Calling in on…..Royston Town

royston (500x281)There’s been a bit of noise coming from Royston for a couple of years. A town of 16,000 people, it’s big enough to host non-league football at a higher level than the Spartan South Midlands League fare it got used to between 1994 and 2012. There have been rumblings for some time that they were about to move to a new ground away from their Garden Walk home, giving them a springboard to make Royston into a credible force.

There’s no reason why Royston could not “do a Biggleswade” if they find a way to upgrade their stadium. Biggleswade and Royston are comparably-sized towns. They are treading a similar path – although they have had something of a setback in recent weeks with manager Paul Atfield, the driving force behind their rise to the Southern League Central Division, resigning through ill-health.

Atfield has a serious condition which – thankfully –…

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Fellow Yellows – Littlehampton Town FC


Sussex County League, Division 1
Littlehampton Town FC v Hailsham Town FC
Saturday, 5th October 2013, 3pm
The Sportsfield
Entrance £6, Programme £1
Distance 79 miles, Attendance 65
Located a short walk from station, The Sportsfield was donated to the town by The Duke of Norfolk in 1897 “as a gift in commemoration of Her Majesty’s reign, to be used as a public recreation and pleasure ground” the West Sussex Gazette announced.

131005 SCLD1 Littlehampton Town v Hailsham Town (47)w

Amicably now sharing the land with local clubs of cricket, croquet, lawn tennis and stoolball (no, me either), Littlehampton Town FC are still the tenants of The Duke, whose family’s principle residence is the nearby Arundel Castle.
LTFCjpegnewlogoUpon my return – decades after my parents had taken us “to the beach” – it was nice to find the locals had spruced up the town with bunting to commemorate the day. Sharing this occasion were some lovely…

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Report Card: Celebrations

A View from the Riverside

We do it with friends. We do it in Ocean on a Friday night. We do it on our birthdays. Robin Van Persie recently did it unashamedly against his old team, while Mario Götze and Aaron Ramsey didn’t. This week, I assess the spectrum of sporting celebrations.

The Tardelli Scream

In one of the most iconic of celebrations in footballing history, this Italian’s raw, unscripted passion showed just how much it means to score in a World Cup final. Marco Tardelli realised the subject of many a childhood dream against West Germany in 1982. The euphoric release that ensued embodied football’s capacity to shut out all human problems, at least for a brief moment. Arms-aloft, shaking his head and hollering in bewilderment with a frenzied run to nowhere in particular, it is the purity of ‘The Scream’ that makes it a true celebration. Edvard Munch, eat your heart out.


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Great Reputations: Newcastle United 1968-69 – the last chorus of Blaydon Races

NEWCASTLE UNITED fans like to think of their club as one of the truly big footballing institutions in the country, and in terms of the Magpies’ support, heritage and potential, they are not too far wrong. But the problem is that Newcastle’s glory days are now more than half a century away and the era in which they were indeed the top club in Britain go back to the gas-lamp.

Consider the facts: 1955 was the club’s last FA Cup win, it was 86 years ago that they won the Football League and over 40 years ago that the last piece of meaningful silverware was picked up. During that time, clubs of a lesser standing have won stacks of trophies. In short, most of today’s regulars at St. James’ Park have never seen the club win anything.

Mystery Magpies

The last triumph was in 1968-69, the curiously-named Inter Cities Fairs…

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The Tale Of The Panenka

Attacking Instincts


Nowadays, Antonin Panenka’s role in European football is a withdrawn one. Unlike other players of his generation, Panenka has shirked the limelight, making few public appearances, instead focusing on his responsibilities as President of former club Bohemians Praha 1905. But when the Czech legend does appear in front of the media, unfailingly sporting a broad smile and thick moustache, interviewers will always ask him to recall what was going through his mind one night in Belgrade, the night the ‘Panenka’ penalty was born.

Before the Quarter Finals of the 1976 European Championships, the general consensus among players, coaches and media alike was that there were only really 2 possible winners. Reigning World and European champions West Germany, who although not at the same level as in the two previous tournaments, still boasted a squad with an unrivalled depth in talent, headed by Sepp Maier, Franz Beckenbauer, Uli Hoeness, and Cologne’s…

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