the top 4 divisions. The emphasis was on goals and fair play with every team on an even footing to take home the end-of-season top prize of £50,000 (factoring for inflation about £785,000 in today’s terms) and the runners-up took a cool £30,000 (£471,000).

In addition, the best cumulative team score each calendar month bagged £2,500 (£39,250). It was agreed that the winnings were to be used solely on ‘spectator benefits’ such as ground improvements (seating, floodlights or ter…

Netherlands vs Brazil: A World Cup Rivalry

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The third place play off at the World Cup is often seen as an afterthought, a meaningless game before the much awaited final. The 2014 edition however was different, especially for the Brazilians. After being utterly humiliated on their home turf by Germany 7-1 in the semi-final (which overtook the Brazil v Uruguay match at the 1950 finals as the biggest shock in the history of Brazilian football) Brazil had a point to prove. The Dutch on the other hand had been unlucky to be defeated by Argentina on penalties in the other semi-final and wanted to end the World Cup on a high. What followed was a relatively straightforward 3-0 win for the Netherlands, the Brazilians seemed to give up after the second goal was scored and it was an easy game for the Dutch to see out. This was a World Cup full of contrasting records for the two teams, Brazil had conceded the most goals by any team since the 1986 finals, whereas the Dutch had secured a consecutive top three finish at the tournament and wer…

Football's Fifty Most Important Moments - PRE-ORDER NOW!

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Football is more than just a game. Over the past 150 years it has become a source of identity, conflict and debate for all who follow and play it. It has reached the farthest corners of the globe and boasts more players and supporters than any other sport. Football's Fifty Most Important Moments charts the illustrious, colourful and often tragic history of football, uncovering the sport's most significant and staggering moments. Starting in Victorian England with the 1857 introduction of modern football, we journey through 160 years of incredible events to the modern day, where new and innovative ideas are changing the game. Since its creation, football has been shaped by the actions of teams, supporters and of course remarkable individuals on and off the pitch. Whether through mass spectatorship at the 1923 'White Horse Final' or the infamous 'Hand of God' in 1986, football has never failed to amaze and inspire. Learn about its evolut…