More than a match

Inflammatory online material has been a factor in stormy games in Glasgow recently. Mark Poole looks at efforts to stem the tide

The fifth Old Firm match of this season was marked by three red cards, touchline arguments and more than 30 arrests in the stadium. As is usual on derby days, the number of arrests in Glasgow was significantly higher than usual. The SFA, police, politicians and journalists were appalled, so Celtic’s Peter Lawwell and Rangers’ Martin Bain were summoned to Edinburgh for a summit six days later.

Cris Freddi reviews the local tie which ended non-League Canvey Island's FA Cup hopes

“You can’t be serious about these shrimps.”

“We’re not, really...”

The Shrimpers Club bar. Some poor sod hobbling round the pitch in a pink prawn outfit, tail trailing in the mud. Who decided we needed cuddly toy mascots? Cyril the frigging swan. Dumber and dumb­er.

Davy Millar remembers a welcome disraction from the troubled times that haunted Belfast in the Seventies

Back in 1975 I rarely needed an excuse to leave school as quickly as possible but on April 16 there was a very good reason for making an even quicker departure than usual.

Ian Plenderleith remembers the night when it felt like Lincoln could beat anyone

It wasn’t the size of the Sheffield United team that came to Sincil Bank that had the home support wor­ried. It was the number of away fans. You could see them crossing the bridge from the coach park in the gap between the old wooden South Park and St And­rews stands. It was a never-ending stream and, for the only time in all the matches I ever saw at Lincoln, they took over the entire swath of open-top terrace that stret­ched alongside the ground, leaving the home fans to cram in behind the goal at the Railway End.

The biggest shock of the FA Cup first round came at Bedlington, and Ken Sproat saw it all

Bedlington Terriers are a new name to many, but have gained a massive profile following their debut in the FA Cup first round. New unless you know me, that is. I have been preaching Terrier lore with wide-eyed zeal since moving to the town in 1990. Strangely, it is only in retrospect that I realise it was love at first sight. The early matches were turgid, lower Northern League Second Division fare.

Davy Millar remembers the drubbing of Belgium and the shortest, most successful international career of all time

November 1977 and Windsor Park is looking less than inviting on a cold, grey Wednesday afternoon. Northern Ireland are rounding off another unsuccessful World Cup campaign with a game against Belgium, themselves trailing far behind group winners Holland. The Irish have staged one of their textbook qualifying bids, starting with a splendid draw in Rotterdam before going on to lose in Iceland. Small wonder that George Best has packed it in again. Enraged by such inconsistency, he’s decided there are better ways to spend a bleak, winter afternoon than casually humiliating some hapless Belgian.

Ian Plenderleith recalls an usual cup tie consisting of flares, invading fans and a surreal amount of goals

Have you ever had your home stadium taken over by away fans? I don’t just mean being outsung by supporters of a victorious opponent, or having your end steamed in on by a bunch of future novelists. We’re talking here about an occupying army, a cacophonous, flag-waving force running on the adrenalin of new-found nationalism, a rabble which banged, bayed and basked in its superiority of numbers for 90 minutes and more while the awe-smitten home supporters barely squeaked.

Mark McQuinn recalls a thriller on 7th June 1995

The previous meeting between these two teams had resulted in Bulgaria’s glorious 2-1 triumph in the quarter-finals of the 1994 World Cup. Both were unbeaten in the qualifying group, although Bulgaria’s form was the more impressive – 5 straight victories, while the Germans had drawn with Wales and scraped past Albania, 2-1 home and away. The general consensus amongst the pundits was that it would be a tight match, in which Germany would play for a draw and probably get it.

Neil Rose recounts a rare Des Walker goal on 1st January 1992

Des Walker has played over 500 games in his League career. He has scored just one goal. I saw it. I hate him for it.

Richard Augood tells us what a Champions League night is like in Romania

Queueing at the Steaua Megastore to buy tickets. Should we go for the £20 VIP sofa? Last night's VIP table at Disco No Problem had come with a choice of a fight with a gypsy pool hustler, a 300% special foreigner tax and having to pick up the bar tab twice. So, second category tickets it is. Sector 20, right on the halfway line. 

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