Day: August 5, 2008

The First Proper Guffaw Of The Season

It’s over before it begun then, for this season. Last season, you’ll remember, Rangers were involved in a dreadful case of fixture congestion as they fought to walk off with the UEFA Cup, the Scottish Cup and the Scottish Premier League. As it turned out, they managed just one out of three (and that was the one that they probably cared the least for) and hardly endeared themselves with the behaviour of people claiming to be their supporters in Manchester after losing the UEFA Cup Final against Zenit St Petersburg. Fortunately, though, being one of the two powerhouses of Scottish football earns them a pernnial shot at the Champions League, even if they have to start the season in August. They should be good enough for a place in the group stages, shouldn’t they? Well, not this year. In the first major surprise of the European football season, Rangers are out of the Champions League, beaten 2-1 this evening in Lithuania by the largely previously unheard of FBK Kaunas. Having only drawn the first leg at Ibrox 0-0 last week, Rangers were still largely expected to cruise through to the final qualifying round of the competition and a match against AaB of Denmark, and it all appeared to be going reasonably well for them when they took a first half lead, thanks to a Kevin Thomson goal in the...

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In Praise Of… The Topical Times Football Book

Of the many things that young people no longer do that I did in my youth, buying second-hand books is one that I am fairly confident never happens any more – at least not annuals from market stalls. On Saturday lunchtimes, as a boy I would go to the old band-stand in the centre of Enfield market and flick through the acres of old football books that they seemed to have for sale there. The price was usually written in pencil on the inside of the front page, and it was seldom more than twenty pence. I purchased dozens of old football books this way – most often “Roy Of The Rovers” annuals (they also usually kept an box of old copies of the weekly comic, if money was particularly tight), occasionally Rothmans Football Directories and, most commonplace of all, old copies of “The Topical Times Football Book”. The internet hasn’t been kind to “The Topical Times Football Book”. In an environment in which the most arcane of historical details have been recorded in almost gynaecological detail, the history of this austere publication seems to have been lost to the ether. Sitting here, flicking through a pile of old TTFBs (ranging from 1965 to 1982), the feeling of nostalgia is almost overwhelming. There are no adverts in any of them, and there aren’t even any mentions made of what...

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