Newcastle United’s old St James’ Park and a striking vision of bygone football

January 21, 2021


St James’ Park, Newcastle, 1930, by Byron Dawson 
“This wonderful depiction shows St James’ Park as it was nine decades ago. It’s a far cry from the towering concrete, steel and glass structure that occupies the same site and dominates the Newcastle skyline today. It was painted in 1930 by the artist Byron Dawson. The fans, seemingly all male, are smartly dressed in coats and hats. There isn’t a black and replica shirt in sight!On the left of our painting is the old West Stand. Built in 1906, in the midst of United’s Edwardian golden era, the stand was St James’ main seating area for decades, as well as home to the players’ dressing rooms, the boardroom and press area. …”
Chronicle
W – History of Newcastle United F.C.
50 Hints On Association Football Cigarette cards in album (1934)


Speaking Up for the Armchair Fan

January 19, 2021


Critics of television’s influence on soccer ignore that it’s still the way most fans experience the game.
“Television is not a dirty word. It is not the sort of word that should be spat out in anger or growled with resentment or grumbled through gritted teeth. It is not a loaded word, or one laced with scorn and opprobrium and bile. It is not a word that has a tone. Not in most contexts, anyway. In soccer, television is treated as the dirtiest word you can imagine. It is an object of disdain and frustration and, sometimes, hatred. Managers, and occasionally players, rail against its power to dictate when games are played and how often. They resent its scrutiny and its bombast. Television is never cited as the root of anything pleasant. Television is the cause of nothing but problems. There is no need to linger for long on the irony and the hypocrisy here. Television, of course, is also what pays their wages. …” NY Times


Numbers, Knowledge and Better Set Pieces: a View Into Soccer’s Future

January 2, 2021


“Everything that happens at F.C. Midtjylland is quantified. Well, almost everything. Every game played by every one of the Danish soccer club’s teams produces data points in the thousands. Each training session, from the first team to the preteens in the academy, is recorded and codified and analyzed. The only exception is a game that happens on Fridays at lunchtime, pitting two teams of staff members — coaches and analysts and communications officers and sports scientists — against each other. It is a chance for everyone to let off steam at the end of the week, a reminder of the importance of having fun, said Soren Berg, Midtjylland’s head of analysis. …”
NY Times


Diego Maradona, anti-imperial symbol

January 2, 2021


“Even in death, Diego Maradona continued to torment the peculiar empire-nostalgic milieu that is conservative England. The scars of Mexico ’86 have clearly still not healed. The Times painted a portrait of a ‘self-obsessed’ and ‘self-destructive’ figure whose ‘rare gifts were ruined by self-indulgence,’ with paternalism dripping from the page: ‘That such a supreme talent could be so undisciplined, that he felt he needed to cheat … was perhaps a pointer to the unhappy times ahead.’ The Telegraph obituarycould wait no longer than the end of the first sentence to denounce him ‘a liar, a cheat and an egomaniac,’ concluding that whatever about his talents, ‘ultimately Maradona remained a boy from the barrios.’ This was not meant as a compliment, and the snobbish tones were nothing new to British media depictions of Maradona. …” Africa Is a Country