WHO ARE YA? Bill Eaton, LFA referee, tutor, mentor and assessor

1) Who are ya?

Bill Eaton, LFA referee, tutor, mentor and assessor. Referee development office for the Bolton, Bury and District Football League. UAFA C Coach, Born and bred in Bolton.

2) Who do you support?

Support my local team of course, BWFC (GM – good lad)

3) What was your first game?

As a referee I turned up to do a game at a venue where there was ten games, referees where allocated to each game. Some kind referee swapped games. I was stuck with the Grantham Arms v Chamberlain Arms, two local pub teams who made my life hell for 90 minutes. Sent half a dozen of them to their local FA.

As a coach of Eastleigh Tornados in our first ever match, 27 years ago, my team was getting slaughtered when a parent asked me why I only had ten players on the pitch… I then noticed one of my players was sat next to the opposition goal keeper (Sean Wren) making a daisy chain!

4) What do you do for a job?

Work for the Cohens Chemist Group

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

Worked for the PFA at BWFC at the old Burnden Park as a school community coach and also as the clubs educational officer.

6) How did you get into it?

Started coaching by accident, went to join a men’s team and turned up early where kids were training. Manager needed a lot of help so stepped in.

As a referee, got asked to referee a friends team and really enjoyed it, so took the course and qualified.

7) What do you get out of it?

Love helping develop young referees, always gave u18s referees priority in games. Appointed over 200 of them to cup finals in the BBDFL

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

To young referees is to command your game, don’t let managers/coaches/spectators ruin your enjoyment. You’re there to support the junior players. Do as many games as you can. Always save a bit of your ref fee, so when things go bad, buy yourself something to cheer yourself up.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

Not giving up refereeing for about 12 years, not getting bird flu… I was flying a few seasons ago and getting superb appointments, got a county cup quarter final and a women’s FA Cup game. Then the bird flu kicked in, missed both matches, was ill for two weeks. Fitness never recovered.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Has to be Bruce Rioch and the Special One, great managers.

WHO ARE YA? Miles McClagan, accidental blogger and Tweeter (@TheSkyStrikers)


1) Who are ya?

Miles McClagan, accidental blogger and Tweeter. living in Tasmania via Ayrshire. Obviously Miles McClagan being a pseudonym since my real hidden name is the same as a famous-ish author. I adopted Miles as a name because he was a typical Scottish tale of sporting hopelessness, a tennis player who was one round away from playing Andre Agassi at Wimbledon one year only to get whipped by a Uruguayan or summat. He’s now a millionaire tennis coach to the stars, so he won that one…

2) Who do you support?

Amid a myriad of obsessions (Liverpool, Parma, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Melbourne Victory, Barcelona etc.) the super soaraway Saints of St Mirren are my one true love.

3) What was your first game?

Aside from an ill advised day as a mascot, my first game as a paying punter was a pre season friendly against Aston Villa at Love St – not an Aston Villa XI as would now come, but proper Aston Villa. David Platt was sub. We scored after 15 seconds through Paul Chalmers and won 1-0 – it was sadly not an omen of things to come to beat a former European Champion at my first game. 7 days later a lumpen, physical, time wasting Dundee United came to Love St and beat us with a scruffy John Clark goal, which was far more typical of my time living in Scotland.

4) What do you do for a job?

Uni student at the moment doing business management, after a short stint working in sports betting, leaving after a heartbreaking tale of a punter who wanted to know why we didn’t offer odds on the WWE…

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

I was tragically awful at football but I did have my moments. I once robbed and blind turned Rangers 93 Cup Final goalscorer Neil Murray in a park kickabout (he returned the favour by winning the ball back through what can only be described as “kicking the shit out of me”).

I also hold the record for the fastest hatrick in North West Coast of Tasmania Six a Side history. Under 10s section. Take that Natone. I also was a founder member of the St Mirren Australian supporters club in the mid 90s, which fizzled out, but did get me a VIP trip with boardroom access to watch a 2-1 home defeat to Cowdenbeath…

6) How did you get into it?

The fanclub thing was thanks to a guy in the much missed “British Soccer Weekly” back in the days when you had to write letters with stamps and wait for replies. I don’t know why it fizzled out. Probably bad timing because we were horrendous in the mid 90s. One year Tony Fitzpatrick said “we’re winning wer ain wee league” of 5th to 7th. We didn’t get a trophy for it though…

As far as the blog goes, that was a pure accident – I literally had a plastic bucket of football programmes sitting gathering dust in a spare room and for some reason found one out on the floor with a terrifying picture of 70s Willie Pettigrew posing with the match mascot at Motherwell. On the opposite page was Joe Wark giving a lassie her prize for winning the quiz – an ABBA greatest hits album. It genuinely made me laugh for some reason.

So I tweeted it out and got some feedback, so it kind of grew from there. Once I found the lost art of football programmes featuring family snaps and “burds”, I had something of a hook. Also have to give a shout out to that Retrospective Punishment Youtube clip of old VHS footage, which kind of inspired me to look at what I had on the bookshelf and bucket.

7) What do you get out of it?

Oh lots. It’s just fun. It’s been hilarious to see some of the old fashions and images. Obviously you can get bogged down just holding up a programme and saying “Cor wasn’t the past funny!” but I think one thing I do like is genuinely bringing some old stuff back and showing it. Things like Tony Curries testimonial against Dennis Watermans XI, the immortal Paul Breitner, Tricia the singing Aberdeen telegram, the Tampa Bay cheerleaders “The Rowdies Wowdies”, and of course The Sky Strikers are things I have genuine affection for. Giving things a moment in the sun and interacting about it and hopefully giving people a laugh are things I love doing. It’s a passion. I didn’t know before I started about things like ‘The Lost World of Football’ and I’ve been able to swap images with people on Twitter (and your good self), which has been excellent fun.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

Easy question – I tweeted out a picture that I thought was genius of an ad in a Southampton programme of a retro photocopier ad that got no feedback so I was a bit miffed. Then I realised I was doing things for the wrong reasons. If you sit and count clicks and hits and followers it’s the wrong reason to do things. I think from that moment on I’ve just things for my own enjoyment and not counted the responses. The best advice is to do things because you enjoy them.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

In a purely football sense I wish Liverpools mid 90s team had won a major trophy. When St Mirren were mince and their results were just a sentence at the end of a World Service report, I genuinely loved that Liverpool team and kind of adopted them as my main team. I wish they’d put the pint glasses and fashion books down and won something. In a personal sense, I guess I wish I’d written a lot more or found a hook a bit earlier. Oh and that I was better at football! Oh and that Cameroon held onto that 2-1 lead against England at Italia 90…

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

God hundreds – immortal St Mirren fan “Tosh”, Robbie Fowler, Maradona (being Scottish it’s mandatory), Victor, Skuhravy, Alessandro Melli, Brolin, Dahlin, Ekeke, Paul Kinnaird, Torben Piechnik, Tricia, Karen Flynn, “Foul Mouthed Fergie” the Hamilton fan – god what a hard question..but my true football hero is Paul Breitner. The man is a genius…

Many thanks ‘Miles’, much appreciated and more power to you.


“Collating as many old football images as I can from a random bucket of programmes…”

Read the blog at theskystrikers.wordpress.com

Christmas Day started it all for women

375px-1921_Dick,_Kerr's_LadiesAt this time of year, the story of how a truce was called in 1914 in the trenches and British and German troops contested a game of football – won 3-2 by the Germans, by all accounts – inevitably gets retold.

But Christmas Day 1917 is also notable in the history of football, for it is widely believed to be the day when women’s football started in England.

That was the day that the Dick, Kerr’s Ladies FC played in front of 10,000 people against Arundel Coulthard Factory at Preston North End’s Deepdale ground.

Dick, Kerr & Co was a locomotive and tramcar manufacturer based in Kilmarnock, Scotland. During the first world war, the company was converted to munitions and later also manufactured aircraft.

In 1914, the company took on a number of women in the munitions factory and after a number of them played in kick-around games with the…

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Football during Christmas

International Football Views

In England, we (supporters) have the luxury to watch football games over the festive period compared to other nations in Europe. Family and friends join together during the break to relax and socialise after a long year. However, footballers in the English leagues (BPL to League Two) play games on the 26th December (Boxing Day) depriving them of a relaxed Christmas. Are professional footballers not entitled to a break for Christmas?

There are several games across the leagues being played on the 26th December with several games being played in the early afternoon (1pm). This could create an problem especially when players must travel very early in that morning or the night before to play these matches at the early KO times. Therefore, this can affect players having an enjoyable Xmas with family and friends due to their footballing commitments for the following day. As Boxing day is a holiday…

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WHO ARE YA? Amar Shah, World Cup Legends

Image1.  Who are ya?
Amar Shah, born and bred in the North West, currently living in the East Midlands, working in London.
2.  Who do you support?
Manchester United (insert first sarcastic response that comes to mind here!)
3.  What was your first game?
I think it was in the late 90s, a Champions League match (unfortunately I had to become an adult before I could actually get to my first live game, before that the stadium tour was as good as it got for me!).  It was a routine win for United and I remember Solskjaer getting on the score sheet.  Those were better times!
4.  What do you do for a job?
Work Life
 – Work in the banking industry specialising in Risk Management
Personal Life
 – Creator of the World Cup Legends project (www.wclegends.com)
 – Voluntary fundraiser for various charities
 – Voluntary football coach (FA Level 2 qualified)
5.  Have you played/worked for any football clubs?
I’m afraid I wasn’t good enough as a kid to make the grade on the football pitch, but that didn’t stop me playing.
In one of my previous work roles I supported the commercial team by hosting overseas competition winners and suppliers as part of our corporate relationship with Manchester United.  It involved visiting United’s training complex at  Carrington and taking part in player Q&As, coordinating stadium tours and corporate hospitality on match days.
Most recently, my World Cup Legends project has brought me into contact with a number of clubs such as FC Bayern Munich, Manchester City FC and the Spanish National Team.
6.  How did you get into it?
World Cup Legends:
When I was a kid, I had a dream of collecting World Cup match balls and one day meeting my World Cup heroes.  A few years ago I got hold of a World Cup ball collection from 1970-2010 and so I started to see if I could make the dream a reality and I succeeded.  24 World Cup winners from the past 40 years signed up, from Pele to Xavi.
So far I’ve raised c.£2000 for charities through my project – www.justgiving.com/teams/wclchallenge
7.  What do you get out of it?
A great buzz and sense of achievement!  I love football and if there’s an opportunity to combine that passion with helping others then I’m there whenever possible.  I’ve also learned some great skills through my project too, such as web development and social media marketing.
8. What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?
I try to apply the same advice in the work place and in my personal projects, that is ‘work smart, think smart’.  There’s no bigger advocate/stumbling block to what you can achieve than yourself.  Oh and talk to people.  A lot!
9.  If you could do it all again what would you change?
I wish I’d got into the football industry when I was younger and possibly took a study path which would’ve increased my chances of getting into the industry.  I’m currently considering the possibility of a career switch from banking to football but its not going to be easy!
10.  Who’s your footballing hero?
Diego Armando Maradona, the hero/villain of my first World Cup memories as a kid, Mexico 86.
Twitter – @worldcuplegends
Many thanks, Amar. All the best with the plans for the exhibition.

Christmas Morning – The Lost World of Football

Got, Not Got

You can still get ‘The Lost World of Football’ in time to re-live the Christmas mornings of your childhood… if you hurry up…

xmas morning pressie subbuteo

It never, ever snowed round our way at Christmas. Sometimes it rained.

Christmas dinner was the same as normal Sunday dinner, but with turkey instead of roast beef and added parsnips and sprouts. Rather than the mouthwatering spreads portrayed on the front cover of the Radio Times.

But somehow, on Christmas morning, with Noel Edmonds visiting children in hospital as a televisual backdrop, we still managed to reach a goose-bump inducing level of excitement.

Because we knew that, concealed in cheap Woolies wrapping paper and piled up under the shit tree, there lurked Shoot annuals, Wembley Trophy footballs, full football strips and Subbuteo accessories housed in their pale green boxes.

xmas morning umbro paisley


Our Christmas present to you is the first 16 pages of ‘The Lost World of Football’…

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