Tigers boosted by returning players
23 November ~ Today's visitors Tottenham Hotspur have long endured a reputation as a talented team who are too often a soft touch. Meanwhile, hosts Hull City are hearing whispers that they might be surprise contenders for that unwanted tag. This might be symptomatic of the short-term way in which modern football is assessed. For several seasons, City have been characterised by their work ethic and tactical discipline. One under-committed performance at Burnley last time out should not undermine that reputation.
22 November ~ Arsenal host Manchester United this evening and both teams will be slightly disappointed with their starts to the season, lying in sixth and seventh respectively. In August 1970 the two clubs met at Highbury early in the season, with a 4-0 win for the home side moving them up to third, while United remained second-bottom. John Radford scored a hat-trick (he achieved his highest goal tally that season, 21) while future Arsenal manager George Graham got the fourth. Arsenal remained unbeaten at home all season as they won the title by one point from Leeds, their first since 1953. United, whose team contained Nobby Stiles, George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law, finished eighth.
19 November ~ The creators of Delhi Dynamos’ badge have ambitiously produced a three-way optical illusion. Bridge Too Far Design, the company responsible for the image, have a reputation in India for designs that, while ambitious, often fail to communicate meaning in the most direct manner. Read more
The Helsinki Olympic Stadium is the largest ground in Finland, with a capacity of 42,062, and home to their national team.
16 November ~ Runners-up the previous season, Sunderland stayed at the top and took the title, their sixth, by eight points from Derby. Seven of the team at Brentford were Scots. Two of the English players who scored in the 5-1 win, striker Bobby Gurney and inside forward Raich Carter, ended up with 31 goals each out of the team's total of 109. Sunderland's goalkeeper, 22-year-old Jimmy Thorpe, was to die of head injuries sustained in a league match against Chelsea in February 1936.
Taken by Sergey Novikov
15 November ~ Since 2009, Russian photographer Sergey Novikov has been documenting amateur sports in his home country. This has resulted in an extensive photo library of Russian grassroots grounds, each of which displays the “place of the stadium in the urban infrastructure”. In the Tver region stadiums are often surrounded by concrete tower blocks, while Murmansk’s pitches are normally artificial because of its polar location. Throughout the country churches are also situated next to stadiums, with both considered key elements of Russian towns. This example is from Kurganinsk in Krasnodar. You can see more of Sergey’s photos here.
December issue available in shops and online
The new WSC is out now, available from all good newsagents or dispatched on the day of order from the WSC shop.
- Ticket prices: fact and fiction
- The Battle of Highbury
- Chelsea's lost generation
- Paul Gascoigne at Radcliffe Borough
- Dulwich Hamlet: a model club?
- Premier League looks abroad
13 November ~ There are lots of lovely sides, but only one can really claim to be "everyone's second favourite team". By Tim Bradford.
12 November ~ A crowd of 18,936 at Turf Moor watch visitors West Ham come away with a 3-1 win and leave Burnley still looking for their first victory of the season. Photos by Colin McPherson.
£5 off to WSC readers
WSC contributor Simon Inglis has launched the latest book in his Played in Britain series. Played in London charts the spaces, buildings and sports that have shaped London’s cultural and urban landscape for centuries. Beautifully illustrated with original photographs and detailed maps, the book is based on over ten years of in-depth research. There is an extensive chapter on football and even if your team isn’t based in the capital you’ve probably watched them there.
Bees playing attractive attacking game
21 November ~ It’s nearly a year since Uwe Rösler left Brentford for the Wigan. He’d won seven and drawn one of his last eight games and, although some fans were less than happy with his over-cautious tactics, there was concern that the surprise appointment, ex-director of football Mark Warburton, might not be able to maintain the club’s upwards momentum. They shouldn’t have worried; promotion was secured with three games to spare, using a brand of short-passing attacking football that has rarely been seen at Griffin Park. The consensus is that this is the most talented team that Brentford fans have ever seen
Prize of £4,000 for the “winner”
20 November ~ A competition has been launched to find Britain’s worst football, rugby or cricket pitch, with the “winner” receiving a £4,000 prize to improve it. The worst pitch for each sport will receive £3,000, with an extra £1,000 for the worst overall, and entry is open to any amateur clubs with an under-18s team. The competition is run by Briggs & Stratton in conjunction with the Institute of Groundsmanship, which is the professional membership organisation for grounds staff in the UK. To enter all you need to do is complete the entry form and include some photos, videos or anything else that could support your entry.
Stadium listed as Asset of Community Value
20 November ~ Leyton Orient fans have won the right to list their Brisbane Road ground as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), meaning they must be allowed to bid for the stadium if it is put up for sale. The Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust made the application to Waltham Forest council, and the ground becomes the 29th in the country to be listed by their local authority as an ACV. The trust’s chairman, Doug Harper, said: “It should give some comfort to O’s fans that in the event of any worst case scenario regarding our home, we will have a chance to protect it.” More information on the listing can be found here.
Quota system making players lazy and greedy
19 November ~ Russia’s 1-0 defeat to Austria on Saturday was typical of their performances over the last couple of years. Fabio Capello's side showed they can pass the ball and soak up pressure, but lack a sense of urgency and have no Plan B once behind. England fans will be familiar with Capello's refusal to accept the blame for poor performances – against Austria the result was unfair because Russia had stopped them from creating many chances.
New stadium will have 11,000 capacity
18 November ~ At the end of last week AFC Wimbledon submitted plans for their new stadium at Plough Lane to Merton Council, moving the club a step closer to their original community. The initial process is expected to take a couple of weeks, after which more detailed plans will be available to the public. However the club are seeking permission for a stadium with a capacity of 11,000 that could be extended to 20,000, plus they want to build around 600 homes in partnership with Galliard Homes as well as retail space and a leisure club. More information on their plans can be seen here.
Huge interest in Isthmian League club
17 November ~ In WSC 303 I wrote about the affinity between non-League Corinthian-Casuals, based in Surrey, and the Brazilian giants Sporting Club Corinthians Paulista. The two clubs have a shared history dating back to 1910, when the English amateur side toured Brazil and as a direct result the São Paulo club were formed. A great deal of attention from South America is directed towards the Isthmian League Division One South side and when Paulista do well, interest in Corinthian-Casuals escalates. Back in May 2012 the Corinthian-Casuals Facebook page had a little over 4,400 followers, the majority of which were Paulista fans.
Partnership contrasts with Wonga sponsors
17 November ~ The Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) have launched a partnership with three local credit unions, offering fans a chance to help their local communities by giving regular savers access to affordable short-term loans. Newcastle are currently sponsored by Wonga, a company who offer short-term “payday” loans at extremely high interest rates. NUST’s partnership with three local credit unions forms part of their wider aim of working with and supporting other community organisations. The Football Supporters’ Federation have more information on the scheme here.
New manager Lee Clark fighting losing battle
15 November ~ The experts were clear in their pre-season assessment of Blackpool’s prospects and the predictions have turned out to be chillingly accurate. It was widely expected that the Seasiders would finish rock bottom in the Championship and after 17 matches, that is precisely where they sit. The squad that was belatedly assembled was just not of the quality required to win games in the second tier, yet chairman Karl Oyston felt compelled to dismiss Jose Riga, appointed manager in the summer, after Blackpool took only six points from their opening 14 league fixtures.
Martin O’Neill has a formation conundrum
14 November ~ Ever since Roy Keane was appointed as Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill’s assistant, international breaks have provided an opportunity for his views on a variety of issues to be carried by the country’s media. Such was the level of interest when he came into the job that a separate press conference to O’Neill’s was held and it was carried live by national station TV3. One might have been forgiven for thinking, however, that the brouhaha during the October break – which coincided with the launch of his second autobiography – would have signalled a levelling-off in such coverage.