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Showing posts from September, 2021

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 clich├ęd 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

Welsh Football's Greatest Moments | British Home Champions, 1907

In the early decades of international football the Welsh, English, Scottish and Irish would regularly slug it out with each other in annual fixtures. The history books show that the British Home Nations Championships were founded in 1883/84, a chance to officially record one of these teams as  'international champions'. With world football still developing in the latter part of the Victorian period, these games were really one of the most prestigious events a player could win. Finally, in 1907, with superstar 'wing wizard' Billy Meredith returning from a controversial ban, and at the 24th time of asking, Wales would win a maiden title. The Welsh were always playing something of 'catch up' as association football began to grow within the British Isles. The English FA was founded in 1863 as they sought to codify football and bring a uniformity to the local differences that existed across the country. This seismic moment was followed by the first ever international

Football Family History: Keeping up with the Joneses

I've always found it fascinating when someone I know tells me about a famous ancestor. What makes it more impressive is when the historical family member turns out to be someone in football. My Dad loves family history and has spent many hours compiling an extensive family tree stretching back centuries. Despite finding hundreds of relations, we had believed that none were involved in the beautiful game. Perhaps a great deal of the difficulty in finding any meaningful ancestors is due in part to our surname - Jones. With the most common second name in Wales, being sure that an 'ancestry hint' is definitive is difficult to prove. That was until last week when my father let me know about James Alfred Jones.  Admittedly, there is some climbing the tree and navigating some narrow branches before reaching James, but he is a relation, nonetheless. To be precise, he is my great x4 Grandfather Hugh Jones' great nephew. You wouldn't find 'Who Do You Think You Are?'