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Showing posts from January, 2022

The Group of Death - Final Round 1950

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1950 World Cup - Final Round Brazil (4) Sweden (3) Spain (9) Uruguay (18) Twelve years after the climax of the 1938 World Cup, the game’s most prestigious international tournament would return once more. Following the devastation caused by the Second World War and the resultant political instabilities across Europe, Brazil would be chosen to host the competition in 1946. Four years previous, the South American nation had been hopeful of hosting the World Cup in 1942, only for the war to escalate to unthinkable levels. Originally planned for 1949, Brazil would ask FIFA for a year extension on the start date of the competition in order to fully prepare. Further citing the close proximity of the prospective tournament to the 1948 Olympics, the decision was met with widespread agreement. Once awarded, the country would begin to develop elaborate plans including the construction of the 200,000 capacity stadium, the Maracana. Brazil’s ‘massive commitment and celebration of the game’, was eno

Donald Simpson Bell: Footballer & VC Recipient | @RichEvansWriter

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Footballers who also fought at war is always an intriguing topic, one  @RichEvansWriter  is passionate about. Take a look at the career of Donald Simpson Bell, who  holds the dual distinction of being the first professional footballer to enlist for the Great War, and the only one to be awarded the Victoria Cross. US Fleet Admiral William Frederick Halsey, Jr. famously said; ‘There are no great men, there are only great challenges, which ordinary men like you and me are forced by circumstances to meet.’ Such an assertion could easily be applied to so many of the servicemen and women of the First and Second World Wars who, plucked from their everyday existences, found themselves doing things they might never otherwise have dreamed of.  It might also be considered in the case of Donald Simpson Bell, whose bravery under fire in 1916 earned him the highest possible military commendation. Bell was not simply a soldier who switched his civilian attire for khaki, but was an accomplished sports

When Football Rocked Scotland: Part 2

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Popular music and football are brothers in arms (to quote Dire Straits), and for those of a certain generation the two were always the natural highs that got them through their teenage years (and still provide solace in difficult 21st century moments).  @AlexHTheMAX  counted down five Rock/Pop/football crossovers from Scottish football history here , but now he's back with another five. Who knew Bob Marley supported Celtic and Frank Sinatra performed at Rangers?! 1.Marley and Celtic Bob Marley meets Celtic legend Dixie Deans The late, great Reggae superstar Bob Marley was a massive football fan. The strange thing is, despite his fame, his secret ambition was to visit Celtic Park – and play on its turf. Bob Marley was such a fan of the Parkhead club that he could even recite the Celtic 1967 European Cup-winning team in full.  Marley, who died in 1981, stunned Celtic legend John "Dixie" Deans when the pair met in Australia. However Deans, who was playing for Adelaide City F

When Football Rocked in Scotland

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Popular music and football are brothers in arms (to quote Dire Straits) and for those of a certain generation the two were always the natural highs that got them through their teenage years (and still provide solace in difficult 21st century moments).  @AlexHTheMAX  counts down five Rock/Pop/football crossovers from Scottish football history. 1. Clydebank: Wet Wet Wet No "Sweet Little Mystery" as Wet Wet Wet's association with Clydebank was a home town one In the first deal of its kind in the UK, West of Scotland super group 'Wet Wet Wet' ploughed some of their cash gained from hits in the 1980s into their home town club, Clydebank. In 1993 they became principal shirt sponsors of the then Scottish First Division club. Although the idea to promote Clydebank FC at Wet Wet Wet gigs (with the club receiving a cut of the cash from concert shirt sales) never materialised, the two year shirt sponsor deal coincided with the return of Davy Cooper to the club. He started

The Miraculous Fritz Walter | @RichEvansWriter

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Footballers who also fought at war is always an intriguing topic, one  @RichEvansWriter  is passionate about. Take a look at the career of a man who has an experience no other footballer can boast: The hero who helped to win the 1954 World Cup for West Germany might easily not have made it home from the Eastern Front. While one-club players with long careers are not exactly a rarity, they’re hardly ten-a-penny either. One-club players (like former Barcelona captain Carlos Puyol, for example) who also have a World Cup Winners’ medal, are even less common. Then, there’s the list of one-club players with World Cup Winners’ medals who dodged the Soviet Gulag because a Hungarian guard championed their footballing skills. It’s a really short list. In fact, it is a list that features only one name: Fritz Walter. Fritz Walter His club career with FC Kaiserslautern spanned 364 appearances between 1937 and 1959 and saw him score an astonishing 357 goals as an inside forward. He also succeeded at

Cowdenbeath: On the brink of unwanted history

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They've been a football pilgrimage for fans outside Scotland for years and a mascot for the eternal underdogs of the game, but we are now close to losing one of the most familiar names from lower league football in the UK unless they can make a great escape for a third time.  @AlexHTheMAX  tracks some of the historic highs and lows of Cowdenbeath FC. Sitting ten points adrift at the bottom of Scottish League Two at the start of 2022, Cowdenbeath FC are facing their third relegation play-off since the Scottish Pyramid system was established in 2014. They are once again looking down the barrel of a two-legged tie for SPFL survival against the winners of the Lowland or Highland League. If Cowdenbeath were to be relegated they'd take their place in the Lowland League due to their geographical status around 25 miles from Edinburgh. The Fife club have boasted support from a soap star and a pop star in their 141 year history, and were the first team from outside the Scottish top fligh

Fergie at 80: Final Goal and First "Hairdryer"

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Sir Alex Ferguson turned 80 on December 31st 2021, but it was the mid 1970s that moulded Fergie the manager. Our Scotland correspondent  @AlexHTheMAX  saw the genesis of a top manager at close range in two incidents over a two year period. Man United icon Sir Alex Ferguson cut his managerial teeth north of the border. ( Pic ) Sir Alex Ferguson was 80 years of age on (appropriately) Hogmanay and one of the greatest managers of all time also had a distinguished domestic playing career with Queens Park, Dunfermline Athletic, St Johnstone, Rangers, Falkirk and Ayr United. Alex Horsburgh himself can lay claim to seeing Fergie's last goal as a player, and hearing an early version of "the hairdryer", which would become the nickname for a rollicking from the man who managed East Stirlingshire, St Mirren, Aberdeen, Manchester United and Scotland at a World Cup. Read on for details important to the moulding of the manager who would etch his name into British football history: Follo