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Showing posts from April, 2020

Sadness of a football fan : The greatest World Cup game is always Brazil vs Italy (part 1)

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“The history of soccer is a sad voyage from beauty to duty.” ― Eduardo Galeano, Soccer in Sun and Shadow

Winning is simple. It’s about having the good fortune to be better. Or luckier. For me, nothing represents winning more than the great World Cup finals games between Brazil and Italy. Let's look at the statistical records. In 1938, Italy beat Brazil 2-1 in Marseille, the next game wasn’t until 1970 when Brazil won 4-1 in Mexico :-



 Brazil won the 3rd/4th play-off 2-1 in Argentina 1978 :-


 Then in 1982 in Spain, it was Italy 3 - Brazil 2 :-

 The 1994 game ended 0-0 AET, with Brazil winning on penalties:-

 So, the stats show it’s 3-2 so far in Brazil’s favour. Two of the games were finals (1970 and 1994) in which Brazil won. Both times Italy won they went on to be World Cup champions. Brazil have won the World Cup 5 times in total, and Italy 4. But facts and figures never give the full story do they? So, why is Brazil vs Italy my favourite game and the one I consider most …

From Best to NHS - Hibs FC | @Alexecky

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As part of a series of Scottish football history articles written for us by radio presenter Alex Horsburgh, today he explores the link between the incredible gesture of Hibs wearing 'Thank You NHS' next year, and a time when Hibernian broke new ground in the world of shirt sponsorship...


Hibernian FC's shirts next season will have 'Thank You NHS ' emblazoned on the front as the Edinburgh side show solidarity with NHS workers who are fighting the world pandemic which has blighted 2020. Supporters have the opportunity to pay £5 to put the thank you on the home shirts,with all proceeds being donated to Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation.


It seems appropriate in many ways that the Hi-bees should be the first major UK club to shirt sponsor in such a way with their NHS shirt, as back in season 1977/78 the Easter Road club signed a deal with Greater Manchester-based kit maker BUKTA, to wear their design on the famous green shirt with white sleeves. This green had bee…

Sports History and the School Curriculum: What's Changed?

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When The Football History Boys started in 2013, we had two taglines, 'Football - more than just scorelines', and 'Like football? Love its history!'. Both of these lines motivated us to share the history of the beautiful game far and wide, something we hope to have achieved since with our website, our podcast and our book (published in April 2020). As teachers though, TFHB has an extra desire, to continue to strive to see sports history included in the school curriculum in the UK.

Ten months ago we wrote about how the history of sport had an important role to play on the school curriculum, at both primary and secondary schools. We looked at how the majority of young people in education love a sport of some sorts, be it football, rugby, cricket, athletics, cycling, trampolining or even fencing! In the months following we have continued to include sport in our lessons where possible and so today we will catch up with where TFHB are with their quest for wider sporting incl…

Dundee United - Tangerine Dreams | @Alexecky

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As part of a series of Scottish football history articles written for us by radio presenter Alex Horsburgh, today he charts the progress of the club from Scotland's City of Discovery, who changed their fortunes, and their colours, in the late 1960s after years as 'also rans' in the British game...


Dundee United are back in the big time north of the border as winners of the Scottish Championship, albeit by a vote amongst Scotland's 42 senior clubs, that carried a motion by the SPFL to finish the 2019/20 season early due to the current pandemic and promote the champions of the three Scottish leagues outside the Premiership.



75 per cent of the teams had to call for an early finish and promotion of the winners of the Championship, League 1 and 2. This happened and it meant United joined Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers as promoted teams, while Partick Thistle went down to League 1 as bottom team in the Championship, with Stranraer relegated to League 2 as bottom team in League…

Keeping up with Tradition: Goalkeepers that became one club legends

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Loyalty is harder to come by in modern day football, with wages and agents dictating the transfer scene more than ever at the highest level. There are those who are fully committed to one club, something which puts many players in legendary regard. Goalkeepers, in particular, have a battle on their hands to keep a number one jersey throughout their years, but some of these did and achieved much more along the way.


Ceni-tury of goals

Rogério Ceni blows most goalkeeping stats out of the water, arguably writing him down in folklore as a great. Nevertheless, the unexpected nature of this man is that he is renowned for his goal scoring heroic rather than his shot stopping ability. The stats are unheard of but Ceni is centurion in terms of club goals – scoring 132 goals for São Paulo Although only one was from open play, he was entrusted on set piece duty and scored a resounding 61 free kicks and 70 penalties.
So much so, in 2005 he scored 21 goals in all competitions, as well as helping his…

Five fantastic Scottish club wins in Europe | @Alexecky

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As part of a series of Scottish football history articles written for us by radio presenter Alex Horsburgh, today we look at his personal top five Scottish wins in Europe...


1. Celtic 2 - 1 Leeds Utd  (1970)

I put this game at number one as it is more or less the first game I can remember watching with my late father on TV. A bonding exercise that went onto provide 20 years of watching football across Scottish football grounds and on TV began that April evening in 1970.

An attendance given at 135,000 but thought to be closer to 140,000 saw the first ' Battle of Britain ' of the 1970's as the Champions of Scotland and England slugged it out for a place in the European Cup Final.

The English press had given the Glasgow giants little chance of victory at Elland Road in the First Leg of the semi final. This was despite complaints from Don Revie that the FA was doing little to help his side progress to a first European Cup Final, with domestic fixtures backing up so much Leeds w…

Football's Fifty Most Important Moments - ON SALE NOW!

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Click the picture to BUY!


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…

Life in Lockdown: Looking for Tommy

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Life as a teacher is strange during the lockdown. Each morning we are waking up, setting our respective classes work (usually projects) and constantly monitoring the replies and responses sent back over the various learning platforms online. At the moment, however, it is the Easter holidays. It doesn't really feel that way as I've found myself in a new routine each day. Waking up in the morning and making myself a quick coffee, I'll retreat to the study and begin to write about all things football history. Gareth and myself are, at this moment in time, nearing the end of our second book and our research has taken us to new levels of intrigue and inspiration as we delve deeper and deeper into newspaper archives, minute books and even parliamentary debates. Yesterday, on the other hand, I had a bit of writer's block. That was until we were sent a question from a follower on Twitter.

Simply put Michelle Brennan asked, 'found an old photo of my great grandfather ! Any …

1967 and all that - Scotland's finest year? | @Alexecky

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Part of a series of Scottish football history articles written for us by radio presenter Alex Horsburgh, today we look at the 1966/67 season from a tartan perspective.


If the year 1966 was the pinnacle for English football, was 1967 the best ever for Scottish football?Did England's World Cup win actually inspire their oldest rivals to greater heights or did it embarrass the Scots so much it actually shamed them into becoming the successful nation, if only for a year, they should have been on a regular basis anyway?




The Three Lions will always have 1966 but the Lion Rampant will always have Wembley '67 when Scotland, led by manager Bobby Brown in his first match in charge, became the first team to defeat the World Champions after their World Cup final win over the then West Germany.

The 'unofficial World Champions' claim was always an overblown one North of the border, and did nothing to erase the fact Scotland failed to get past Italy in the '66 qualifying phase, de…