Monday, December 29, 2014

Our Subbuteo Part 3 - 1981-1983

The 80s saw the 'Zombie' figures and machine painted Subbuteo introduced. The sets from 1981-1983 also came in oblong boxes with the players on display in 2 rows instead of 2 columns for the first and last time in the history of the game. More mechanical practices also led to more teams than you could shake a stick at with clubs from a variety of leagues and divisions being represented in both their home and away strips. I only have 2 teams from this short lived period, and they came from saving up tokens in 'Match'. I think, as you will see, they did this to shift some teams that they may have had a bit of difficulty in selling.

La Louviere
When this team first came out they had just been relegated from the top Belgium division to Division 2. When I received the team from 'Match' they had gone down to Division 3. Nevermind though if Royale Association Athletique Louvieroise weren't your bag they also doubled as Lincoln City away.

Despite being immortalised in plastic for La Louviere were wound up in 1990. Nowadays, we usually use them as St.Etienne.

West Bromwich Albion (away)
This was an iconic kit for the Baggies, but it does seem a bit of an esoteric choice, I suppose you can also use it for Norwich or Nantes at a pinch, but it helps to illustrate how far Subbuteo were pushing the boundaries at the time.

You also have to admit that Cyrille Regis looked good in the kit too!

Our Subbuteo Part 2 - 1976-1980

I  bought these teams in the 1980s from a couple of lads on a market stall who had clearly outgrown the hobby. I can tell that the teams came from 1976 - 1980 due to the boxes that they came in and the fact that they are still clearly hand painted.

Sunderland achieved promotion in 1976, but despite topping the table for a while they went straight back down.

Celtic were champions of Scotland every year between 1976 and 1982, which is perhaps not that surprising. It was a time when Danny McGrain and Kenny Dalglish were playing for the hoops.

The picture below shows Celtic celebrating winning the Scottish FA Cup in 1977.

In the 1978 World Cup there was only ever going to be one winner and the military junta in host nation Argentina were going to make sure that they won it. In the second group stage after a violent 0-0 draw with Argentina, both teams needed a win. A lot has been made of the 0-0 draw played out by Germany and Austria being responsible for teams kicking off at the same time, but this was equally dubious. Argentina delayed their kick off to see what they had to do against Peru. Brazil won 3-1 against Poland, meaning that Argentina needed to win by 4. They managed to win 6-0 and then beat Holland in the final. Brazil beat Italy in the play-off and Nelinho scored a cracking goal for 'the moral champions'.

Here's Nelinho in action in that game against Italy.

Newcastle United
It definitely wasn't all fun and games up in the North East during this period. Newcastle reached the League Cup Final in 1976, but lost to Manchester City. The talismanic Malcolm MacDonald was sold to Arsenal and the Toon were relegated.

Here's 'Super Mac' and Willie Donachie in that League Cup Final.

We tended to use this team as Derby, but the black shorts gives it away that the team is actually Fulham. During 1976 George Best and Rodney Marsh both played for the Lillywhites. Fulham were facing financial problems and were relying on the two has beens predominately as a revenue stream.

Here's Best and Marsh enjoying themselves at the Cottage:

Peterborough United 0 Doncaster Rovers 0

Most people assume that a 0-0 draw is a boring game, and over the years I have seen a few boring ones. This wasn't one of them though. Both sides created chances and it was end to end stuff up until the end. Peterborough's best chances seemed to come from trying to play the ball through the centre of the park - a tactic that they perhaps didn't try enough - and Doncaster looked dangerous from set pieces of which they earned quite a few.

One of the biggest criticisms that could be leveled at Posh is that they consistently put the ball wide rather than trying to create something through the middle. Erhun Oztumer has been in good form in the centre recently and was probably man of the match and Jack Payne always looks more effective in the centre of the park. However, if you keep putting the ball on the wing and then playing it in the air then you probably need bigger strikers than Aaron McLean and Luke James on the end of them. Ironically then the best chance of the half fell to McLean from a header, which didn't real bother Sam Johnstone that much in the Rovers' goal.

The second half was a scintillating affair with Posh dominating for the first period. Maddison, Oztumer and Newell all battled well, but were unable to get past a resolute defence. McClean was a bit out of sorts and became increasingly frustrated. After a period of Posh dominance Doncaster turned the screw and created chance after chance from set pieces and corners. Whether all of these set pieces and corners were given correctly is a matter of some debate though. The best chances fell to Enda Stevens (who hit the bar) and Harry Forrester who forced a decent save from Ben Alnwick. Soon after Mendez-Laing, who I have been critical of in the past, came on and his mixture of strength and skill looked like it would break down the Donny defence finally. It wasn't to be though and the game finished 0-0. Both teams probably felt that they had done enough to win it, with Posh having the majority of the play, but Donny having the better chances.

It's been a frustrating few months for Peterborough in a year that promised so much, they just need to play it on the ground a bit more and give Mendez-Laing and Oztumer more freedom and hopefully get Craig Mackail-Smith playing again.

Obligatory random photos

Yesterday we went to Peterborough v Doncaster. The match finished 0-0, but it was a decent enough game and the match report will be coming soon. In the meantime, here are a few random pics from the game.
Looks like we got to the ground too early!

Doncaster kick the game off.

Posh with a chance in the first half.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Our Subbuteo Part 1 - The late 60s

The first set I got was in the mid 80s with Nigel Spink and a couple of Watford players on the front. The set came with the generic red and blue teams, but a neighbour got a few teams out of his loft and gave the me, The ones that were and are still in tact came from the late 60s and had the goalkeepers on wire. The teams were Coventry, Wolves and West Ham, the yoke on the shirt gave it away that it was West Ham, although naturally we used them predominately as Villa.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

The Wolves team is a fairly rare one with the gold bases and was only made for one season at the end of the 1960s. At the time Wolves had recently been recently promoted back to the top division of English football. It seems like the boys at Subbuteo HQ had taken a bit of poetic licence with the kits though , as the picture below shows what Wolves werwe actually wearing then.
Coventry City

The Coventry team are the same style as a late 60s Subbuteo team, but I think that they are probably from a bit later, as the kit matches the one worn by the Sky Blues in 1972.
This was from the period when Jimmy Hill had taken the team up to the top division, but had already left for his years as a television pundit. Not surprisingly, it was one of those seasons that Coventry hung on to their status in the top division. They stayed there from 1967 to 2001 usually by surviving on the last day of the season, or so it seemed.

West Ham United
At the end of the 60s West Ham still had a number of the World Cup winners in their team, Villa weren't doing too well, but it wasn't until the 80s that I started playing having not been born then. I won't harp on too much about this team, as we always used them as Villa!


As public transport and bad weather have stopped us getting to the football over the last couple of days, we have spent a bit of time playing with the subbuteo and I thought that it would be a good time to have a look at some of the clubs that we have amassed over the years in subbuteo form. So here comes the story of those teams in a few parts.

Winter break

Every year there will be at least one article in the tabloids with a high profile manager about the need for a winter break in the Premier League like those in Europe. I for one don't really agree with this, I think footballers at the top should be able to play a couple of extra games during a period when other people actually have some extra time and cash to get to a game.

I actually think though that the non-league game would benefit from having a bit of time off. The players here also have jobs to do and most frustrating of all lower down the clubs don't have the facilities and the games get called off anyway leading to a fixture glut later on in the season. 

Today Ely were supposed to take on Godmanchester, but storms have battered the city and the game is off. This is the second game off in the last couple of weeks and apart from a game at Mildenhall on Boxing Day a couple of years ago it has been almost the same story of cancellations over the six years.

If a team has a good cup run then without a winter break it can mean that their season can come apart with the amount of games they need to get done before June. I have spoken to people at the Cambs FA and there is no way clubs are going to be allowed to play in June. Why? Well, this raises other questions about the mindset and aspirations of the leagues and local football associations, which could be a book rather than an article in itself.

Three years ago there was the case of Guernsey who ended up playing 12 games in the space of a month and I remember 4 years ago when the wheels came off King's Lynn's promotion chase after a run in the Vase and poor weather over Christmas saw them have to play 9 games in 3 weeks. Coupled with this the players all had full time jobs away from football, so perhaps we should have more sympathy for them and considering a winter break at a more grass roots level than giving so many column inches to Louis Van Gaal and his complaints of 3 matches in a week once in the season.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Festive Fifty

Here is a playlist of the bands that I listened to the most over the year in one playlist for the holidays.

Festive fifty 2014/15 by jim_bomb on Grooveshark

1 Arctic Monkeys - R U Mine?
2 Dutch Uncles - The Rub
3 The Stone Roses - She Bangs the Drums
4 The Orb - Hell's Kitchen
5 The Brian Jonestown Massacre - This is the One Thing We Didn't Want to Have Happen
6 Extrawelt - Stammgast
7 Reinhard Voigt - Tod eines Hippie Madchens
8 Kraftwerk - Vitamin
9 The Courteeners - Are You in Love with a Notion?
10 Dusty Kid - Lynchesque
11 Inspiral Carpets - Spitfire
12 Roni Size - Bump 'n' Grind
13 Mexico 70 - Best and Hurst
14 Beastie Boys - Sabotage
15 Blur - Charmless Man
16 The Twang - We're a Crowd
17 Egyptian Hip Hop - Rad Pitt
18 Kollektiv Turmstrasse - Melodrama
19 Volor Flex - Main Question
20 Portugal. The Man - Creep in a T-shirt
21 New Order - The Perfect Kiss
22 A Guy Called Gerald - Hekkle and Koch
23 Modern Baseball - I Think You Were in My Profile Picture Once
24 Boards of Canada - Palace Posy
25 1990s - Vondelpark
26 Fujiya & Miyagi - Knickerbocker
27 Бумбокс – Каротин
28 Shed Seven - Dolphin
29 Randomajestiq - Palevo
30 Bibio - A Tout L'Heure
31 Underground Resistance - Killer Whale
32 Hladno Pivo - Pravo Ja
33 Skrillex - Ruffneck
34 Moderat - Sea Monkey
35 Orbital - Chime
36 We are Scientists - Don't Blow it
37 Madder Rose - Swim
38 Happy Mondays - Deviants
39 The History of Apple Pie - Mallory
40 The Essex Green - Elsinore
41 Thee Oh Sees - Minotaur
42 Ellen Allien - Flashy
43 A Sunny Day in Glasgow - The Things They Do to Me
44 The Sunshine Underground - The Messiah
45 The Fall - My Ex-Classmates' Kids
46 The Charlatans - Sproston Green
47 Mogwai - Heard about You Last Night
48 Modest Mouse - The Good Times Are Killing Me
49 The Beloved - Sweet Harmony
50 Ian Brown - Sunshine

Ely City Reserves 2 Milton 3

After a few weeks when I have been unable to go to the football we finally got to a game.

Unfortunately, there was a bit of nonsense as per usual at the Unwin Ground. The club website and app said the kick off was 3, but it was in fact a 2pm kick off. When we got there it was already 1-1.

The second half was decent enough with Ely taking the lead before finally letting 2 goals in, but the effort was there and they were a bit unlucky. Things weren't helped by the fact that one of the linesmen was an octogenarian from Milton, who couldn't keep up with play and who made his offside decisions on what the Milton keeper told him. The Milton defenders were also a bit, shall we say agricultural. Nevertheless, it wasn't a bad day out. It's just a shame that the club can't even get the details right on the website.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bad weather and colds bite

So no we are officially in the part of the season where frozen pitches and the common cold come into consideration. I haven't been to a game for a few weeks due to a variety of factors. Some people will be hoping for a white Christmas. I just want a mild one, as I am getting cabin fever and withdrawal symptoms at the weekends.
I have been to Sean's games, but their game was a victim of the frost last week and then Ely City was called off yesterday.