Day: January 31, 2012

The New Town Effect: Brutalism & Abrasive Personalities At Crawley And Stevenage

If the draw for the Fifth Round of this year’s FA Cup was notable for anything in particular, what really stood out was the presence of two clubs for whom an appearance at this stage of the competition would been inconceivable just a couple of decades ago. Last weekend, both Crawley Town and Stevenage chalked up notable wins in the Fourth Round of the competition – both by a single goal, with Crawley’s coming at Hull City and Stevenage’s against Notts County – and the reward for each is a home match against Premier League in the next round, in the form of Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur respectively. Both are clubs that have only recently been promoted into the Football League and both are sides that had something of an adventure in last year’s competition, with Stevenage beating Newcastle United and Crawley almost holding Manchester United to a draw at Old Trafford. Yet both sides remain treated with ambivalence by the supporters of other clubs. Crawley’s FA Cup run last year was treated with a collective shrug of the shoulders from the supporters of other smaller clubs, while Stevenage also remain the recipients of ambivalence in some quarters. There are solid and prosaic reasons as to why this be. The continuing presence of Steve Evans at Crawley Town is a convincing reason as to why the Sussex club has not touched...

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European Championship Stories: 1964 – A Battle Of Ideologies

If the early history of the European Championships can be seen as explicitly wrapped up in the politics of the time, then Spain’s victory on home ground in 1964 European Nations Cup could be regarded as one of international football’s ultimate flashes in the pan. This was a victory that was simultaneously the last gasp of one of the greatest club sides that European football has ever seen and the beginning of a lull that would last for more than twenty years, a brief victory for the ultra-nationalism that blighted Spanish political life for the most of the four decades that followed the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939. The qualifying competition – this tournament was expanded to take in twenty-nine nations, although West Germany would continue to sit it out – provided a couple of surprises of its own. England, entering the competition for the first time, chose their Preliminary Round Second Leg match against France as the opportunity to debut their new manager, Alf Ramsey. Having drawn 1-1 at Hillsborough in the first leg, Ramsey’s first match as the England manager saw his team lose by five goals to two in Paris. Elsewhere, in the First Round Luxembourg beat the Netherlands by three goals to two – and only narrowly lost in the quarter-finals after a replay in, ironically enough, Amsterdam against Denmark after drawing against...

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