We declare no bias for the match tonight. Similarly, our new ‘Featured Item’ is a fantastic piece of Manchester United memorabilia…BUT it does have Manchester City links: it’s a programme from the Manchester United v Atletico de Bilbao 1957 match, which was played at Manchester City’s then home grounds at Maine Road.
The programme is signed by 11 of the Manchester United players – Busby’s Babes, seven of whom died tragically in the Munich Air Disaster exactly one year to the day later. Billy Whelan is the only one to die in the crash, who didn’t sign the programme. The match on the 16th January 1957 had been a great one. Manchester United had travelled to Bilbao earlier in the month to play Atletico Madrid in the quarter finals on the European Cup. The Spanish team had won 5-3 in Bilbao, but Manchester United’s 3-0 win at Maine Road, in the second leg, enabled them to qualify for the semi-finals. Man U then went on to lose to Real Madrid in the semi-finals. Weirdly, when Manchester United played Atletico Madrid in March of this year, it was the first time the two teams had met again since 1957.
John Terry couldn’t be luckier in the circumstances: he’s a complete fool to have done what he did – the one thing he should be able to offer as an ‘elder statesman’ is self-control & sportsmanship – but imagine the recriminations if a 10 man Chelsea team had not pulled off the incredible feat of beating Barcelona.
The Spanish sports newspaper, El Mundo Deportivo, likens the unexpected loss for Barcelona as similar of that to their loss against Benfica in the 1961 European Cup Final – lucky them that they have to reach back that far to come up with a parallel experience!http://www.sportspages.com/football/football_programmes/european_cup_champions_league_finals/benfica_v_barcelona_1961_(european_cup_final)_24302?search&q=24302 Catalan’s Barcelona had got to that final having done the unthinkable at that time: they had finally beaten Real Madrid, the reigning champions for the last five years, their deadly, bitter rivals and the team supported by Catalonia’s then great oppressor, General Franco.
Fortunately, last night’s match was just a game with no huge political or nationalist significance, but what a huge step for Chelsea. I don’t really understand why di Matteo is still the ‘caretaker’ manager. What more does he have to do to get the job?
Tom Daley’s capped an impressive World Series campaign with the Gold Medal in the 10 metre platform at Tijuana, Mexico. Daley is only 17 years old & we’ve almost started to take it for granted that he wins/gets gold medals here, there & everywhere. Apologies, but I will continue to repeat myself on this subject: he IS amazing.http://www.sportspages.com/swimming/books/instructional/art_of_springboard_diving_19007?search
I’m completely confused by the game Ferguson & Mancini are playing (before the match is anywhere near starting!): Mancini says, “We’ll lose” and Ferguson ‘concedes’ that “Manchester United have given Manchester City the initiative”. Never heard of a top flight team putting their hands up before a huge match and saying, ‘we’re going to lose’. Is this an unbelievably subtle game of mental cat and mouse between the two managers or is this a combined marketing agreement to build up the hype or ? http://www.sportspages.com/football/football_photographs/action_press/manchester_united_v_manchester_city_1961_3517j?search&q=manchester+city
Norwich City football club have called in police after a 17-year-old fan leaked pictures of the new kit hours before its official launch – he didn’t hack into the website, just gained access to images from a section of the website that was being worked on. Talk about a sledgehammer to crush a…pumpkin seed (Delia would be proud)…and here, we can reveal… the new kit! http://www.sportspages.com/football/football_booklets/football_club_histories/canary_crusade_10902?search&q=norwich
A pretty huge result for Chelsea v Barcelona and clearly the result of a very well thought out, strategic plan. Is Di Matteo becoming the Stuart Lancaster of football? http://www.sportspages.com/football/football_ephemera/badges_coins_medals/chelsea_football_club_blazer_badge_3762d?search&q=3762d
Obviously lots of talk re. 2012 & 1948 London Olympics over the coming months (incl. from us of course!), but in the meantime here are some fantastic images from the 1908 London Olympics: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatpicturegalleries/9206643/The-1908-London-Olympics.html?frame=2194572
Image 2: I love the female archers – they look ready for anything
Image 5: The marathon runner is scrawny and tiny
Image 7: I can’t believe I couldn’t do as well as the third diver in the diving image – he’s going in feet first!
Image 9: The photograph of the marathon runners (running between Windsor Castle & White City) looks like a film set from a David Puttnam/John Boorman film – “Chariots of Hope & Glory AND Fire”, as does the photo of people hanging from trees at Wormwood Scrubs to get a better view of the runners (image 10)
Image 12: Good to note that the 1908 British Cycling Pursuit Team won the Gold Medal (with extremely strong-looking thighs!)
Image 13: The awards ceremony is reminiscent of a prize-giving at a School sports’ day. Enjoy them all. Which is your favourite?
The only upsides to the travesty of the match between Chelsea & Spurs at the weekend is that it will most likely be THE game that finally forces FIFA to introduce video review technology into the game…way too late…and, that Chelsea won by such a big margin. They were already in front before the second goal (but not a goal). Although Spurs was obviously knocked back by the unfairness of it all, Chelsea did go on to ‘seal the deal’ quite convincingly. It was unfair, but probably marginally less unfair than Cambridge winning the boat race this year!
Here’s a reminder of a match in which Spurs beat Chelsea 4-0: 16th October 1920. The image of the war veterans is particularly poignant:http://www.sportspages.com/football/football_photographs/action_press/chelsea_v_tottenham_hotspur_1920_21_(king_george_being_presented)_6403?search&q=6403
It’s that very exciting time of year again: gearing up for the Grand National. We all know the story of how Captain Martin Becher gave his name to Becher’s Brook by flying over the fence without his mount, Conrad, and landing in the brook on the other side in the first Grand National in 1839. It’s claimed that he emerged sodden from the brook, declaring that until then he hadn’t know how ‘dreadful water tastes without whisky in it’.
…the history behind the eponymous Valentine’s Brook comes from an equally notable event a few years later.
http://www.sportspages.com/horse_racing/postcards/courses/aintree_valentines_brook_15226?search&q=15226. In 1840, jockey Alan Power bet that he would be leading the race at the halfway mark on his mount, Valentine. Bizarrely, the horse seemed to consider briefly how to change the course of events himself: Power was urging the horse on a furlong clear of the field as the pair approached a fence. At that point Valentine slowed almost to a walk as if he were going to pull up. Only at the last moment did the horse seem to have a change of heart (possibly aided by some urgent ‘encouragement’ from his rider) and produced a spectacular corkscrew-type leap, clearing both the fence and the brook. I doubt the horse gained knowledge or pleasure from having a fence named after him but it’s still quite an achievement. I’m looking forward to what horse/rider combination is going to surprise us this year. Any thoughts?
I hope you all enjoy navigating our redesigned homepage. It should be easier and clearer for you to access the website as a whole from the homepage. Let us know if you like it/can’t find what you’re looking for. We have reinstated the blog, which may/may not be a plus! We have also put a link to our Wisden Dust Jacket page on the homepage so that you should be able to buy official Wisden Dust Jackets to your hearts’ content: replacement ones to protect your books or traditional style ones to replace the photographic covers provided with the 2003 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanacks onwards.
Another development on the homepage is our gifts category, which will be a constantly evolving selection of potential (and hopefully inspiring) gift ideas. Again, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, let us know if you’re searching for something in particular or on behalf of a particular person.
We’re very pleased, too, with the introduction of our ‘featured item’ on the front page, which we will change regularly. We’re particularly proud of our first featured item, which is also Sportspages’ first publication: The Ewbank Enquiry by David Rayvern Allen. A beautifully produced book, though we say so ourselves – all thanks to the printers, Smith Settle – the Ewbank Enquiry has been a labour of love for David for the last few years. It is part detective story, part social and sporting history as it details the thread of cricket that runs through the story of a 19th Century cricket-mad family of adventurers and empire builders. It’s well worth a look.