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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

A Tale of Two Centre Halves


Though one series has ended and another since begun, this corker from Sam Macrory deserves your undivided attention.

Two decades ago, two schoolboys from East London lined up together in a youth football team and swept all before them. Just three months apart, the older boy played centre half and the younger in midfield.

The former was tipped for greatness from the start, and soon left Senrab FC to sign for a Premier League club, where he was fast-tracked into the first team at just 19 years old.

Friday, 25 November 2011

The Runs #1: York City 2003-4

Chris Brass presumably enjoying the first four games of the season

We have a confession to make, Rob and I. We've got lazier in our old age so series are easier to do than write proper articles. So, true to form, here is Spongers' own Adam Bushby kicking off our new series with a quite remarkable winless streak. 

The 2003/4 season in England is best remembered for Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’. Thirty-eight games unbeaten and a Premier League title. Twenty six wins and 12 draws. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s impressive, if in an obvious way. But I tell you what is more impressive. Gaining just 16 points between November 22 and the end of the season. Sixteen points. (Clamouring from soapbox) SIXTEEN. From 27 games, between end-November and May. I tell you what is more impressive even than that. Not winning a game from January 10 to the end of the season. NOT ONE. And these things happened that very season at the other end of the pyramid.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A Run For All Seasons

Jordan 'Rhodes of Goals' Rhodes

Quite a big thing managed to sneak under the radar this week, presumably as the radar itself was either straining to measure superluminal neutrinos, or joining the rest of the football universe in providing repeated shots of England’s Brave John Terry either falling over or looking contrite. What was happening, in actual fact, was that Huddersfield Town were putting the finishing touches to the most unlikely run since Adam Bushby went for a run.* A shining and magical apple obscured by all the oniony inadequacies of Super Sunday and Gary Neville’s David Luiz/Playstation joke. Well, no longer.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

What If? #5 Everton in the 80s

The fifth installment of our What If? series sees Spongers' own Adam Bushby look at the impact the five-year European ban had on the great Everton side.

After convening for an emergency session in Switzerland on June 2 1985, Uefa chiefs issued a statement that would have immediate and lasting consequences: English clubs were banned from Europe, indefinitely. At Goodison Park in particular, home as it was of reigning First Division champions Everton, the news was greeted with anger and dismay. Following the tragic events a few days earlier at the crumbling Heysel Stadium in Brussels, the sentiment was pretty much universal; enough was enough. Thirty nine Juventus fans went to a football match that day and never came back. The European showpiece between Liverpool and the Bianconeri will forever be remembered for events that happened in the stands, rather than on the pitch, and set in motion much-needed introspection as an English disease threatened to become a Europe-engulfing epidemic.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

No Spain, No Gain

We give up lads, you can have it

The FA, who can always be relied upon to completely miss a trick, abjectly failed to take advantage of some joint marketing potential last month, scheduling England’s friendly with Spain for Saturday (which is in November) and not for the weekend of Halloween (which wasn’t). You can’t help but get the feeling that a festival now associated with horror and scary stuff would suit the World Cup winners, because quite frankly, their squad is downright terrifying.