Thursday, February 28, 2013

Logacta (1976)

If you happen to find yourself thumbing through some 35-year-old copies of Shoot! magazine, it’s quite possible your eye will be caught by a small advert somewhere near the back for ‘Logacta.’

Subtitled ‘Chart Soccer’, it mysteriously offered the chance to organise league, cup and international competitions with “all the suspense and excitement of the full football season.” Several years ago, my eye was caught in just such a way. What was this game? How was it played? Why was it never sold in shops along with other football games? I searched the internet for information, and ultimately eBay provided me with the answers.

In its original form, Logacta was sold as a small white box containing numerous printed grids and instructions, cards and seven dice with different coloured numbers on. What I found on an eBay auction several years ago was someone selling all the original printed materials scanned in and saved as JPEG files onto a recordable CD along with a description of how each of the die were configured. In essence, this was a do-it-yourself version of Logacta but no less intriguing to my curious mind.

Having won the auction and received the CD through the post, I examined its contents. I didn’t know where to begin. So many JPEGs, all named but some more descriptively than others. There was a set of instructions, but they seemed wordy and complex. There had to be an easy way to start playing the game, but I couldn't find one and decided to print all of the files out instead.

It didn’t really work. I stared blankly at the mountain of paperwork now covering the desk in front of me. In my head, I was trying to break out of the mental connections I was making. “Paperwork = forms = administration = accounting = book-keeping = drudgery...” Maybe if I cleared all the papers away in a folder and had another look tomorrow with fresh eyes, I’d be able to make some progress...

Five years later

I rediscovered my folder in a cardboard box, one of many that had arrived at our New Zealand home after we relocated in September 2012. I knew the time had come to try once again to learn the mysterious art of Logacta.

With a bit of application, I found that actually it was fairly easy to play, once you’d got started. It was, however, a long and arduous journey to enlightenment, so here is an overview of how to play ‘Chart Soccer’.

Super League

First of all, you’re invited to create a 16-team Super League made up of teams from anywhere in the UK. Because Logacta was made back in 1976, I tried to include teams that were among the best around back then. Of the 14 English teams I chose, all but one - my team, West Ham - were playing in the First Division, the other two being Celtic and Rangers.

Having filled their names in on the Fixtures and Results (F&R) Chart and the Super League Points Recorder, I was ready to start my new league championship competition. A glance at the F&R Chart revealed that each square in the fixture grid had a number relating to each of the 30 gameweeks. I looked for all the squares numbered ‘1’ and prepared myself to fill in some scores.

The dice

So how do you create scores in Logacta? Easy - by using two of seven coloured dice. Each one contains its own unique set of numbers which, when two are rolled, determine the score of every match. The numbers are weighted for certain types of team; for instance the blue die has slightly higher numbers than the red die, thereby making the former more suitable for the team with home advantage than the latter.

Unfortunately my ‘DIY’ Logacta set didn’t contain any dice, so I decided to make my own using the number sets specified. They look OK, but to be honest they were rather fiddly and time-consuming to make and if the thought of playing with card, scissors and a Pritt Stick doesn’t appeal, you might want to use another system instead.

For the first four weeks of the Super League, only the red and blue dice are used to keep things nice and simple. With that in mind, I raced ahead and recorded the scores and points totals for the first four gameweeks. It’s fair to say that some teams realistically mirrored their 1976 vintage while others didn't. After Week 4, Ipswich, Man United and Tottenham shared the lead with six points from a possible eight (two points for a win, remember) while at the bottom were Derby and West Bromwich Albion on two points.

For Gameweeks 5 to 8, the choice of dice used for both teams was made differently. Before every game, I had to work out the difference in points between the two competing teams by looking at the Super League Points Recorder. Once that was done, I had to cross-reference a sheet called the Dice Selector to find out which colours the dice should be. Here’s an example: If Celtic had 10 points and Wolves had 5 points at the point when they played, the Dice Selector would tell you that you should roll the blue dice for Celtic and the grey dice for Wolves. As with all dice permutations, the final result should go in favour of the team with more points, but an upset is always possible as in real football.

The League Cup

On I went, rolling dice and scribbling numbers onto my sheets of paper until Gameweek 8 was completed. With Tottenham now clear at the top of the table, I noticed my Points Recorder chart telling me it was time for League Cup Round 3.

For this and all the Cup competitions, you’re allowed a free choice of any teams to compete as long as you have the right amount of each type. For instance, in the opening round of the League Cup, you’re allowed 11 teams from Division One, 10 from Division Two, 6 from Division Three and 4 from Division Four along with the current holders. Luckily a handy sheet is provided that lists who was in which division and who had won what the previous season.

Having chosen my teams, I then had to make the draw for Round Three. The original Logacta kit had 32 numbered cards which could be used in the absence of the Football League’s velvet bag of wooden balls. I, however, couldn’t be bothered to print and cut out the cards on my CD, so I used to generate my random numbers electronically.

For all League Cup games, the Dice Selector works on the basis of which divisions the two competing teams are in. So for instance if Nottingham Forest (1) were playing Southend United (3), you’d know that Forest would use the brown dice and Southend would use the yellow one.

So off I went again on my dice rolling exploits, but this being a Cup competition, I had to follow the right procedure for drawn games. A replay was sometimes required and even Extra Time. For that, I had to roll the yellow dice to determine any extra decisive goals. Exciting stuff. Well, kind of.

The Form die

With League Cup Round 3 done and dusted, it was back to the Super League but now I had to roll a ‘Form’ die during every gameweek. The principle was thus; for every four-week block of matches, the team(s) that scores the most points is entitled to potentially score extra goals in the next four-week block by rolling the extra yellow ‘Form’ die. In other words, the better your form, the better your form will probably be in successive weeks.

Tottenham and QPR had scored the most points in Gameweeks 5 to 8 of my league, so they got to roll for more goals with the yellow die in weeks 9 to 12. For one of them, it was to prove decisive.

The FA Cup, The League Cup Final and Europe

Weeks went by and the Form die was already helping to sort the league’s high-flyers from its whipping boys. Just past the mid-way point, Liverpool and QPR led the table with 24 points from 32 while Derby were at the other end with just five.

Around the same time, the FA Cup Fourth Round appeared on the calendar and once again I had to pick and draw the competing teams. Fun though it is at first to re-enact every draw that arises, the novelty does start to wear off as you just want to get on with playing the matches. For all that, however, I did have the undeniable pleasure of seeing West Ham beat Colchester 3-2, therein justifying my decision to include The Hammers in every competition possible.

This was borne out when West Ham reached the semi-finals of my League Cup competition but inexplicably they were beaten 6-5 on aggregate by Wigan Athletic, then of Division Four. Outraged but willing to accept the result as it stood, Wigan then went on to beat Newcastle 2-1 in a replay of the League Cup Final after the first match was drawn 3-3.

As if that wasn't enough to satiate your interest, the three European competitions then arrived hot on their heels. In drawing up the starting lists for The European Cup, The European Cup-Winners’ Cup and the UEFA Cup, one had to observe the ranking system for all possible competing teams - 1 for the strongest countries down to 5 for the weakest. These grades would have an effect on which dice were used, but with Scottish teams ranked the same as those from Russia in the European Cup and Spanish teams in the Cup-Winners’ Cup, one could never be quite sure if all was as it should be.

Anyway, the 24 European games were drawn and played and through completely random misfortune, all my English clubs were eliminated at the first hurdle. And the late-70’s was supposed to be a high point for English teams in Europe...

The final push

And so it went on. Blocks of four Super League games regularly interrupted by successive rounds of either the FA Cup or the Euro competitions. My brain slowly started to melt under the strain of processing so many numbers with each passing game. The suggested tip of filling in the charts with a pencil so that mistakes could be rubbed out also proved of great value as my faltering mind started to make occasional errors in my calculations.

As the season grew to a close, I wanted more and more for the whole thing to be over. In my Super League, QPR had hit top position in Week 20 and stayed there right through to the bitter end, winning the title with three weeks to spare. At the other end of the table, however, Manchester City had ‘wooden spoon’ written all over them from even earlier in the season and were easily the worst team on form as well as points.

The FA Cup was won by Southampton, 2-1 winners over Nottingham Forest. Not a bad foresight of the two teams that were to appear in the real 1979 League Cup Final. As for Europe, PSV won the European Cup Final 5-4 over Cologne after extra time, Anderlecht beat Barcelona 3-1 in the Cup-Winners’ Cup and Stuttgart beat Torpedo Moscow 4-3 in the UEFA Cup Final.

The end at last...?

So that was it - except it wasn’t, according to the game’s manufacturer. Logacta implores you to play season after season, applying promotion and relegation to the Super Leagues and giving byes to previous Cup champions as you go. There were also charts that enable you to play out your own version of the European Championships or even the World Cup. I, however, had had enough.

I’d enjoyed the process of understanding the complex logic of Logacta, not to mention the way one observes the unfolding development of various League and Cup competitions.

The trouble is, it takes too long to complete one season, there’s too much scribbling to do on too much paper and if you’re playing it on your own, you've not even got anyone to share your experiences with during the long journey.

But hey, I can now say I've played Logacta with all the weary pride of someone completing the London Marathon. Will I be doing it all over again any time soon, though? Not unless someone can write me a computer program to automate everything, and even then I'm not so sure...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The best running back nobody is talking about

My favorite photo of Montel Harris as a Temple Owl, sharing a moment
of respect with Army linebacker and captain Nate Coombs after going for
351 yards and seven touchdowns in a 63-32 win.

My favorite Montel Harris moment this year had nothing to do with what he did during a game, but it had a lot to do with what he did on the field.
After the Army game, both Montel  and Army linebacker Nate Coombs shared a few words after Temple's 63-32 win at Michie Stadium.
Draft expert Matt Waldman was talking about Harris.

After it was over, Montel and Nate shook hands, laughed and walked off the field.
That's what sports is all about. It was a great sportsmanship moment between a future NFL player and a guy who is going to put it all on the line for our country.
We can only imagine what Nate told Montel, but we can guess it went something like this:
"Man, I tried to tackle you, but it was like tackling air out there."
After a fairly good performance in the recent NFL combine, draft expert Matt Waldman called Montel "the best running back nobody is talking about."
The thing the combine can't measure is start/stop ability and Harris is the best I've ever seen 

I think they will be talking about him on draft day.
Last year, I predicted Bernard Pierce would go in the third round. I think Harris goes in the sixth, no lower than the seventh.

How Harris and Pierce compared at the NFL combine:

40 time
Bench Reps
Vertical Jump
Montel Harris
19 (at 225 pounds)
32.5 inches
Bernard Pierce
17 (at 225 pounds)
36.5 inches

How Harris and Pierce did in best single season:

Longest Run
Montel Harris (2009)
72 yards
Bernard Pierce (2011)
69 yards

After watching Harris last year and Pierce the three years before that, the difference is simply this:
Pierce is faster and can do more damage on the outside but Harris is much better between tackles and starting and stopping to get out of trouble.
The only reason Harris drops three or so rounds below Pierce will be his knee injury history, but his knee held up pretty well at Temple despite the workload.
To me, the combine numbers are nowhere near as important as these numbers:

Career Carries
Career Yards
Average  (2012)
Career Long
Montel Harris
Le’Veon Bell
Montee Ball
Ray Graham
Gio Bernard
Jawan Jamison

To me, what you do on the field is a lot more important than what you can do at the combine and Harris' numbers stack up very well against some of the top running backs in the group above.
Remember, Harris never fumbles while Eagles' seventh-round pick Bryce Brown fumbled a lot. You can gain all the yards in the world and have all the speed and the vertical leap and bench press, but if the ball ends up in the hands of the other team after the play is over you are worthless.
How cool would it be for Montel Harris to introduce himself on Sunday or Monday night football by saying, "Montel Harris, Temple Football Forever"
That's another metric that can't be measured at a combine.

How cool would it be for Montel Harris to introduce himself on Sunday or Monday night football by saying, "Montel Harris, Temple Football Forever."
Heck, if Mo Wilkerson or Bernard Pierce beat him to the punch, that would be cool, too.

Whatever questions that some may have had about his character were answered with a season as a solid citizen and terrific teammate at Temple.
I wish him all the best.
My guess is that Army's Nate Coombs does, too.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Great Tracksuits of Our Time: No.10

England (1986):

Our recent podcast covering World Cup Memories has given me the perfect excuse to mention Mexico 86 again, and what better way to do so than by selecting Tracksuit No.10.

Considering the staidness of the England kit of the time, this is actually quite a flashy affair... albeit flashy in a rather staid way, of course.

The merest hint of collar, far from the huge winged articles of the 70s, gives an air of modern cool that continues with a mixture of horizontal pinstripes and chest panels that would have looked at home on the tail fin of a British Airways Concorde.

We're getting hints of style and international air travel. It's the 80s in nylon! With this tracksuit, we are going places... mainly the quarter finals!

The fashion police 'disappear' another perp
One other point of note is that this was also one of the last England tracksuits that actually was a tracksuit, i.e. before the dreaded shellsuit appeared. Check out Italia 90 and it's all-crinkly nylon and geometric shapes... rave on! (Just not too close to an open fire!)

Thankfully, Bobby refused to take part in this unbecoming trend and instead stepped out in a grey double breasted suit. Legend!

Seen any great tracksuits from football's rich and illustrious past? Tell us all about them by dropping us a line to admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com. We could feature your words on our website!

Other Great Tracksuits of Our Time:

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Frankford's DiGiorgio a Diamond Tim

Love the way the Frankford announcer calls the first TD five yards into the pattern.

Little wonder why Tim DiGiorgio wants to become an accountant.
He should fit right in at Temple's nationally ranked Fox Business School. He's spent the last couple of years being very good with numbers.
Tim DiGiorgio gets ready to throw the ball.
The Frankford quarterback is headed to Temple as a "preferred walk-on" after breaking a few calculators putting some eye-popping stats together.
After throwing for 2,357 yards and 30 touchdowns as a junior for the Public League champion Pioneers, he added 1,704 yards and 14 more touchdowns as a senior.
He was the third player in the 97-year history of the Public League to pass for 3,000 yards and did it in only his 15th varsity game, the first to accomplish that feat.
My good friend, Donald Hunt, of the Philadelphia Tribune (he co-wrote the book "Winning is an Attitude" with John Chaney) asked Temple coach Matt Rhule a question at his first press conference about what he would do to keep the talent from the Philadelphia Public and Catholic League here and Rhule answered that recruiting would start from here and head on out.
In DiGiorgio's case, Frankford High School is only 5.1 miles from 10th and Diamond.
DiGiorgio, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound lefty, is the very epitome of what Rhule was talking about when he said Temple was all about finding Diamonds in its own backyard, to borrow founder Russell Conwell's theme.
He did so well when he attended a passing camp at Penn State that assistant coach Ron Vanderlinden told him they would offer him if highly rated recruit Christian Hackenburg backed out of his commitment. Surprisingly, Hackenburg remained true to Penn State and four years of playing behind suspect offensive lines and Temple could be the beneficiary.
Imagine this billboard on I-95 with a slightly different spelling and the
word "not" replaced by "a" and the pizza replaced by a throwing TU QB.
DiGiorgio had some feelers from other places, but wanted the chance to play Division I (known as FBS football now).
Temple should offer him that chance. The Owls are very thin at the quarterback position for the 2014 season.
So far, only incoming recruit P.J. Walker and DiGiorgio have significant playing time over the last couple of years. Connor Reilly, the starting holder on extra points and field goals, hasn't thrown the ball in a real game since high school (although in 2011 he handed it off in a 42-0 win at Ball State). Those are your 2014 Owl quarterbacks.
For now at least.
If DiGiorgio can play, and all indications are that he can, he will be given every opportunity by Rhule, walk on or not.
Rhule played at Penn State.
As a walk-on.
And you don't have to be a future accountant to know that adds up to a fair shot.

The Tim DiGiorgio File


Friday, February 22, 2013

Podcast 5 and a New Look

What can I say? You people are just soooo lucky!

Not only do you get a new podcast to listen to, but you also get to gaze in awe at our lovely new look!

Yeah, you like that don't you!

So, we've given the place a bit of a spring clean and to celebrate this, we've recorded another podcast!

This time it's all about World Cup Memories, so sit back and wallow in an hour of fuzzy FIFA warmth... We've also used a special theme tune, just this once...

Oh and get to hear Rich describe it as the "bed poscat ida the world"


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Matty Brown's replacement? How about Herbin?

"Jerry Jones' Money, you a running back" comes up at the 2:12 time stamp. That's song lyric perfectly describes Khalif Herbin in my book.

Matt Brown's career took off after being switched to RB.
As the crow flies, where both Matty Brown and Khalif Herbin played their final years of high school ball is separated by only 50 miles of I95 and Garden State Parkway highway in New Jersey.
Brown played his final year at Peddie School in Highstown. Herbin played at Montclair.
To me, that's really the only thing that separates the two players.
The highest compliment I can pay Herbin now is that, used properly _ the way Brown was _ he can be just as good and maybe even better.
I really believe that.
Going into this 2013 season, I am not worried about too many areas of Temple's football team this upcoming season, but I was worried about finding the next Matty Brown.
Until the light bulb went on in my head yesterday.
The next Matty Brown is sitting right there in the Edberg-Olson Complex.
You know, that shifty, elusive guy everybody else underestimates until he's putting up six points on a regular basis?
Instead of wearing No. 2 or 22, he's wearing No. 27.
In 2009, Matty Brown started the seson as a slot receiver until a similar light bulb went off in Al Golden's head and Al gave Brown a chance to carry the ball. It turned out to be a stroke of genius
Khalif Herbin is my choice. Heck, he's got the talent to be better than Brown. He's faster (4.39 to Brown's 4.44). He's even bigger (5-7, 170 to Brown's 5-5, 150). There are a lot of intangibles about Brown that make him the toughest son-of-a-gun I've seen play for Temple in a long, long time (maybe ever) but I'd like to see what Herbin can bring to the table with the same opportunity.
Herbin was an unbelievable talent with the ball in his hands (check out the film above, just from his first five high school senior games).
He just didn't get the ball in his hands enough last year. As a 5-7 slot receiver, it's just not possible.
That was one of the many problems with Steve Addazio. He didn't maximize the talent of his players. To me, one of the best athletes on the team should not be a third-team quarterback nor should a guy as elusive as Herbin be a slot receiver. A guy who both runs and throws the ball as well as Chris Coyer does should not be spending the first two downs of every series handing of to a running back.
In 2009, Matty Brown started the season as a slot receiver until a similar light bulb went off in Al Golden's head and Al gave Brown a chance to carry the ball. It turned out to be a stroke of genius.
The position move led to a nice chapter in Temple football history.
Not that Brown is gone, Matt Rhule should consider doing the same for Herbin.
Temple found Brown while playing for Peddie School in Blairstown in 2009 and could find his replacement in a Montclair, N.J. product.
The Owls need a game-breaker like Brown and Herbin could be all that and more. It's definitely worth a shot.

The Khalif Herbin File


2011 Punt Returns*
2010 Punt Returns**

*Also returned 7 kickoffs for 243 yards and 2 TDs
**Also returned 9 kickoffs for 385 and 2 TDs

Monday, February 18, 2013

Great Tracksuits of Our Time: No.9

Argentina (1978):

A special occasion sometimes requires a special outfit to wear and as hosts of the 1978 World Cup, Argentina certainly got it in the form of this fetching sky blue tracksuit by Adidas.

As you can see, it's main feature was a navy blue panel across the shoulders (front and back) that pointed slightly downwards in a chevron style. Look carefully, however, and you'll also see a natty winged collar too - very 70's. Along the sleeves were the three Adidas stripes in navy blue, a colour also used for the cuffs.

For extra decoration, there was some navy blue piping that curved in from the sides by way of a vague tribute to Admiral's 'tramlines' motif, and the partial waist band was dark in colour too.

Here was some official teamwear that could truly be worn on and off the pitch, so smart was the overall effect. For anyone wanting the complete ensemble, it came complete with some matching sky blue trousers (flared, naturally) featuring the trademark Adidas stripes down the sides of the legs. Just the thing if you found yourself sitting on a drafty team bench in Rosario.

There really is nothing else to add, except sometimes, on very rare occasions, the Argentinian squad found itself short of stitch-on badges. Here we see the alternative version normally reserved for the suited dignitaries of the Argentinian Football Association. Imagine how much that'd be worth on eBay if it still exists...

Seen any great tracksuits from football's rich and illustrious past? Tell us all about them by dropping us a line to admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com. We could feature your words on our website!

Other Great Tracksuits of Our Time:

One fan's take on how the season will go

The Big East's original color-coded schedule.

Any day now the Big East will release the schedule for the upcoming football season.
A guess on how Temple will do at this point is just that.
Too soon for me. Last year, I didn't post my prediction until August and I'll probably wait until that same time this year.
Too many things can happen between now and then.
That doesn't mean I discourage other fans from playing a preliminary numbers' game.
One of those fans, Steve Sipe, actually gave a pretty optimistic rundown below:
Steve Sipe's early game-by-game analysis. I'll sign for that now. Unfortunately, Charlie Strong is still at Louisville.
He only has the Owls down for two losses, one by a touchdown to national runner-up Notre Dame, the other at Tommy Tuberville's Cincinnati.
When it comes to Temple football, I always hope for 12-0 and settle for winning seasons.
While many might view Steve as being a little overly optimistic, I'll sign for it now.
Maybe that view is tempered by the fact that I had Steve Addazio going a base 6-6 (with a bowl win) or as optimistic as 8-3 in 2012. No way did I ever dream that he would come up with a hare-brained one-dimensional offensive scheme that would add up to 4-7.
Right now, though, I feel better about  Matt Rhule's offensive acumen but I'm waiting on how the defense shapes up.
Cherry and White Day Special
From Feb. 16 through Cherry and White Day, get this cool Temple Football Forever bumper sticker.
Anyone who contributes at least $20 via the pay pal donation option on the sidebar (in the Support TFF section) or $20 to the P.O. Box address (in the help TFF afford a pair of shoes section) gets this cool bumper sticker exactly as it appears above (3 inches high, 11 inches wide). Please allow two weeks for pay pal orders and one month for postal orders. Thanks.

I feel confident about the kicking game (Paul Layton, Jim Cooper Jr., Nick Visco) and I'm a big Chris Coyer  guy so I feel good about those areas. I would like to see Zaire Williams on the field  but that's not going to happen until August. I hope Jamie Gilmore has a big spring. He's the only legitimate tailback on the roster now.  Heck, even fullback Wyatt Benson, the best blocker I've seen at Temple since Shelley Poole, might even get a few carries.
If Phil Snow is as good a defensive coordinator as Matt Rhule advertises him to be, maybe 10-2 is a good prediction. I'd love to see Kevin Newsome or Nate L. Smith  roam the middle of the field as a free safety and Kenny Parker moved to strong safety and the Owls go to a 3-4 defense to take advantage of their nose tackle depth (Averee Robinson, Hershey Walton and Levi Brown) and terrific linebacker speed. Sean Daniels is going to have to become the push-rusher I know he can be at one DE and the Owls are going to have to find another speedy pass-rusher on the other side. If all those personnel moves pan out, the Owls could cause enough turnovers to become an efficient, maybe dangerous, Big East defensive team. Right now, without knowing, I have the Owls losing to ND, Central Florida (a better team than Steve might think), Rutgers, Cincy and Louisville for a 7-5 record.
Praying for 12-0, would sign for 10-2 right now and grudgingly accept 7-5 at this point.
Anything less would be disappointing.
Spring practice starts March 22.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

England XI v Thames TV XI advert, 1979

While some people these days prefer to idle away their spare time pondering who they'd invite to their fantasy dinner parties, we football fans of a certain age can opt for something more enlightening. What better, you might say, than to put together your fantasy celebrity football team? Not much, we hear you cry.

Imagine, if you will, those heady days of the 1970's when a Pro-Celebrity Charity football match seemed to take place somewhere in the UK every other week. You could barely move for celebrity teams back then. TV commentators, politicians... everyone was at it. Rest assured the great, the good and the attention-seeking were all to be found pulling on a cheap Bukta strip at a neglected local football ground throughout the 70's, and to prove a point, here's an ad from surely the decade's biggest event.

The date was May 13th 1979 and the venue, ironically, was just down the road from the BBC TV studios in White City given that it featured a team of Thames TV All Stars. This, however, wasn't any ordinary charity football match. This was a match featuring the legendary figures that made up the 1966 World Cup-winning team, albeit with one or two absences. A high profile match indeed, and all to raise money for the Newsvendors Benevolent Institution, whatever that was. Probably an excuse to fund the bar at Thames TV's Euston Road studios, we shouldn't wonder.

Anyway, the ad shown gives us a couple of clues as to who was playing, namely Dennis Waterman (just starting out in the series Minder) and Richard O'Sullivan (still playing the role of Robin Tripp in Robin's Nest). But in the absence of actual written details, who else might have been playing for Thames TV that day? To put it another way, who would we like to have seen playing that day?

Beginning at the back, how about Kenny Everett in goal? Well they do say you have to be made to play in between the sticks... In defence, perhaps the wily experience of Eamonn Andrews, the height of Magpie's Mick Robertson, plus, in the spirit of the Charltons and Nevilles of the England team, how about the O'Connors - Tom and Des?

In midfield, intelligence and quick minds are needed, so my pick would be Hywel Bennett (Shelley), Brian Murphy (George and Mildred), Geoffrey Hayes (Rainbow) and Michael Aspel (Give Us A Clue). Not all of them would have intelligence AND a quick mind of course, but you can't have everything. That just leaves the lethal strike partnership up front of the aforementioned Dennis Waterman and Richard O'Sullivan.

Clearly I've had a misspent youth and too much time on my hands, but there it is - my fantasy Thames TV XI. If you've got any fantasy showbiz teams you'd like to put together, share them with us - admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com. We'll do our best to display them here on our website!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Magnificent Seven present and accounted for ...

 Matt Rhule assures concerned fans that the first two plays on every series won't be runs this season.

Less than a couple of weeks ago, head coach Matt Rhule talked about the incoming group of football players at Temple University.
Usually he's taking about kids who typically come on campus the week after the July 4th holiday.
Usually, but not always.

Cherry and White Day Special
From Feb. 16 through Cherry and White Day, get this cool Temple Football Forever bumper sticker.
Anyone who contributes at least $20 via the pay pal donation option on the sidebar (in the Support TFF section) or $20 to the P.O. Box address (in the help TFF afford a pair of shoes section) gets this cool bumper sticker exactly as it appears above (3 inches high, 11 inches wide). Please allow two weeks for pay pal orders and one month for postal orders. Thanks.
There's an interesting group of seven players already enrolled on campus.
In the "Magnificent Seven" are two three-time Pennsylvania state wrestling champions in John Rizzo of Johnstown and Averee Robinson of Harrisburg.
Paul Layton is a punter to keep an eye out for in spring practice.
I think two of them have really good shots to start.
If I had to handicap now, I think Layton is a lock to start and Robinson, whose game reminds me of Joe Klecko's, is right behind him.
Layton is particularly intriguing to me because, for the last three years, I've had nightmares of Brandon McManus drawing a roughing-the-kicker penalty and not getting up. That's a helluva way of losing an NFL-caliber placekicker. I told his dad as much a few times. He assured me it would not happen.
Fortunately, he was right and my nightmares were wrong.
Now that Temple has a dedicated punter, I hope they never use him. (Sorry, Paul, but I'll take touchdowns and Jim Cooper Jr. field goals over your punts any day of the week.) Still, if Temple uses him, he looks like a good one.
Since he's a grad student, like Montel Harris was, I'll call Layton "The Montel Harris of Punting."
If he has the same positive impact on the program that Montel does, he'll be more than worth the scholarship.
Robinson, like Joe Klecko, has tremendous gap leverage and three Pennsylvania state heavyweight championships to demonstrate the ability. His game is more like Joe Klecko's than Dan Klecko's in that he would be the perfect nose guard in a 3-4 defense. Dan Klecko was more of a natural 4-3 tackle. Robinson is very hard to block, like both Joe and Dan were. If anyone can be trusted for gap control it's a Joe Klecko or an Averee Robinson.
It's not going to be easy beating out guys like Hersey Walton and Levi Brown, but Robinson certainly has the ability to do it.
When practice gets underway on March 22, we'll get to see these players.

Dion DawkinsOLFr.6-5330Rahway, N.JRahwayHargrave Military Academy
Paul LaytonPSr.6-1215Burnt Hills, N.Y.Ballston LakeAlbany
Jihaad PretlowDBFr.5-11185Elizabeth, N.J.Blair Academy
John RizzoFBFr.6-1221Johnstown, Pa.Richland
Averee RobinsonDLFr.6-1285Harrisburg, Pa.Susquehanna TownshipMilford Academy
Adrian SullivanOLFr.6-5270Babylon, N.Y.BabylonWorchester Academy
Kiser TerryDLFr.6-3260Feasterville, Pa.NeshaminyMilford Academy