Archive | July, 2009

Sir Bobby Robson

Posted on 31 July 2009 by JamesHamilton

Sir Bobby Robson 1933-2009

Sir Bobby Robson 1933-2009

Sir Bobby Robson died this morning, having suffered many years from cancer.

Of course, he’s condemned to an afterlife as a kind of footballing Betjeman. A cross between teddy bear and moral exemplar, the outstanding memorial to the days when football had values (and passion and commitment and all of that). “They don’t make them like Sir Bobby anymore”. He deserves rather better, but it’s what he’ll get. One day, his ghost will be merged with the eventual shade of his Charlton namesake into a sort of Cow & Gate schmaltz. Or a union-jacked flavour for Ben and Jerrys, sold to children at Wembley pre-season nonsense tournaments.

Much will be made elsewhere of his gallant England years, so cruel and ultimately, so nearly successful. But everyone over 35 will remember another Bobby Robson, a younger, more dynamic and less cuddly individual who had turned Ipswich Town into a source of enduring fear and admiration.

After England, Robson went on to become one of that handful of English managers to achieve genuine success with proper European clubs. But I won’t remember him for that. I’ll remember instead two long, long nights beside my £1 auction battery radio listening to that at times agonizing home-and-away UEFA Cup Final victory. And I’ll remember a Saturday when I’d just started secondary school, and his Ipswich did this to Manchester United and no one was surprised. Robson then, alongside Taylor and Pleat, was a real kind of father figure to southern kids stuck in rugby schools who’d meet after school with a round ball and at lunchtimes with Subbuteo.

The commentator notes that United ‘keeper Gary Bailey was the son of the former Town keeper Roy. “Unfortunate that his father couldn’t make it from South Africa for this game.” Not really…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrFiCJ5NxL4]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-V12LB4x8E]

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Blackburn Olympic and the Dynamite Party 1883

Posted on 30 July 2009 by JamesHamilton

Penny Illustrated Paper April 7 1883

Penny Illustrated Paper April 7 1883

Many years ago, I came across a different group, who went under the name “The Vietnamese Mountain Society For Poetry and Wine” – or something very similar at least. They were a terrorist group too, and only now, with the “Irish Dynamite Party of Violence,” have they lost their place in my affections.

Sadly, though, the name is almost certainly the invention of the penny dreadful that printed the deathless paragraph above. Doubly sad, because it might have served rather well as a nickname for the team whose feat in becoming the first professional side to win the FA Cup is “celebrated” in the same issue.

Blackburn Olympic – for it was they – beat the Old Etonians 2-1 after extra time, and were rewarded with some of the most shocking first night notices yet awarded. The amateurs hadn’t lost fair and square – they’d been rough-housed out of it, kicked down like a Victorian Brazil against Hungary.

(More beneath the cut)

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Michael Owen at Manchester United

Posted on 03 July 2009 by JamesHamilton

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If the medical goes through. And, it should be taken as no insult to Stoke or Hull that the news comes as something of a relief. (More beneath the cut)

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Scotch Christians and the 1902 Ibrox Disaster

Posted on 01 July 2009 by JamesHamilton

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Later, they blamed the rain for bringing the stand down. The eventual toll from the accident on 5 April was 25, but the deaths took time: the stand collapsed on a Saturday, and by the following Wednesday the count was still only 21. (More beneath the cut)

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