Category Archives: 3. The Classics
Taking a look at the very best football of years gone by
I’d bet the majority of you would remember 2003 with relative ease. I was only 11 years old when the football season came to an end, but it was one of my most vivid memories of that year. I started secondary school in 2003, the same year as the start of the war in Iraq and when Australia won the Cricket World Cup.
Living in the west coast of Scotland I was brought up supporting Celtic Football Club and 2003 was a successful year for the club, in European terms at least. They missed out on the SPL title to bitter rivals Rangers by just one goal. The Ibrox side also clinched the League and Scottish Cups. They defeated Celtic 2-1 in the first Cup Final of the season, with first-half goals from Claudio Caniggia and Peter Lovenkrands before Henrik Larsson’s effort after 57 minutes. They then clinched a famous treble following a 1-0 victory over Dundee thanks to a goal from defensive stalwart, Lorenzo Amoruso.
So Celtic, domestically, had a season to forget, but the UEFA Cup run that the squad put together was simply fantastic. We actually got knocked out of the Champions League Qualifying Round by FC Basel, on away goals I might add. But this turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, better known to the world as Ronaldinho, was at one time or another a favourite of every football fan. With his skill, goals, and stylish looks (maybe just his smile), everyone of a certain age wanted to be Ronaldinho. Who could blame them?
Born in the city of Porto Alegre, the state capital of Rio Grande do Sul, Ronaldinho lost his father at the early age of eight to a heart attack and was raised by his mother, Dona Miguelina Elói Assis dos Santos, with the help of his big brother Assis and sister Deisi. The first time anyone really took notice of him as a footballer was when he was still a young boy and managed to score an incredible 23 goals in a match that his local side won, well, 23-0. He was certainly noticed again at the 1997 under 17′s World Championship which Brazil won; he scored two goals in the tournament. People started whispering how young Ronaldinho was like past players Garrincha and Didi.
When remembering Brazil’s World Cup winning sides of 1958 and 1962 it is easy to focus entirely on Pele and Garrincha. The twin giants of Brazilian football made such an impression at the two tournaments that so many other great characters fade into the background. For the emergence of a boy who would be king and a little bird so captured the imagination of the world at large that many other heroes were forced into the periphery.
The result of the natural fascination with Pele and Garrincha is the marginalisation of a host of other legends. From goalkeeper Gilmar, to full-backs Djalma and Nilton Santos and the likes of Mario Zagallo and Vava in attack, Brazil possessed all-time greats in every position. No man’s legacy has been more frequently forgotten though than Didi.
by Tony Pye
March 18th 1959.
I’m in my final year of primary school and up to now, I’ve not really been much aware of professional football. Until Norwich embarked on this amazing Cup run that is. Earlier in the season, I’d listened on the radio when we had beaten Matt Busby’s Manchester United and I was hooked. A few days ago, we were held to a draw by a lucky Luton Town. Today is the day of the replay, held on a Wednesday afternoon - a school day – so no sitting glued to the radio today for me.
With Newcastle United flying high in the Premier League ahead of tonight’s trip to Stoke, even the most pessimistic of fans might be tempted to think of Europe and of the Magpies returning to the heights enjoyed under Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson.
By Aidan McGee
Between plunging valleys, on a bareback of hill
Men in bunting colours
Bounced, and their blown ball bounced…
The ball blew jumped up and out and hung on the wind
Over a gulf of treetops.
Then they all shouted together, and the ball blew back.
Football at Slack, Ted Hughes (1930-1998)
Tonight at Stamford Bridge last season’s Premier League Champions and runners-up go head to head in the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg, in a re-run of the 2008 final. That night in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium United edged out their compatriots in a nervy penalty shoot-out, Chelsea captain John Terry’s miss handing the Red Devils the victory and securing Sir Alex Ferguson his second crown as Champion of Europe.
In the 1992-93 season under the stewardship of then-manager Mike Walker, Norwich City finished a highly respectable third placed. This earned them entry to the UEFA Cup and led to a match-up with the German behemoth Bayern Munich. This is the story of 20th October 1993 - a night no Norwich City fan shall ever forget.
The ball drops at his feet, he places the shot, the keeper’s nowhere to be seen and the ball drops into the back of the net. He turns and runs towards the corner flag and is mobbed by his team-mates, who run the length of the pitch to join in the bundle.
Goal celebrations just ain’t what they used to be. Read the rest of this entry
On the day Brawn GP’s intention to tempt seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher out of retirement was revealed, the wisdom of great sportsmen to reach out and dust off those old gloves, those boots or, indeed, that helmet which accompanied such adulation and success in their prime, must surely be questioned.