Friday, June 9, 2017

The start of International Football

The first international game was between Scotland v England (1872). Inclement weather caused the first fixture to be cancelled but a rescheduled game took place on November 30th 1872.

The meeting of the Auld Enemy took place at the West of Scotland, Cricket Ground in Patrick, Glasgow. Newspaper reports described the players wearing heavy boots with thick woolen socks.

Contemporary adverts indicate the boots were made from heavy calf leather and worn above the ankle similar to engineer's boots. Metal studs on the sole gave greater traction but the design patterns were serendipitous. Boot's toecaps were reinforced and fluted in shape.

Two years later, shin guards were worn for the first time and these were adapted from cricket. The pads were worn against the lower leg and strapped to the top of the stockings but left to hang outside. Movement was severely restricted but the game then was played in a more leisurely manner. Physical restriction prevented athleticism in the manner common to the modern game.

Official international matches started on the continent at the beginning of the twentieth century. The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in 1904 and the first tournament took place in London as part of the 1908 Olympics. The new sport was regarded somewhat suspiciously and considered, by many, as an exhibition rather than competition. Between 1909 and 1913 many non-European countries joined forces with FIFA. Despite disruption caused by the First World War, FIFA continued to promote international soccer competitions through the Olympic movement until 1930 when the first World Cup was help in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The 1930 World Cup final between Uruguay and Argentina and was broadcast on the radio for the first time. This brought millions of armchair fans to the international game which was one by Uruguay 4–2.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Pablo Escobar (1949 – 1993) died with his football boots on ?

Pablo Escobar (1949 – 1993) was a notorious Colombian drug lord with immense wealth and political power. "The King of Cocaine", was considered to be the wealthiest criminal in history, and among many of his excesses was fanatical about Colombian football. El Mágico (The Magician) had a passion for the game and regularly played 5-a-side football with his associates. Socially, he built football pitches in poor areas and sponsored children's football teams all the while engaging in violence and drug-trafficking. It is also reported at his opulent ranch estate, Hacienda Napoles, he and other drug lords, watched private games between professional teams. Often picking the players from different professional teams and betting millions of dollars on the outcome.

In the 1980s, Escobar became associated with Atletico Nacional, a pre-eminent club from his home city of Medellin, like other cartel boss he used his investment in the football club to launder drug money . Atletico Nacional won the 1989 Copa Libertadores (South American Champions League).

Escobar liked his team to win and when it was rumored a rival cartel boss had bribed the referee he ordered the assignation of the match official. Alvaro Ortega was assassinated in November 1989. In his later years, when Escobar was on the run from the authorities, he would only wear his football boots so he could make a quick escape. It is reported the Nabob anf Narco- football died wearing his football cleats, although photographs appear to show the deceased master criminal barefooted.

Interesting Read
Frederick H (2015) Pablo Escobar and the Creation of “Narco-Football”

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

George Best (1946 – 2005): The Belfast Boy

George Best 1946-2005

Certainly one of the greatest players to grace football boots in the UK sadly passed away quietly in 2005. He died of multiple organ failure after a lifetime of heavy drinking. In the 60s the "Beatle in shorts and football boots” was a well balanced ball-playing genius, the like of which the world had hardly ever seen. The Belfast Boy was discovered by a talent scout at age 15 and taken to Manchester United . Two years later he pulled on the Red Devils Number 10 shirt and made his professional debut with the Old Trafford giants. In the same year as England won the World Cup, the Northern Irish star was a key player in the team that reached the semi-final of the European Cup. The Team went onto win the cup in 1968. Best scored 179 goals in 466 appearances for Manchester United and nine goals in 37 Northern Ireland caps. I saw George play for Manchester United, Hibs and Northern Ireland and he was a gifted player.

A joy to watch with superb mixture of natural skills, balance and dribbling abilities his ability to read the game and play effortlessly with both feet was testimony to his work on the training ground. Like many others, Best kept ‘profiles’ of his opponents and used these to good avail.

George for ever the sartorial footballer bridged the gap between football and fashion and wore specially designed football boots with side laces. The Stylo 'George Best' boots looked like a pair of bowling shoes with a white stripe from top to toe on each side. They were signed to authentic Best’s endorsement Decades before David Beckham, George Best ruled supreme on the green blaze. Sadly the boy had his demons and inevitably they caught up with him, yesterday. George was no saint off the field but despite this throughout his long and colourful career, George gave great pleasure to millions of football supporters across the globe. Everyone has a story about Besty, my favourite quote from the Irish wit, was.

"I spent a lot of my money on booze (alcohol), birds (women) and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."

Wherever you are George, thanks.

My sympathies and thoughts are with the family and friends of this great athlete.

All the Georgie Best

Reviewed 27/07/2016

Friday, June 17, 2016

Euro 2016: adidas on top

adidas is an official sponsor of Europe’s football governing body UEFA and has long been the world’s top football brand, but it was overtaken in the market for boots in 2014, prompting adidas to launch popular new ranges and to focus its marketing spending on more top teams and players. adidas expects sales of football boots, shirts and balls to rise 14 percent to a new record of 2.5 billion euros (£2 billion) in 2016, helped by reclaiming leadership of top European markets for football footwear from arch rival Nike. Footwear and balls together account for about half adidas’ expected sales of football gear of 2.5 billion euros, while replica team shirts make up the rest.

Adidas is kitting out nine of the 24 teams playing at Euro 2016, including reigning champions Spain, while Nike has six teams, including hosts France and England, and smaller German brand Puma has five, including Italy.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

#DisneyXDFC | Good As Goaled | Official Disney XD UK HD

Disney EMEA announces the launch of Disney XD FC, a series of animated football (or soccer) themed shorts that will take the field on multiple platforms this summer across EMEA, Latin America and the U.S. The 10 original cartoons, each two- to five-minutes in length, were commissioned from top animation talent across Europe, Africa and Latin America.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Concave soccer boot: Yet another Australian Marvel

Australian, Craig Johnston (Liverpool FC) introduced rubber ribbing across the top of the adidas Predator boot to allow soccer players to curve the ball. Inventor, David Miers elongated the studs on his Blades football boot to improve the grip on the ground. Both innovations now feature with slight brand variation on almost every football boot produced in the world.

The latest addition to this Australian inventive lineage is the Concave boot conceived by Alan Gerrand and designed by Cobalt Niche. The boot has a special plastic concave tongue to increase the power, speed and accuracy of a kick. Sixteen years in the making Alan Gerrand asked his father, a former aeronautical engineer, for advice. Based on an egg and space relationship design consultants Cobalt Niche built a prototype boot and former Socceroo Michael Petersen gave it a road test.

Independent scientific investigations at Deakin University involving kicking analysis tests were undertaken in 2012 and the new boot demonstrated statistically significant increase in ball velocity and in rebound velocity. More design requirements were necessary to appease players hestitant to be seen in boots with an unusual long panel on the boots’ upper. Modification done, the Cobalt Niche 2016 range, has a cut down concave tongue from the full-lace length to just the upper section. The 2016 Concave range has just received an Australian Good Design Award.