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Playing for the Sons; Home 3-3 Away

Dumbarton Football Stadium – aka The Rock, 8/7/17.

I never thought I’d play for the Sons. I fantasised about it but knew it was not a possibility. I have dreamed about it. In a dream once I played half a season or so and scored a few times. Well, there’s dreams for you.

But yesterday I did so vicariously; by the medium of Sonstrust “Play for the Sons” Day. (The relevant article, dated 9 July 2017, was second on their site at time of writing.)

I didn’t play, but my younger son did; in the Sons home side. (He’s one of the trim ones, in the front row.)

Sons Home side

You have no idea how irrationally excited I was by seeing him on the hallowed turf. And in the white kit. It would have been something of an anti-climax if it hadn’t been in a home strip.

It was a surprisingly good game even if littered with the errors to be expected from perhaps not very fit amateurs, and played in a joyful spirit. Even the standside linesman entered into the playfulness with some visual responses to comments from the stand.

Sons Away ran away with the first half. Sons Home midfield tended to overcommit in attack and several times they were spare at the back before finally being caught out after a through ball wasn’t cut out. Their second was beautifully worked though. The third merely underlined Sons Away’s dominance.

Sons Home made a tactical switch for the second half which made things much more even. The turning point though came when Sons Home manager Paddy Flannery brought himself on as a sub. He didn’t at first make much of an impact but after a few minutes began to dominate the midfield and eventually threaded through a great ball to set up Sons Home’s first. That might have been it but after an award just outside the area Flannery stepped up to float a magnificent free kick over the defensive wall into the top corner. That wasn’t something I thought he had in his locker. The equaliser came through a penalty which the linesman saw clearly – unlike the ref.

There was still time for both keepers to make amazing saves, Sons Home got a great reactive hand to a header from a corner and Sons Away managed to block a goal bound effort with his foot.

So, the classic game of two halves. Only it was more like a game of one half then the last sixth.

And not only did my son get to play on the pitch, he also shared it and a dressing room with the legend that is Paddy Flannery. Dreams barely get any better.

Chile 0-1 Germany

Confederations Cup Final, Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg, 2/7/17.

To slightly amend Gary Lineker. Football is a simple game. Twenty-two plus men chase a ball around a pitch for 95 minutes, and the Germans win. Even if it’s their B-team.

Well, they might not have got to the final of the last European Championship but after this tournament who can doubt the strength in depth the German national team now has?

It’s a frightening thought for the other possible contenders for the 2018 World Cup.

Mind you, had it not been for a dreadful mistake at the back by Marcelo Díaz the game might have ended 0-0.

Still, Germany took that golden opportunity and Chile, despite their domination of possession, failed to take any of their chances.

And Germany always looked capable of getting another goal whenever they forayed up the park.

Not bad for a country whose normal first choices had been given the close season off.

For Joachim Löw it’s a good selection headache to have.

Blogging Hiatus

For various reasons I haven’t been able to organise blog posts recently. I’ve also missed the second round of Confederations Cup matches.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as I can get round to it.

I note Sons’ fixture list for next season is due out tomorrow. I might be able to comment on that by Saturday.

Confederations Cup 2017 and VAR

I’ve been watching this year’s edition of the Confederations Cup. Well I missed the first half of the first game and of today’s.

The games have been fairy enjoyable. Well, Russia-New Zealand was a bit of a mismatch and Russia fairly plodding. The results in the other ties have been about right. Mexico and Portugal seemed evenly matched and both Chile and Germany deserved their wins though Germany’s decision to go with a young squad might have backfired on them. (Actually, who am I kidding? They’re Germans.) IUnusually it did provide the spectacle of a German goalkeeper who wasn’t on top of his game.

The main topic of conversation among the pundits though has been the suppose dshortcomings of the video assistant referee system, VAR, being used at the competetion. A welcome innovation I’d have thought.

It’s only a trial, though. There are bound to be teething problems.

So far when it has been employed it has got the decisions correct – as is intended. Those occasions were when the ball was dead after the referee’s original decision and there was therefore no interruption to the game, only a slight delay in restarting.

The possible penalty incident in the Russia-New Zealand game – which the ref didn’t opt to have reviewed – did not fall into that category. If he did receive advice that he “might want to look at the incident” (it actually wouldn’t be him – it would be the assistants) that would have been in the course of ongoing play. In effect that makes the video assistant the actual referee. And when does the referee then blow the whistle?

And what would have happened if he had so opted and on the subsequent video review the decision was “no penalty”? Would that not make a mockery of the review? And where would play restart?

Better to leave the referee to it and restrict any such interventions to times when the ball is dead.

Such reviews are all very well in the case of Rugby, League or Union, where stoppages can be relatively common. Football is a much more fluid game, not so amenable to interruption.

The Humber Bridge, Leaving Hull

The Humber Bridge from King George Dock, Hull:-

Humber Bridge from Hull

The exit from King George Dock is through a sea lock. A very tight squeeze! Looking directly down the ship’s side:-

Tight Squeeze

Other side of ship. Only centimetres of water between ship and lock side:-

Tight Squeeze 2

The sea lock:-

Hull sea lock 1

Lock emptying:-

Hull sea lock 2

Nearly at level:-

Hull sea lock 3

Finally moving off:-

Hull sea lock 4

Humber Bridge from Humber Estuary:-

Humber Bridge from Humber Estuary

I never did see the KCom stadium but on the way out of the Humber I spotted the very distinctive Grimsby Dock Tower (picture from Wikipedia):-

Grimsby Dock Tower

Some way beyond it were the four floodlight pylons of what looked very like a football ground which I assume must have been Blundell Park, home of Grimsby Town FC, though it seems the ground is actually in Cleethorpes.

Hull

For our trip to Belgium and the Netherlands we took the ferry from Hull across to Zeebrugge.

At Hull we got onto the ship, examined the cabin, no room to have a cat never mind swing one, then went up on deck.

Hull was surprisingly green but with some industry too.

Over the dockside rooftops I spotted what I thought might be a football ground with what appeared to be the word KCom on a stand. Was it the KCom stadium, the home of Hull City AFC (and Hull FC, one of the city’s two big Rugby League clubs) I wondered? But it looked too small.

It turns out that it was KCom I had spotted but it was KCom Craven Park, the home of the other Rugby League club, Hull Kingston Rovers.

KCom Craven Park

KCom Craven Park 2

In this zoom shot the end S of “Rovers” can be seen on the far stand’s seats.

KCom Craven Park 3

Some modern architecture in Hull:-

Building, Hull

More Modern Avilés

Street in Avilés, cinema to right:-

Street in Avilés

More streets:-

Street Scene Avilés

Avilés Street

Modern Street, Avilés

The last above was just off a town square. On the opposite side of the square was a stadium, the Estadio Municipal Román Suárez Puerta, home of Real Avilés C F, now in the fourth tier of Spanish football but which has cahieved the dizzy heights of Tier 2 for a total of 13 seasons, but not since 1992, which was also the season they progressed their furthest ever in the Copa del Rey, Round 5:-

Estadio Municipal Roman Suarez Puerta, Avilés

A sign on the stand’s gable end says El Quirinal which I thought at the time was the stadium’s name but is in fact the street’s:-

Estadio Municipal Roman Suarez Puerta, Avilés

From (pedestrianised) square:-

Estadio Municipal Roman Suarez Puerta, Avilés

Tommy Gemmell

One of the Scottish footballing giants of my youth, Tommy Gemmell, has died.

Famous for that goal for Celtic in the 1967 European Cup Final which immortalised not only Jock Stein (as Bill Shankly said about the team’s manager) but the entire 11 as Lisbon Lions. It’s impossible to imagine a team composed of 11 players all born within thirty miles of their home stadium achieving anything similar these days. As it was nothing any of them did after that could ever surpass it.

Celtic did reach the European Cup Final again in 1970 and again Gemmell scored but Celtic lost that one in extra time.

Here’s some colour footage of the 1967 game along with interviews with the players from many years later:-

Thomas “Tommy” Gemmell: 16/10/1943 – 2/3/2017. So it goes.

San Mamés Stadium, Bilbao

Home of Athletic Club, commonly known as Athletic Bilbao.

Through coach windows hence blurry:-

San Mamés Stadium, Bilbao

Stadium with crane in foreground:-

San Mamés Stadium and Crane

Ría del Nervión O de Bilbao, Telefonica tower to left, San Mamés Stadium behind it:-

Bilbao panorama

San Mamés Stadium:-

San Mamés Stadium, Bilbao

Edited to add:- I meant to say the stadium looks a bit like a spaceship has plonked itself down in the middle of the city.

You can find images of the San Mamés here.

Stade du Moustoir, Lorient

Lorient Town Square, Theatre and Stadium. The stadium (rear of photo) is home to Lorient FC (see photos of the stadium here.) Lorient Theatre is to the right. If you squint you can just about see the fountain in my previous post by the right middle here.

Lorient FC is at present in France’s top division Ligue 1. But they’re not doing very well. They’re bottom as of 27/1/2017:-

Lorient Town Square, Theatre and Stadium

Stadium from south southeast:-

Stade du Moustoir, Lorient

Stadium from east southeast:-

Stade du Moustoir, Lorient

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