The most outrageous moments on the football field

Posted by on May 19, 2018 in Blog |

The passion of football league matches has produced numerous instances over the years where incidents have occurred that have been quite extraordinary. The minute coverage of these games by the media has resulted in these events being covered and shown around the world.

One of the saddest events to have occurred was 43 minutes into an FA cup tie Bolton and Tottenham when the Bolton midfielder midfield player Fabrice Muamba collapsed onto the floor and simply stopped breathing. It soon became apparent to players, officials and supporters the seriousness of the incident. The game was immediately abandoned and the ground was cleared. Muamba’s heart stopped beating for 78 minutes, but luckily due to the work of the paramedics at the ground, plus the presence in the crowd of Dr Andrew Deaner a consultant cardiologist at the London Chest Hospital, his heart restarted after 15 defibrillation shocks.

Paolo Di Canio leaves the pitch with the referee on the floor

One of the strangest moments involving a referee was when Sheffield Wednesday’s Paolo Di Canio pushed referee Paul Alcock in the chest resulting in the official to falling dramatically to the floor. Di Canio had become involved with an altercation Arsenal’s Martin Keown, and when Alcock showed the Italian the red card he reacted with the infamous push.

The result of his actions cost him a fine of 10 thousand pounds plus an 11 game ban. Although his actions cannot be condoned, the fall of the referee was due more to the shock of having been pushed. as opposed to the power of the action knocking him over. Paolo Di Canio was also involved in an incident that displayed great sportsmanship on his part. Playing in 2000 for West Ham against Everton the scores were level as the game went into injury time. In a goal mouth incident the Everton goalkeeper became injured and when the ball was crossed to Di Canio who had the simple opportunity of kicking the ball into the empty net and giving his side a victory.

However, when the ball reached him he caught the ball and pointed to Paul Gerard writhing on the ground in agony. This act went some way, particularly in the eyes of Everton fans, to atone for his previous incidents.

Another overseas player who got himself into big trouble after being sent off, was the Frenchman Eric Cantona after seeing red in a game for Manchester United against Crystal Palace on January 25th 1995. Playing at the tightly enclosed Selhurst Park ground in South London Cantona was subjected to a verbal assault from a Palace supporter. His reaction was to launch a “kung-fu style kick” at his assailant. It resulted in the Frenchman being banned from playing for Manchester United for the rest of the season and he was also stripped of the captaincy for his country.

The kick that got Eric Cantona into a lot of trouble

He was also given 120 hours community service which he served coaching youngsters at the Manchester United training ground. At a later press conference regarding the incident he issued his famous quote: “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea, thank you” and promptly left the meeting.

With the coverage of modern day football being so intense there can be a general assumption that players who played in previous generations did so with little incident. This of course not true and many players in previous years were guilty of the same misdemeanors that modern players are charged with today.

In the 1975 Charity Cup game at Wembley both Kevin Keegan of Liverpool and Billy Bremner of Leeds were sent off for actually having a fight. As they left the field the both ripped off their shirts throwing them to the floor in disgust at the decision.

This resulted in a charge of “bringing the game into disrepute” and both players were banned for eleven games. Many people felt the severity of the punishment was mainly as a result of the game being played at Wembley, and the lack of respect they showed to the venue. Football has been full of controversial incidents.

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The “Sleeping Giants” in English football

Posted by on May 8, 2018 in Blog |

There are sides today that are playing in divisions that they, and their supporters believe, are a level lower than they should be playing in. These sides are often referred to as “Sleeping Giants” and they have for some reason have experienced a run of results has seen them relegated from the top flight into a lower division.

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The famous family connections in English football

Posted by on Apr 22, 2018 in Blog |

When Bobby Moore lifted the World Cup for England at Wembley in the 1966 final, his side contained two brothers, Jack and Bobby. Despite this being a rare occurrence to have two members of the same family to win World Cup medals it is not the only time that has been instances when the same family have produced professional footballers in England.

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The story of the FA cup

Posted by on Apr 20, 2018 in Blog |

The FA Cup is the most famous domestic cup competition in the world. It is held annually and the entrants include all teams from the first 10 levels of English football. Over 750 teams enter the competition and the final is played at Wembley Stadium. The competition starts at the beginning of the season for the smallest clubs in the qualifying rounds and the Premiership clubs do not enter if until the 3rd round proper is played at the start of January. The competition has been running since the 1871-72 season which was 16 years before the Football League was created.

Ronnie Radford celebrating with Ricky George

Its huge history has resulted in the majority of English footballers dreaming of playing in FA cup final. Other country’s domestic cups simply do not have the same appeal as England’s premier cup competition. In recent years there has been a growing concern that due to the amount of money being put into the Premier League the clubs are not taking the FA cup as seriously as they used to. One of the magical attractions of the competition is that the draw can produce some fascinating fixtures. A side from the National League can win their way through to the 3rd round proper and find themselves drawn against the highest paid footballers in the country.

This has occurred on a number of occasions and there have been times when the big teams have become part of a “giant killing act”. The results of these games are remembered for years and makes household names out of part-time professional footballers who normally would not have the opportunity to make the headlines. One of the most famous 3rd round games was when Hereford United from the Southern league played First Division Newcastle United at Edgar Street in 1972. It was a replay after the none-league side had drawn 2-2 at Newcastle. Despite going 1-0 down Hereford then levelled and eventually won 2-1.

The quality of the equalizer from Ronnie Radford was spectacular and when substitute Ricky George scored the winner in extra time it sparked off wild celebrations from both players and supporters. There may have been 5 levels of football separating the two teams, but on this day the atmosphere of the FA cup had proved to be a great leveler. Another major shock had occurred the year before in 1971 when the top side in England, Leeds United visited Layer Road, the home of Fourth Division Colchester United, for a 4th round cup tie. Managed by Don Revie the Yorkshire side were dominating every competition throughout the land and were strong favorites win comfortably on their day trip to Essex.

Bob Stokoe thanking the Sunderland goalkeeper Jim Montgomery

Inspired by two goals from striker Ray Crawford Colchester found themselves surprisingly 3-0 in the lead. Despite a strong come-back from Leeds Colchester hung on to record an amazing 3-2 victory. The final that take place at Wembley in May, have become iconic events in the British sporting calendar that rank alongside Grand National Day and Derby Day. Even the finals have produced major surprises over the years.

Leeds recovered from the Colchester defeat by winning the FA Cup in 1972, and in the 1973 final they were faced by Sunderland from the division below them. The Sunderland side did not have one international player at the time, and for long periods of the game the only way they stopped Leeds from scoring was due to the brilliance of Jim Montgomery in the Sunderland goal.

However the manager Bob Stokoe had come to the final with a game plan and his ideas bore fruit in the 32nd minute when Ian Porterfield scored from a corner. The rest of the game saw the North-East team clinging on to their narrow lead and when the final whistle was eventually blown it produced wild celebrations as the Black Cats had become the first team since 1931, from outside of the First Division, to win the cup. These games are by no means the only giant killing acts that have occurred. Each year sides from the lower league are given the chance to humble their more illustrious opponents, and many take their opportunity.

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The famous managers of English football – part 2

Posted by on Apr 2, 2018 in Blog |

As well as England producing a number of managers that have been a success with the national team, it has also produced a number of ”larger than life” characters who have been successful in domestic football. Few managers have had films made about their career but this was certainly the case with Brian Clough who was the subject of the 2009 film “The Damned United”.

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