We travelled up through Nottingham intending to stop at The Crown for dinner to see if it was as Deco inside as out. Unfortunately when we got out of the car in the car park the noise from inside was blaring and was therefore even worse when we opened the pub door. It also looked a bit rough. We decided to move on.
It wasn’t long til we came upon the Beechdale – another Art Deco pub, this time brick-built.
This is from the car park:-
We went into this one only to discover it was festooned with Saint George’s Cross flags. (It was in the run-up to the European Championships.) It didn’t look like Scottish sounding people would be very welcome. We opted for discretion and moved to the city centre where every single eating place had a bouncer on the door. That spooked us a bit. Yes, it was a Friday night but is Nottingham really such a dangerous place to dine out?
There was this delightful little Art Deco pub there that I spotted only after we’d already eaten. It didn’t look open anyway:-
Great detailing, with fox statue. The numbers are stylish too:-
Carlos Alberto, former captain of Brazil and scorer of that goal in the 1970 World Cup final, sadly has died.
The goal, which summed up that team – and perhaps Brazilian football as a whole – came after a brilliant sequence of dribbling and passing which culminated in Pele’s pass, apparently rolled to no-one, but perfectly timed for Carlos Alberto to gallop into the frame and thump the ball past Enrico Albertosi. Sublime.
The only drawback of the clip below is that it isn’t accompanied by Kenneth Wolstenholme‘s BBC TV commentary, where about halfway through it he said, “This is sheer delightful football!” more iconic to me than his other well remembered phrase “They think it’s all over.”
A reminder of a simpler, freer, less monetarily compromised time:-
Carlos Alberto “Capita” Torres: 17/7/1944 – 25/10/2016. So it goes.
In my present reading, Walter Scott’s The Heart of Mid-Lothian (which itself by way of a dance hall provided the name for another football team,) there is much talk of religion and quotation from the Bible. An explanatory note had this reference from Proverbs 17.3 which casts doubt on the declaration in the first paragraph of this post:-
“The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold; but the Lord trieth the hearts.”
Granted the relevant noun would need to be capitalised to make the abbreviation truly apposite but then so does the QoS one. At any rate I’m sure many Jambos (see nicknames in the link’s sidebar) would concur with the sentiment.
Way back in the dim mists of time the world was a simpler place and football did not dominate the calendar. World Cup finals were 16 teams large and the European Championship only had four qualifiers until it expanded to eight teams in 1980.
In Scotland the football season started on the second Saturday in August and finished on the last Saturday in April.
I thought it was pushing it when the season began edging into July to accommodate the Challenge Cup and altered League Cup format.
Today though is the 16th of July. The schools have barely broken up for the summer. Yet the Sons have a first game of the official season at Station Park, Forfar, in yet another alteration to the League Cup. It barely seemed the old season had ended when pre-season games began.
The squad manager Stevie Aitken has collected seems a little thin. The League Cup looks on paper to be not too daunting but I have no idea how we will fare against the three lower division sides in our group. (I expect to be beaten by Dundee.)
The league is a different matter. Already it looks tough. We’ll be relying on another full-time side to be rubbish (as Livingston were last season) to avoid the relegation play-offs and even then we’d have to finish above Ayr United, by no means a given.
How long we can continue to defy gravity I don’t know. This may be the season we don’t.
Like a lot of the knockout matches this was a spectacularly dull game but it suggested one thing to me. Portugal are a better team without Cristiano Ronaldo in it than with him. I felt much the same about Liverpool in the latter stages of Steven Gerrard’s time with them. It seemed to me the rest of the Liverpool players were looking too much to Gerrard, giving way to him or allowing him to have the ball when they were in better positions to do something with it. So too with Ronaldo and Portugal. Throughout the tournament (though perhaps not the 3-3 draw with Hungary which I missed as I was watching the Iceland-Austria game) there was something about the way they played with him on the pitch that rendered them less effective as an attacking force. His hogging of all the free kicks with no fruitful result whatsoever was almost laughable. Okay, he did score that header against Wales and scuffed the assist for Nani’s toe-poke in that game but otherwise there was little end product and he seemed to get in the way at times. With him not available others stepped up to the plate – particularly Eder who I doubt would have made it onto the pitch if Ronaldo hadn’t been injured.
It’s hard not to think that there’s some sort of karma about this result. After England voting to leave the EU (loosely referred to as Europe) its football team has just departed Europe unwillingly.
The commentator on ITV called it a humiliation and also used the word embarrassment. The unspoken assumption (though it was all but articulated) was that England should always be beating Iceland.
Well; to anyone who had watched Iceland’s group games this was no surprise. Iceland are supremely well organised, the players know what they’re supposed to be doing and play for the team and each other. They drew with Portugal and group winners Hungary and then beat Austria, well fancied before the tournament began. If that wasn’t sufficient warning as to what to expect what would be? Using words such as embarrassment and humiliation is extremely disrespectful to a group of players who work their socks off and have no little ability. I expect France will also find it hard to break them down in the next round.
Iceland know their limitations and strengths, and play to them; as a team. The same was true of Italy earlier in what was a magnificent team performance against Spain.
In this respect it is also hard to resist the temptation to remark that English football commentators have an inflated idea of the worth of their country’s footballers based on club performances. Just reflect, not one of those players is good enough to play for an overseas team. They appear effective at club level only because they are surrounded by foreign players who make them look good. And the clubs of the league they play in have not made too much of a splash in the so-called Champions League of late. (OK, Liverpool made the final of the Europa League this season but that was mostly due to foreigners, manager included.)
England’s most penetrative player tonight was an 18 year old who was only brought on to the pitch when it was far too late and has in any case not yet had the enthusiasm and any latent talent knocked out of him by unwarranted expectation.
I see from the club website that the Challenge Cup has been given a revamp so that it will now include more Scottish clubs from outwith the SPFL, top division under 20 sides and even clubs from Wales and Northern Ireland. The format looks like a right dog’s dinner.
I note that Tier 2 clubs won’t be joining till Round 3. It won’t make any difference to us. We always lose in it anyway. (I doubt being seeded will alter that at all.)
What concerns me most is the inclusion of the top division under 20s sides. This feels like the thin end of a wedge that will eventually see them allowed to play in the lower leagues. I know similar provision happens in Spain etc with reserve teams but the Scottish scene has unique characteristics that make me uncomfortable at the thought.
Edited to add. I just took in the fact that the draw will be regionalised. Fat chance of me getting to a a game then. (But maybe we’ll be in the North for that too.)
There have also been changes to the laws of the game. We’ll need to see how those work out.
And so the long running saga of Hibs not winning the Cup has ended. Well, I did suggest this might happen.
Looking at the chances created and shots saved you have to say the result was the correct one. But it did look like Hibs had Hibsed it when they went 2-1 down. Rangers didn’t press their advantage though. Maybe they Rangersed it.
61 years in the SFL/SPFL gone in a flash. It’s sad for them but they’ve been living on fumes for seasons on end now. It was always most likely that it would be the Shire that would be the first to fall victim to the play-off system.
Congratulations, though, to Edinburgh City. The role of third (or fourth) largest football side in Edinburgh has been taken in the past by St Bernard’s (defunct since World War 2) and Leith Athletic (demised 1955, reconstituted 1996 and as a senior team in 2008.) As those statistics suggest, surviving in the shadow of Hearts and Hibs is not easy.
Then there is the case of Meadowbank Thistle (Ferranti Thistle as was) admitted to the Scottish Football League in 1974 but weren’t satisfied with the sizes of crowds they were attracting in the capital and decamped to Livingston in 1995.
Speaking of Hibs, I see they managed to muck things up again. Hibsing it indeed. Then again they’ll probably win the Cup Final now and so put to an end the longest running “will this be the year” saga in Scottish football.
Leicester City’s fairy tale first top level title made the news in The Netherlands – as elsewhere I suspect. There was a newspaper article there about the length of time previous winners of their country’s football championship had been waiting to win it again. Schalke 04 topped the list at well over 20,000 days with Tottenham Hotspur second (also over 20,000 days.) Liverpool were about eighth on the list. I can just about make out some Dutch but a list is no problem.
I also divined from a radio report on the way back up that Roberto Martinez had lost the Everton job, paying the price for not getting enough out of a talented group of players. (An alternative possibility is that those players aren’t quite as good as their reputations would have them.)