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50th Northumbrian Division Memorial, Oxford Road, Wieltje, Belgium

50th Northumbrian Division Memorial, Wieltje, Belgium

Close-up. The Dedication reads, “to the enduring memory of all ranks of the 50th Northumbrian Division who fell in the Great War 1914 – 1918 and in memory of their comrades of the same division who gave their lives in the war of 1939 – 1945 for the liberation of France, Belgium and Holland.” On the lowest plinth, “Pro Patria.”

50th Northumbrian Division Memorial Close-up

Side inscription, “The Ayrshire Yeomanry; the Yorkshire Hussars; 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, Northumbrian Brigade, RFA; Northumbrian Amminition Column; Northumbrian Divisional Engineers, RE; 50th Divisional Train, RASC; 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Northumbrian Field Ambulance, RAMC; Northumbrian Division CCS; Northumbrian Vet Section, RAVC; RAOC.”

Inscription 50th Northumbrian Division Memorial, Wieltje, Belgium

Other side inscription, “149th Infantry Brigade: 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th Northumberland Fusiliers; 5th Border Regiment.
150th Infantry Brigade; 4th East Yorks; 4th, 5th Yorkshire Regiment Green Howards; 5th Durham Light Infantry.
151st Infantry Brigade: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th Durham Light Infantry; 5th Loyal North Lancs Regiment.”

50th Northumbrian Division Memorial Inscriptions

Memorial Information Board:-

50th Northumbrian Division Memorial Information Board

The view from the 50th Northumbrian Division Memorial is now so peaceful:-

View From 50th Northumbrian Division Memorial

So much so alpacas were ruminating by the memorial:-

Alpacas by 50th Northumbrian Division Memorial

Bakkeveen Sports Park

You may remember I mentioned the home ground of Dutch football team V V Bakkeveen (among others) three and a half years ago.

The plant growth had been too profuse in Sep 2014 when I was there.

Just over a year ago we visited Bakkeveen again. It being spring the trees were less in evidence and the ground eminently visible.

Football Ground, Bakkeveen, The Netherlands

Dutch Football Ground 2

Dutch Football Ground 3

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.)

Johan Cruyff

Oh dear. Johan Cruyff, once the greatest footballer in the world, undisputedly the greatest in the time between the careers of Pele and Maradonna, has died.

Together with the coach Rinus Michels, he was the most exquisite of the proponents of Total Football. The Ajax and Dutch teams of which he was the prominent member were a delight to watch. He is also one of the few footballlers to have a manoeuvre named after him, the Cruyff turn.

He has a particular place in the memories of Sons fans of a certain generation for at least having considered joining the club at one point. A short-lived Sons fanzine (remember fanzines?) was titled Cruyff Says No in tribute.

One of the greats has gone.

Hendrik Johannes Cruijff: 25/4/1947 – 24/3/2016. So it goes.

And Now I’m Back

I’ve been in Holland.

Well, strictly speaking, since it was on the borders of the Friesland and Groningen provinces, make that The Netherlands.

The good lady’s eldest brother lives there. We had been supposed to visit for years but life got in the way.

We needed to renew our passports first. I sent the applications away late in July. Despite all the talk on the news about delays we got the new ones inside a week. (As I remember it was four days.) Maybe the Glasgow Passport office is more efficient than down south.

So another country visited. Apart from the constituent parts of the UK (though I only just made it into Wales) I’ve been to Sweden (Stockholm,) the Soviet Union (Leningrad as was) and Denmark (Copenhagen) on a school cruise when I was at Primary School, Portugal (the Azores, Madeira, Lisbon) and Spain (Vigo) on a Secondary School cruise, and as an adult to Germany (near Stuttgart) and France twice (Normandy for the D-Day beaches and Picardy for World War I battlefields.)

Since the good lady didn’t fancy being on a RoRo ferry overnight we drove down to Harwich (with an overnight stop) and the same on the way back. I’m knackered.

Spain 0-2 Chile

World Cup Group B, Estádio do Maracanã, 18/6/14.

This is the way the world (Cup) ends. For Spain at least. Not with a bang – and barely a whimper.

The signs that were there in the Confederations Cup last year that Spain’s time was coming to an end are now manifest. Their defensive frailty in the Holland game was underlined here. How they miss Carles Puyol. I don’t think a defence with a Puyol in his prime would have collapsed in such a way. And the wisdom of selecting Iker Casillas in goal has to be doubted.

With this result we seem to have reverted to situation normal for Spain at World Cups. Implosion.

Speaking of which, has anyone else noticed the facial resemblance between Diego Costa and Fernando Hierro?

Fernando Hierro
Diego Costa

Friday On My Mind 60: I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag

For various reasons I was listening to “California Saga” from the Beach Boys’ Holland album this week, which, yes, is a 1970s recording. Referencing, among other things, John Steinbeck and his “travellin’s with Charley” it also mentions that at a festival, “Country Joe will do his show,” and I thought “Hmm.. I’ve not done that one.”

I don’t think Country Joe and the Fish are remembered for more than the one song but that song certainly caught a mood.

It is the quintessential musical protest against the war in Vietnam.

As this is a live version – Joe performing at a festival, Woodstock no less – it is not suitable for work.

Country Joe McDonald: Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag

Netherlands 2-1 Brazil

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth, 2/7/10.

This match had drama but it wasn’t a classic. It was too stop-start, there were too many fouls. And any game where someone is sent off ends up unbalanced – and unsatisfying. But, as I recall, the Holland-Brazil game in 1974 was a bad-tempered, niggly affair too.

You couldn’t see the result coming at half time. Holland had created nothing, Arjen Robben kept running into blind alleys, Brazil had scored through a very direct route indeed.

In the end Brazil pushed the “destroy self” button, or the Dutch pushed it for them.

The irony is that a team built (against the national stereotype) on being solid at the back was undone by defensive mistakes.

The winning side wasn’t the Holland of Cruyff and Neeskens – nor even Gullit and Rijkaard – but something rather more pedestrian and workmanlike. They’ll probably reach the final now, though.

And maybe go one better than either of those more flamboyant teams did.

England 1-1 USA

Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg, 12/6/10

Honours even, then. Possibly a fair result.

Contrary to the TV pundits I thought it was a thoroughly disjointed and lack-lustre performance from England in the first half – which the US dominated even if they didn’t work Robert Green enough. (As it turned out working him once was enough.)

Rooney was anonymous, Lampard was anonymous – I don’t recall him being on the ball at all till the second half.

The US, by contrast, seemed to have an idea of what they were trying to do: at least their passes were crisp and reaching their team mates.

It was noticeable that after the US goal the commentator suddenly remembered that the US pushed Brazil hard in the final of last year’s Confederations Cup.

In the second half things opened up a bit late on, Rooney began to make an impact on the game, but neither side looked totally convincing.

So. Did we see potential winners tonight?

Let’s put it this way.

I don’t think Brazil, Spain, Argentina or even Holland will be quaking in their boots.

Edited to add: I see from the highlights that Lampard was involved in the goal – but that was his only contribution to the first half.

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