Showing posts from March, 2021

Scotland - Beware the Wee Yin | @AlexHTheMAX

Scotland have made a predictably difficult start to their latest bid to appear in the finals of a major tournament and after two draws, against Austria and Israel respectively, it is a must win match v Faroe Islands in World Cup Qualifying on Wednesday night at Hampden. Alex Horsburgh  Scotland and their difficulties with so called "minnows" is a tale of woe covering more than forty years. Radio presenter  @AlexHTheMAX revisits six occasions when Scotland flattered to deceive against nations who, on paper at least, seemed to have no chance against the men in dark blue.  1. Peru 3-1 Scotland / Iran 1-1 Scotland (1978) A dead heat at the top of our nightmare top five and arguably the matches that began Scotland's uncomfortable relationship with the underdog.  The hype that surrounded Scotland before the 1978 Argentina World Cup cannot be overstated. It was the ultimate football fairytale but sadly it was written before a ball was even kicked in South America.  After seeing

How to save football: A draft & a salary cap? | @GJ_Thomas

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has thrust the future of many football clubs across the world into doubt. In the UK it was reported that "football needs to take radical steps to avoid financial meltdown"[1] after the pandemic. The seemingly limitless pockets of some of the biggest football clubs had begun to dry up, whilst for smaller clubs, their very existence was under threat. Along with continuing rumours of potential European breakaway 'Super Leagues', some believe radical suggestions are needed to 'fix' or 'improve' football. We take a look to see if football can learn anything from across the pond. One of the biggest criticisms levelled at football from the outside world is the money that is involved in the game. Mega salaries, huge transfer fees, swelling TV deals and billionaire owners can, at times, make the sport seem unappealing and 'broken' to many. The birth of the Premier League saw football in England change financially beyon

The Last Action Hero: Peter Lorimer | @AlexHTheMAX

The passing of Peter Lorimer on Saturday 20th March 2021, at 74, is truly the end of a football era. When shooting from distance was a norm and Scots starred in England, radio presenter  @AlexHTheMAX remembers a childhood hero.  Designed by @binzoboy  on Twitter In the early and mid 1970s the weekday routine for most Scottish schoolboys was simple and straightforward. School -> home -> then out to play football until it was too dark to see the ball.  TV was king, despite only three channels being available, and late Saturday night North of the border was highlights of a top Scottish game on BBC Scotland 'Sportscene' with glimpses of two English matches borrowed from Match of the Day to finish with.  This was a time when it wasn't unusual for top English teams to have three, four or even five Scots in their first eleven and Leeds United had more than most. Infact, when they appeared in the 1975 European Cup Final there were a magnificent seven Scots in the side that t

An open goal for fascism: The 1973 Chile vs USSR game that never was...

When the net bulged at Estadio Nacional on November 21st 1973, signifying Chile’s qualification for the 1974 World Cup, you could forgive the Chileans for their forlorn, awkward body language. To lift a phrase from clichéd football parlance, their opponents quite simply ‘hadn’t turned up’. In this case, in the most literal form.  The USSR team had refused to travel to Chile, citing the coup that took place in Santiago a month prior. Ousting the first democratically elected socialist leader in Latin American history; and replacing him with a brutal military dictatorship.  Following an era of intense economic hardship for Chile, Salvador Allende was elected on the promise of improving living standards and nationalising Chilean industries. Allende’s supporters saw him as a force for equality in a progressive Chile. In particular the textiles industry, with its large percentage of female workers, saw some of the first female directors in the country.  Requiring a symbol of Chilean pride an

1982 World Cup: The Disgrace of Gijon

Much has been made about the various tournament formats, and format changes, which have become a fixture of the football news cycle over recent weeks. In typical South American fashion, especially when involving Argentina, the new Copa América format (just the two groups of 5 teams, where just 2 teams will be eliminated) is to continue, despite the invited nations of Qatar and Australia withdrawing from the tournament. The UEFA Conference League brings more chaos to the coefficient system and qualifying rounds among teams from UEFA’s mid-ranking leagues. There remains scepticism of the new Euros format of 24 teams, with defensive football pre-eminent at Euro 2016 with 3rd placed sides potentially going through. Most of all, the recent propositions to change the Champions League format to include even more pointless group stage games seems a shoo-in, in another vulgar attempt from Europe’s elite to turn the Champions League into an exclusive club, if it isn’t already there. However, one

Welsh Football's Greatest Moments | England 0-1 Wales, 1977

Wales versus England is a favourite fixture for every Welsh football fan. The truth is, the joys are fewer and farther between than we all would like. From Wales' mighty 1907 British Home Championships  victory, the competition was a firm favourite for all British football fans. In 1977, Wales travelled to Wembley, and in an extract from his book:  " Born Under a Grange End Star: The Life, Loves and Many Frustrations of a Cardiff City Fan ", David Collins takes us through his personal, eventful experience of that fine fixture: It was 1977. The punk-rock scene was setting the world alight as my beloved Wales ventured to the twin towers of Wembley to take on England. "Do anything you want to do", they yelled. This was the Modern World. Like a fool, I went along with it.  The decision to embark on this fateful venture was taken whilst passing from The Horse and Groom public house to The Cottage sometime around Christmas 1976. The air was festive, the world was brig