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
A few shots of Maltby Main’s Muglet Lane ground. Taken on a visit to watch the Northern Counties East League Premier Division fixture with Hallam FC. The home side won a very poor game by two goals to nil. A result that leaves Hallam second bottom of the league.
“Trawling through Twitter in search of something wise, funny or illuminating written by a football player is like dredging Lake Windermere in search of that half-pence coin you threw off the side of a pleasure boat for good luck while you were on holiday in 1973.”—
Recently I’ve become an enthusiastic convert to the non-league football scene in England. In the last few weeks I’ve seen games at Bradford Park Avenue, Dinnington Town, Market Drayton Town and Sheffield FC and very refreshing it’s been too. The non-league matchday experience is so very different to what I’m used to following league football. Yesterday 2nd October I’d decided to continue my non-league odyssey by visiting Handsworth FC of the Northern Counties East League. However late morning I got a phone call from a friend who was unable to attend the Sheffield United v Watford Championship fixture at Bramall Lane. He offered me his match ticket for free. Being a tight Yorkshireman I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to watch my beloved Blades for nowt so graciously accepted his kind offer and put off a visit to Olivers Mount for another time.
Off I went to Beautiful Downtown Bramall Lane for my first visit of the season. Caught the train into Sheffield and popped into the Sheffield Tap for lovely pint of local brew Wild Swan. A wonderful white gold pale ale which according to it’s description on the Thornbridge Brewery website has aromas of light bitter lemon with a hint of herb and subtle spiciness. Hmmm not sure about that but a quick pint turned into two turned into three. I could have stayed in the boozer suppin’ that gorgeous beer all afternoon but I had a match to go to so just about managed to drag myself away.
Given my predilection for the more nostalgic side of football I have been enjoying in recent weeks the offerings on twitter of @retrombm. They have been presenting for our enjoyment a constant stream of videos featuring pre-premiership games from seasons gone by. All these classic matches got me thinking about the first games of football I can remember watching. I’ve wrote previously about the Sheffield United v Arsenal FA Cup game of 1978 which was the first ever live game I went to but now I’m gonna take a trip down memory lane and revisit the first game I can remember watching on the telly as a young lad not long out of short trousers.
Support #nonleagueday on 04/09/10 and go watch your local non-league side. There are no Premiership or Championship fixtures due to the international matches so why not take in a game at your local non-league club. There are a number of games you can choose from in and around the South Yorkshire area.
AFC Emley v Hemsworth Miners Welfare - FA Vase
Armthorpe Welfare v Farsley AFC - NCEL Premier
Buxton v Nantwich Town - Evo-Stick Premier
Dinnington Town v Wigan Robin Park - FA Vase
Frickley Athletic v Marine - Evo-Stick Premier
Handsworth v Barton Town Old Boys - NCEL Division 1
Maltby Main v Ashton Town - FA Vase
Parkgate v Congleton Town - FA Vase
Rossington Main v Yorkshire Amateur - NCEL Division 1
Stocksbridge Park Steels v Ashton Utd - Evo-Stick Premier
Worksop Town v Bradford Park Avenue - Evo-Stick Premier
There’s a some beautiful old football footage on the Imperial War Museum website. Three clips are available. The first is silent footage of an Arsenal v Chelsea game in 1917 whilst the second is a newsreel item on women’s football in 1918.
The third clip is of a wartime international played between England and Scotland at Wembley Stadium in 1944. Eighty thousand including the King, Queen and Princess Elizabeth turned out to watch the game. The commentator announced in his clipped tones ..
”.. most of the Londoners here at Wembley Stadium had spent a stormy night with the Luftwaffe; but it would take more than a few hundred nazi bombers to keep a Londoner from the big match ..”
then went on to say ..
" .. the noise made by London’s anti-aircraft guns the night before was nothing compared to the hullabaloo that went up when England scored .."
as England ran out 6-2 winners. The England scorers were Jimmy Hagan (2), Horatio Carter, Tommy Lawton, Joe Mercer and an own goal by Macaulay. Jock Dodds scored the two Scotland goals.
Hagan, Carter & Lawton were the three outstanding English goalscorers in the wartime period. Sheffield United’s Hagan netted thirteen times in sixteen appearances, Carter of Sunderland hit eighteen in seventeen games and Chelsea legend Tommy Lawton managed a magnificent twenty-four goals in twenty-three wartime appearances for England.