Tuesday, December 30, 2008

End of year round up

Well, it's been a funny old year with it starting up when football started up after the winter break in Ukraine with a trip to Kharkiv for a game between Metalist Kharkiv and Vorskla Poltava and finishing on Boxing Day with Cambridge United v Histon. In between I went to 43 games, 25 in Ukraine and 18 in England. Not a record breaking year in any account, but not bad given the financial burden of late, although it should be poited out due to ludicrous ticket pricing most of the games in England were step 5 affairs. Anyway, here's a quick review about which of my trips hit the highs and which hit the lows in a rollercoaster year in more ways than one.

First of all obviously was the trip that spawned the website, a fine game between Metalist Kharkiv and Vorskla Poltava. Going on the train and drinking copious ammounts of alcohol in Ukraine is always an adventure, but when you get to the other end and hang out with lads like Han and Vasya and witness 3-0 win it always makes the long journey worthwhile. Other great days out in Ukraine included a trip to our favourite club CSKA out in Konchezaspa, unfortunately for me and Phil they lost 2-1 to PFK Sevastapol and were all but relegated to the regional 2nd league on that day, fortunately though the local madheads still remembered us, even though we were something of an oddity for the younger fans and we also found a great bar over the road serving Slavutych. Another good trip where the beer wasn't quite so good was out to Boryspil where we saw Knyazha ease past Veres Rivne in a season that would eventually see them going past CSKA in the opposite direction. The people at Knyazha supply you with a free programme and allow you to drink, stand and sit where you like. The fans know about as much about football as a post 2003 Chelseas fan, but let's hope they learn and that the Austrian investors who also own FK Lviv don't get bored. The maddest of all trips though was undoubtedly when we travelled a very long way to see Obolon 2 lose 2-1 to Dynamo 3. The game only saw about 12 locals turn up, although it did prove that towns like Borodyanka still exist in Ukraine and good for them!

In terms of footballing quality 2 games stick out from the time in Kyiv. Dynamo Kyiv looked a much improved team, but it was 2 games that they didn't win that stand out in the mind. Firstly on 2nd August they lost 2-1 to Metalist Kharkiv in a fiercly fought game that the boys from the first capital deserved to win and just 4 days later Drogheda United gave them a fright in a 2-2 draw that could esily have been won at the death by the Irish club. However, things with the 2 clubs couldn't be much different to how they are now with Dynamo going on to anhilate Spartak Moscow in the grudge match of all grudge matches (8-2 on aggregate) to qualify for the Champions League proper. Dynamo are now top of the Ukrainian Premier League and in the UEFA Cup. If it hadn't been for the unsporting behaviour of Arsenal (the English variety) they might have made it to the knock out stages. Drogheda on the other hand are in severe financial trouble, which is a really big shame. I should also mention Arsenal Kyiv, as although none of their games exactly stick out as classics the fans, especially Ewig and Bo always made a trip to their games enjoyable.

So, on to England and the rip off ticket prices have seen me concentrating on non-league football. I have to be thankful for having Ely City on my doorstep, although they sometimes leave a lot to be desired with regards to quality it's usually an enjoyable day out. The first game was a 1-1 draw with Harwich and Parkeston. The best game was a 3-1 victory over Needham Market and another highlight has been meeting long time fan Mick at the 3-2 defeat against Wisbech Town. I should really apologise to Scott and Rod for subjecting them to 2 horrendous defeats against Histon Reserves and Kirkley and Pakefield respectively. In terms of good football the best 2 games have been Burton Albion in a 5-2 victory over Lewes, back in August. Since then Lewes have really struggled, while the Brewers could go into the league, hopefully Nigel Clough won't be tempted away by Forest or Derby. Another highlight was the Boxing Day game between Cambridge United and Histon. It ended in a 2-2 draw and had all the passion and excitement of games of old and reinded me of how I fell in love with football in the first place.

To be honest there weren't that many lowlights in Kyiv, although I still have serious issues with the majority of Dynamo Kyiv fans. My mates are all Arsenal fans, so that goes someway in explaining it though. Arsenal the team are capable of some sublime football, as a match in March where they lost to Shakhtar 4-2and a victory of 3-0 over Vorskla illustrated. They are also capable of some of the most unpassionate uninspiring football ever. The last game of the season in June where Arsenal and FK Kharkiv played out an appaling 0-0 draw (Kharkiv needing a draw to stay up) illustrated what's often wrong with post Soviet football, but there were several occassions where they put in lacklustre performances when they wanted points. I suppose the lowest point was going to an Obolon game sober. The game was a 1-1 draw with Dnipro Cherkasy apart from it ruining Obolon's promotion prospects, a promotion many would argue they don't want, being sober made you realise how screwed up on booze most of the so called fans are and what a load of self important tossers the officials of what was the friendliest club in Ukraine have become.

In England there haven't been too many low points either, although going to several Rocester and Ely City games means that the quality hasn't been the highest. Apart from the power cut during the Ely City game with Great Shelford and the plot still going on like a soap saga (despite winning the replay 5-1 after the game had already been twice rescheduled Ely may still have to play it again after fielding an illegible player) nothing has really got me down. I do have to say that I have nothing but bad feelings towards the morons who run and support Cambridge City and their financial meltdown can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned. The only other lowpoint was when Rod came. It was great to see Rod and I feel a bit bad about subjecting him to such a poor game of football. What got on my wick though was that before the game we attempted to see the Wolves v Birmingham. We were with Sean and taking him into any of the pubs in Ely that don't have Sky isn't a problem. It is however for one that does The Flying Horse. When we rolled up they informed us they had the game on but wouldn't serve us as we had an under 18 with us ( a 4 year old to be precise). Fair enough if the pub was heaving with zulus, or we were drunk, but when you have a pub with a couple sat at the other end of it and one middleaged bloke looking worse for wear at the bar then maybe the chance to at least treble your takings and a bit of common sense might prevail, sadly not.

Anyway, I don't know what the New Year might bring with regards football, although for me it should kick off on January 3rd, when Ely City take on CRC

Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year's Eve Playlist - Off Topic

Well, I have a tradition with the lads from TVset Under Repair that each New Year we make a playlist for each other. Here's my playlist for this year:

1. Air France - June Evenings
Electro indie pop from Gothenburg, this track was taken from their recent 'No Way Down EP'.

2. Squarepusher - The Coathanger
a track taken from this year's album 'Just a Souvenir' by the Warp Records stalwart.

3. Cruyff In The Bedroom - Hakuchume
Another track from an album that came out this year. This one is from everyone's favourite Japanese shoegazers and sees them return to form with their third album, 'Saudargia'

4. Gordon's Tsunami Week - Seldom
Gordon's Tsunami Week are a German post rock band, I heard them first on Last FM at work. They've been going since 2001, as far as I know, but don't seem to be that prolific. This track was taken from a demo produced then.

5. Paavoharju - Alania
This track by the Finish folk band comes from this year's album, which is catchily titled 'Laulu Laakson Kukista'

6. Myrakara - Las Minna
Electronic music from Estonia this year and available on a free download album at Sutemos.

7. This Town Needs Guns - Panda
Math Rock (whatever that is, they sound a bit like Russian band Everything Is Made in China to me) from Oxford's finest. This track was taken from their 'Animals' album that was released in October and has the novelty of every track being named after an animal.

8. Mellonta Tauta - Yini Mijain
One of 2 bands that share this name, there must be quite a few Edgar Allan Poe fans out there. This is the Argentinian dream pop version rather than the Italian band with the same name. They are clearly heavily influenced by MBV and Curve. This album came out in 1994, but I heard it for the first time last week.

9. Flying Lotus - Taken
A track from Warp's Spring Sampler by the LA based experimental hip hopper.

10. Hello Saferide - Sancha Panze
More Swedish indie music. This track was taken from this year's album 'More Modern Short Stories from Hello Saferide'.

11. Sleeper Kinney - The Size of Our Love
An old song from a band who I first heard of when they were referenced on the Brakes single 'Your Band'. Some of their songs are a bit grating, but this one is a classic.

12. Condo Fucks - Watch'a Gonna Do About It
This track was taken from Matador's Autumn Sampler and covers the Small Faces. I know they have an album out next March, but other than that I don't know a great deal about them. Obviously with a name like that they aren't exactly craving for air play and commercial success, but well worth a listen to.

13. Billy the Vision & the Dancers - A Man from Argentina
Yet another Swedish band, this comes from their 2005 album 'The World According to Pablo'. They've had a new album out this year and you can download all of their albums for free over at their website.

14. Drugs Made Me Smarter - I Wanna Feel Your Soul
I first came across this Mexican minimal techno artist on a variety of free German net labels, but this track was from Kompakt, so things are loking up for him.

15. Plaistow - Aki's Apple
This Swiss electro jazz band are named after a Squarepusher track, but they remind me more of another Warp act, Red Snapper. You can download the whole EP for free at 12rec.net, unlike most net labels they produce a real depth of variety, so have a look round there is tons of great stuff there.

16. Je Reve De Toi - Decoracoa
This track comes from 'The best free downloads of 2008', which is an annual compilation voted for by the readers of the soon to become defunct indie-mp3.co.uk so get it while you can. This band are from Brazil and it's a nice track, although @I don't know much about them.

17. The Postal Service - The District Sleeps Alone
I don't know why but at Christmas time I quite like this band. The rest of the year they make me want to puke. It must be something in the air.

18. Los Campesinos! - We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives
Indie Pop from Wales. I'd heard a few of their tracks over at indie-mp3.co.uk and thought that they were OK, but after Last FM kept putting them in my recommendations I decided to research them a bit more, and this year's album 'Sticking Fingers into Sockets' is certainly good stuff.

Here's the link:
Hopefully, it'll go and make you want to buy the records or go and explore some of the net labels these tracks were taken from

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Game of 2 halves - no really.

Well I forgot to take my camera with me to the Boxing Day Derby between Cambridge and Histon, but here are a couple of videos. The first shows the North Stand, where I was standing, before the game started and the secons shows Scott Rendell's goal for Cambridge. Luckily for the Us he has just extended his loan period at the Abbey from Peterborough.

Although you can't really pick it up from the videos the game was played infront of an impressive crowd of just under 7,000 in an electric atmosphere, it was nearly a sell out for the home fans whoe hadn't been put off despite a lack of public transport that had had me reassessing the situation on the morning of the game. Not surprisingly the players were also feeling the passion of the crowd and the tackles were flying in. However, the ref must have left his cards in his car as he didn't book anyone until the second half.

Cambridge had most of the early play and on 15 minutes Ben Farrell played in Wayne Hatswell who drilled the ball in for 25 yards.

After the goal went in Cambridge continued to have most of the play and Rendell particularly made several good chances. However, it was Histon who were next to get the ball in the net. On 35 minutes Knight-Percival put the ball in the goal for the Stutes, unfortunately for him it was offside. On 42 minutes Cambridge managed to extend their league through the goal shown on video above with Wilmott crossing the ball in for Coulson, who got it on the far post for Farrell before Rendell headed it into the back of the net.

Wilmott also came close for the Us before the break, but Histon had a couple of corners that they could easily have converted. So at half time despite being 2 down the Stutes were far from out of the match.

The half time entertainment was actually quite entertaining with the fans of either team doing their best to aggravate the crowd and the crowd responding in an appropriate way. the fat lad in goals for the Cambridge fans and the kid with a Histon scarf tied round his head particularly seemed to have been on their grannys' egg nog over Christmas.

The second half was a far different affair to the first half and the tackles really started to fly in as Histon tried to find a way back into the game. On 48 minutes Potter, the U's goalkeeper, let the ball deflect off his shin and Jack Midson put in the rebound for Histon. Cambridge, who hadn't conceded a goal at home September 13th, would have normally been expected to contain the visitors, but although the forwards looked capable of adding to the lead, the defence looked all too shakey. On 59 minutes they really looked shakey, when Midson beat Coulson and Antonio Murray blasted the ball in from 6 yards to make the score 2-2.

Things then really started to get a bit nasty on the pitch as Histon tried to keep the valuable away draw and Cambridge pushed on for a winner that would have put them in a play off position. Midson was particularly lucky to stay on for the visitors and on 86 minutes Cambridge were unluck not to have been awarded a penalty with both Rendell and Coulson being fouled in the box. Despite a frantic final few minutes the result remained Cambridge 2 Histon 2 in what was a very entertaining game, with probably a fair result, although for me Cambridge shaded it

Monday, December 22, 2008

Classic shirts #4 - Blackpool 1938

The shirts that Blackpool started wearing in 1938 were the same design as those worn in the so called Matthews final of 1953, when the genius helped Blackpool win their only ever major trophy beating Bolton Wanderers in an epic final.

Since then tangerine has been synonymous with Blackpool Football Club, but it has been a relatively new colour for the club. In 1923 Blackpool director Albert Hargreaves, who was also a referee, was that impressed with Holland's tangerine shirts when he was the man in black for a game between Belgium and Holland that he decided to introduce the colour to the Seasiders. Blackpool adopted the colours for the 1923-24 season, but then went back to wearing various versions of blue and white.

In 1938 tangerine shirts were reintroduced and the club have stuck to the colours ever since. It was also the time when Blacpool were at their most dominant with Stan Matthews and Stan Mortensen leading the line. They were regularly challenging for the league and reached 2 cup finals in 1948 and 1951, before they finally beat Bolton in 1953 and made the tangerine shirts famous

U.C. sampdoria's crest

Unione Calcio Sampdoria's crest might look like some weird shaped island, but the picture is actually the outline of a sailor, as I found out when I was leafing through some football books in Rome a few years back. The sailor's name is Baciccia, which can strangely be translated into John the Baptist in English or Giovanni Baptista in Italian. The blue comes from Andrea Doria and the white, red and black from Sampierdese. The 2 clubs formed on 12th August 1846 to form Sampdoria

Anderlecht and the pilgrim

The crest of Anderlecht is purple and white because they are the colours of the club. The SCA stands for Sports Club Anderlecht and the crown was added in 1933, when the club officially became Royal Sporting Club Anderlechtois. The motto of the club is 'Mens sana in corpore sana', which can perhaps be translated as 'healthy mind and healthy body'. The lad at the bottom of the badge is St. Guy or St.Guido of Anderlecht, who is the patron saint of the area. He was a businessman, who turned into a pilgrim after crashing his boat, and thinking it was punishment for being greedy he decided to go to Rome and then Jerusalem. He died on his way back from Jerusalem and many years later his grave was discovered by a work horse. Apart from being the patron saint of Anderlecht he's also the saint of workhorses, horned animals, epileptics, stables and protects people from rabies

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Classic Shirts # 3 - Notts County 1890

Notts County were formed in 1862, and although Sheffield FC, Hallam and Cray Wanderes are older, Notts County are the oldest league club in the World. Their black and white striped kit, shown above was first used in 1890 and became famous all over the World.

In 1862 teams didn't wear kits and when they were introduced in 1872 Notts County turned out in black and amber. Between 1880 and 1890 they wore chocolate and light blue halved shirts. This kit has been resurrected as the away shirt this season. They also wore the light blue and chocolate number when they became founder members of the league in 1888.

However, it was in the black and white striped kit that they made their debut in the FA Cup final and in these colours that they became the first second division club to win the FA Cup in 1894 and promotion in 1897. Notts County wear black and white stripes to this day, as do Juventus.

In 1903 Juventus decided that they should change their pink shirts, for some starnge reason! They asked an Englishman amongst their ranks, John Savage to help them out. He in turn wrote to his mate in Nottingham, who as a County fan saw that 'The Old Lady' received a job lot of black and white shirts. So, there you have it one kit and 2 famous clubs got their colours from this shirt

Club focus - Lowestoft Town

The most easterly club in England and known as the Trawler Boys were founded in 1884 under the name East Suffolk. In 1887 they merged with Kirkley and became known as Lowestoft before adding Town to their name in 1890.

From 1897 they played in the Norfolk and Suffolk League and won the league in 6 of the first 7 seasons. The season they didn't win it was in 1899 -00 when they reached the final of the FA Amateur Cup, where they lost to Bishop Aukland.

In 1904 Lowestoft along with Norwich City were accused of proffesionalism. Norwich went on to become proffesional, but Lowestoft paid a fine of 2 guineas to remain amateur. Whereas Norwich went on to become if not a dominant a well respected team in the league Lowestoft continued to play in the Norfolk and Suffolk League, where they found it hard to sustain the same level of success they had enjoyed before.

In 1935 Lowestoft became one of the founding members of the Eastern Counties League and again merged with Kirkley. This saw instant fruition as they shared the first league title with Harwich and Parkeston and went on to win it outright 2 years later.

Despite labelling themselves as 'Sleeping giants' the Trawler Boys spent most of the post war period up until the new millennium in a coma. They, along with Great Yarmouth are the only club to have played every year in the Eastern Counties League, but they didn't really do that much until the start of the 21 st Century. In 2006 they won the league and look like they could repeat that effort this season and have won the League Cup twice and the Suffolk Premier Cup 3 times. This year they also reached the FA Vase Final and were cheered on by 14,000 Trawler boys and girsl who made the trip to Wembley, unfortunately they lost to Kirkham and Wesham, but again they are also looking good in this competition.

Christmas (red) cards

Yesterday Ely City took on top of the table Lowestoft Town in the Ridgeons League, and not surprisingly were beaten 2-0.

The game was low on quality and high on bad tempers with Lowestoft having a player sent off for a two footed tackle in the first half and Ely also having a man sent off in the mele of players waving handbags around after the foul. Lowestoft also had another player sent off late in the second half, but the Robins never really looked like matching the trawler boys in this one. That said the difference in wealth of the 2 clubs means that Ely weren't embarrassed, after all Lowestoft recorded a crowd of 842 a few weeks back, which is higher than some Conference teams. Fair play to their fans yesterday, as regarding the distance and the fact it was the last game before Christmas they bought quite a few fans. I just think they probably deserve better. This time it was Ely's defence that looked suspect rather than the forwards who can sometimes look lightweight.

Let's hope that the New Year gets off to a better start when Ely take on CRC on 3rd January.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Classic shirts # 2 - Aston Villa 1985

This shirt is probably not a classic to anybody else and was probably Villa's biggest break with tradition since in 1969-70 when Tommy Docherty introduced a shirt without blue sleeves. This shirt went even further in that not only didn't it have blue sleeves it also didn't have a lion badge, instead it just had AVFC written on it. Mind you, it prepared Villa fans for the pyjamah kit by Hummel that followed.

At least this one was unique. It was made by Icelandic firm Henson, who still make sporting equipment, but whose biggest news of recent years was a Man United shirt commemorating the Munich air disaster anniversary last year that was available in Iceland and Denmark.

It was a special shirt for me, as although it was worn in the era of under achiever Graham Turner and manager of disaster, Billy Mc.Neill, it was during the period when I started going regularly and I even had a subbuteo team in the kit. It was also a unique design that will always be a classic to me.

Warp Records - off topic

Last month I looked at Ninja Tunes and Kompakt Records and this month another dance label is in the spotlight, Warp records.

Warp were founded in Sheffield in 1989 by Steve Becket and Rob Mitchell who worked together at the FON record store. They were joined in their venture by producer Robert Gordon, who produced their first record. The first release was called 'Track with no name' and was funded by the Enterprise Allowance Scheme and sold out of the back of a car. The second release by the now internationally famous Nightmares on Wax was called 'Dextrous' and sold 30,000 copies despite a complete lack of promotion.

Warp records were now becoming well known on the dance music theme and their fifth release LFO's eponymously titled single sold 130,000 copies and resched number 5 in the UK charts.

In 1992 several more acts from the genre that is sometimes called 'Intelligent techno' were added to the label icluding Aphex Twin, Black Dog and Autechre.

They were soon followed by more varied dance acts such as Sabres of Paradise, Red Snapper and Antipop Consortium.

In 2000 Warp moved to London, as did its store Warpmart.

In 2004 Warp opened their download record store, Bleepand they also released a video named Warp Vision.

Warp have continued to release and produce music from a variety of genres, although they are still most famous for 'Intelligent Techno' with 3 great albums being released by Clark, Autechre and Squarepusher this year. However, they have been joined by a number of acts with different styles including the esoteric indie sounds of Battles, !!! and Grizzly Bear to the indie rock of Maximo Park and the post rock of 65daysofstatic.
Here's the video for Aphex Twin's classic On from the early days.

Grizzly Bear's Knife

Squarepusher - My Red Hot Car

Warp's Spring 2008 sampler:
1. Autechre - Altbizz
2. Clark - For Wolves Crew
3. Jamie Liddel - Little Bit of Feel Good
4. Born Ruffians - Hummingbird
5. Leila - Mettle
6. Flying Lotus - Gangbang
7. Harmonic 313 - Call to Arms
8. Pivot - In the Blood
9. Battles- Atlas
10. Grizzly Bear - Deep Blue Sea
11. !!! - Yandus
Download here: http://rapidshare.com/files/122126637/V-WRS.rar
password from other site: www.philipcui.com

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Time for a winter Break?

Yet another week where the non league football programme was seriously disrupted and saw me without a match to go to again. It surely is time that the idea of a Winter Break for clubs out of the league and in Scotland, where the weather tends to play serious havoc with the fixtures was though about.

The Paris saint-Germain Crest

Paris Saint-Germain were created in 1970 when 20,000 subscribers who wanted to see a top flight club in Paris after the demise of RC Paris, Red Star Paris and Stade Francais came together with Saint Germain, who had been formed in 1904. In 1970 the newly named club played in the second division, but gained promotion. However after a dissapointing season in the first and with mounting pressure from the city council to drop the Saint Germain reference the club found themselves in the 3rd division. Ironically in 1973 the new FC Paris and Paris Saint Germain swapped places and PSG were welcomed to the new Parc De Princes where they have competed in the top flight since.

Apart from a period when Canal + had control of the club the crest has always been a cradle and Eiffel Tower symbol (oh, and a strange badge for the Olympics in 1992). The reference to Paris comes through the eiffel Tower, but Saint-Germain-en-Laye is known as the 'burceau royale' or 'royal cradle'. The fleur-de-lis is the royal seal of France and illustrates that Saint-Germain is a royal city.

Images from top to bottom:
1. The Current crest of PSG
2. The badge from 1992-96
3. The coat of Arms of Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Classic shirts # 1 Middlesbrough 1973

Recently I've been looking back over the history of football shirts in England, especially and one thing that struck me as unusual was the fact that managers in the 1960s and 1970s were always meddling in kit design. Nowadays, we can't imagine the influx of overpaid foreign bosses thinking up shirt designs and derivating from the latest adidas template, but it's infinitely more imaginable that they would rather than the blokes who dominated football yesteryear.

Quite often these are the types of blokes who now talk about football losing its traditions, but in the case of Aston villa (albeit for one season only) and Crystal Palace this in the 60s and 70s saw a complete trampling on traditions.

So, hats off to football's most unlikely designer - Jack Charlton. Jack Charlton who made his name as a tough tackling centre half for England and the team fomerly known as 'Dirty, Dirty, Leeds', came up with one of the all time classic football shirt designs.

On taking over as boss of Middlesbrough in 1973 he decided to add a white band to the club's famous red shirts, so that the players could see each other. It obviously did the trick, as Boro who had been down on their luck promptly won promotion to the top flight and Jack had come up with a distinct design that remained popular for most of the 70s and has been resurrected on several occassions since.

Notes on pictures top to bottom:
Top: The Shirt
Middle: Former Boro winger alan Foggon in the shirt
Bottom: Big Jack charlton (centre) managing Boro

New Thread

Over the next few weeks I'll be looking at some of the classic shirts from the UK and then hopefully extending the series over Europe, so let's get the ball rolling...

Worth the wait

First of all apolgies for the crap photo, but I couldn't actually believe that the floodlights were on and that this game between Ely and Great Shelford was going ahead. As you may remember the game in October ended on 88 minutes with Ely 1-0 up when there was a powercut in the town. In some ways it seemed a bit harsh at the time as Ely had most of the play in that game and the chances of Shelford getting an equaliser had been thin. That said it could also be argued that the Cambridgeshire FA were right to replay the game, as it was only 1-0.

Last night though the chasm in difference between the Ridgeons Premier and the Cambridgeshire Senior League were made apparent though. The first half was pretty much like the previous encounter between the 2 clubs with Ely having much of the play, but not making the most of the chances. Therefore it was a relief when Richard Chadwick put the Robins ahead on 25 minutes, but a shame that they didn't capitalise on their lead before half time.

The second half was worth the wait though with Dale Archer and Brady Stone making it 3-0 in a couple of minutes after the break. To Shelford's credit they rallied despite this setback and pulled one back. After this there were a few nerves being shown around the ground, but Richard Chadwick again got his name on the score sheet and substitute Tom Pell scored on 88 minutes with the floodlights still shining and shelford in disarray.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Crystal Palace in shirts - Part 2

Notes on shirts from top to bottom:
The 1973-4 shirt, when the Glaziers became the Eagles and Palace started to wear red and blue.
The 1976-7 shirt, the first time Palace tried out the sash design.
the 2005 Centenary shirt that was unfortunately used in a few friendly matches.
This season sees a return to the sash, but none of the players seem to be modelling afros

Crystal Palace in shirts

Crystal Palace started in claret and blue shirts in 1907 and remained with these colours until 1938 when they decided to change to white kits in an attempt to improve their rather poor fortunes. From 1949-54 Palace went back to claret and blue and then wore white shirts with some claret and blue until 1963.

In the 1963-4 season Palace showed their supersticious side again by changing to their yellow away shirt, as it had been lucky for them (Many years later Palace would be ridiculed for having a yellow and blue away kit modelled on Brazil.)

As well as being supersticious Palace are obviously impressionable as in 1964 they played Real Madrid in a game to celebrate the opening of their floodlights and decided to adopt the all white kit of their illustrious guests.

After a copule of seasons in the all white of Real Madrid, Palace continued to play in claret and blue until Malcolm Allinson arrived in 1973. In the bullsitadabulous style that football didn't really adopt until the formation of the Premier League many years later, he decided to change the nickname from 'The Glaziers' to the much more impressive 'Eagles'. He also decided bright red and bright blue were much more vibrant than claret and blue (well, he probably didn't say that, as I'm just making him sound like a latter day marketing exec for the hell of it). His magic didn't really work the Palace mojo, as he couldn't get the new improved Eagles into the top flight and after 3 seasons Terry Venables took over.

Terry Venables oversaw the introduction of the white kit with the red and blue sash, as made famous by Vince Hillaire in topps bubblegum cards and also got them into the top flight. Obviously, Allinson wasn't the only pioneer of marketing at Selhurst Park, as Palace were dubbed 'the team of the 80s', however they were relegated in 1981, and shockingly Venables left under suspicious circumstances.

Palace came into their own under Steve Coppell in 1989 when they reached the Cup final and finished 3rd the following season. However, since then they have been a bit of a yo yo team, although they seem to be suffering a sustained period in the first division under Neil Warnock at the moment.

In 2005 fans voted for a claret, blue and white shirt modelled on the 1971 kit, although it was only used in a few friendlies. This season they have gone back to a sash design after a few years in red and blue stripes.

Shirts from top to bottom:
Top: The original shirt in claret and blue that Palace wore in 1907.
I938 shirt, when Palace changed to white.
The 'lucky' yellow shirt from the 1963 -4 season.
It's just like watching Real Madrid under the floodlightfrom 1964-66

The Story of the Millwall Lion

It has been suggested that like Aston villa's rampant lion the lion used by Millwall was because of their Scottish origins. However, their original nickname was 'the Dockers' and they didn't become the Lions until 1900. In this year they certainly were as fearsome as lions, as they reached the semi final of the FA Cup and won some notable victories on the way. They also reached the semi finals in 1903 and 1937 and reached the final in 2004. So the lion nickname came from the cup run of 1900, as they wanted to be seen as fearsome, and also because of the Boer War everything African was in vogue at the time. However, the badge wasn't added to the shirts of the team until 1936

Perhaps the most popular and well known interpretation of the rampant lion is the image shown at the top of this page. It first came into use in 1978. It wasn't until several years later when the club wanted to register the emblem as a trademark that it came out that the badge had originally come from a drawing by cartoonist Geoff Campion for 'Lion Comic'

In 1999 the second badge shown here was introduced and went back to the style of lion that was used in the 1960s and 1970s, it's also the badge that they used on the shirts of the 2004 cup final

Saturday without football

The Ely game was off yesterday, although to be honest I didn't think that they were at home anyway. Another attempt to play Shelford will go ahead on Tuesday, but I'm not holding my breath, at least I've lined up some tickets for the Boxing day clash between Cambridge United and Histon

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Aston Villa in shirts - part 2

Note on shirts from top to bottom:
Top: The claret with blue side panels from 1983-4
The pyjama kit from 1987 -89
The Vila shirt with Acorns logo from this season

Aston Villa in shirts

Aston Villa were formed by the local methodist cricket team of Villa Cross in 1874 under the watchful eye of a Scottish business man who had moved to the city called William McGregor. Mr. McGregor would also go on to come up with the idea of the football league where Villa became one of the powerhouses of the Victorian era.

Villa's first kit was claret and blue hoops. It has been stated that Villa chose these colours in respect to the 2 biggest Scottish teams of the time Rangers and Hearts. However, I don't think that this story hold much weight as Hearts didn't settle on a dark red hue to their shirts until 2 years later. Another rumour is that the colours came from a local pub where the founders of the club used to meet, which seems highly unlikely for a group of wesleyan methodists.

The rampant lion which first appeared in the late 1870s and remains on the crest of the club up until the present day is more clearly a nod to the club's Scottish forefathers.

The first kit of claret with blue sleeves was seen in 1891, and was copied by both Burnley and West Ham in an attempt to eminate, what was at the time, the most successful clubin the country.

Apart from a blip in 1892-3 when Villa appeared in claret and blue halves and an all claret affair during the darkest days of 1969-70 Villa stayed faithful to the claret with blue sleeves until 1983-4 when they released a claret shirt with blue side panels, which incidentally was the first shirt I had.

Since then despite some experiments villa have stayed faithful to the claret with blue sleeves design, although the 'pyjama' shirts modelled on the Danish kit of the time and made famous by David Platt et al was one of the more controversial designs.

This season Villa turned their back on sponsors and went with the logo of a local charity for children called Acorns.

Note on shirts from top to bottom:
Top: The first shirt from 1874
The shirt with the rampant lion from the late 1870s
The first Claret with blue sleeves from 1891-92
The first corruption of the century - the all claret shirt from 1969-70

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The disappearing robins part 2 (Swindon Town)

....... Or in the case of Swindon Town it should be the reappearing robins.

Swindon Town have used at least 5 different badges during their history, and most have them have involved robins, from their nickname or trains, their other nickname being the railwaymen and the town is famous for its locomotive history.

The diamond shaped crest with the 'S' on it was from 1991 and was supposed to signify a successful outlook for the future, which never really materialised. To me it looks more like the logo of a geeky IT company, something which Swindon is more famous for nowadays.

In 2007 the fans voted for the badge with quaters and a train and a robin in it. The towns motto was also reinstated 'Sulubrius et industria', and a very fine badge it is indeed.

Funnily enough for a team who have the nickname of the Robins they haven't always worn red and white. They started off in black and white and then changed to red and white quaters when they entered the Southern League in 1894. In 1897 they decided on a green strip, but green dye was difficult to get hold of. Funnily enough a lot of people think that football teams don't tend to wear green as it is considered unlucky, but at the time of the inception of most clubs it was actually difficult to get hold of.

In 1901 they settled on red, although the 'rebranding' in 1991 saw the club trying to incorporate green into their kits.

The black and white badge shown above is from 1970 and seems to form the basis of today's badge, which is also pictured

Not what it's all about

When the boys from ITV talk about the magic of nonleague football in their annual trip to somewhere crap in the pouring rain and say 'this is what it's all about', don't listen to them. They might have been wetting themselves down the road, as Histon knocked out the 'mighty' (their words not mine) Leeds, but up the road in Ely on Saturday in the freezing fog, nobody was feeling special.

A few years ago Histon and Ely were together in the Eastern Counties League, but nowadays the gap is wider than it ever has been. Histon look like they could get into the league, whereas Ely will probably end up in a dogfight for survival in the Premier Division.

Yesterda, Rod was in town and Sean fancied a trip to the football, but it was not exactly and advertisement for football. The freezing fog and heavy pitch didn't help, and I can't see the Great Shelford game which has been yet again rescheduled for Tuesday going ahead after today's heavy rain. We had a laugh as usual, but when Ely let a typically soft goal in on 22 minutes, it didn't look like there would be a silver lining, and there wasn't.

Ely threatened a bit more in the second half, but on 60 minutes Kirkley and Pakefield increased their advantage to 2-0. Ely finally scored on 65 minutes, and despite a Kirkley player being sent off for a straight red offence it looked like the Robins had already given up and the damp squib of a game petered out.

The attendance was a dismal 77, it can only be hoped that Ely can dig themselves out of this hole and start getting the fans back through the turnstile.

I imagine Rod probably regretted it especially as the miserable woman in the High Flyer turned down our custom for the Wolves v Blues match on TV

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The longest story in Cambridgeshire cup history

The Ely City game against Great Shelford was again off last night. It doesn't look like they will ever get it played the way things are going, especially with Ely due to face Yaxley away in the Hunts Cup on Tuesday night.

Walker out and a lot of walking

I finally met Phil in a pub in Milton before the game and went about drinking at a rate that wasn't safe. I reckoned that I deserved it after being messed around by bus drivers on the way there.

The game wasn't that great and I must admit to having some regrets, especially with the £3 programme and £15 entry fee, when Mick phoned me up to tell me that Ely scored in stoppage time to win 2-1.

The Cambridge goal came from a Ben Purkiss own goal, which settled the match, although it could have been a lot worse for the Minstermen. No wonder the travelling faithful were shouting 'Walker Out'. They got their wishes a week later and now have Martin Foyle the ex-Port Vale manager in the hot seat.

I got sent the wrong way into Cambridge by a copper and didn't find very many friendly locals. In fact it was a German who finally helped me, so I probably got home later than those travelling up to Yorkshire.

I have to admit that meeting Billy Brewer's best mascot mate in Yorkie the Lion, albeit without his costume was probably one of the highlights!

A Week ago

Another break down with my computer has meant that I've been off line for a week, so I'll be catching up now. I only went to the Cambridge United v York match last Tuesday and since then a lot has happened. I was in Bonn at the weekend and had to settle for watching the Villa v United match in a bar and Dynamo get beat by a very desperate Arsenal in the Champions League last night. In my opinion the Arsenal goal was not against the rules of the game, but not very sporting. I mean it was a drop ball and Dynamo didn't even go for it, but that's the way it goes. It also got me thinking about the changing fortunes of Dynamo and Drogheda since that game in summer, but more of that later.
Anyway, here comes a short, as it was a long time ago, photoless (I forgot the camera) report of that Cambridge v York game.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The disappearing robins part 1 (Charlton Athletic)

There has been a trend for a lot of clubs to upgrade their nicknames to sound harder. For example, the Biscuitmen of Reading are now the Royals and the Robins of Charlton are the valiants and the Glass boys of Crystal Palace are the Eagles. Unlike Eagles Robins are not hard, as although Ely still have a Robin on the badge, Swindon, Charlton, Cheltenham and Bristol City have all got rid of the Robins from their badges.

Charlton Athletic have had the current badge with the hand holding the sword since 1968, although the original idea for the design was first announced in 1963 when it won a competition held by the club and they have had a similar design since this date.

The original badge had the letters CAFC in the shape of the diamond, but after World War 2 chose a Robin design, which they wore in the 1946 defeat to Derby in the FA Cup Final.

They have at other times also used the Greenwich Council symbol as their badge.

When the current badge design was chosen the nickname 'The Robins' was replaced by 'The Valiants', as it went better with the badge and was connected with their home ground, The Valley. Out also went the song 'The Red Robin' to be replaced by 'Old Father Thames', however this tune was soon unsurped again by the old one.

As well as being known as the Robins and the Valiants Charlton are now commonly called 'The Addicks'. The most likely source of this nickname is from haddock, the fish as local Arthur 'Ikey' Bryan used to give it the players as a reward when they won a game. A lot of people think it is a recent nickname, but it actually goes back at least to 1908.

In 2002 the fans were informed that the club had decided that the sword motif was too agressive for a family club and that they would choose another one as an online vote. The 3 that were chosen are shown above, the CAFC that bears more than a passing resemblance to the current Fulham badge, the more traditional robin, or the addick. The fans were up in arms when they met Arsenal on April 1st, well the ones who hadn't noticed what the date was.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

York City in shirts - part 3

Top - the shirt that fans chose in 2004
bottom - this season's kit

York City in shirts - part 2

Notes on the below shirt from top to bottom:
2002 - The ones with the dodgy chequered flag.
1974 - The ones with the Y that they wore when they got promotion.
1937 - The first time York appeared in red
1934 - The chocolate box kit
1922 - The original coloura

York City in shirts

On Tuesday night big Phil will be in town for the game between Cambridge United and York City. I was getting a bit bored with the club focus format, so here is a more visual and even more potted history.

York city were formed in 1909, but were disbanded and reformed after the first world war and wore the maroon and white shirts at the top. In 1929 they got into the league at the expense of Ashington who were relegated and Mansfield who won the Midlands league, but got less votes than York, who finished ninth. They also changed to brown and white shirts as a reference to the town's confectionary history. They then changed for red shirts, as the brown and white stripes were said to clash too often with their opponents.

In 1974 they got all the way to division 2 and released the shirts with the big y to celebrate the fact.

In 2002-2003 they almost went to the wall after being taken over by someone who didn't really have any cash and who was a car racing fan, hence the daft chequered flag part of the design. A year later the fans took over the club and York returned to red and this year they are wearing the red and blue halves.