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Jack Charlton

So, with the passing of Jack Charlton, another of that select group, English footballers to have won a World Cup, has gone.

Not the most cultured of players, unlike his brother Bobby, Jack was said to have thought when he learned of his England call-up that they’d picked the wrong Charlton. His position at centre-half though, has not historically been the preserve of the cultured. In his club career at Leeds United he had big shoes to fill, taking over from the Gentle Giant, John Charles, after his transfer to Juventus. In all he appeared for Leeds 629 times – a club record unlikely to be surpassed.

As a manager I remember him leading Middlesbrough to promotion to the top flight before spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle United but it was as manager of the Republic of Ireland international team that he made his greatest mark, taking them to a World Cup quarter-final in 1990. Four years later they had a famous 1-0 win over Italy (who went on to reach the final) in New York.

John (Jack) Charlton: 8/5/1935 – 10/7/2020. So it goes.

Leaving Leningrad

Or leaving St Petersburg (as it is again.) I liked the alliteration though.

I snatched these through the coach window on the way back to the ship’s berth.

An old bridge over a waterway:-

An Old Bridge, St Petersburg

This one I realised later is on the corner of Nevsky Prospekt at the Anichkov Bridge over the River Fontanka and I had photographed it from the street:-

Palace, St Petersburg

A Fire Station:-

Fire Station, St Petersburg

This is the bridge almost hidden behind the building under construction I photographed from the ship’s prow:-

Bridge, St Petersburg

And this is the one between the ship and the Zenit Arena (aka Krestovsky Stadium) – see same link above:-

Bridge in St Petersburg

Bridge and Krestovsky Stadium:-

A Bridge  + Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg

Krestovsky Stadium/Zenit Arena plus part of the bridge, also two blurred birds:-

Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg (Zenit Arena)

Season’s End

Well, no.

But today’s the day that would have been. Sons were due to play Montrose at home but of course have not played at all for eight weeks.

Goodness knows when we’ll see a Sons team on a pitch again.

It won’t be in July, as is normal for a pre-season, that’s for sure.

Football. The Lost Game.

Normally at this time on a Saturday I’m composing a post on how well Sons have done that day. (Or not as the case may be.)

I wonder when I’ll do that again.

It’s not even like a close season (a normal close season) when you know exactly when you can go to a game again. Football (lower league football, with crowds; without crowds is a total non-starter) will be one of the last things to return to normal. The risk with even small numbers of people in anything resembling close proximity for 90 minutes plus added time is just too great.

Still, the club seems to be looking ahead as it’s already planning what next season’s home strip will be. (There might not be a next season, of course.) None of the choices is very appealing. If not a white strip with black and gold trimmings/bands/stripes I wish we could at least have a black and gold strip, instead of yellow; but at our level beggars can’t be choosers and we can only go with what strip manufacturers offer.

The crowd funding campaign has reached over £18,000 but is still about £6,500 short of its target.

Worrying times.

Modern Architecture, St Petersburg

The view from the MS Magellan’s bow in dock at St Petersburg. New building construction with bridge behind:

A Bridge in St Petersburg

The view towards the city. Flats. We were told most Russians live in flats. All sorts of folks in similar flats in the same block. Only the insides would let you know how well off anyone is:-

Flats, St Petersburg

Gazprom Tower:-

Gazprom Tower, St Petersburg

This breaks the height restriction on buidlngs in St Petersburg. They let it go because it was way out of town and, well, Gazprom. Closer view:-

Gazprom Tower, St Petersburg

Krestovsky Stadium, or Zenit Arena, home of Zenit St Petersburg FC. This was a venue for games at the 2018 Football World Cup. Modern bridge in front with cruise terminal building in foreground:-

Bridge and St Petersburg Stadium

This was the nearest thing I saw in St Petersburg to an Art Deco building:-

A Decoish Building, St Petersburg

Peter the Great statue, photographed through coach windows so the statue is difficult to make out; a modern building behind.

Peter the Great Statue, in St Petersburg

St Petersburg (iii)

A touch of the new (and temporary) and the old.

Fifa 2018 World Cup fan park:-

FIFA, World Cup 2018 Fan Zone, St Petersburg

Reverse of fan park + canal and bridge:-

A Canal in St Petersburg + FIFA World Cup Fan Zone

Main road aspect:-

St Petersburg, FIFA World Cup Fan Zone

Contrast that with this typically Russian building right beside the fan park:-

Building Opposite Church on the Spilled Blood, St Petersburg

But just over the road from that:-

Church on the Spilled Blood, St Petersburg

The stunning Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood:-

St Petersburg, Church on the Spilled Blood

The church’s peculiar name arises because it was built as a memorial over the spot where Tsar Alexander II had been assassinated. Unfortunately it was swathed in scaffolding last May.

Church on the Spilled Blood, St Petersburg, from Field of Mars:-

Church on the Spilled Blood, St Petersburg From Field of Mars

Crowdfunding Sons

In these dark days of no football and nothing to light up (or darken) Saturday afternoons, thoughts can easily turn to gloom.

This is especially so since there is a real prospect that without an income stream for what would have been the remainder of the season many clubs – Sons included – could struggle to survive.

In a generous gesture the staff and players have already agreed to defer half the wages they were due, which will go some way to ease the financial pressures on the club.

However that was always unlikely to be enough. To enable fans to play a part in (with hope) tiding the club over scary times, a crowdfunding page has been set up for them – and others – to contribute towards helping Dumbarton FC as a club through a difficult time.

Yes, I have already donated.

Spotland Stadium

Home of Rochdale AFC. The stadium is known as the Crown Oil Arena due to sponsorship.

View from Willbutts Lane:-

Spotland Stadium, Home of Rochdale AFC

Pearl Street stand:-

Spotland, Pearl Street Stand

From bend in Pearl Street, Pearl Street stand to right, main stand to left:-

Spotland From Bend in Pearl Street

Turnstiles at Sandy Lane stand and turnstiles for Main stand west:-

Spotland, Turnstiles at Sandy Lane Stand

From Sandy Lane:-

Spotland from Sandy Lane

Willbutts Lane stand from main stand:-

Spotland, Willbutts Lane Stand

Pearl Street stand from main stand:-

Spotland, Pearl Street Stand

Sandy Lane stand/enclosure from main stand. This end is terraced rather than containing seating:-

Spotland, Sandy Lane Stand/Enclosure

Main stand from Sandy Lane End:-

Spotland, Main Stand

Rochdale AFC’s mascot, Desmond the Dragon, with young fans:-

Spotland Desmond the Dragon With Young Fans

The Game’s a Bogey*

I’ll have a worry free afternoon tomorrow now that Scottish football has been suspended till further notice.

(It would have been worry free anyway since we were all but safe from relegation.)

Who knows what will happen now though?

The coronavirus outbreak apparently won’t peak for weeks yet -long after this season ought to have finished. How will the clubs at our level manage without the income they would have derived from their remaining home games? (In our case four.) Could we even see clubs folding? Most players’ contracts run out at season’s end in May; could they be asked to play on beyond their terms? Footballers also tend to take their holidays in May and June will they be available to play then? (Mind you they might not be able to go on holiday if countries are in lock-down.) What will be done about promotion and relegation? Will the season be declared null? How fair would that be on teams expecting promotion? Will next season even start on time? These are utterly unprecedented times.

But public protection must be the over-riding consideration. Large gatherings of people are certainly to be avoided for the moment to prevent any possible transmission that might have taken place.

*For any non-Scot reading this an explanation of this post’s title is at the online Scots dictionary.

Links Park, Montrose

Links Park is the home of Montrose FC. Its entrance is at the end of Wellington Street, just off a park with the same name as the ground:-

Entrance to Links Park, Montrose

Southwest Corner:-

Links Park from Southwest Corner

Stand from southwest:-

Links Park Main Stand from Southwest

West Terracing:-

West Terracing, Links Park, Montrose

Links Park from northwest corner, showing main stand:-

Links Park from Northwest Corner

From northeast corner:-

Links Park from Northeast corner

Stand from northeast corner:-

Main Stand, Links Park from Northeast Corner

Stand:-

Links Park Main Stand

Stand from southeast corner:-

Main Stand, Links Park from Southeast Corner

West and north terracing from southeast corner:-

West and North Terracing Links Park from Southeast Corner

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