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Steven Gerrard

One response to his getting the job at Rangers is, “You’re having a laugh.”

Appointing a totally untried manager when you’re in a position of catch-up? That really went well for Celtic when they gave the post to John Barnes.

On the other hand he might just give them the gee-up they are obviously looking for.

Gary McAllister as assistant could be a decent move, though even if as a full boss he hasn’t quite set the heather on fire.

New Dundas Park

At the risk of giving Sons fans even more kittens than they have already this season here are some photos of New Dundas Park, home of Bonnyrigg Rose F C, which I took in November 2016.

It’s a lovely old-fashioned place, with an earth mound for a terrace on the side opposite the entrance and you can walk all the way round.

It’s approached up a small lane:-

New Dundas Park Entrance Lane

There was a queue to get in that day:-

New Dundas Park 2

The entrance gates are finely wrought:-

New Dundas Park Gates

South terracing and goal from west terracing:-

New Dundas Park 4

View from southwest corner:-

New Dundas Park 5

From southeast corner looking west:-

New Dundas Park 6

From southeast corner looking northwest:-

New Dundas Park 7

North terracing and goal from east terracing:-

New Dundas Park 8

South terracing and goal from east terracing:-

New Dundas Park 9

North terracing and goal from east terracing (north):-

New Dundas Park 10

South and west terracing from north-east corner:-

New Dundas Park 11

Tannadice Park, Dundee (ii)

Eddie Thompson Stand with Jerry Kerr Stand to right:-

Eddie Thompson Stand,Tannadice Park, Dundee

George Fox Stand:-

George Fox Stand, Tannadice Park, Dundee

West Stand:-

West Stand, Tannadice Park, Dundee

Main Stand, (Jim McLean Fair Play Stand?):-

Main Stand, Tannadice Park, Dundee

Arsène Wenger

So farewell then, Arsène.

It’s definitely the end of an era. I doubt anyone in the future will ever come close to spending over twenty years as manager of the one club.

You probably hung on two or three years too long but you did give Arsenal their Invincibles and changed the face of English football

Yet I do wonder if, in a year or so’s time, Arsenal fans will be thinking that they should have been careful what they wished for.

Tannadice Park, Dundee (i)

Tannadice Park is the home of Dundee United F C.

The ground sits between Tannadice and Sandeman Streets.

Main Stand from Tannadice Street (west):-

Tannadice Park, Dundee

George Fox and Jim Mclean Fair Play Stands with west stand (lower in profile) between them. From Sandeman Street:-

Tannadice Park, Dundee From north-west

The George Fox Stand from west:-

The George Fox Stand, Tannadice Park, Dundee

The George Fox Stand from east with Eddie Thompson Stand to left:-

Tannadice Park, Dundee, George Fox Stand

Eddie Thompson Stand (and side of George Fox Stand,) from Arklay Street:-

Eddie Thompson Stand, Tannadice Park, Dundee

Stadium from Tannadice Street east. Jerry Kerr Stand. Dens Park* in background. Art Deco roofline on Superstore and Ticket Centre to left:-

Tannadice Park, Dundee from Tannadice Street

Jerry Kerr and Eddie Thompson Stands:-

Stands at Tannadice Park, Dundee

Dens Park from Tannadice Park:-

Dens Park, Dundee, from Tannadice Park

*The two stadiums are the closest grounds to each other in senior British football. See some of my photos of Dens Park here.

Diddy Team Dreams, of Diddy Cups

In celebration of the mighty Sons’ forthcoming appearance in the Challenge Cup final (oh, all right then; the Irn Bru Cup final) this is a poem by Dumbarton FC’s poet in residence Stephen Watt.

The accompanying video has some goood views of Dumbarton Rock, the town and the stadium plus footage from the semi-final win down in Oswestry.

The words as posted on the club’s website are here.

The Netherlands 4-2 Denmark

Women’s European Championship Final, De Grolsch Veste (Arke Stadion,) Enschede, 6/8/17.

This was a great watch – certainly in the first half. Attacking football, end-to-end stuff, four goals, lead changing hands, two equalisers.

The Netherlands had the best of the opening exchanges but Denmark had shown intent before the penalty with which they took the lead, Afghan refugee Nadim putting it away with aparently no nerves.

The main Dutch ploy in the early stages was to exploit De Sanden’s pace down the right which led directly to their equaliser, her pinpoint cross converted by Miedema. Martens then made a goal out of nothing by running across the defence and turning it back against the goalkeeper’s expectation. The keeper maybe still ought to have made the save though.

Denmark’s equaliser was a supreme example of a forward making a goal for herself. Harder bent her offside beating run beautifully, staying in her own half till the pass was played before running half the length of the pitch, cutting across the defender and clipping the ball back between her opponent’s legs into the near corner.

It had been a breathless first half.

It couldn’t continue. Things settled to a slightly slower pace in the second.

The Dutch got themselves in front via a free kick given away too cheaply and the goalkeeper’s mistaken anticipation of where Spitse would place the ball. From there Denmark huffed and puffed, even hitting the frame of the goal, but never looked composed enough to take it away from Holland. The writing was on the wall when they threw a centre half up front and they duly paid the price as Miedema more or less replicated the latter movement Harder had made for her goal.

Some iffy goalkeeping apart this was a great advert for women’s football. (Iffy goalkeeping is not unknown in the men’s game too.)

Scotland 1-0 Spain

Women’s European Championship 2017, Stadium De Adelaarshorst, Deventer, 27/7/17.

Well, this is a familiar tale. Despite winning their last game against a team that made it to the second round, Scotland’s women footballers have been knocked out of the European Chmpionships.

I expect Spain to go on and win it now.

That’s if England don’t.

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.

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