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Showing posts from February, 2020

The Khaki Cup Final: Sheffield Utd vs Chelsea, 1915

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By the summer of 1915, the First World War had caused an unthinkable amount of destruction and despair. Despite an initially positive reaction from across Europe, as war was declared, it soon became clear that this one was different. August 1914 saw the Football League in England continue as usual. After all, it seemed that a war on the continent was no reason to alter daily lives and routines and football was to remain. 
It was widely said that the War would be over by Christmas with British soldiers returning home victorious once more. Unfortunately, as winter set in and military tactics on both sides became alarmingly outdated, a new style of warfare was to begin. Dug into the trenches in Flanders, it seemed that an end to the conflict was nowhere in sight. Still, football remained a major highlight to the lives of many. Most will have heard the stories of Christmas Truce football matches (or kickabouts) in 1914. Debated, though they are, what is an intriguing thought is that the o…

The Anglo-Scottish Cup: When Little England Met Big Scotland

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Chesterfield FC have fallen on difficult times in the last few years and are now part of the English non-league football scene. Despite this, many supporters of lower league UK football would say they still have the potential to be one of the biggest clubs outside the top two tiers of the English game. It might surprise many football fans, in Scotland in particular, to discover that the greatest day in the club’s history is still regarded by many of their supporters as the day they saw off Rangers in the final season of a now defunct cross-border tournament.

The Texaco Cup of the early 1970s was the first attempt to establish a ‘British Cup’ after frequent discussion concerning such a tournament becoming a permanent fixture in the football calendar. Calls were increased during the 1960’s when Celtic met Liverpool, Morton took on Chelsea [and lost heavily in the Fairs Cup] and Spurs and Wolves played Rangers. Adding weight to the arguement was the still popular Home Nations Championship…

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…