Scanned highlights of the Liverpool v Arsenal FA Cup Semi-Final Replay Programme:
Arsenal, 1979, Umbro kits & adidas trainers
After my re-blog of the Game of the People article “Truro fans defy the farce of regionalised football“, in which NF Jensen describes how fans of Truro City “will cover some 11,500 miles this season to fulfil their Southern League Premier fixtures[…]an average of 500 miles per away [game]”; I thought I’d look into which team’s fans travel the furthest and shortest distances.
As previously stated, Truro City fans travel an average of 500 miles per away game.
Debate rages over whether it’s Plymouth Argyle or West Brom fans who travel the most miles per season. Newcastle United are further away from other stadiums as the crow flies but the road infrastructure means that their away fans travel less miles to games.
Carlisle United fans have several long-distance away fixtures this season. When they play Bristol City away, it’s a roundtrip of over 550 miles, and Peterborough is over 450 miles there and back; but when United play any of the teams in or around London, its a whopping 600 mile plus round trip!
When Carlisle played Torquay in the FA Cup it was over 720 miles there and back, with a coach journey of nearly 12 hours!
If Tranmere Rovers ever play Brighton and Hove Albion away, that’s a 550 mile round trip, and Cardiff to Newcastle in the EPL is nearly 650 miles there and back.
If followers of Truro and Carlisle think they travel long distances then they should count themselves lucky that they don’t support an MLS team and travel to away games.
This from the Guardian Sport website article “MLS: Where 1,000 miles is a short trip for away supporters“:
The average journey for North American fans is still one of the longest you would undertake in most other leagues; the bigger journeys are more expeditions than road trips; Portland Timbers fans going to New York is the same as going from London to Baghdad. LA Galaxy at Boston is longer than Tokyo to Manila.
The journey those Fire fans made to Toronto clocked in at 1,000 miles round trip, and that’s their second closest game; in England, no-one can travel that far at all, and it’s pushing the longest trip most European fans would have to make. Only fans in Russia can hold a candle in terms of the distances travelled to see a team play, and even there, the average distances tend to be exaggerated by a small number of teams in Siberia and the far-east.
Siberian football teams include FC Sibir Novosibirsk and FC Tom Tomsk, and FC Terek Grozny are based in Chechnya.
Novosibirsk to Moscow to watch Sibir play Torpedo is 3,355 km by road, and takes 41 hours, so that’s a 6,710 km and 82-hour road trip!
Novosibirsk to Volgograd (home of Rotor Volgograd) is over 6,500km there and back, and each leg of the journey is 40 hours by road.
Grozny, Chechnya to Moscow and back to watch CSKA or Spartak is nearly 3,500km by road, and Grozny to the Urals is nearly 5,750km there and back!
Krasnodar is just a short hop, skip and a jump away at 680km away from Grozny, so only a 1,360km round trip.
Vladovostok FC travel 15,000km west towards the more populace side of Russia every away game.
Chinese football fans watching away fixtures also rack up the kilometres. Fans of Tianjin Teda who travel to Wuhan Zall undertake a journey of 2,280km there and back, whereas Wuhan to Beijing to watch Beijing Guoan is a road trip of over 2,300km.
Pity the poor coach driver!
In my previous article “CAN WE PLAY YOU EVERY WEEK?“, I featured Garrison Gunners and Woolpack Wanderers, who share a ground and play each other every week.
The two teams play in The Isles of Scilly Football League, which is the world’s smallest football league.
The Isles of Scilly are 30 miles off the south-west coast of England, so fans of either side who actually live on the island don’t have far to go to follow their team. However, for any fans travelling from the mainland it’s a different matter.
- Which Premier League away fans have the furthest to travel? (www.reddit.com)
- Truro fans defy the farce of regionalised football (nostanding13.wordpress.com)
- Near Post – Can We Play You Every Week? (nostanding13.wordpress.com)
Mark Godfrey, age 37
2) Who do you support?
3) What was your first game?
Everton v Southampton Feb 1980. It was an FA Cup replay and we won 1-0 in extra-time. Even though I was only 4 years old I remember the game quite well.
4) What do you do for a job?
I’m a Clinical Specialist and Product Manager for a Brazilian company that manufactures implants and other therapeutic products for people with an eye disease called Keratoconus. I’ve worked in ophthalmology for many years having worked with lasers for over a decade.
5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?
I had trials with Sunderland (and was at their School of Excellence) and Hearts when I was a teenager if that counts? I was lucky enough to play at a few different league grounds (Tynecastle, Roker Park, Meadow Lane)
6) How did you get into it?
I was a good player, so that’s how I got into it. I was a forward/right winger. I was lightning fast and could finish. My best season I scored 57 goals in a season. My strike partner scored 125! You wouldn’t think I was any good to look at me now!
7) What did you get out of it?
What did I get out of it? I think it improved my skills and I just loved playing football. It’s all I ever wanted to do. When I was a kid, I would leave the house after breakfast with my football and not come home until bedtime.
8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?
In football, I would say do as you’re told by your coaches, learn to use both feet and practice, practice, practice. In work life, don’t go to University unless you’re doing a law, medical or teaching degree. There are so many people I know whose degree has been absolutely useless to them. Controversial? (GM: Fair comment, I wish I’d partied more and studied less, for all the good it’s done me. If you make good friends at university they’ll like as not stay your friends for life. I’ve forgotten most of what I learnt).
9) If you could do it all again what would you change?
I’d have made more of the talents I wasted.
10) Who’s your footballing hero?
So many….when I was a kid it was probably Gary Lineker, but I have loved watching Van Basten, Platini, Zidane and Messi since then. Plus any of the Everton side of 84-85.
- WHO ARE YA? Caroline Elwood-Stokes (nostanding13.wordpress.com)
- WHO ARE YA? Aaron W Evans (nostanding13.wordpress.com)
- Everton in the 80s – Lineker scores again as Everton win at the Dell (stdomingos.com)
- Sticker of the Week No.22: Gary Lineker (nostanding13.wordpress.com)
- WHO ARE YA? Alex Stewart, Put Niels in Goal (nostanding13.wordpress.com)
- Top 10 Merseyside derby moments: Everton (nostanding13.wordpress.com)
- SKANDAL! Payments, Patisserie and Perjury (nostanding13.wordpress.com)
- OUT NOW! The new Football Pink magazine: Issue 2 (nostanding13.wordpress.com)
- Former Manchester United, Aston Villa, Everton and England star speaks to The Football Pink (footballpink.net)
Charles Burgess Fry, known as C. B. Fry (25 April 1872 – 7 September 1956), was an English polymath and highly colourful character from a more gentile age.
An outstanding sportsman, politician, diplomat, academic, teacher, writer, editor and publisher, Fry is best remembered for his career as a cricketer.
John Arlott described him thus:
“Charles Fry could be autocratic, angry and self-willed: he was also magnanimous, extravagant, generous, elegant, brilliant – and fun … he was probably the most variously gifted Englishman of any age.”
Why is a football magazine publishing an article on a cricketer, you may justifiably ask?
Well, Fry’s achievements on the sporting field included representing England at both cricket and football, an FA Cup Final appearance for Southampton F.C. and equalling the then-world record for the long jump. He was also a decent shot-putter, hammer-thrower, and an ice skater.
He suffered from mental health problems during his life, but even well into old age he claimed that he was still able to perform his party piece – his amazing acrobatic trick of doing a backwards standing jump onto a mantelpiece. He would face the fire, crouch down, take a leap upwards, turn in the air, and bow to the gallery with his feet planted firmly on the ledge. Persuasion (and perhaps a little alcohol) would occasionally get him to perform this star turn at country house soirees, much to the delight of the guests.
Born in Croydon to a civil servant father, the Fry’s were middle rather than upper class. Both his father’s and mother’s families had once been wealthy, but the Fry’s found themselves in slightly straightened circumstances when Charles was born.
He won a scholarship to Repton School where he was educated, winning the school prizes for Latin Verse, Greek Verse, Latin Prose and French. Letting someone else get some academic glory, he only came second in German.
Repton School was unusual in having a stronger tradition in football than rugby union, and Fry played for the under-16 Repton football side in his first term, at the age of thirteen. He went on to captain both the school’s cricket and football teams, and also won prizes for athletics. At sixteen he played for amateur side Casuals F.C. in the 1888 F.A. Cup.
He then won another scholarship, going up to Wadham College, Oxford, where he won his university Blue in Association football, cricket and athletics, but narrowly failed to win one in rugby union, due to an injury.
Fry was a defender, blessed with exceptional pace.
After learning his football craft at Repton, and playing for the Casuals, he joined another famous amateur club – the Corinthians. He made a total of 74 appearances for them between 1891 and 1903 scoring four goals.
Although extremely proud of his amateur status, he decided that turning professional would aid his chances of representing his country at international level. He chose Southampton F.C., who were the best team in the Southern League at the time, and also because The Dell was conveniently close to his home.
He made his debut for Southampton on 26 December 1900, against Spurs, and went on to help them win the Southern League title that season.
Coming from the more gentlemanly amateur game, Fry’s style of play was probably a bit too refined for the highly physical professional game, and he never relished the aerial challenges and shoulder barges that were part and parcel of the game in those days. However, he worked on his heading ability and finally achieved his aim of winning an international cap to go with his Oxford Blues when, along with the Southampton goalkeeper Jack Robinson, he was picked to play as a full-back for England in the match against Ireland on 9 March 1901. The match was played in Southampton, so he didn’t have far to travel. This proved to be Fry’s one and only England appearance, thus granting him entry into the ‘One-Cap Wonders’ footballer’s club.
The 1901–02 season saw Southampton reach the FA Cup Final, where they played against Sheffield United.
The Spartacus Educational Football Encyclopaedia entry for C.B Fry describes the game:
“Sheffield United took an early lead but Southampton scored a controversial equalizer and the game was drawn 1-1.
“Fry wrote in the Southern Echo:
“The outstanding feature of the match was the grand goalkeeping of Foulke. He made a number of good saves, and on two or three occasions cleared the ball from what appeared impossible positions. Once, near the end, from a corner, he affected an absolute miracle with four or five men right on to him.”
“William [‘Fatty’] Foulke was furious that the equalizing goal had been given after the game he went searching for the referee. The linesman, J. T. Howcroft, described how Frederick Wall, secretary of the Football Association, tried to placate the goalkeeper: “Foulke was exasperated by the goal and claimed it [should never have been given, all the time remonstrating] in his birthday suit outside the dressing room, and I saw F. J. Wall, secretary of the FA, pleading with him to rejoin his colleagues. But Bill was out for blood, and I shouted to Mr. Kirkham to lock his cubicle door. He didn’t need telling twice. But what a sight! The thing I’ll never forget is Foulke, so tremendous in size, striding along the corridor, without a stitch of clothing.”
“Walter Bennett was injured and could not take part in the replay. He was replaced by William Barnes on the wing. The game was only two minutes old when a massive clearing kick by Foulke reached George Hedley and Sheffield United took an early lead. Led by the outstanding Ernest Needham, Sheffield dominated play but Albert Brown managed to score an equalizer. Southampton began to apply pressure but according to the Athletic News, “Foulke was invincible”. With ten minutes to go, Needham took a shot that the Southampton goalkeeper, John Robinson, could only block, and Barnes was able to hit the ball into the unguarded net. Sheffield won 2-1 and Fry was on the losing side.”
Although he had his moments of excellence during that season’s cup run, his positional play was brought into question. Despite that, Fry played in all eight of the FA Cup games for Southampton that season, but in only nine Southern League matches.
He played twice at centre-forward the following season, but without success, leading to Southampton releasing him due to his lack of availability because of his other commitments.
Fry made 25 first-team appearances for Southampton in all, before joining Southampton’s south coast rivals Portsmouth. He made his debut for them on the 21st of January 1903, going on to make a total of three appearances for Portsmouth as an amateur before being forced to retire from football because of injury.
The Post-Football Years
Fry made his actual living from cricket journalism, writing in The Captain magazine for boys, the Daily Express, the Evening Standard and others.
From 1904 to 1914, publishing house Newnes brought out C.B.Fry’s Magazine, wherein he wrote about everything that interested him, and Fry also wrote a novel and his autobiography.
He made a bizarre marriage, probably for money, to a terrifying woman called Beatrice, who was some 10 years older than him and who’d had a lover called Charles Hoare since the age of 15.
From 1908, Fry and his wife ran the boys’ naval training ship Mercury, moored on the River Hamble in Hampshire, which provided some extra income. Beatrice Fry’s regime was austere, to put it mildly, and she made Fry and the boys under her care’s lives a misery. This may have contributed to a resurgence of his mental problems, which first became apparent whilst he was at university.
The King of Albania
In 1920, Fry’s friend and former Sussex cricket team mate Ranjitsinhji was offered the chance to become one of India’s three representatives at the newly created League of Nations in Geneva. He took Fry with him as his assistant, and it was whilst working for Ranjitsinhji in Geneva that Fry claimed to have been offered the throne of Albania. Attempts were being made to stabilise the country, as the former Prince of Albania had fled due to serious unrest in the region following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in 1914 and the situation in the Balkans remained volatile.
This story may be apocryphal, and symptomatic of Fry’s increasingly bizarre and delusional behaviour, but the story has become part of the Fry myth, irrespective of whether it’s true or not.
The dark cloud of mental illness, which had first hung over Fry at University, reappeared. He suffered from paranoid delusions, and developed an irrational fear of Indians, despite having a lifelong friendship with the aforementioned Ranjitsinhji.
He had another major breakdown, suffered paranoid episodes, dressed eccentrically and was once found running naked on Brighton beach.
Later on, Fry returned to England and stood for Parliament for the Brighton constituency as a Liberal. He had always been interested in politics, but admitted: “I take a great interest in heaps of things that I know nothing about … politics for one.”
He stood for Parliament three times, but was unsuccessful. This was despite the fact that Fry’s presence brought glamour and excitement to the election proceedings, one campaign being lent extra colour by a personal appearance from the opera singer and close personal friend of the Frys, Dame Clara Butt. He won 22,059 votes – 4,785 fewer than the victorious Conservative candidate. He later stood for election in Banbury in 1923, losing by just 219 votes; and in the Oxford by-election of 1924, where he was defeated by 1,842 votes.
Fry blotted his copybook by flirting with Fascism in the 1930s, something that was certainly at odds with his earlier Liberal political leanings. He bizarrely tried to persuade Hitler’s foreign affairs advisor Ulrich Friedrich Wilhelm Joachim von Ribbontrop that Germany could produce ‘a blond [WG] Grace’ should the Third Reich take up playing cricket, and he met Adolf Hitler in 1934, inviting members of Hitler Youth to visit the Mercury naval training ship. He expressed support for the Nazi Party until shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, whereupon he renounced his beliefs.
Whilst I do not excuse or make apologies for his distasteful political beliefs, they should be put in context. Fry may or may not have been in his right mind, and he could potentially have been recruited by the British government to spy on the Third Reich because of his establishment connections. Besides, many eminent, intelligent and aristocratic Englishmen and women got taken in by and caught up in Hitler and Nazism’s dark mystique without going on to become active Fascists or collaborators.
The Twilight Years
Richard Cavendish, writing in his article for History Today, “The Death of C.B. Fry”, describes his twilight years thus:
“In his last years he enjoyed watching cricket and pontificating about it at Lord’s. He remained magnificently handsome and the author R.S. Whittington, who saw him in the Long Room at Lord’s in 1953, described ‘his head, fit for an emperor, his prominent Roman nose, powerful rounded jaw, strongly marked eyebrows, dark, kindly, but imperious eyes and silken white hair’, which made him the most striking and dominating figure in the room.
“Far into his old age Fry loved dancing, wrote poetry in Latin and Greek, and contributed to The Cricketer magazine and cricket-related books. On his eightieth birthday, The Times hoped that in twenty years time it would be congratulating him on yet another hundred, but he was suffering from diabetes and neuritis, and he died of kidney failure at the Middlesex Hospital in London, aged eighty-four.
“The funeral at Golders Green crematorium on September 11th, 1956, was conducted by another former England cricket captain, David Sheppard, and the memorial service at St Martin-in-the-Fields a week later was attended by Douglas Jardine, Sir Pelham Warner and three other ex-England cricket captains and Sir Stanley Rous for the Football Association. The final prayers were said by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, a former headmaster of Repton, and Fry’s ashes were buried in the parish churchyard at Repton.
“People said that Fry was too gifted for his own good, that he had too many talents and that if he had devoted himself to fewer pursuits he would have been more successful, in politics or law or literature or the theatre. To which the cricket writer Neville Cardus responded: ‘I think there are politicians and actors and KCs and authors enough. There has been only one C.B. Fry.’”
Do you remember Simod and the Simod Cup? My brother Adrian does.
Simod were an Italian sportswear manufacturer, but with none of the style or class of Fila or Diadora in the 1980s. They made really, really terrible trainers that your mother would buy for you if she didn’t love you and wanted you to be bullied.
Their name could be seen pitchside on advertising hoardings during the arse-end of the 80s – you know, the time of hooliganism, Hillsborough and Maggie trying to enforce her crazy ID card scheme for football fans. Not worn, not loved and not missed, Simod did, however, sponsor the English Full Members Cup competition from 1987-89 – otherwise known as the Simod Cup.
The competition was created when English clubs were banned from European competition post-Heysel, as an additional cup competition for clubs in the top two divisions(but not the teams that would have qualified for Europe in 1985–86, as these played in the Super Cup instead). This gave teams something to play for besides the FA and League Cups, and another way for cash-strapped clubs to generate revenue when football attendances were declining and those fans that did still go to games stood on crumbling terraces or sat in decrepit, death trap stands (Valley Parade being a tragic example).
The Simod cup games took place between 1986 and 1989, before the name changed to the Zenith Data Systems Cup (from 1989 to 1992).
Get Reading describes Reading’s Simod Cup triumph from the 27th March 1988, when Reading FC won at Wembley Stadium, beating Luton in the final 4-1:
“The achievement of [Ian] Branfoot’s Royals side 25 years ago to this day, was, quite simply, remarkable.
“The ultimate David vs Goliath. Little old Reading versus then giants Luton Town was a mismatch of the highest proportions.
“Branfoot’s Reading had beaten QPR 3-1, Oxford 1-0, Nottingham Forest 2-1 (aet), Bradford City by the same score and Coventry City on penalties after a 1-1 stalemate.
“In their history, Royals have won just once at Wembley.
“Their 4-1 victory over Luton Town probably ranks as one of the club’s greatest ever days.”
Nottingham Forest under Brain Clough famously won the trophy in 1989, beating Everton 4-3 after extra time (sorry Adrian).
The True Ball blog describes the game.
“For Clough, and his Nottingham Forest side the Simod Cup was to be a cup they would win twice, beating Everton in 1989 4-3 not long after the semi-final game against Liverpool best remembered now for the disaster when the Leppings Lane End of the Hillsborough ground saw a crush that killed 96 people. That first Simod Cup win in 1989 was part of a double won that year, when they also won the League Cup. They had been on for a Cup treble, but in the replayed fixture against Liverpool in the FA Cup they were beaten 3-1 and Jonathan Wilson described the game for Forest as ‘an uncomfortable occasion on which, as pretty much every player has acknowledged, they felt like intruders on someone else’s grief.’”
“A cup born of necessity in the darkest days of English football, it was last played for at the end of the 1992 season and Forest’s victory over Southampton in extra-time also ensured that it was Clough’s last piece of silverware as a manager.”
- Barcelona, Brian Clough, Gary Pallister and Chris Waddle are all featured in new book Northern Conquest (dailymail.co.uk)
- A rush to watch Brian Clough’s first match (nostanding13.wordpress.com)
- Ronnie Fenton: Footballer who went on to become Brian Clough’s right-hand man (independent.co.uk)
- Pat Hilton seals Clough’s first win as Brighton boss (nostanding13.wordpress.com)
- Everton in the 80s – Everton begin preparation for the arrival of Clough’s Forest (stdomingos.com)
- Could Brian Clough’s wisdom be about to make its long-overdue debut at international level? (footballfancast.com)
- Gunter satisfied with Royals progress (getreading.co.uk)