Friday, May 31, 2013

League of Blogs 2013 - Roundup + Sticker Book News!

Well it's over for another year! The League of Blogs 2013 has officially come to a close and we'd just like to say what a huge pleasure it was running this again and a massive thank you to all who joined in!

This year we've had a total of 51 blogs sign up, meaning a total of 99 individual kit designs (and of course 51 badge designs) - a gargantuan effort of which you should all be proud!

Check out the good work in the gallery.

But of course, the League of Blogs doesn't end here...not while there's merch we can flog off the back of it ;-)

As with last year, we'll be creating a Sticker Book (last year's shown here), which is a loose term as the 'stickers' are actually pre-printed in the book - we considered doing one where you get the stickers as actual stickers, but the cost becomes prohibitive...unless you want to spend about £30 on it, but I know none of you are that insane ;-)

So...the book will be a 30 page softcover sticker book with the 102 'stickers' all lovingly presented in what we hope will be a much loved style...probably gonna look something like the page layout here, though this is still a draft copy...

Price will be the same as last year...£15 inc UK P&P. If you live overseas, we'll give you an idea of the cost before you commit.

With each book, you will get your own 2 stickers as actual stickers, which will include your badge as an actual foil sticker after I searched high and low for somewhere that makes printable silver sticker see what I go through for you lucky people???? ;-)

I shall be getting these together and crucially, ordering them this weekend so if you want one, please shout now, so I have a rough idea of numbers.

If you want to buy one, drop us a line here, via email (admin[at]thefootballattic[dot]com), via facebook or twitter and we'll let you know what to do.

Finally, our Top 3s will be announced very shortly :-)

Thanks once again for all your excellent designs and's been a privilege :)

Rich & Chris

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Retro Round-Up - 31 May 2013

The domestic football season may be over, but the world of football nostalgia continues to turn, as witnessed by our latest weekly selection of the best the web has to offer...

Remember the days when sponsorship of the Football League was seen as something of a novelty? Does your memory go that far back? It does for The Two Unfortunates, as shown in their excellent article on the subject...

Let's all wish Twohundredpercent a Happy 7th Birthday by checking out its account of seven matches where seven goals were scored by the winning team...

Prior to last Saturday's Champions League Final, Who Ate All The Pies used Panini as the medium with which to remember great players from previous Finals...

A beautiful mosaic of football legends from the 1950's awaits when you visit Footysphere...

Meanwhile, Got, Not Got focus on 'Focus On' - Shoot magazine's regular player profile feature. Were there any players in the 1970's that didn't have Steak and Chips as their favourite meal?

Match magazine, however, tried their own version of 'Focus On' but was it a good idea to ask a player like Giles Stille of Brighton about his 'Biggest disappointment in life'? The Goldstone Wrap investigates...

The Vintage Football Club provides pictorial evidence of Czech team Bohemians from 1982/83 and, more importantly, the only known sighting of a completely red football...

And finally a reminder that we're currently inviting you to vote on your favourite England home kit from the last five decades, so get along to our online poll and choose your favourite. The winning kit will be announced at the end of June!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Attic Podcast 9 - Club Badges

It's podcast time again here in the Attic and this week, it's to the sound of a bandwagon being leapt upon! In the wake of the Everton badge furore, we decided to discuss the thorny subject of club badges and what they mean to a club and its fans.

Listen as Chris calls all Everton fans childish idiots (maybe) and Rich does the best Scouse accent this side of the flow of brown water known as the Mersey! ;-)

Also, Aztec Gold returns as the theme tune... cos it's freaking brilliant!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Creedon's Clear-thinking Revival

Believe it or not, the only shot of SP's exterior on the internet.

Sometimes you have to think outside of the box.
Or, in the case of Temple's new indoor football facility, inside a box that was already built.
Credit James Creedon, Temple's vice-president for Construction, Facilities and Operations, with an out-of-the-box solution to Temple's recurring problem of finding a place to practice on inclement days.
“We thought, ‘Are there any other options that might be out there?’” Creedon said. “We started talking about the Student Pavilion, and thought that there might be some lower cost, cost-effective options that would achieve the same result with the Pavilion.”
Sitting a few feet Southeast of the corner of 15th and Norris was an unused building with a perfectly good roof high enough to once house a golf driving range and waiting to be demolished for a library. Heck, I used to play pick-up basketball in there no more than seven years ago when I had a Temple Fitness Club Alumni Membership pass.
Did the library REALLY need to go there?
Could that perfectly good (and relatively new, compared to most buildings on campus) structure be used for another purpose?
The Student Pavilion, once a White Elephant, has been revived and reinvented.
Call it Creedon's Clear-Thinking Revival.
We're rolling, rolling, rolling on the West Side of Broad.
“We thought, ‘Are there any other options that might be out there?’” Creedon said. “We started talking about the Student Pavilion, and thought that there might be some lower cost, cost-effective options that would achieve the same result with the Pavilion.”
Sweden checking in for a five-minute visit. Thanks, Sweden.

Now, instead of waiting a year or two down the road for a bubble to be wedged into the already small space around the Edberg-Olson Football Complex, the Owls can walk the couple blocks to practice at 15th and Norris.
Remember Hurricane Hanna?
The Owls had to bus down to the Nova Care Complex to practice three days that week before a home game against UConn, an overtime loss.
Al Golden, the head coach at the time, had a good relationship with Andy Reid.
Now that Reid is gone and Chip Kelly doesn't know Matt Rhule from Matt Damon, all bets are off for a similar continuing amicable relationship with the Eagles. No one wants to put 100 guys on a couple of buses and travel through downtown traffic for seven miles every time it rains. That's small-time.
Remember Hurricane Sandy?
The Owls had to hastily reschedule an off-day Monday into a practice for Sunday and missed an entire Tuesday practice altogether.
Now, no more bus rides to Nova Care.
The best thing about the indoor bubble is that it has a roof and will be ready with a nice turf field by Aug. 1.
Give that Creedon guy a raise.
Or at least a shorter and more spiffy job title.

Retro Round-Up - 24 May 2013

Bringing you the best that the world of football nostalgia has to offer, this is The Football Attic's weekly Retro Round-Up...

Former Charlton goalkeeper Sam Bartram celebrates 500 appearances for the club by having a celebratory cake cut for him by a Portsmouth player. The 1950's presented in a single image by Who Ate All The Pies...

It's always great to remind oneself about the legend that was Robin Friday, and The Goldstone Wrap does a fine job of keeping his spirit alive here...

The Sound of Football podcast looks at England's golden generation of the late-90s and ponders how many have retired to start running a pub...

Is Jupp Heynckes heading for Real Madrid? One thing is certain: he made his mark on the 1973 UEFA Cup Final Second Leg against Liverpool, as shown in On This Day for May 23rd...

Wallow in a forgotten world where Roy Race was king over at The Greek Roy of the Rovers Fan Club...

Utterly beautiful football illustrations that appeal readily to the most nostalgic among us - check out Miniboro and you won't be disappointed...

Pick up a real piece of history - an original medal from the 1928 Olympic soccer tournament on eBay...

Finally, a great tribute to the late Brian Greenhoff by his autobiographer over at the Manchester Evening News.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Brian Greenhoff (1953-2013)

Anyone that collected football stickers or collector cards in the late-1970s will know the name Brian Greenhoff. The former Manchester United, Leeds United and England defender who died suddenly earlier today was a competent and much admired player who started his career at Old Trafford in 1968.

In the 221 appearances he made there, he quickly became a fans' favourite, epitomising the youthful passion for the game that many of his recent predecessors at Man United were seen to be lacking.

Promoted from the youth team ranks by Tommy Docherty, Greenhoff formed a steely partnership in defence alongside Martin Buchan and was present in the Red Devils sides that won the 1975 Second Division title and the FA Cup Final in 1977.

Scoring 13 goals during his time at Old Trafford, he eventually came to play alongside his older brother Jimmy who arrived at Manchester United in 1976. It was in this year that Brian Greenhoff made the first of his 18 appearances for England in a 1-0 win over Wales in Cardiff, his last being in a 2-1 win over Australia in Sydney in 1980.

In 1979, Greenhoff moved to Leeds United for £350,000 - still a sizeable amount of money in those days - but his arrival at Elland Road coincided with a downturn in the fortunes of the Yorkshire club. In 1982, Leeds United were relegated to the Second Division and Greenhoff was released from his contract.

In 1983, he spent a year at Rochdale as player-coach alongside his brother Brian (who by that time had been made player-manager), but it proved to be a million miles away from his glory days at Old Trafford - metaphorically if not geographically.

We remember Brian Greenhoff here, however, as a player who made his mark by being good at what he did and was therefore seen as a hero to many fans during his career. He will be missed.

(Video courtesy of Fooball Gaffes Galore)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

League of Blogs 2013 Update + Prize + Sticker Books

There's only days left to book your place in the League of Blogs 2013!

This year's entries have so far been outstanding and the response has been great, with some familiar faces from 2012 alongside a whole host of new entries.

Don't forget there's also a fantastic prize on offer for the design we choose as our favourite. Worcester Subbuteo (@WRP7) have kindly offered to create the winning entry in a hand painted Subbuteo figure!

Last year's chosen one was this cracker from Wrong Side of the Pond.

There's also the very real possibility that we'll be creating a Panini style sticker book as we did last year.

Whether we do this will depend on demand, so if you're interested, let us know and we'll get on it :)  As with last year, we would probably create a standard version with the stickers pre-printed in the book along with your own entries in actual sticker form (including foil sticker!)
We may also create a limited edition one with a blank book and a full set of stickers to stick in yourself. Given the foil stickers though, this one may prove to be just a tad too pricey...we'll see :)

Finally, I'd just like to say a huge thank you to all who've entered so far... the League of Blogs would literally be nothing without you :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Greatest England Home Kit Ever 1965-2013

So now we know. The new England home kit by Nike has been launched and whether we like it or not, we're stuck with it for a whole year. It can now take it's place alongside all the other England home kits from recent history where it can be judged on its merits and flaws...

...and that's why we're here - to determine the Greatest England Home Kit Since 1965. You'll have seen our recent posts reflecting on the high and low points of England home kit design, but now it's time for all of you to rate the very best outfit of the last 48 years.

Here's what we'd like to do. First, spend a while gazing longingly at the graphic above showing all of the last 18 England home kits (clicking on the image brings up a larger version - right-click and 'Save As' while it's on the screen to retain a full-size version).

Dwell on your initial gut reaction upon seeing them for the first time. Try not to get wrapped up in the successes or failures associated with the team wearing them - retain balance and clarity as you weigh up the virtues of each design, for it's the design we'd like you to think about here.

Once you've done all that, arrive at an answer to the following question:

Which is your favourite England home kit since 1965?

When you think you're certain in your judgement, use the form below to register your vote. It's as simple as that.

We'll run our poll from now until midnight on 30 June 2013, after which we'll get to find out which England home kit is the best that's been worn for very nearly half a century.

Thanks in advance for taking part, and please feel free to comment on any of the kits shown in the graphic above.


This poll has now CLOSED. Many thanks to all of you that took part in the voting.

Want to know which kit was voted the best? Visit our results page and find out!

What's the Worst Thing about Modern Football? - Round 2

Wow! What can we say other than WOW! The response to this has been absolutely fantastic!!!

The work continues however...we may have shed the likes of 'Modern Day MOTD' and 'The Second Commentator', but still in contention are the likes of 'Half and Half Scarves' and 'Ticket Prices'.

Round 2 has been split into 8 groups of 3 and this time, you can only choose 1 thing...that will leave us nicely with 8 things left for the 1/4 final straight knockout...wait a minute, this whole thing has turned into the same format as the Champions League!!!! NOOOOOO!!!!!

How to Vote:

You can vote for only 1 choice in each group.
At the end of the round, the winner from each group will go through to the 1/4 Finals.

Voting for Round 2 closes at 23:59 on Sunday 26th May 2013

Go Go Go!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Lion comic t-shirt ad, 1972

It's the gift that every football-loving child of the early 1970's wanted - a t-shirt featuring the face of Kevin Keegan with a black eye. And yours for only 92p!

But not only that - if you were a regular purchaser of Lion comic back in 1972, you could also buy a t-shirt featuring a footballer that hadn't been involved in a punch-up, such as Rodney Marsh, Peter Osgood or... er... Billy Bremner? Actually, even the shirt featuring Gordon Banks can't have been that good, judging by the expression of the kid in the middle.

This, of course, was the precursor to many a product that now finds itself widely available on the internet (although some are better than others), and can thereby consider itself ahead of its time.

Or indeed, a head of its time. A ha-ha.

(Image reproduced by kind permission of combomphotos)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Panini: Euro Football 79

My failing memory doesn't recall Panini's Euro Football 79 being on sale in the UK when I was a kid. If that's the case, it's an almighty shame because this, for me, was one of the best Panini sticker collections ever made.

It's not just the variety and quality of the stickers inside the album that elevate it to such a celebrated plain, but the simplicity and logic of its structure. In basic terms, the album was split into three parts, one for each of the European club competitions that existed back then. Within each of those parts were five sub-sections containing a Roll of Honour, pictures from the previous season's Final, the fixtures for the upcoming season (1978/79), the teams involved in them and the players to look out for. Nothing more, nothing less... and it was all the better for it.

Sadly there were no shiny foil stickers in this collection, but there were special trophy stickers to obtain, and these belonged on each of the three Roll of Honour pages. Though the white background lacked that unique glittery pizazz seen in other collections, the trophy stickers were still a smart way of heading up the lists of the previous Finals.

The 'Trophy' pages

Looking at the 'European Cup' section, we're first treated to a three-page pictorial review of the 1977/78 Final at Wembley between Liverpool and Club Brugge. Here it seems Panini's designers really allowed themselves the indulgence of creating a mini photo album. Thirteen pictures showing The Reds' victorious night were there to be formed from one, two or four stickers in what must be the most ambitious attempt at creating a set-piece display Panini had ever made up to that point. And there was one of these photo journals for each of the three European Finals in the album.

European Cup Final 1977/78

European Cup-Winners' Cup
Winners, Anderlecht
Similarly, each of the three sections had a fixture chart that the young sticker collector could fill in whenever a round of matches was played. A simple layout featuring a four-part picture of the current holders at the top of the page ensured an attractive item that kids would return to time and again.

But if it was team pictures that the album's owner was really after, they weren't to be disappointed. A comprehensive selection of all the teams taking part in Europe's top competitions in 1978/79 provided a whole raft of images to collect, and again they were available as one-, two- or four-part pictures.

European Cup teams: Real Madrid, Rangers, et al.

And what wonderful pictures they are. The colours really come shining through and the players you find yourself spotting - some of them stars from the World Cup - provide a great deal of pleasure throughout.

European Cup-Winners' Cup teams: Ipswich, Barcelona et al.

Similarly we get ample opportunity to marvel at the wide range of competing teams from across Europe, many of whom were so obscure that you wouldn't have even heard of them as a pre-teen football fan back then. To actually discover teams from as far afield as Czechoslovakia, Luxembourg and Bulgaria was therefore a revelation and one not generally derived from Panini's domestic sticker collections.

UEFA Cup teams: Athletic Bilbao, Nantes et al.

Euro Football 79 also drilled down to player level too, and here we get to see pages with a more familiar look and feel. Head shots of 120 footballers across all three European competitions were featured throughout the album, and again a wide range of countries and clubs made the overall piece more interesting.

European Cup players

In the European Cup section, Liverpool feature prominently through four players (Emlyn Hughes, Kenny Dalglish, Ray Clemence and Graeme Souness) as do Juventus, but there are familiar faces on show throughout including Uli Stielike, Rene Van De Kerkhof and Nottingham Forest's Tony Woodcock.

European Cup-Winners' Cup players

The Cup-Winners' Cup section had more masters of Total Football in the shape of Anderlecht's Ron Rensenbrink and Arie Haan and Barcelona's Johan Neeskens. A pre-breakthrough Michel Platini could also be found along with the twin Ipswich talents of Mick Mills and Paul Mariner.

UEFA Cup players

As for the UEFA Cup, here's where we get the greatest combination of world stars and common Football League luminaries. Rubbing shoulders with Mario Kempes (Valencia), Paolo Rossi (Vicenza) and Ruud Krol (Ajax) you'll just as easily find Bob Latchford (Everton), Mick Channon (Man City) and Cyrille Regis (West Bromwich Albion). The UEFA Cup was surely a very strange battlefield back in 1978...

Frankly I could go on forever talking about the charm of this sticker album, but I won't - even though I haven't yet mentioned the delightful squiggly pen-and-ink illustrations on many of the pages. Instead I'll wrap up by saying that when this sticker album appears in complete form on eBay, you can expect to pay somewhere in the region of £100 for it, and rightly so in my opinion. As a snapshot of European football as it was back in the late-1970s, it's a real thing of beauty and certainly a joy forever.

$600 million, World Hunger or Temple football?

I am playing responsibly ... spending only four bucks.

World Hunger loses.
I know I'll take heat from the press and other do-gooders for this, but I have big enough shoulders.
(Plus, the Somalis haven't exactly shown a large amount of gratitude for the last food run Bill Clinton made for that country some 20 years ago.)
So I'm bringing back this "oldie but goodie" post for a day.
Not going to give the numbers I'm playing for the $600 million, but one line has significance for past Temple greats and another line plays to the strength of the current Temple team.
If I find the right needle in the right haystack and the right grain of sand on the Wildwood Beach, half of the $600 million goes to Temple FOOTBALL (not athletics) to benefit the Temple FOOTBALL program long after I'm gone.
Decisions to use that could be a stadium, could be an extended lease with signage rights to LFF.
Or maybe an eight-story practice bubble with an underground parking garage for athletes and coaches attached to the E-O.
It's all up to Temple.

Retro Round-Up - 17 May 2013

After the relentless parade of FA Cup articles we brought you last week on The Football Attic, this week's been a little quieter for us post-wise, but fortunately there are lots of other like-minded folk on the interweb that have been doing their bit for the football nostalgia cause. Here's a selection of the best we could find for your viewing pleasure.

Hull City's tumultuous promotion campaign this season prompts The Two Unfortunates to remember a similarly successful time for The Tigers back in 1965/66 - read about it here...

Double Diamond works wonders - even for under-age kids! (Well it does if the double diamond in question belongs to Umbro, according to Got, Not Got...)

The Goldstone Wrap takes a look back to the seemingly random coming together of Brighton & Hove Albion and Nigeria in a friendly match in 1981...

Billie Jean-King playing for Swedish women's football team IFK Hässleholm? She could be in the front row of a picture at The Vintage Football Club, but it's probably not her...

On Goals Scored have a nice infographic showing how many times various teams have changed manager since 1985...

And for anyone that wants an instant classic sticker collection, what about this set of 37 albums in a single eBay lot? Yours for only £1,350...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Two Owls who give a Hoot

Chris Coyer at last year's Big East media day.

There have been times when no one wanted to see them leave the field, Chris Coyer and Kevin Newsome.
Coyer, upon accepting his MVP award at the New Mexico Bowl, and Newsome as arguably the nation's top player coming out of high school.
Makes the move to tailback.
Now both are among the Temple Owls who swallowed their pride and accepting position changes this fall and, because of that, they exponentially increased their chances of getting onto the field.
Coyer will become an H-Back, more of a tight end than a fullback, ala Evan Rodriguez in his final year at Temple.
Newsome will take his considerable talents to the halfback position.
I root for anybody who puts on a Temple uniform, but I know two guys I'm rooting for more than anyone else this fall.
Chris Coyer and Kevin Newsome.
Because, in a team sport, they did it for the team.
The team.
That's the most important thing.
Coyer showed that it's going to work just fine in the spring game, catching a pair of touchdown passes.
Newsome did not get the chance in the spring because of a shoulder injury, but, just from the 44-yard run in the Louisville game last year, he showed top-level tailback instincts.
And if the Owls showed a need in the spring game, it's for a top-level tailback. Maybe it is Zaire Williams coming into the school in the fall, maybe it's Newsome, but it's nice to have options.
When Kevin Newsome first reported to the Edberg-Olson facility last year, he proudly stated: "I'm a Temple Owl for life."
When Matt Rhule approached Coyer about making the switch to H-back in the final week of spring ball, Coyer simply said: "I'm a Temple guy."
How can you not root for guys like that?

At the 1:11 time stamp, a song written and performed by the multi-talented Kevin Newsome kicks in ...

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Worst of Modern Football Vote - Round 1

What's the Worst Thing about Modern Football?

A while ago we asked for your thoughts on the worst aspects of modern football...and you responded with full on vitriol!

We've ended up with 48 excellent suggestions and as with the Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever, we're gonna run it as a knockout tournament...only this time, the first round will be a World Cup like Group Stage.

How to Vote:

You can vote for 2 choices in each group.
At the end of the round, the Top 2 from each group will go through to Round 2.

Voting for Round 1 closes at 23:59 on Sunday 19th May 2013

Get in!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Karma, Komen and Temple football

Temple football takes an active role this year at today's Race for the Cure.
If Karma translates into support from the City of Philadelphia, season tickets might be moving at a brisk pace between now and August.
If you were at the Susan G. Komen Race for the cure this morning, you saw Temple football take an active role in the race.
For those of you who
want to donate to Nadia,
there is still time
I was there because my late mom was a survivor (she succumbed to another disease subsequently) and I don't want to see any other woman go through what she did.
Some Owls were there because they had similar personal experiences, others were there because they are just good people.
We as fans are lucky them on OUR team.
Not that the Owls weren't at past Komen races, they were, but this was just a little bit different.
This time the Owls were racing and walking for the cure for a disease that affects so many women and their families. Last year, they were "just" handing out water.
It's all part of Temple being Philadelphia's team.
The Owls have given the City of Philadelphia much in the past eight years.
In the past, the Owls have bowled for Big Brothers'/Big Sisters, visited the Children's' Hospital, handed out free turkeys for Thanksgiving and kept Diamond Street clean with regular sweeps from 10th all the way through 15th. This is not just a one-time deal. This happens every year.
The Owls do it not because they have to, but because they care.
I really did not see it at this level until Al Golden arrived in 2005 and it's just evolved in a positive way every year since.
If Philadelphia gave back to them what they give to Philadelphia, Lincoln Financial Field would be packed every Saturday afternoon.
It hasn't translated so far, but the Owls are winning hearts one person at a time.
Let's hope Karma kicks in one day.

Bernard Pierce & Darryl Pringle
Blast from the past: Bernard Pierce helps Darryl Pringle clean up.

The FA Cup Winner's Parade - Coventry 87

We're not quite done here in the Attic with FA Cup Week. Although the final may be over and the victors handed the cup, there's still one piece of FA Cup folklore to be examined...the winner's open top bus parade!

To this end, rather than blather on about buses and all things topless (you wouldn't believe what google throws up for that!), I thought I'd just share with you my own pictures from the day after that glorious day back in 1987, when the mighty Sky Blues showed off their well deserved silverware on a slightly overcast and rainy Sunday... they are...apologies for the ropey pics, but they were taken by the 12 year old me on a 110 camera (look it up) in a rather large crowd.

Spurs fans, look away now ;-)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Unofficial FA Cup Championship

If any of you are aware of the Unofficial World Football Championships, you'll know about the simple unadulterated joy of considering a 'World Cup' where the reigning champions are decided on a match-to-match basis. You'll also be aware of the fact that seemingly any team can snatch the unofficial world title at any time, so long as they overcome the current holders at exactly their most vulnerable point. (If you're not sure what we're on about, visit the UFWC website and find out how the project works - it'll be time well spent.)

Anyway, it was with that working model in mind that we decided to do something similar. We wanted to find out who the Unofficial FA Cup Champions have been since the FA Cup first started in 1871, and who's won it most often.

To begin with we needed a starting point. Unfortunately there wasn't one single FA Cup match that preceded all the others 142 years ago (at least not from what we can tell), so a look back through the history books was required.

Because there wasn't one universal way of playing football back in the mid-1800's, it fell to Cambridge University to draw up a formal set of rules that everyone across the country could abide by. Once these 'Cambridge Rules' were drawn up, a match was organised by the newly-formed Football Association to demonstrate how the game should now be played, but because it took so long to arrange, the teams of Barnes and Richmond went ahead and played a game anyway at Mortlake on 19 December 1863. This was the first game ever to be played to official FA rules.

For a game of such importance, it seemed only natural that we should take one of these two teams as the starting point for our Unofficial FA Cup Championship (UFACC), and to that end we chose Barnes because they competed in the first ever FA Cup competition while Richmond didn't (because they weren't members of the Football Association).

And so we begin with the First Round of the FA Cup played on 11 November 1871. Barnes played Civil Service... and won 2-0! Barnes therefore became our first Unofficial FA Cup Champions... but in our system, that would only last until the next time Barnes played in the FA Cup. As long as they could avoid defeat in that match, they'd retain their UFACC title.

On 23 December 1871, they did just that - drawing 1-1 against Hampstead Heathens in the Second Round. Unfortunately in the replay, played two weeks later, Hampstead Heathens won 1-0 and in so doing became our new UFACC title holders!

(See how this works?)

Under our admittedly flimsy UFACC rules, a team gets to win the title by beating an existing holder and the holder can retain the title by not being defeated.

Now at this point you might have realised that because we're only dealing with FA Cup matches here, ultimately the UFACC title holders will be the same as the FA Cup winners at the end of every season. And yes, that is a bit of a shortcoming where this system is concerned, but in many ways that only adds greater significance to the games played earlier in the FA Cup every season. In our version, it's all about the journey rather than the destination, if you see what we mean.

So by now you might be wondering who the current UFACC title holders are? Well the answer is Manchester City, but of course if they're beaten by Wigan Athletic in today's FA Cup Final, it'll be Wigan that get to retain the title until Third Round day next season. And Manchester City only snatched the UFACC title by beating Chelsea in this season's semi finals. Before that, Chelsea held the title for seven consecutive FA Cup games stretching back to the 2011/12 Final against Liverpool.

All well and good, you might say, but which team has been UFACC title holders on the most occasions? Luckily we've worked that out (and you can take it as read we've only just come up with the answer after several weeks of number crunching - see left) - and the answer is Arsenal. Including the one UFACC win notched up under the name of Woolwich Arsenal, The Gunners have held the title for 84 matches. Not far behind them is Manchester United with 78 matches (they'll be ruing not playing in the 1999-2000 season), then it's Liverpool on 53 and Tottenham on 48.

But like we said, it's not just about the big teams stealing all the glory. Many other teams can hold the UFACC title (and have done), even if only briefly. The FA Cup is about giant-killing if nothing else, and a win for David over Goliath at the right time can mean a coveted place on our roll of honour.

As recently as five years ago, Barnsley were the UFACC title holders having dumped Chelsea out of the FA Cup. Port Vale held the title for two games back in 1998. Oldham Athletic did the same in 1994, and if you look back through the statistics for all 967 UFACC games so far, you'll see that anyone that's anyone in the English game has had their name writ large in our imaginary elysian world.

So why not take a look at the raw data we've provided for your analytical pleasure and see if your team's been the proud holder of the UFACC title. There may not be a trophy for the winners, but knowing your team once won something - no matter how small - is often all that really counts.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Next up for Hall: Paul Woodrow Palmer

Vinny Testaverde smiles while Paul Palmer and Brian Bosworth applaud at the 1986 Heisman announcement.

Paul Palmer gets introduced by the late,
great Bob Hope on Bob's All-American Show.
Someone, maybe one of the first math professors in the Stone Age, said it best:
"Numbers don't lie."
If so, expect Paul Woodrow Palmer to follow Temple's Wayne Hardin into the Hall of Fame soon, maybe as soon as next year.
By the numbers, Palmer compares favorably with this year's two running back inductees, Wisconsin's Ron Dayne and North Carolina State's Ted Brown.
Here they are:

Career Rushing Yards/Highest Season
100-yard games
Highest single game-rushing Yards
Paul Palmer
Ted Brown
Ron Dayne

That's not even counting the most important numbers:
In just his Heisman Trophy runner-up season of 1986, Palmer posted 2,633 all-purpose yards, ahead of Dayne's best year (2,422, 1999) and Brown's best year (1,672).
When it comes to moving the sticks, yards any way you can get them count just as much as a handoff from the line of scrimmage.
Also interesting was the fact that Palmer tossed not one, but two touchdown passes, one in his sophomore year and one in his senior years.
More than the numbers, though, were his durability and versatility.
Palmer could run between the tackles, outside the tackles, was an outstanding receiver and, was 3 for 7 throwing the ball during his senior season _ very good numbers for a non-quarterback.
He was fast, shifty and had great moves in the open field as well.
Bernard Pierce was a great back but, in my view, having seen all of the games both Paul and Bernard played, there was only one thing Pierce did better than Palmer and that was straight-line speed in the open field. Still, Palmer was fast enough with the ball in his hands and never injured (or seemingly never injured).
The fact that Palmer played his entire career against a Top 10 schedule while playing for Temple and finished No. 2 in the Heisman balloting in 1986 adds to his impressive Hall of Fame resume.
I can't think of anyone on next year's list as deserving.

Clive - The 'Other' 1923 FA Cup Final Horse

The 1923 FA Cup Final is remembered for many things; it was the first final at the all new Empire Stadium at Wembley, 900 people were injured due to the over-capacity crowd, Bolton's second goal was given as, in the opinion of the ref, the ball had crossed the line and rebounded off a spectator (yeah, suck that one up, Hawkeye!). Finally, there was a Horse named Billie.

Crowd estimates for the day ranged between 150-300,000, despite the official figure being just over 126,000. Due to the large number of people, mounted police had to step in and at that point, Billie the grey horse (yes, he wasn't white afterall) took centre stage, herding the masses in a manner which would now be referred to as 'bossing it'.

Due to the prominent role he played, the final became known as the White Horse Final and in 2005, the footbridge near the new Wembley would be named after him after a public vote.

It could all have been so different, however!

Also on duty that day was Clive. Clive, a black horse considered himself a bit of an also ran, often literally.

In the years before that infamous Cup Final, he had tried his hand at many things...Horse Racing (or 'racing' as it was known in the equine community), which he'd found rather tiring and repetitive, a summer stint on Blackpool's sea front and finally as a labourer, working a plough on the local farm.

But Clive dreamed of bigger things! He'd seen some early cowboy films and was convinced that was where his future lay...not with a man in chaps on his back, but in the movies! He got himself an agent, which was kind of hard to do, and landed a few walk on parts in countryside documentaries, but it was all small stuff. His agent told him to get exposure, so he landed a role as the face of a joke shop. He died a little every time he saw his gurning face alongside the inevitable 'long face' pun-based caption, but it was necessary he told himself...all to the greater good.

As with all jobbing actors, Clive had a secondary job to pay the bills and his chosen career was crowd control. It was easy money. Get suited and booted and just stand around...there was the occasional Geordie trying to land a punch, but he was the bigger man...literally. In early 1923, he spotted an ad in the 'Horse Bouncer' trade publication for qualified "crowd management executives" for an upcoming sporting event. The ad stated applicants must look good in front of a camera. Clive had heard about the new stadium being built in London and put 2 and 2 together. He galloped down to the big smoke and was immediately offered a job.

The big day arrived and Clive rocked up to Wembley with high hopes. He was going to be on the news reels! Then his first disappointment landed. He'd been assigned the deputy role; the lead being taken by some poncey grey bloke called Billie, which is a girl's name, Clive muttered under his strangely fresh & minty breath.

Clive at Wembley in 1923...apparently...
Once out on the field, it was clear this was going to be a large task, but Clive knew he was up to it...and what's more, he'd already seen the film cameras. Unfortunately, so had Billie and, abusing his rank, constantly ordered Clive off to other parts of the ground, whenever they were pointed his way.

At the end of the day, a tired and dejected Clive clopped off home, downbeat, but satisfied he'd done a good day's work. When he finally got to see the newsreels, his downheartedness turned into rage. Not one single piece of film had him in it! Instead, Billie the Bastard was there in every shot and not only that, but the cameras of the day also made his coat look a gleaming white! Then the final blow: "The White Horse Final".
Clive whinnied loudly, realising his one shot had come and gone.

Days after the final he went for an audition for a Lloyds Bank commercial. As ever, he got down to the last two applicants, but blew it when he failed the Polo-resistance test - the director conducted the sessions with an open pack of Polos on his desk...sadly, Clive had a reallly sweet tooth and just loved fresh, minty breath.
Sadly, his lack of self control, and a large hospital bill from the director, who lost a finger when he tried to wrestle the holey mints from Clive's salivating jaws, meant he was blacklisted in the industry.

Sure, he got occasional offers from 'filmmakers', but these always followed the same seedy path and Clive had his morals.

And so it was he saw out the remainder of the year back in Blackpool, posing for occasional photos in kiss-me-quick hats and giving rides to bored children...but even this was to be short lived...stumbling one day while giving a particularly wriggly child a ride, he snapped his ankle.

I wish I could provide a happy end to this entirely fictional story, but alas, Clive's days had come to an end...a rather sticky one...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Retro Round-Up - 10 May 2013

Greetings, everyone, and welcome to another review of this week's best blog posts and other web-related curiosities from the world of football nostalgia.

If The Football Attic isn't enough to sustain you, let this pick of the last seven days be your saviour...

It's easy to forget what a parlous state Manchester City were in not so long ago, but Twohundredpercent is on hand to remind us about the dark days of the early '80s at Maine Road...

Footysphere has some lovely illustrations that were used to promote the venues used in the 1958 World Cup Finals...

An elated Bob Wilson features in one of the many photos showing Inter Cities Fairs Cup action over at Who Ate All The Pies...

Brighton & Hove Albion hate it when the year ends in '3', as highlighted nicely over at The Goldstone Wrap...

A comprehensive review of the 1985 Freight Rover Trophy final might give hope to Wigan fans before Saturday's big match at Wembley - catch it over at Spirit of Mirko...

Notts County fans might be interested to see The Vintage Football Club's great French-language profile of former star Rachid Harkouk...

More French fun as Old School Panini tells us about the role of prostitutes in the political career of Brazilian legend Carlos Alberto...

Plans to build a two-metre high Subbuteo referee in Cambridge meet with a dismissive response from the FA, according to the BBC News website...

Staying with the BBC, this week's World Football Phone-In podcast spends much of its time talking about football stickers and even gives us a mention along the way... (Downloadable for a limited period only)

And as it's FA Cup week, here's one for Arsenal fans - a match-worn tracksuit top from the 1979 Final currently on sale on eBay.

Do you want to include your favourite retro football website in our weekly Retro Round-Up? If so, drop us a line to admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Coach voted into Hall of Fame

There are more good  TU plays called in these 10 minutes than 2 years of Dazball.

For all of my life, I've simply known him as Coach.
That's what I called him when I first met him as a sports writer for The Temple News back in the 1970s and that's what I called him when I saw him last year.
Now I'll just call him a Hall of Famer.
This morning news comes from Atlanta that  coach Wayne Hardin has been voted into the Hall of Fame.
Probably the best compliment coach ever gave me was last year.
"Mike, I read your blog and it is first-class," coach said.
Coach was the man behind greatest helmets in Temple history, although I have seen better Temple hats.
(Doc Chodoff also told me the same thing a couple of years ago and I was just as flattered.)
I like that hyphenated word because that's the way I've always described coach Hardin.
He was a first-class coach and, for the years he was Temple's head coach, the Owls had the best head coach in the country.
Period, end of story.
To me the definition of a great head coach is someone who gets the most out of the talent available to him.
Nobody got more out of his talent than Wayne Hardin.
Wayne Hardin storieson TFF through the years
"We get kidded about our short, fat, kids, but we don't time them in the 40," Hardin once said. "They might not be too fast over 40 yards but, from here to there, they are not too bad and that's all we ask of them."
Meanwhile, he made a nice living out of outsmarting coaches with better players.
Hardin never beat Penn State, but it wasn't out of a lack of wits against Joe Paterno.
"Hardin's outcoaching Joe again," Allentown Morning Call columnist Joe Kunda said out loud in the Beaver Stadium press box as the Owls took a halftime lead at Penn State.
Everybody laughed.
Ukraine checking in for a 3-minute read of TFF.

Everybody knew Kunda was right.
Think about it.
The highest Temple was ever ranked came in 1979, when the Owls rose to No. 17 in both the AP and UPI polls.
The highest Navy was ever ranked (at least in the modern era) was No. 2 in the nation in 1962.
The head coach in both cases?
Wayne Hardin.
No one has ever been more deserving of the Hall of Fame.
Congrats, coach.