Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Heineken advert, 1978 say nothing of the parts most dentists wouldn't touch with a barge pole.

Just say YES to Big East

If Temple enters the BE, every home hoop game could have this kind of crowd.

Today was supposed to be  D-Day for Temple.
Decision Day. It's been canceled, but hopefully that's just to finalize exit contracts for the MAC and the A-10.
The item on the agenda of today's Board of Trustees conference call  was to be  "a discussion on athletics" but it is really much more than that.
It's a discussion on the future of the school and its nationwide image.
Temple has two great coaches in place of its two marquee sports programs, Steve Addazio and Fran Dunphy.
If you believe in these guys, and I do, then you know the Temple brand is in good hands.
You know they will make Temple a marquee name not only regionally but across the country.
Nothing would help these guys advance the brand better than a BCS conference affiliation.
As I see it, today's decision is, to use a sports term, a slam dunk.
Just say yes to the Big East.
I hated the Big East for years because it allowed a small private school to have the power to block Temple. A small private school afraid of competition. Contrast that to Temple, which sponsored a small private school, LaSalle, when it attempted to re-enter the Atlantic 10.  Temple, though, belongs in the Big East, with fellow like-minded Eastern institutions.
I'm on pins and needles waiting for the good news but because I'm a Temple fan I'm  used to bitter disappointment and I realize this could easily go the other way with our teams sentenced a lifetime of mediocrity in the MAC and A10.
In 2010, the Owls were the only 8-4 team in history who beat a BCS conference champion (BE) refused a bowl and that was a bitter day. That day would have never happened if the Owls were 8-4 in the Big East. Heck, the team they beat, UConn, was 8-4 and headed to the Fiesta Bowl.
ESPN basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb said the Owls  moved up to a deserving No. 2 seed in NCAA hoops a couple of years ago but instead got a No. 5 and a game against a 24-1 No. 12. (Gottlieb, by the way, is the best at what he does and should be doing the seeding.)
Another disappointing day.

Then I read an article that will appear in today's Inky that says Temple should turn down the BE.
Turn it down for exactly what?

Are the representatives of the ACC and the Big 10 waiting outside the BOT's door?
I hope the rest of the BOT doesn't read or put any credence in that guy's misguided and misinformed (he didn't even know it was an all-sports invite) opinion.
On a day the columnists should salute Temple's persistence, this is what we get?
The official call at 3  p.m. to discuss athletics has been canceled, but there is an executive committee call at 2 p.m. to discuss "contracts."

Hopefully, that will include getting out of the MAC contract.
Temple is running out of time to get this done and should be operating post-haste.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Temple could be in the BE tomorrow

O'Connor presides over important call.

Call it a coincidence or symbolism, but on Hump Day of Leap Day of Leap Year, Temple athletics is poised to make a Bob Beamon kind of leap and get over a hump that has seemed to block any progress for almost a decade.
If you don't remember the Olympic triple-jumper, think former Temple wide receiver Willie Marshall and his 37-inch vertical leap.
Hump Day/Leap Day/Leap Year 2012 could be the biggest day in the history of Temple sports thanks to some visionary leadership provided by Temple University Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick J. O'Connor.
Heck, I've always had a soft spot for  O'Connor.
Despite the fact that he graduated from Villanova, the Chairman of the Temple University Board of Trustees is a likeable guy and a loyal Owl. He happens to have the same last name as maiden name of my mother, who passed away on Jan. 14 of last year.
Plus, he's always proven to be a Temple guy at heart and knows the mission of the school and he's always moved the school forward and not backward or sideways.
The second reason is why I'm more convinced O'Connor will guide the Board of Trustees in the right direction in the most important conference call in the history of Temple University when they vote on accepting a Big East offer tomorrow.
According to this excellent story by Michael Bradley on, O'Connor said that Steve Addazio and Fran Dunphy are great coaches and deserve a national stage at Temple.
They can't get that stage in the MAC or A-10.
While we sports fans know you don't get two better coaches than Daz or Dunph, it is nice to know that the guy at the very top feels the same way.
The Big East isn't perfect, but in the national college football game of musical chairs, once the music stops the Big East will be able to find a seat at the BCS table.
The MAC won't.
It's not personal.
It's business.
I think by the time a packed house sends the remarkable senior men's basketball class off at the Temple vs. UMass game (good tickets still available by clicking on the banner above this story but not for long), the day will take on a festive party atmosphere unlike anything at the school since the road hoop win over No. 1 Cincy in 2000 or the hoop win at North Carolina in 1988 that made the school No. 1 in the AP poll for 11 straight weeks.
Still, as big as those days were, hump day this week could be the best-ever because of the implications for the school's two major teams.
Imagine, if you will, Temple winning the Big East title in 2012. It's not a dream. Al Golden and Steve Addazio have built the talent level at Temple to compete in the upper tier RIGHT NOW. If all things break right (no Matty Brown injury, for instance), Temple could win this league right away.
Picture the kind of pub Temple would get on a national scale if that happens. No amount of money can buy that kind of advertising.
If the board accepts the Big East invitation, it will be the greatest day in the history of Temple sports and maybe one of the greatest days in university history as well.
I can't think of another opportunity in any endeavor to promote the Temple brand nationally than this provides. This will have positive implications for the school that goes well beyond the realm of sports.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The unofficial official announcement

"If this helps my old Temple guys, let's move the
South Florida game," Al Golden seems to be saying.
This week was the 50th anniversary of the John Glenn orbital space flight, the first by an American.
I'm too young to remember the TV broadcast of that re-entry, but I do remember the replay of what one of the ground crew guys said to Glenn after he successfully re-entered despite a heat shield that was about to burn up.
"Roger, John Glenn," the man said, "you've got a lot of guys on the ground here about to turn blue."
Well, I've been holding my breath for a few days and I'm about to turn blue waiting for another re-entry: Temple back to the Big East.
So is just about every fan who cares about Temple sports.
"Obviously I think Temple's a great fit for the Big East. I think clearly we began the process of establishing you can recruit, and there's so many great things that have occurred at Temple University. I think they're worthy of taking that next step."
_ Al Golden,
May 24th, 2011
One of the guys covering Miami (Fla.) football I've gotten to know after he asked me questions about Al Golden last fall provided a clue this morning.
"Mike, we had to move our game with South Florida to accomodate a Temple game on the Big East schedule," the man wrote in an email. "Good news for you guys. Congratulations. Al Golden can't say anything specific, but I assume he's happy."
That's about as official as it gets these days.
I looked on the internet over the last few hours and a half to get this information "sourced" and the best I could come up with was a report in the Tampa Tribune that confirmed the move and mentioned the Temple talks as a possible reason.
That, combined with calls to the Temple ticket office where the man answered "we're waiting on the Big East" for the schedule to be finalized indicates to be that Temple and the MAC must have reached a settlement of their $2.5 million exit fee and the two years' notice.
Those two pieces of the puzzle seem to fit nicely. You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to come to a conclusion based on that evidence.
Otherwise, it would not be logical to move games to accomodate a Big East schedule about to be released in a few days.
It's not the official announcement we've all been waiting for, but it will have to do for now.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

TU to the BE: Money should be no object

If you can't see more Cherry in this photo than any other color, you need to
see an eye doctor immediately. Fortunately, I have 20/20 vision. So does Steve
Addazio, who also confirmed the numbers' breakdown.

Today's top stories on Yahoo sports

When I first heard what the holdup was on making today's "handshake" agreement with the Big East a written one to join as early as this football season, I could only think of one word:
That was in response to this:
"Temple is waiting to see if it can pay the $2.5 million buyout to the MAC."
Money should be no object here, but I get the drift.

The university's annual funding from Harrisburg was cut by $38 million, so paying $2.5 million on top of that cut for its sports programs to change leagues might not be viewed as good PR move for the school.
Heck, I watched Temple TV (it is Channel 50 on my cable system) this morning and uni president Ann Weaver Hart was saying "there's going to be a lot of pain for everyone over the next year but we'll get through it."
I know all about pain.
If I have to go through another MAC season of forced Tuesday and Wednesday night home games and horrible road officiating, I'm going to have an ulcer.
I just decided I would be the greatest graduate in school history if I won the $60 million in the lottery tonight.
I would get into my beat-up, 125,000-mile 2004 Chevy Cavalier tomorrow morning, drive to Harrisburg and have one of those oversized checks deposited.

Most current BE fans are unaware that Temple
traveled 6,000 of its own fans to the New Mexico Bowl
or that 20,000 of the 23,000 in attendance at the 2009
Eagle Bank Bowl were Temple fans, but those
figures have been documented as true by both bowls.
Then I would get back into the Cavalier, drive back  across the state to Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue, write out a check for $2.5 million and tell Temple AD Bill Bradshaw to wait a day or two so it can clear the bank.
I wouldn't even blink an eye.
Then the Temple Alumni Review would write an article about me with the simple headline: "Greatest Grad Ever."
I'd be the greatest grad ever because with my meager $2.5 million check, I'd faciilate a gold mine that would keep the school in the black long after I'm dead (which hopefully isn't for 30 or so more years).
Think about it.
Temple has a 70K stadium in the heart of Big East territory. Lincoln Financial Field is a veritable gold mine and Temple is sitting right on top of it.
To get to that gold, all Temple needs to do is become a more than competitive Big East team, which most football experts will tell you is true right now.
It has a Big East-ready football team now, with the best coaching staff in the Big East  and the only coaching staff with three of its top five positions filled with guys who have won national championships as key parts of Florida's staff.
Temple also has 15K students who will be living on campus for the next 30 years, who will become involved rabid alumni fans.
This is not your father or grandfather's Temple, once a commuter school.
Give them the same competitive team they have now and the stadium fills up, the Temple brand goes national and applications for admission mulitiply tenfold.
That's the kind of vision Temple needs now, whatever the cost.
Temple has a lot of grads with "want to" like me who have no "means to."
I still think money should be no object.
West Virginia got $20 million together to buy out its agreement with the Big East. Enough of that should go to Temple to cover the $2.5 million. Even if the MAC holds up Temple for the two years notice, the parties should reach a settlement. Temple should suggest that Villanova take its place in the MAC to give UMass a travel partner.
After all, Temple is doing the Big East a huge favor by filling in an empty schedule.
If, though, money is the reason Temple ends up in MAC hell forever (or even one more day), I will scream.
So will anybody who cares even a little bit about Temple sports.

Panini: Football 78

Panini’s first foray into the world of annual UK sticker collections began with Football 78. Its bright red cover featuring action photos neatly sectioned into the hexagonal patches of a big football was a beacon for kids across the country to go out and fritter away what little pocket money they had at the time.

For many sticker collectors, this was where it all began - the start of a lifelong obsession. The Queen's Silver Jubilee had been and gone, and now it was time to celebrate something altogether different: the glorious sport of Football itself.

Page 2 and 3

Inside, we get an early sight of two elements that would become familiar in later years: a grid for filling in First Division results (some of which were already filled in for you up to October 15th 1977) and the trophy page with spaces for stickers of the FA Cup, League Championship Trophy and the two Scottish equivalents. Of those four stickers, only the FA Cup and Scottish Cup were in gold foil for reasons we’re still trying to fathom out.

First Division pages and stickers

The team pages came next – two for each club with spaces for seventeen stickers each. Strangely in this first domestic Panini album we see an odd reluctance to fit in an extra player on the first page to create a uniform layout. Note the odd row of three rather than four where the manager and goalkeeper images reside…

The double-page spread has a familiar look for those that remember Panini’s later efforts, but in this early period the preference was to show biographies of each player in a single block on the second page rather than individually below each player’s picture.

There was also the statistics block situated between the badge and team photo; a mini-feast of facts and information for the knowledge-hungry child wanting to know a club’s record attendance or the change colours of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

As for the stickers themselves, the ’78 design was that of a red window frame with English flag, team name and badge at the top and player name at the bottom. Team badges were of the hard gold foil variety while team pictures used a similar design to those used for the players.

What’s notable about the player photos in this early Panini vintage is that each team member wasn't necessarily  seen wearing the same shirts. In many cases you can pick out two or even three different shirt designs per team, something Panini made a point of correcting to a large extent later on.

Second Division

Subsequent Panini albums may have dared give you a glimpse of life in Divisions Three or even Four, but it's only the second tier of English football that was spotlighted here. Again there was another results chart to complete (half of it already having been done for you) before the minimal format of badge-statistics-team picture rolled out across six pages.

Here we get our first glimpse of the double foil badge – a regular-sized sticker split in two for twice the pleasure. Even though the Second Division badges were, in reality, only half the size of their First Division equivalents, there was something undeniably joyful about getting two on the one sticker.

As for the teams listed, there was an eclectic mix of the rising stars, the fallen wonders and the perennial water-treaders. Premier League stalwarts such as Bolton, Fulham and, yes, even Tottenham Hotspur sat cheek-by-jowl alongside teams like Bristol Rovers, Orient and the previous season's Division Three champions Mansfield Town.

Scottish Premier Division pages

If you think there's a two-tier structure in the SPL today, that was nothing compared to Panini's view of the Scottish Premier Divisiom in 1978. Aberdeen may have been first in alphabetical order, but there was a pecking order to observe. First came Celtic and Rangers, treated royally to the same double-page spread of their English counterparts. Everyone else followed and had to make do with only a single page, if you don't mind.

Hardly fair treatment, really, especially as that only left enough room for seven players to accompany the manager, club badge and team picture. Still, at least we got a fair selection of the pale, pasty-skinned and wild-haired talent making a name for itself north of the border, as well as the ubiquitous half-completed results grid.

Sadly no Scottish First Division pages were included in this collection – they were to come in later years – but at least the strange array of Scottish Premier Division club badges made up for it. Celtic's badge looks a good 15 years ahead of its time, Clydebank's looks like it's been extracted from the cover of the Communist Manifesto while St Mirren seem to have settled for something scribbled on the back of a fag packet by Alex Ferguson himself.


Aside from the ongoing 70's competition to see 'who looks more like Graeme Souness than Graeme Souness', there's much to please the idle browser of this album. Sir Alf Ramsey makes an appearance as Birmingham City manager (Panini politely leaving out the word 'Caretaker' for such an undoubted legend of the game), while Everton's team picture appears to have been taken on a 1:3 hill.

Phil Thompson's lovely head of hair can only, in our opinion, be put down to him visiting the same stylist as Wendy Craig, star of BBC TV's 'Butterflies' whereas the winner of the award for the 'Too-Frightening-For-Words Pose' undoubtedly goes to QPR's Stan Bowles. 'Most Overlooked Badge'? That must go to the one worn by many of West Bromwich Albion's players… anyone know anything about this?

As for the team trying hardest to look professional in its team picture, that must surely go to the aforementioned Clydebank who all appear to be wearing the biggest stitched-on numbers ever on their red tracksuit tops. A fine effort there, we're sure you'll agree.

Back cover

A never-more-70's hand-drawn vignette depicted as if zooming away from view in a vivid red-orange-yellow colour scheme. A bit like the opening titles to a Lew Grade British spy thriller series shot through the prism of an official FIFA World Cup film. Kind of.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Addazio's impressive trifecta

It's particularly sunny in Dazadelphia these days.

Forget Jeremy Lin and Linsanity.
I'll take Steve Addazio and Dazmania any day over Lin.
At least in Dazadelphia because, even in this dead period of the offseason, I've never been more convinced that Steve Addazio is the guy to lead Temple to some, err, dazzling heights.
The first sign was Daz turning down Rutgers the way Steve Carlton used to shoo off reporters _ with a disinterested wave. The guy before Daz would have milked every ounce of the attention.  Not Daz.
Addazio's turning down of Rutgers and his No. 1 recruiting class in the MAC, what he called "the best recruiting class in Temple history" were two breathtaking buzzer beaters but, for me, nothing made me admire Addazio more than his recent hiring of Ryan Day as offensive coordinator to replace Scot Loeffler. Day comes from Boston College, as does former BC offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers.
I would say "Thank, God" but that thanks is reserved for Daz.
In about one month's of work, Addazio gave his Temple employers this impressive trifecta of accomplishments:
1) He turned down RU right away;
2) He produced the No. 1 recruiting class in the MAC;
3) He didn't hire Matt Rhule as OC.
I was cringing at the prospect of Daz promoting Matt Rhule into the offensive coordinator spot he held in 2010 under Al Golden.
It would have been the easy pick.
Ryan Day turned out to be that somebody else.
It would have been the expected one.
It also would have been the incorrect one, in my mind.
In my 30 years of being a Temple season-ticket holder, I have never seen a more ill-conceived and mismanaged offense as I did for the 2010 Owls.
With a big, mean and nasty offensive line and weapons like Matty Brown, Mike Gerardi, Rod Streater, Joey Jones, Evan Rodriguez and Alex Jackson, Rhule's offense produced a total of three points in an important game at Miami (Ohio) in 2010.
Three points.
That's borderline comical, if it wasn't so sad.
Against Ohio, with 10 days to prepare, Rhule's first offensive play was an illegal formation. So what if the player lines up in the wrong formation? It's the coach's responsibility to drill into that player and the other 10 players what the formation is, ESPECIALLY on the first play of the game. That's what 10 days of practice are for.
Now many say it wasn't Rhule's fault, that it was Al Golden micromanaging things.
That could have been true, but I'm a fact guy and not a theory guy.
FACT: The 2010 offense sadly underperformed visa ve their level of talent.
FACT: Rhule was sole offensive coordinator in 2010.
THEORY: Golden's micromanaging MIGHT have had more to do with the non-production than Rhule's leadership.
It could have been Golden's fault. It could have been Rhule's fault.
If it wasn't Golden's fault, I did not want to find out the hard way in 2012 and, thanks to Daz, I won't have to.
FACT: The 2011 offense click on all cylinders, especially the last five games of the season.
Loeffler called the plays last year and the improvement was noticeable. Auburn noticed enough to hire Loeffler. Notice they did not hire Rhule, who has done an outstanding job as a recruiter and a linebacker's coach at Temple in the past.  Just because you are a great recruiter and linebacker coach doesn't mean you will be a great OC.
People ask me what I have against Rhule and my answer always is one word: Nothing.
That's a fact. I just don't want him as my OC.
Rhule is a great guy and big asset to the staff. Day and Rogers are great guys and big assets to the offense.
It's all good now.
Day slides into the Loeffler spot and Rhule stays in the Rhule spot.
Works for me and I think that is the way it will work best for the Owls.
My admiration of Daz, which was already at the top of the chart, went off the charts with his recent restructuring of his coaching staff that served as the Cherry on top of a desert that included a spotless handling of the recruiting class and the RU situation.
Dazmania is the best word to describe it.
Or Dazzling.
I could care less about the Knicks, but I can't wait until Cherry and White Daz.
I mean Day.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Please keep the Tezsla family in your prayers

Anthony Tezsla was a tough linebacker in the Bruce Arians' Era who later became a New Jersey State Trooper with three beautiful daughters.
Yesterday, in a horrible school bus crash in Burlington County, N.J., Anthony lost one of his daughters and his other two were first reported in critical condition.
As of this morning, one of those daughters was upgraded to stable condition while the other remained in critical care.
When I heard the name Anthony Tezsla, I knew he was one of us and I could feel my heart sink.
We should all say a prayer, many prayers, for Anthony and his family today and in the days ahead.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bradshaw, Hart headed to CUSA meeting

Conference USA
Big East

If you are a big fan of 1970s TV sitcoms like I am, you remember Sargent Schultz.
He was the Nazi who would say, "I know nothing. I hear nothing. I see nothing" when Colonel Hogan would break the prison camp rules on Hogan's Heroes.
Well, when it comes to Temple and the conference realignment situation,  Temple AD Bill Bradshaw makes Sargent Schultz look like a blabbermouth.

Bill Bradshaw
That's why I find Bradshaw's trip to Dallas today intriguing. I did not hear it from him, but from reliable people that both Bill and Temple president Ann Weaver Hart were on the same plane to Dallas today.
Since I don't think either is the other's type, I'm guessing it must be on official business only and not a tryst.
Just so happens the CUSA meeting is in Dallas today.
CUSA lost a valuable member in Memphis. It is looking to replace that value with value.
I can't think of a more valuable replacement than Temple.
Now I think the Big East is where Temple belongs. Most schools in the Big East are like Temple. Temple is in the East. I think Temple and the Big East were made for each other. I also think Cecily Tynan and I were made for each other but I can't convince her of that and, besides, she's married.
Temple isn't married to the MAC. It's sort of like a platonic friendship with no future.
Now that the Big East and Memphis are married, Temple has to move on from a platonic relationship and look to procreate its football legacy.
Maybe not.
There are only three reasons, as I see it, for Bradshaw and Hart to be in Dallas today:
1) Sign the papers for an all-sports membership;
2) Sign the papers for a football-only;
3) Hear what the CUSA has to offer.
It's a tough call because Cecily (err, the Big East) has been a big tease of late and thrown out feelers that she might be interested.
CUSA is a hot number, sort of like Amy Buckman but nowhere near as hot as Cecily.
MAC is Cathy Gandolfo.
Amy has made clear that she has the hots for me and the feeling is mutual.
Cathy is no more than a friend.
Do you hold out for the dream girl or go for Amy or get stuck with Cathy?
We should find out more in at least a couple of days.
For me, it's a 50/50 ball with Amy and Cecily. If Cecily doesn't make her move soon, I'm going with Amy. I'm sitting by the phone but I've got a limited time to wait and if she doesn't call, I'm outta here. I've waited long enough.
Cathy, we can still be friends.

Interview: Gary Silke and Derek Hammond (Got, Not Got)

Gary Silke (left) and
Derek Hammond (right),
authors of Got, Not Got
Gary Silke and Derek Hammond are the authors of a recently published book called Got, Not Got, a title that has quickly become an epic tome for lovers of football nostalgia everywhere including ourselves. The book sold in great numbers over the Christmas period (rightly so in our opinion), so we decided to have a chat with Gary and Derek to find out more about Got, Not Got and their love for the bygone days of The Beautiful Game.

TFA: First of all, let’s begin by congratulating you both on the huge success of the book. It’s richly deserved... but how did the project begin?

DH: Thanks a lot! I'm not sure the success is exactly 'huge' but we've had a very promising first few months both in terms of growing sales and press and reader feedback.

We first punted a book to publishers about 7 years ago - centered all around 'Supersonic Soccer Stuff They Sold Us in the Seventies' - and we had a couple of very near misses. About three years ago something much more like GNG was again touted around by a different agent, with the same response. The feedback we were getting all suggested it would be impossible to sell football nostalgia to fans of more than one club.

TFA: And prior to the project starting, when did the two of you first meet?

GS: I'm surprised to say I can't really remember. I think Derek contributed something to my Leicester fanzine The FOX and it was quite funny. He was just a crazy kid looking for a break and hey... I took a chance on him.

TFA: Reading through the book, it’s plain to see how much time and effort has gone into compiling and writing all the entries. You must have reached a point where you realised there would be too many subjects to cram into one book... How frustrating was that for you?

DH: No problem! We realised early on that we couldn't possibly fit it all in, and started to think about GNG2... Now readers are sending us great ideas (fog! DIY ticker tape! Brut! proper drop balls!) and pictures on a weekly basis, and once again it's a case of having to decide what to fit in and what to leave out.

TFA: Despite all that, however, was there anything you forgot to write about or wished you’d included after the book went to press?

GS: I can't really think of anything we wish we'd included. Maybe rolled down socks in the manner of Rodney Marsh and the Argentina side of 1978?

I was also desperately trying to get hold of a Striker diving goalkeeper to do a big close-up photo of but I kept getting pipped at the post on eBay. I SHALL get one for GNG2.

We started the book with the intention of doing 120 pages, but at a very early stage the publisher requested we make it 240. It soon became clear, even then, that a GNG2 would be required.

TFA: Which entries in Got, Not Got did you both particularly enjoy writing about?

DH: Swivel boots, Cov Girl of the Match, Shame, Smoke, Punk Rock Football. I'm easily pleased.  

TFA: We’re pleased and grateful to say you’ve also set up a Got, Not Got blog site to accompany the book. What are you hoping to achieve with the blog and what have been your favourite entries on the site since it began?

GS: Our publicity comes from a very grass roots level so it was important to get a blog going to help spread the word. With Facebook and Twitter added we have started to reach a wider audience. It is also a rallying point for like-minded people to come and discuss all our great old stuff. We want to encourage a wider level of participation for the next book. Everyone has a great story to tell and some old tat to illustrate it.

I like the stuff we are getting sent now because it is fresh to us and makes for a great blog entry.

TFA: Looking forward, you must still have lots of ideas buzzing around in your heads for future blog articles and entire projects, even. Is there anything you have in the pipeline you’re thinking about creating that you can tell us about?

DH: We're working on a humour book for publication later this year. Then there's GNG2 to look forward to, as we both accidentally let slip earlier!

TFA: OK, it’s ‘what if’ time now... If you had to create a football nostalgia Hall of Fame, what would be the first three things you’d put in it? (They can be real items or generic concepts, specific or general...)

GS: Subbuteo seems to hold a very special place in the heart of the nation and I see they are now relaunching it so it will no longer be a 'Not Got'.

Mud, sums up how different football was then. So that would be in. When was the last time you caught the smell of mud at a professional football game?

And just that feeling of quivering excitement you got when you were going to the match as a kid. I think only an FA Cup Final for Leicester City could re-ignite that feeling for me now. And even then I'd probably just end up getting annoyed by something modern.

TFA: And of all the items of football ephemera you actually own, what single things would you both nominate as your favourites, and why?

DH: For ironic bad-taste fun it has to be my Justin Fashanu rubber, cover star of GNG. I just got a very cool fake Action Man for GNG2, for 99p, complete with totally unnerving psychotic glare. No joking, he is genuinely scary.

From a more personal perspective it has to be my childhood box of football cards - which is why I was touched when James Brown at Sabotage Times reviewed the book and said it was just like finding his old football stickers.

TFA: Sticking with your own personal possessions, which items did you both once own that you now regret getting rid of?

GS: My Leicester City Admiral shirt was nicked from the PE changing rooms circa 1979. I'm just about over it, though I still intend to hunt down and execute the bastards who did it.

TFA: Is there anything either of you really wanted to own that you finally managed to purchase, and were you ultimately pleased or disappointed when you got it?

DH: I would give anything to see the original advert for swivel boots which so affected me back in around 1970. To see the actual boots, complete with the patent turn-on-a-sixpence rotating turntable of four studs under the ball of your foot... that would be close to a religious experience for me!

TFA: If you don’t mind us asking, have you ever spent a ridiculous amount of money on a single item of football nostalgia?

GS: I spent a ridiculous amount on two items, but probably not in the way you mean. This woman at a car boot sale had two matchworn 'Ind Coope' City shirts from the mid 80s. I asked her how much she wanted and she said: "10p.... each."

I paid and left. Does that make me as bad as the bastards who nicked my Admiral shirt? It does, doesn't it?

TFA: A lot of people are now becoming disenchanted with modern football for various different reasons. Do either of you fall into this category and what do you find so appealing about bygone football over and above the game as we know it today?

DH: We both fall deep into this category - I guess that much is pretty clear from the book - but of course we keep plodding to the football because we're hooked. The modern game lacks characters, atmosphere, a sense of fun and glorious abandonment, it's overpriced and over-defensive, players and coaches are scared to lose, and there aren't any floodlight pylons or greyhound tracks any more. Apart from that, it's great.

TFA: It’s been suggested to both of us that a better title for your book would have been ‘Got, Got, Need’ as an alternative refrain by sticker-collecting schoolchildren everywhere. Are you willing to admit you named your project in haste and apologise for your wrong-doing?!?!!

GS: In our playground it was always 'got, got, got, not got'. I think there are regional variations. The title works on two levels with everything in the book being something we had 'Got' and have now 'Not Got'. That's the only way it could work.

TFA: The FIFA World Cup in 2010 saw a sudden increase in the number of adults collecting Panini stickers, presumably as a way of reliving the joys of their youth. Do you consider it wrong in any way to collect stickers well beyond your childhood years or do you encourage such behaviour?!

DH: I haven't personally collected football cards since I was a kid, but Gary has. I'm a serious student of football culture and pop history, and my interest in vintage ephemera is for research purposes only. He's just an overgrown child. My collection, meanwhile, just happens to be expanding faster than his... but let me assure you it's for all the right reasons.

TFA: Speaking of Panini stickers, what’s the most stickers you ever swapped (or saw swapped) for just one other? (Rich J once witnessed about 300 swapped for a single Jim Smith which was needed to complete a Panini Football '87 collection...)

GS: I can't remember the figures but I had to hand over an absolute stack for Kevin Beattie to complete my 1973-74 FKS Sticker Album. And it was damaged so I had to do a repair job with a blue biro.

I learnt a lesson that day, keep your cards close to your chest and never advertise how much you need something.

TFA: Finally, what would you say is your personal cut off date, where ‘nostalgia’ ends and ‘modern day’ begins?

DH: 1992. Year Zero.

Gary and Derek, many thanks for your time and all the very best of luck with your future ventures. Keep up the good work with Got, Not Got!

Got, Not Got is published by Pitch Publishing and is available via at the new low price of £11.99.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

News of the World and Empire News Football Annual 1961-62

Behind the creased and crumbling cover of this 50-year-old pocket book lies not only 384 pages of facts, figures and statistics but a fading image of a football world few of us can fully appreciate.

Things were very different at the start of the 1960’s, including the title of our subject. The News of the World Football Annual (as it came to be known for more than 40 years) started out as the Athletic News Football Supplement and Club Directory in 1887. Little more than a pamphlet back then, it covered more and more content with every passing decade and merged with other similar publications, changing names as it did so. In late summer 1960, the 70th edition of the annual appeared, and for the first time, The News of the World saw its name on the front cover.

Stats, stats and more stats

The purpose of the book remained constant; to cram in enough anecdotal and factual information to sustain the most ardent football fan for an entire season. Beyond the hand-tinted picture of Sheffield Wednesday’s Ron Springett and Don Megson on the cover, there was more than enough to satisfy the enthusiastic youngster or the seasoned veteran, whatever their interests.

Though football had existed for around 100 years at the time of publication, the book showed the sport as only just entering a new era where foundations were being laid for the game we know today. The £20 maximum wage had only just been abolished (allowing players to earn anything up to £100 a week), the England team were preparing for only their fourth World Cup tournament and the great old teams of the 1950’s were slowly making way for the sides keen to make an impact in the 60’s and 70’s.

One-man teams

On this latter point, the NoTW Annual features a piece written by Tom Finney OBE, a legend for Preston and England who had retired in 1960. The Lancashire-born striker lamented his old club’s relegation at the end of the previous season and noted how other big teams of the era had only just avoided a similar fate. “Blackpool only just escaped it” said Finney. “How they will miss the inspiration of Stanley Matthews when the old maestro finally decides to call it a day. Without the skill and drive of Nat Lofthouse, Bolton Wanderers just steered clear of the danger zone. And how would Fulham have fared without the genius of Johnny Haynes?”

Tom Finney wondered whether the great teams of the day were too reliant on a single star-name player to get success. If they were, the removal of the £20-per-week wage limit in January 1961 was designed to keep more of them in the British game. Prior to the pioneering work of Jimmy Hill, chairman of the PFA, many Italian clubs were offering vastly better pay for any professional willing to up sticks for the continent. The Annual reported how Jimmy Greaves had joined Milan in June 1961 for guaranteed earnings of £40,000 over three years plus a £10,000 signing on fee. Aston Villa’s Gerry Hitchens went to Inter in the same month for £25,000 over three years, while Charlton’s Eddie Firmani made Inter his second Italian club in June 1958 having already spent two years at Sampdoria. Just before the book was published, Denis Law left Manchester City for Torino for a British record fee of £100,000.

Costs increase, squads shrink

Such a slow bleed of England’s top talent to the continent was of great concern – not least because attendances were falling and clubs were operating at a loss. Ivan Sharpe wrote how “the day of the club with a staff of 50 or more professionals seems to be over” and lamented that the ability of teams to nurture young talent could be severely threatened. Sharpe also commented that 17 of the 44 First and Second Division clubs were financially in the red, thereby causing a pall of doom to hang over the game in England.

It wasn’t all depressing news, however. Malcolm Gunn was quick to highlight the positive change in fortunes for East Anglian clubs at the time. Ipswich Town had returned to the top flight as Division Two champions under the promising leadership of Alf Ramsey. The total cost of the team? Just £30,000 – around the same price paid for a typical top flight player.

Gunn also highlighted the great achievements of Peterborough United – champions of Division Four in their first ever league campaign of '60-'61and newly-crowned record holders for scoring 134 goals in their 46 games. As for Norwich City, they too were on the up-and-up; 1961-62 would be the season in which they won the Football League Cup in only its second outing

Spurs at the Double

Elsewhere, the buzz was all about Tottenham, recent double winners proudly lead by captain Danny Blanchflower. As well as reflecting on the rare achievement of winning both major competitions in English football, Blanchflower also took the opportunity to write about the growing demand for substitutions to be allowed in the FA Cup Final. The future Northern Ireland manager went one step further by calling for subs to be allowed in every Cup round. “Supposing Leicester City had got to Wembley by knocking out a team that had been reduced to ten men [through injury]. How would they have felt if, in the Final, they were allowed what their earlier opponents were denied?” said Blanchflower.

Yes, things were certainly different back then and a glance through the five-page 'Football Diary' of the previous season illustrates this perfectly.

On October 26th 1960, Charlton and Middlesbrough drew 6-6, equalling the record for the most goals in a drawn Division Two match. 'T.Docherty', an Arsenal and Scotland international became coach at Chelsea on February 10th 1961 - ten full years before taking the reins of the Scottish national team. March 17th 1961 saw the appointment of Don Revie as manager at Leeds United and within three years had got the side promoted to Division One. Finally, on June 26th 1960, the great Arsenal, Sunderland and England centre forward Charles Buchan passed away. At the end of his football career, he turned his hand to journalism and eventually gave his name to the world's first football magazine, 'Football Monthly'.

And as if all that wasn't enough, the Annual also had plenty of froth and nonsense to break up the formality of endless words and statistics. Adverts for 'Gent's Drip-Dry Shortie Raincoats', appliances to increase your height and gold-plated lucky charms were littered throughout the publication along with a welter of ads for bookmakers and pools companies alike. Some 50 years before British TV screens were treated to the sight of Ray Winstone's revolving head for Bet365, it's fair to say the public were tempted into the tantalising world of gambling in an altogether more serene way.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Memphis and Temple by the numbers

In addition to 2-, 1- and 2-win seasons the past 3 years, Memphis adds this fan base to BE football.

Memphis-Temple by numbers:

  • TV market (Temple 4th, 2,993,370 households; Memphis 49th, 669,940)

  • Full-time students (Temple 39,386; Memphis 22,755)

  • 2011 avg. football attendance (Temple 28,060; Memphis 20,078)

  • 2011 football record (Temple 9-4; Memphis 2-10)

  • 2010 football record (Temple 8-4; Memphis 1-11)

  • 2009 football record (Temple 9-4; Memphis 2-10)

  • 2011-12 current basketball record (Temple 17-5; Memphis 16-7)

  • 2012 football recruiting rank (Temple 54th, 1st in MAC; Memphis 87th, 6th in CUSA)

  • If there's one famous quote that sums up Temple's long-running sad saga with the Big East, it might be something Damon Runyon once said: "The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet." Runyon's quote was in in reference to Ecclesiastes 9:11, "I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all." Yeah, that pretty much sums up the Big East these days. By adding Memphis to ostensibly replace West Virginia today, the Big East inadvertently might have set the charges to blow up its own house. The BE is neither swift nor strong, bereft of men of understanding and today's chance decision could prove its undoing. Memphis is the worst program in college football today and has been for the last three years. This story in the Memphis Commercial Appeal talks about the school's putrid attendance and provides a photo of an Oct. 15 game against East Carolina. Despite what it looks like, it was not an end zone photo.
    Without a doubt, the smartest Owl
    ever (Wayne Hardin) meets the
    swiftest Owl ever (4.29 speedster
    Travis Shelton) at a luncheon
    on Monday.

    Now, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by an excellent reporter named Paul Zeise, Pitt is saying, "Hey, if West Virginia can leave by 2012, so can we" and may petition for early admission to the ACC. Syracuse could soon follow.
    Can you say implosion?
    Hey, at this rate, Villanova might be the only team left.
    From Temple's standpoint, chaos is good.
    The more teams leave the BE, the better the chances that the Catholic Cartel's blocking of Temple fails in the next go around which could be as early as weeks and months and not years.
    Does Temple want to even join this ship of fools?
    Well, yeah.

    College football is about the break off into the haves and have-nots and, no matter what you say about the current Big East group (even the leftovers), they are still part of the haves and probably will be.
    Big East schools will have a seat at that dinner table.
    Pressing their noses at the window looking in at the feast will be CUSA and MAC teams, unfortunately.
    They won't even get scraps and, as a result, probably starve and die of hunger.
    Temple could stay in the MAC, but who's to say what configuration college football will have for traditional MAC teams five years from now. I don't want Temple to be in that group to find out.
    Bring it on.

    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    England v USSR (Match-Day Programme, 1984)

    We're delighted to bring you our very first guest post courtesy of Rob Langham, a member of the team behind the brilliant blogsite The Two Unfortunates. Here, Rob takes us back 28 years to an international game he attended at Wembley and the match-day programme that accompanied it...

    The programme for England’s international against the USSR, a match that took place on 2 June 1984, is a fascinating time capsule, not least due to the advertising strategies of the time - more of which later.

    Unbeknownst to all of us at the time, the Soviet Union only had another seven years to run. Mikhail Gorbachev was still a year away from assuming office and our relationship with the USSR was filtered through the prism of the late Cold War period - tit for tat Olympic boycotts and Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s video for Two Tribes perhaps the most memorable manifestations of international relations.

    That was a polyglot Soviet side. Having performed solidly at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, they, like England, had failed to reach that Summer’s European Championships in France. Far from Russian-dominated, the various republics of the union were well represented with captain Aleksandr Chivadze and Tengiz Sulakvelidze representing Georgia, Sergei Aleinikov and Sergei Stukachov hailing from Belarus and Kazakhstan respectively, and the Armenian Khoren Oganesyan acting as the XI’s primary creative force.

    All of that was to be swept away two years later of course - as incoming manager Valeriy Lobanovskiy made a better fist of what Ron Greenwood had tried to do with Liverpool players for England the previous decade by jettisoning much of the existing squad (including Oganesyan - dropped for developing a ‘star complex’) and packing the team with the Ukrainians of Dynamo Kyiv.

    But for now, it was an effective and unspectacular unit that cantered to a 2-0 victory against an England led by Bobby Robson.

    In his programme notes, Robson opined about the lack of availability of players on a consistent basis and it was a weakened team that eventually took the field here - Mike Duxbury’s horrendous error allowing for the first goal and provoking a chorus of boos in a sparsely populated Wembley.

    The old guard - Peter Shilton, Terry Butcher, Bryan Robson, Ray Wilkins and Trevor Francis was supplemented by a number of newcomers with perhaps the most significant being Gary Lineker - appearing in the squad for the first time in the 1-0 defeat to Wales that Spring.

    But the number of unlikely names betrays a team in transition after the failure to overcome Denmark in European Championship qualifying. Former NASL man Steve Hunt, David Armstrong, Mike Hazard and John Gregory all made it to Bisham Abbey.

    The most intriguing of the inclusions was winger Mark Chamberlain, Dad of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and a man who performed spiritedly on the afternoon - overshadowing the man on the opposite flank, John Barnes (the latter was to have the last laugh a few days later when he scored after a mazy run against Brazil).

    There was also a Watford inflection to things - as reigning European under-21 Champions, Robson had seen fit to promote a number of that set up to the full team and Nigel Callaghan was one to benefit. Add to that Luther Blissett, at the time a Milan player but forged at Vicarage Road nonetheless.

    But the theme didn’t end there. In a year that saw the Hertfordshire club reach an FA Cup Final, the programme advertised ‘The Summer of 84 Concert’ for later that month, with chairman Elton John headlining, supported by Nik Kershaw, Paul Young, Kool & The Gang and Wang Chung plus DJ appearances from Steve Wright and Simon Bates among others. Dull and dreary England’s 2-0 defeat may have been but presumably considerably less horrific than the entertainment offered by that shower.

    Elsewhere in the publicity sections, the prospect of gridiron action involving the Tampa Bay Bandits and Philadelphia Stars was offered (no, I haven’t heard of them either) and a typically oblique Benson and Hedges adorned the back page - MIDDLE TAR.

    Our thanks go to Rob for that wonderful trip down memory lane, and don't forget you can catch more of Rob's writing (together with that of many other fine folk) at We also urge you to follow TheTwoUnfortunates on Twitter, too.

    If you'd like to contribute an article of your own, please do so - simply contact @COakleyFtbl or @sofa_soccer on Twitter or leave us a comment on one of our blog posts and let us know all the details. Cheers!

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Final month boosts Owls into ']['op spot

    The 2012 Temple football recruiting class.

    Kevin Newsome was No. 2 PSU QB in 2009.
    Well, there were the 2010 baseball Giants and the 1993 Phillies and, now, you can put the 2012 Temple football Owls into that elite group.
    All three teams went from worst to first in a very short time.
    For the two baseball teams, we're talking about last-place to first-place finishes in pennant races within a 365-day period.
    For our beloved football Owls, we're talking about being ranked dead last in MAC recruiting (by as late as November to being ranked No. 1 (by both Scout and
    From my money, give me Temple's performance in football as being the most impressive.
    Steve Addazio carried the baton to the finish line to grab gold like Carl Lewis in the Olympic 400-meter relay race, getting the No. 7 all-purpose running back in the nation in Jamie Gilmore and Penn State transfer Kevin Newsome (once rated the No. 10 overall recruit in the nation) in the final days.
    The last Penn State quarterback who transferred to Temple, Steve Joachim, merely won the Maxwell Trophy emblematic of college football's best player (1974). Here is a trip into the Newsome "way back" machine, if you consider Dec. of 2008 way back.
    Robinson: I've always loved Temple.
    Throw in Archbishop Wood defensive back Nate Smith, a West Virginia decommit that we talked about here on Saturday night, and the Owls moved to the top with bullet-like speed.
    Now I don't put too much emphasis on stars because they are skewed in favor of the big-conference teams but this is the most impressive fact about the current Temple Owl group:
    Nineteen (yes, 19) of the 28 turned down offers (not just interest) by BCS schools to attend Temple.
    That, my friends, is how you win championships and I expect this group will join the current Owls in winning multiple titles, whether it is in the MAC or the Big East or somewhere else.
    This sent me scouring over the recruiting guides I got from attending Al Golden signing days and the highest number of definite BCS turn downs (not including the vague notion of interest) was Al Golden's second recruiting class and that was a harvest of nine.
    I'm not sure how Addazio was able to quantify this as "Temple's best recruiting class ever" which he did, but Daz can certainly make a strong argument that this is better than any Golden recruiting class. Best ever might be a little strong, since Temple recruiting classes brought in by Wayne Hardin and Bruce Arians were competing against a high BCS schedule, not one weighed down by eight MAC games a season.

    Still, the high school deeds of the playing coming into Temple University take a back seat to no era.
    Averee Robinson was 43-0 as a state championship wrestler during his junior year but said "truth be told, I really enjoy football more" and "I've always loved Temple." Do you love this kid or what? With that kind of attitude, it won't be long before he comes out from under brother Adrian's shadow. He's built low to the ground (6-1, 290) but nobody has the kind of leverage he does.
    Adrian's number at Temple was 43, the same number of wins Averee had in wrestling last year and the same number of touchdowns Gilmore scored.

    Herbin ran away from
    the competition in N.J.
    Khalif Herbin also scored 36 rushing touchdowns against outstanding competition and averaged a sick 13.1 yards a carry from the line of scrimmage, often while taking off the entire second half because his Montclair (N.J.) team was benefiting from the Mercy Rule. I know they have him listed as a slot receiver, but I'd really like to see Daz give Herbin a shot at running back. Hey, if it worked for 5-5, 150-pound Matty Brown it will work for 5-7, 170-pound Herbin.
    This story calls Herbin "arguably the most electrifying player in the state" but I did not get a single argument when I asked a North Jersey colleague who would be the other part of that argument.
    "Nobody," he said. "I guess the writer just wanted to use the word arguably but, honestly, there was no close second."
    Truth be told, to borrow a phrase from Averee Robinson.

    For a complete list of bios and photos click here:

    ']['ime to sign on the dotted ']["

    North Marion's Jamie Gilmore could have gone anywhere. He chose Temple.
    Wednesday morning update: All 28 Temple recruiting targets have signed their LOIs, according to TU football office ... complete bios and videos in TFF tomorrow

    This year's event
    NOT open to public

    PHILADELPHIA – Wednesday, Feb. 1 is National Signing Day for football.
    Temple head coach Steve Addazio will discuss the 2012 recruiting class in a 4 p.m. media conference. This year's event is not open to the public.
    Fans will be able to watch the press conference LIVE on
    Biographies and videos of the signees will be posted on
    Temple football opens spring drills in March, concluding with the annual Cherry & White Game on April 14.
    You can have the Super Bowl, World Series and the NBA finals but, to me, National Signing Day rates right up there with the first day of the NCAA Tournament as the most exciting sports day of the year.
    (Heck, I won the Inquirer's NCAA pool last year so I have a personal stake in why the first day of the tournament will be extra special this year.)
    For Temple football fans, though, it's '][' Day today, Feb. 1.
    It might have something to do with my teams not (like almost never) being in the Super Bowl rarely in the World Series and that I'm not a big fan of the NBA but National Signing Day has a special appeal.
    First, it's an example of the circle of life.
    As sad as I am to see Bernard Pierce leave the household dinner table (although he did leave before desert), that's how happy I am to welcome guys like Brandon Peoples, Jamie Gilmore, Khalif Herbin and Montrell Dobbs into the Temple family.
    I hope they work out as well as Bernard and, say, a lot better than Daryl Robinson, Tony "Soul Train" Cornelius or Eric Reynolds did.
    Only time will tell.
    Nate Smith decommited from West Virginia for TU.
    When the fax machine in the Edberg-Olsen Complex starts rolling today, the first 25 sheets of signed names will have Temple University football scholarships.
    Later that night, at the Liacouras Center, head coach Steve Addazio will be hosting a press conference to talk about the recruits. It will not be open to the public, but can be watched online.
    In the past, fans got to see the recruits on film and they looked like Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus on the big not-yet-HDTV screen.
    Gilmore is the No. 7-ranked all-purpose running back in the nation. (Thank you, Daz. That is just what this doctored ordered after Bernard Pierce left.)
    It's a beautiful night that way.
    It might not be a rite of spring, but it's certainly a rite of Groundhog's Day Eve.
    On the average, no more than five of the signees provide immediate help to the next varsity team but I can see at least this much help in the current class.
    Gilmore and Herbin I see as helping right away.
    Once Daz gets over this notion of using Harrisburg's Jalen Fitzpatrick as a running back and moves him into his more natural slot receiver role (picture a more explosive Joey Jones), it'll be up to guys like Herbin, Gilmore and Peoples to fight for that coveted backup tailback spot to Matty Brown. (The way I read the NCAA partial qualifier rule is that Dobbs won't be eligible to play for the 2012 Owls.)
    If there is an area of need in this class, that's it _ a reliable and explosive Brown backup.
    Although I would like to see the Owls move Kenny Harper over to safety to bolster that side of the ball, I think they are pretty much OK in other areas. Deon Miller should be a big-time wide receiver. If Fitzpatrick has any hands at all, he should complement him on the other side with a reliable "Wes Welker-like" type in Ryan Alderman as a probable starter.
    Daz's final three days produced a harvest (West Virginia DB de-commit Nate Smith has joined the fold) that should push this group to the top the MAC-rated classes.
    That's not as important now as it will be five years from now but help, to quote John Kerry, is on the way.