When most clubs turn up at La Manga training camp in Southern Spain, a few days of intense training and team bonding lay ahead. But when Leicester City turned up prior to their 2000 League Cup Final, there was a lot more of the latter than the former. Boss Martin O’Neill decided to stay at home for the trip, and must have regretted it when he listened to his phone messages on the first evening. A very intoxicated Ian Marshall decided that it would be a good idea to call the Gaffer and ask for an extension on the strict curfew given to the players. By the time O’Neill had listened to his voicemails, the Foxes players had already been kicked out of the resort after Stan Collymore set off a fire extinguisher in the bar.
The Opening of Glanford Park in 1988 - Scunthorpe United's new ground
Back in August 1988 Glanford Park, the new home of Scunthorpe United opened it’s doors to the public. According to the official Iron website the new ground brought “gasps of disbelief” from supporters. Costing £2.5m it was the first new football ground built in England since Southend United had moved to Roots Hall in 1955.
The inaugural match saw Scunny, wearing a specially commisioned strip, take on a Football League XI. Kevin Keegan, who had started his career with Scunthorpe, guested for the Iron and his appearance prompted a boycott of the event by local Labour councillors protesting his coaching involvement in the then apartheid state of South Africa. A decision he called ‘selfish’ and ‘childish’.
The Football League XI included Peter Shilton, Peter Reid, Mike Phelan, Danny Wilson, Trevor Francis, Alan McInally and Mick Harford amongst others and ran out easy 5-1 winners.
The third installment of footysphere’s Five Fun Facts feature. Last up was Newcastle United so it’s only right to redress the North-East balance by today showcasing their bitter rivals Sunderland AFC. Thank you to Simon Walsh of The Roker Report for this guest post.
1. We’ve been involved in three record-breaking transfers.
Yeah, it’s not just your Manchester City’s and Real Madrid’s of the world breaking transfer records, Sunderland have had their share too. In the early part of the 20th century, Sunderland were the selling team twice. Who’d have thought little old Sunderland would have two of the most coveted players in the world, but we certainly did. In 1904 Andy McCombie was transferred to the dark side of the North East when Newcastle decided to splash out a massive £700 for the Scottish Right-Back.
It was only one year later when McCombies former team mate, striker Alf Common, became the world’s first £1000 transfer as he moved down the road to Middlesbrough. It only took another 17 years for Sunderland to bother spending any of the big money received, when they broke the bank to sign Warney Cresswell from South Shields FC for £5500. South Shields could have invested wisely, but now find themselves in the lower reaches of local league football.
Last week we wrote about Arthur Wharton, the World’s first black professional footballer. As an addendum to that we’ve got a photo (shown above with the kind permission of @TonyCSGreenall) of the commemorative headstone which was placed on his hitherto unmarked grave in Edlington Cemetery, Doncaster in 1997. The headstone, funded by the Football Unites, Racism Divides campaign helps ensure that his achievements and legacy will remain visible for many years to come.
This, the footysphere"Top 25 Tumblr Blogs about Football" is a personal list I’ve compiled whilst on my virtual travels through the tumblr community. It’s ordered alphabetically & I hope you find it useful in finding some great football (soccer) blogs to follow here on tumblr.
This list is of course not exhaustive and apologies if I’ve missed anyone out. Please don’t be offended. Indeed feel free to leave a comment below with a link to your football-themed tumblr blog. Be sure to checkout 50 more top tumblr blogs about football.
Today we continue with our Five Fun Facts feature with a guest post by Michael Hudson. A gentleman blogger who is doing a wonderful job organising and promoting the upcoming Northern League Day on the 9th of April 2011. So without further ado we present for your delectation and edification five amazing and astounding facts about that giant of English football, Newcastle United.
On Tuesday 29th March England will play Ghana at Wembley in the first meeting between the two countries. The game will honour the memory and achievements of Arthur Wharton, the World’s first black professional footballer.
Wharton was born 1865 in Jamestown, Gold Coast, current day Ghana. His father was a Methodist priest from Grenada and his mother was a member of the Fante royal house. In 1882 he left for England to train as a missionary and it was whilst at college in Darlington that his talent for sports shone through. He soon gave up his studies to become a full-time athlete.
He was a very talented individual indeed, in 1886 he became the first man to run the 100 yards dash in ten seconds and in 1887 set the fastest time for cycling between Preston and Blackburn. But it was in football that he was to make his name.
Wonderful picture from the even more wonderful ground-hopping blog Reynards Hunting Grounds. It would be remiss of me not post a couple of 3-wheeler jokes ..
A Vics fan was driving his Reliant Robin down the motorway when his mobile phone started ringing. Answering the call he heard his wife warning him to be careful, “Fred, I’ve just heard on the news that there’s a car driving the wrong way down the M6, keep a look-out and please be careful.” “Blimey,” said Fred to his wife, “It’s not just one car there’s hundreds of ‘em!”
What do you call a Reliant Robin with a football in it? … A whistle ..
Brazilian champs or Brazilian chumps? The strange case of Bela Vista
Bela Vista FC Tour of Europe 1958
Back in the fifties many Brazilian sides toured Europe and one club who hoped to cash in on the success of the 1958 World Cup winning Brazilian national team was Bela Vista Futebol Clube de Sete Lagoas. They weren’t a big club by any stretch of the imagination though a resourceful Brazilian businessman with an eye for an opportunity organised a tour of Europe by the club in the hope of making some money.
Today sees the start of a new feature here on footysphere where we invite football bloggers to give us five fun facts about their club. First up is Scunthorpe United fan Nicola Kilmore who gives us five fun facts, and little bit more, about her club, the Iron.
Following the success of Non-League Day last year the first Northern League Day takes place on the 9th April which you can read more about here. I’m hoping to travel up to the North-east on that day to take in the Ryton v Billingham Synthonia game but in the meantime below you will find my contribution to the Northern League Day blog.
What has the Northern League ever done for us? Sheffield United
March 1889 was, in some quarters, a significant month for English football. On the 16th nearly 23000, at the time the largest crowd to watch an FA Cup game outside of the final, saw Preston North End beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 in an FA Cup semi-final at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. The gate receipts of £574 convinced the Sheffield United ground committee that a permanent team should be formed to play football at the Lane and so six days later on the 22nd the Sheffield United Cricket Club became the Sheffield United Football & Cricket Club.
In 1972 the great Brazilian team Santos who included Pele, the King of football amongst their number, visited England for a bit of a mini-tour. As far as I know they played two games; one at Aston Villa and one at Sheffield Wednesday. The photo above shows Pele in action against Wednesday at their Hillsborough ground.
Can you make a twitter team? Sheffield United fans can...
This post has been prompted by an article that appeared on the seventy two, an excellent blog that focuses on the 72 clubs who make up the Football League. This article Can you make a twitter team? Ipswich Town fans can (and whose title I have shamelessly ripped off) names a number of former & current Ipswich Town players who maintain a twitter account. It’s a pretty good team but not a patch on the one that can be made up of former Sheffield United players who are on twitter.
FA Cup Controversy - 13th February 1999 - Arsenal v Sheffield United
13/02/99. FA Cup 5th round. Arsenal won 2-1. Att: 38020.
One of the most controversial FA Cup ties of all-time. Roared on by 6000 fans the Blades fancied themselves for a bit of an upset in this game. Arsenal went in at half-time with a one goal lead courtesy of Patrick Viera. The Blades equalised through Marcelo after an hour and only a few minutes later the same player nearly snatched the lead when he hit the post. Things were hotting up and the Blades had the Gunners rattled. Then it all kicked off.
The Football Association was founded on October 26th 1863 at the Freemason’s Tavern in London as the first and therefore the oldest governing body in football. A number of games were arranged in 1963 to commemorate the FA’s centenary year with the pick of these being a showpiece friendly held at Wembley between England and a FIFA XI that took to the field as the Rest of The World.
A wonderful series of articles that explores and examines lower league football in various countires across the world. Featured so far have been Portugal, Denmark, Japan, Holland, France & Italy. [theseventytwo.com]
Legendary comic Norman Wisdom on the failings of British football
Here’s something that gets those nostalgic juices flowing. In the 1958/59 edition of Charles Buchan’s Soccer Gift Book funny man Norman Wisdom is interviewed and suggests that just like the continental sides British clubs & the home international sides should attack, attack, attack. Just like those magical Magyars did at Wembley in 1953 who despite tactical advice from George Raynor did just that and walloped England 6-3.
As we near the end of the year there’s a veritable profusion of posts in the footballing blogosphere giving out awards and naming the best blogs. So in the spirit of the season here’s our very own ‘awards’ because frankly it’d be rude not to. Without further ado these are the ten blogs that I’ve been checking out on a regular basis this year and who I feel are deserving of a mention & a congratulatory pat on the back. Ladies & gentlemen I give you, in reverse alphabetical order, the footysphere top ten football blogs of 2010.
Wigan Athletic and The Herefordshire Senior Cup Final of 1972
Yes you read the title right that proud Lancastrian club Wigan Athletic once took part in the Herefordshire Senior Cup. It’s only 140 miles down the M6 from Wigan to Hereford so something of a local derby? Clearly it is for here’s the proof that Wigan did indeed compete for the Herefordshire FA’s premier cup competition.
The Debenhams Cup was a minor English cup competition played for during the late seventies. It took place two seasons only in 1977 and 1978 and was contested by the two teams who progressed the furthest from the first round proper of the FA Cup. Therefore only third and fourth division clubs and non-league survivors of the earlier qualifying rounds were eligible.
How did the competition come about? Debenhams, a large British retailer, were wanting to get involved with football through some sort of sponsorship deal and they put their idea of a sponsored competition for the smaller less glamorous clubs involved in the FA Cup to FA secretary Ted Croker. He liked the idea and the fact it only added two games to the fixture list and so added an item to a FA Council meeting agenda. This was approved pending agreement from the Football League which was promptly given and so the competition got the green light just prior to the FA Cup first round games of the 76/77 season. This was the first time a sponsor had been associated with the FA Cup.
Footysphere hasn’t been nominated for any awards. They didn’t asked us to talk about their awards, how 2010 had turned out for us, our future plans or who we would vote for in the awards. Here’s the interview we didn’t give:
I’ve previously written a few words about Sheffield United football legend Jimmy Hagan here on footysphere. More recently he’s been the subject of an excellent article on Les Rosbifs. Notwithstanding his amazing managerial record the one thing that stands out about his career for me is his fabulous scoring record for England in the wartime & victory Internationals held between 1939 and 1946. He managed to bag 13 goals in 16 appearances and wondering whether this was the best strike rate achieved by any England player during this period I began to have a look into these unofficial international matches & the players who represented their country.
It’s nearly forty years since the United Kingdom’s entry into the European Community. Britain joined the Common Market on 1st January 1973 and a series of events called a Fanfare for Europe were arranged to mark this. Amongst these was a showpiece international football match at Wembley Stadium featuring some of the finest footballers from the nine member states.
“The Southern Professional Floodlit Cup is a defunct English football competition played for in the late fifties from 55/56 to 59/60 and was a knock-out trophy that served as a pre-cursor to the Football League Cup.”—
Post updated to include more information on the participants. see link below