Archive | September, 2009

The Greatest George Best Video

Posted on 29 September 2009 by JamesHamilton

Just like its Denis Law equivalent, it’s accompanied by the Beatles:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKBEL29P2Lc]

Enjoy.

I particularly like the Rodney Marsh/Best interchanges towards the end. In the early ’90s, my lunchtime pub was the Phene Arms in Chelsea, which happened at the time to be Best’s local too. I have three principle memories of Best there, and these are: (1) he was always in Marsh’s company (2) he was otherwise left as alone as anyone else (3) I never saw him drink any alcohol. Those were the last days of lunchtime drinking, and we usually put away a couple of pints each. Not him.

For all that, of course, it didn’t work out for him. But it would take a towering snob not to see what I think most of us see in that video, and I’m one of those who think he left us something glorious behind.

Comments (4)

Home By Christmas

Posted on 29 September 2009 by JamesHamilton

Home by teatime, actually: here we go!

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

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Early Floodlighting Technology

Posted on 27 September 2009 by JamesHamilton

Because I know less than you do about electricity and electric lighting, I’ve always been guiltily confused about the three or four 1878 experiments in football floodlighting. These took place, as you’ll recall, in London, Sheffield and Edinburgh.

Two aspects of the experiments had me puzzled. On the one hand, they took place just before the controversial Swan-Edison patents for the incandescent light bulb. As I was unaware of any pre-incandescent light bulb means to effect electric lighting, I had to imagine that pre-patent bulbs were being used. But how would any number of nineteenth century light bulbs provide sufficient illumination for a game being played on a 100yd pitch?

I’d guessed that I was wrong, and I imagined that there must have been an earlier and rather bright form available. But I’d never imagined anything like this:

Moonlight towerThere are more remarkable illustrations of this kind with the original article at Low-Tech Magazine.

It transpires that arc lighting had been understood in principle fifty years before the 1878 experiments. The hold-up (we might have had floodlit cricket at the Great Exhibition otherwise) was all to do with providing adequate electrical power.

That etching must at least resemble what was used in the early experiments – more indeed than the childishly crude engravings that survive of the experiments themselves. And at least it demonstrates that the early experiments had the chance to succeed, albeit by blinding everyone in a five mile radius.

Comments (2)

That 1990 World Cup SemiFinal as You've Never Seen it Before

Posted on 24 September 2009 by JamesHamilton

The 1990 World Cup was both awful for England and wonderful. I watched most of it from between my fingers. David Platt (whose squad inclusion was contested by the press every bit as fiercely at first as Peter Crouch’s or Owen Hargreaves’s) robbed Belgium, and then came Lineker’s goals against the run of play versus Cameroon. It was all awful. But we won…

I watched Sir Bobby Robson’s memorial service through my fingers too. I did this partly because I didn’t really want to admit to myself that he was really gone: that that supremely reassuring presence was taken. But I did so also because his tastes aren’t mine, and I found the whole affair – broadcast, I’m happy to say, on BBC TV, BBC Radio and Sky Sports News simultaneously as he deserved – unbearably mawkish. On days like these, you put your tastes and your mawkish responses where they belong. The cameras span from Durham to Newcastle to Ipswich to.. and that is what matters.

Sir Bobby Robson was a self-declared patriot, and I hope he would have liked this video as our kind of tribute to his life. It’s not a victory. We kind of lose. But what a team.. Waddle, Beardsley, Lineker, Gascoigne.. in the end, as good as any we’ve come up with. Shilton went to Mexico in 1970..

Here’s the best online tribute to Sir Bobby, written, as you might expect, by the superb John Nicholson of F365.

And here’s the game . From a non-British point of view. Enjoy, and remember.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT0ZTYHg3nc]

Comments (2)

"A Beautiful Country… helped by football"

Posted on 23 September 2009 by JamesHamilton

A great story from Owen Slot of The Times:

..spent two weeks in Sierra Leone. He went there because two mates of his were in the timber business there and advised him that it was a fascinating country. So he took them at their word, arrived unheralded with no fanfare, no media welcome, nothing apart from a large number of footballs and the intention that, whenever he saw a bunch of kids playing football – usually with a rolled-up ball of socks or a taped-up ball of newspaper pages – he would stop, give them a real ball and join them.
He left inspired and certain in the belief that this beautiful country, brought to its knees by a savage civil war, could be helped by football.

And so…

..two years on, he has succeeded in putting in place the first ever structure for youth football in the country. He already has 1600 players, he employs 40 coaches and 40 managers on the payroll and this is just the start.

On top of that:

The next stage is the opening, next year, of the new state-of-the-art football academy outside Freetown, the capital, where the best young footballers will receive an elite football and academic education. The whole project was expected to cost him £650,000, but building projects always over-run the budget – don’t they? – and (name of current Premiership player) has committed to spending a considerable amount more.

I’m pleased to say that we’re talking about this man (no, not that one):

One of these men has founded a state of the art academy outside Freetown

Craig Bellamy: founds state of the art academy outside Freetown

Tom Vernon is the go-to guy when it comes to setting up proper facilities in central and southern Africa, and he

says this of Bellamy: that he is astonishingly professional in his approach, that when he makes his two-week visit every summer, he turns his phone off and dedicates himself entirely to the project “like he is turning up for a business conference” and that when he drives round the country to look at the prospective football talent for the academy, he talks to the players, eats with them and meets their families. And he says that Bellamy is so on top of the project that he insists on meeting every prospective new employee; before the new head coach was appointed, he was flown to England to spend a day in Bellamy’s company.

(..)

Vernon says he often finds that footballers are keen to put their name to an academy believing that this alone will bring funding, yet putting in their own money is a different matter. And when Vernon’s management team convene to consider these players and their proposed enterprises, too often their conclusion is: “No, they’re not like Craig.”

I’ve always had a certain amount of time for Craig Bellamy. On the sports field, I had an ego, a short fuse, a red mist and a strong tendency towards violence. That was twenty years ago and I’m too old for team sports now. I still have a temper on me at times, but I can appreciate how different someone can before and after the whistle goes.

Slot’s article fails to mention one other salient Bellamy fact: he’s married to his childhood sweetheart with whom he has three kids.

Someone said a week or two ago that Bellamy’s superb start to the season was all down to his feeling that he was at last in a team worthy of his talents. That may be so. But really, given all of the above, it scarcely matters: he can still beat Arsenal (and nearly Manchester United to boot) but he’s found a better and wider expression of his talent than his Prozone stats. Good for him.

Comments (5)

George Best Playercam 1970

Posted on 17 September 2009 by JamesHamilton

In September 1970, an experimental German film maker brought eight 16mm film cameras to Old Trafford and Manchester United v Coventry. He trained them all on George Best.

Matt Busby had retired 15 months earlier, leaving Wilf McGuinness with a mix of old men, also-rans and George. The German effort was wasted: Best clearly doesn’t fancy it.

Bobby Charlton zips past at speed from time to time, but otherwise it’s all about George listlessly attempting to suck passes from leaderless lesser men some of whom might have been surprised to find themselves playing in red. It’s all terribly aimless, and Bryan Robson still eleven years away.

Greatest hits videos of Best, Law and Charlton tend to have Beatles rock numbers as their soundtrack. This one needs the White Album.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjZnET5jhkw]

Comments (5)

John Cameron on Training 1908

Posted on 17 September 2009 by JamesHamilton

Wanted: a Wife who will keep Bovril in the house

Wanted: a Wife who will keep Bovril in the house

I’m extremely excited to find that the book written by the man who to me most epitomizes the history of British football is available free online.

John Cameron was a Scot who began his career playing for the great amateur side Queens Park. He went on to star for Everton, then won the FA Cup with Spurs in front of 114,000 people at Crystal Palace. He coached in Germany before World War One and was interned at the Ruhleben camp in Berlin alongside, amongst others, Steve Bloomer.

The whole book is interesting. But you might like to see what Cameron has to say about one area that is perceived above all to have changed since the Edwardian era: training. He doesn’t like drinking or smoking..! ‘Again and again I have watched mere lads of fourteen and fifteen, as well as young men of twenty-five, come on to the cricket and football field smoking those horrible, cheap, inferior ” fags.”‘ There’s no mention of any real skills training in this chapter, although the book has “tips and tricks” aplenty elsewhere in it.

CHAPTER V. Training.

NOT the least important thing about football is the matter of training, and nearly every professional club has a trainer, whose business it is not only to get the men fit, but also to keep them so for eight months. I have spoken to a great many whose work it is to get their men into condition and keep them so, and I find that a great many of them have different methods, but nearly all are agreed that every individual must be taken by himself. The majority of people, however, are not paid players, although, as I have already said, these are largely increasing in number, because year by year we see fresh clubs springing up, besides which every member of an ordinary club should be bound to turn out in as perfect a condition as possible. Many make a practice of walking to and from their work, and this in itself is excellent. When Montague Holbein was training for his Channel swims he used to make a practice of walking from Catford to the City, and also back, a distance of several miles, and this he found very valuable indeed. In the early days of some of the more important clubs a great many of the players who were professionals went to their ordinary occupations all the week and used to play on a Saturday. When West Bromwich Albion, captained by William Bassett, won the English Cup against Preston North End twenty years ago, the Midlanders were all local lads, whose wages totalled about ten pounds a week, while Preston’s pay-list was four times as much. Indeed, men who are regularly at work, especially if it be out of doors and if it taxes one’s bodily powers, need very little training. No one ought to play football unless he has a sound constitution, and every organ in the body must be sound, especially the heart and lungs; it is a game for those who are healthy and vigorous. A good plan is to pursue some exercise during the “close” season, i.e., the summer months. Professionals will tell you that August is their hardest month, a large number of them having done nothing since the end of April. Their muscles have become stiff, and they have probably too much surplus flesh. It is very different where professionals take up first class cricket, and trainers have frequently told me that those professionals and amateurs who play the summer game require little or no preparation, and there are many instances of that. Take, for instance, J. Sharp, the famous Everton forward. He must be getting on in years, and yet. season after season he plays cricket up till the end of August and then turns up at Goodison Park and shows how well he can carry the ball along and whip it into goal, like “a rocket, though not so straight up,” as one great judge has written of him. He has been an International this year. He has done splendid work as a cricketer, and is second on the list of Lancashire averages, and may be described as one of the greatest all-round men in England. Now, in his thirty-first year, he has given evidence that if you keep in condition there is no need to worry about special preparation or anything of the sort. Another instance is E. Needham, the captain of Sheffield United, and perhaps the greatest half- back for many years that we have had. He is now thirty-five, and it is a long time since he played his first International match, and long before he was a cricketer he had made his name as a footballer. He is a tireless worker, as anyone who has watched him with the Sheffield United club knows quite well, and long before his age many men have retired from the game. He has the respect and admiration of everyone, and this year he has come to the front as a cricketer and finished at the head of the Derbyshire averages. The result of his always keeping in condition is that he will probably go on for some years as a great cricketer, and as one career is on the wane the other seems to be beginning. He is great indeed at both games. Two other members of the Sheffield United club have also made their presence felt at the summer game. I refer to the two half-backs, the brothers Wilkinson. W. H., the half-back, has never done better as a cricketer. He is a left- handed batsman, and has made a great advance on anything he has done before, while B. Wilkin- son is a player of some repute. Lewis, of Somerset ; Makepeace, of Lancashire ; Ducat, of Surrey ; Iremonger, of Notts; and Leach and Vincett, of Sussex, are all cricketers who have done splendid work during the summer game, and have turned out footballers perfectly fit at the beginning of the season. Indeed, if you play cricket as it should be played it is magnificent training for football. It is hard work getting fit at the start of the season if you have allowed your muscles to become flabby, while there may be no regular circulation of the blood, and generally the muscles that you require are very lethargic, so the difficulty is with those who do not play tennis or cricket, or go in for rowing or swimming or some other form of active exercise during the summer, that they will have to take up some serious practice. Skipping is good, walking and running, especially short sprinting, while punch-ball exercise and dumbbells may be used. There should be moderation in all things, and one must start carefully at first and increase the amount of training until one feels fit. During the season walking and some practice at kicking, with an occasional sprint, are quite enough to keep the player well. It is quite possible that some may suffer from the tremendous amount of energy that they put into their game. I do not think that those who work indoors, such as clerks and others who are called upon to follow indoor occupation, require more than moderate regular exercise. It is very likely that they will have to do their training after or before business hours, and in the evening brisk walking of a couple of miles, with a sprint of 100 yards four or five times, is a good way of getting rid of superfluous fat, and everyone can do this if he likes, though laziness will often lead some to shield themselves under the excuse, ” They have no time.” One well-known forward, thoroughly conscientious in his training, used to exercise on the Embankment, an excellent plan. Everyone who has to work sitting down should take a morning bath and a little practice with a skipping rope or dumb-bells. The question of diet is of some importance. The game is so strenuous and exhausting that a substantial meal should be taken at least two hours before a match. Many have a beef steak well cooked, with stale bread and vegetables that are well done, always excluding potatoes, and they are able to play right through the game without feeling in any way fatigued. The plainer the food the better. All players are better if they leave alone intoxicants. Needham earnestly advises young players to abstain from them. He says that his experience is that they do not sustain any long continued effort, and their stimulating effect is followed by an invariable depression. From my own observation of players who have abstained and those who have not, I am sure the former have done’far better than the latter. Plenty of Internationals and men whose names are household words are total abstainers. I remember Vivian J. Woodward at a dinner in the football season would neither touch intoxicating drinks nor smoke, and England’s captain knew what he was about. Kirwan, who captained Ireland; John Goodall, one of the props of the game; John Lewis, the famous penalty king; C. Williams, the Brentford and Tottenham goalkeeper; Ducat, of Woolwich Arsenal, are only a few of the total abstainers, and to them I might add R. M. Hawkes, International and the Luton captain. Indeed, if you want to be of the greatest value to your side you may take it from me that you will do better service by leaving alone all sorts of alcohol, and as to smoking, I am quite sure it is thoroughly bad. I see one picture which explains to me why a great deal of the slackness is creeping over our boys. Again and again I have watched mere lads of fourteen and fifteen, as well as young men of twenty-five, come on to the cr
icket and football field smoking those horrible, cheap, inferior ” fags.” How any captain can allow it is a great mystery to me, because if we are training for a match we always say do not smoke a day or two before, because it interferes with one’s staying powers. Yet I have seen boys come down to Tottenham smoking all the way from London, all the time they are changing, and actually come from the dressing room with cigarettes, and blow and blow away right to the moment of kicking off. Not content with that, they get through some more cigarettes at the interval, and then wonder why they are tired before the match is over. I have often begged of our youths if they wish to be athletes to remember that it means a certain amount of self- denial, and if they want to do their best for their side they will take this matter seriously to heart and remember that smoking and drinking intoxicants make one unfit rather than otherwise. I do not think that the ordinary player need think about special training, but if, on the other hand, stale- ness comes to him a complete rest is necessary. When you are overworked at the end of a long season your feet will seem heavy and your kicking will be uncertain, while you will fall and stumble about. This is the time to retire and make room for someone else. With a little care you will gain the necessary freshness, and you will be able to tell when you have got that, because you will be anxious to play the game.

CHAPTER V.
Training.
NOT the least important thing about football is
the matter of training, and nearly every profes-
sional club has a trainer, whose business it is not
only to get the men fit, but also to keep them so
for eight months. I have spoken to a great many
whose work it is to get their men into condition
and keep them so, and I find that a great many of
them have different methods, but nearly all are
agreed that every individual must be taken by him-
self. The majority of people, however, are not
paid players, although, as I have already said,
these are largely increasing in number, because
year by year we see fresh clubs spring-
ing up, besides which every member of an
ordinary club should be bound to turn out in
as perfect a condition as possible. Many make a
practice of walking to and from their work, and
this in itself is excellent. When Montague Holbein
was training for his Channel swims he used to
make a practice of walking from Catford to the
City, and also back, a distance of several miles,
and this he found very valuable indeed. In the
early days of some of the more important clubs a
great many of the players who were professionals
went to their ordinary occupations all the week and
used to play on a Saturday. When West Brom-
wich Albion, captained by William Bassett, won
the English Cup against Preston North End
twenty years ago, the Midlanders were all local
lads, whose wages totalled about ten pounds a week,
while Preston’s pay-list was four times as much.
Indeed, men who are regularly at work, especially
if it be out of doors and if it taxes one’s bodily
powers, need very little training. No one ought to
play football unless he has a sound constitution, and
every organ in the body must be sound, especially
the heart and lungs; it is a game for those who
are healthy and vigorous. A good plan is to
pursue some exercise during the “close” season,
i.e., the summer months. Professionals will
tell you that August is their hardest month,
a large number of them having done no-
thing since the end of April. Their muscles
have become stiff, and they have probably too
much surplus flesh. It is very different where
professionals take up first class cricket, and trainers
have frequently told me that those professionals
and amateurs who play the summer game require
little or no preparation, and there are many in-
stances of that. Take, for instance, J. Sharp, the
famous Everton forward. He must be getting on
in years, and yet. season after season he plays
cricket up till the end of August and then turns
up at Goodison Park and shows how well he
can carry the ball along and whip it into goal,
like “a rocket, though not so straight up,” as one
great judge has written of him. He has been an
International this year. He has done splendid
work as a cricketer, and is second on the list of
Lancashire averages, and may be described as one
of the greatest all-round men in England. Now,
in his thirty-first year, he has given evidence that
if you keep in condition there is no need to worry
about special preparation or anything of the sort.
Another instance is E. Needham, the captain of
Sheffield United, and perhaps the greatest half-
back for many years that we have had. He is now
thirty-five, and it is a long time since he played
his first International match, and long before he
was a cricketer he had made his name as a foot-
baller. He is a tireless worker, as anyone who
has watched him with the Sheffield United club
knows quite well, and long before his age many
men have retired from the game. He has the
respect and admiration of everyone, and this year
he has come to the front as a cricketer and finished
at the head of the Derbyshire averages. The
result of his always keeping in condition is that
he will probably go on for some years as a great
cricketer, and as one career is on the wane the other
seems to be beginning. He is great indeed at
both games. Two other members of the Sheffield
United club have also made their presence felt at
the summer game. I refer to the two half-backs,
the brothers Wilkinson. W. H., the half-back,
has never done better as a cricketer. He is a left-
handed batsman, and has made a great advance
on anything he has done before, while B. Wilkin-
son is a player of some repute. Lewis, of Somer-
set ; Makepeace, of Lancashire ; Ducat, of Surrey ;
Iremonger, of Notts; and Leach and Vincett, of
Sussex, are all cricketers who have done splendid
work during the summer game, and have turned
out footballers perfectly fit at the beginning of
the season. Indeed, if you play cricket as it should
be played it is magnificent training for football.
It is hard work getting fit at the start of the season
if you have allowed your muscles to become
flabby, while there may be no regular circulation
of the blood, and generally the muscles that you
require are very lethargic, so the difficulty is with
those who do not play tennis or cricket, or go in
for rowing or swimming or some other form of
active exercise during the summer, that they will
have to take up some serious practice. Skipping
is good, walking and running, especially short
sprinting, while punch-ball exercise and dumb-
bells may be used. There should be moderation in
all things, and one must start carefully at first and
increase thre amount of training until one feels fit.
During the season walking and some practice at
kicking, with an occasional sprint, are quite
enough to keep the player well. It is quite pos-
sible that some may suffer from the tremendous
amount of energy that they put into their game. I
do not think that those who work indoors, such as
clerks and others who are called upon to follow in-
door occupation, require more than moderate
regular exercise. It is very likely that they will
have to do their training after or before business
hours, and in the evening brisk walking of a
couple of miles, with a sprint of 100 yards four
or five times, is a good way of getting rid
of superfluous fat, and everyone can do this if he
likes, though laziness will often lead some to shield
themselves under the excuse, ” They have no
time.” One well-known forward, thoroughly
conscientious in his training, used to exercise on
the Embankment, an excellent plan. Everyone
who has to work sitting down should take a morn-
ing bath and a little practice with a skipping rope
or dumb-bells. The question of diet is of some
importance. The game is so strenuous and ex-
hausting that a substantial meal should be taken
at least two hours before a match. Many have a
beef steak well cooked, with stale bread and vege-
tables that are well done, always excluding
potatoes, and they are able to play right through
the game without feeling in any way fatigued.
The plainer the food the better. All players are
better if they leave alone intoxicants. Needham
earnestly advises young players to abstain from
them. He says that his experience is that they do
not sustain any long continued effort, and their
stimulating effect is followed by an invariable
depression. From my own observation of players
who have abstained and those who have not, I am
sure the former have done’far better than the latter.
Plenty of Internationals and men whose names are
household words are total abstainers. I remember
Vivian J. Woodward at a dinner in the football
season would neither touch intoxicating drinks nor
smoke, and England’s captain knew what he was
about. Kirwan, who captained Ireland; John
Goodall, one of the props of the game; John
Lewis, the famous penalty king; C. Williams, the
Brentford and Tottenham goalkeeper; Ducat, of
Woolwich Arsenal, are only a few of the total ab-
stainers, and to them I might add R. M. Hawkes,
International and the Luton captain. Indeed, if
you want to be of the greatest value to your side
you may take it from me that you will do better
service by leaving alone all sorts of alcohol, and as
to smoking, I am quite sure it is thoroughly bad.
I see one picture which explains to me why a great
deal of the slackness is creeping over our boys.
Again and again I have watched mere lads of
fourteen and fifteen, as well as young men of
twenty-five, come on to the cricket and football
field smoking those horrible, cheap, inferior
” fags.” How any captain can allow it is a great
mystery to me, because if we are training for a match
we always say do not smoke a day or two before,
because it interferes with one’s staying powers.
Yet I have seen boys come down to Tottenham
smoking all the way from London, all -the time
they are changing, and actually come from the
dressing room with cigarettes, and blow and blow
away right to the moment of kicking off. Not
content with that, they get through some more
cigarettes at the interval, and then wonder why they
are tired before the match is over. I have often
begged of our youths if they wish to be athletes to
remember that it means a certain amount of self-
denial, and if they want to do their best for their
side they will take this matter seriously to heart
and remember that smoking and drinking intoxi-
cants make one unfit rather than otherwise. I do
not think that the ordinary player need think about
special training, but if, on the other hand, stale-
ness comes to him a complete rest is necessary.
When you are overworked at the end of a long
season your feet will seem heavy and your kicking
will be uncertain, while you will fall and stumble
about. This is the time to retire and make room
for someone else. With a little care you will gain
the necessary freshness, and you will be able to
tell when you have got that, because you will be
anxious to play the gameCHAPTER V.
Training.
NOT the least important thing about football is
the matter of training, and nearly every profes-
sional club has a trainer, whose business it is not
only to get the men fit, but also to keep them so
for eight months. I have spoken to a great many
whose work it is to get their men into condition
and keep them so, and I find that a great many of
them have different methods, but nearly all are
agreed that every individual must be taken by him-
self. The majority of people, however, are not
paid players, although, as I have already said,
these are largely increasing in number, because
year by year we see fresh clubs spring-
ing up, besides which every member of an
ordinary club should be bound to turn out in
as perfect a condition as possible. Many make a
practice of walking to and from their work, and
this in itself is excellent. When Montague Holbein
was training for his Channel swims he used to
make a practice of walking from Catford to the
City, and also back, a distance of several miles,
and this he found very valuable indeed. In the
early days of some of the more important clubs a
great many of the players who were professionals
went to their ordinary occupations all the week and
used to play on a Saturday. When West Brom-
wich Albion, captained by William Bassett, won
the English Cup against Preston North End
twenty years ago, the Midlanders were all local
lads, whose wages totalled about ten pounds a week,
while Preston’s pay-list was four times as much.
Indeed, men who are regularly at work, especially
if it be out of doors and if it taxes one’s bodily
powers, need very little training. No one ought to
play football unless he has a sound constitution, and
every organ in the body must be sound, especially
the heart and lungs; it is a game for those who
are healthy and vigorous. A good plan is to
pursue some exercise during the “close” season,
i.e., the summer months. Professionals will
tell you that August is their hardest month,
a large number of them having done no-
thing since the end of April. Their muscles
have become stiff, and they have probably too
much surplus flesh. It is very different where
professionals take up first class cricket, and trainers
have frequently told me that those professionals
and amateurs who play the summer game require
little or no preparation, and there are many in-
stances of that. Take, for instance, J. Sharp, the
famous Everton forward. He must be getting on
in years, and yet. season after season he plays
cricket up till the end of August and then turns
up at Goodison Park and shows how well he
can carry the ball along and whip it into goal,
like “a rocket, though not so straight up,” as one
great judge has written of him. He has been an
International this year. He has done splendid
work as a cricketer, and is second on the list of
Lancashire averages, and may be described as one
of the greatest all-round men in England. Now,
in his thirty-first year, he has given evidence that
if you keep in condition there is no need to worry
about special preparation or anything of the sort.
Another instance is E. Needham, the captain of
Sheffield United, and perhaps the greatest half-
back for many years that we have had. He is now
thirty-five, and it is a long time since he played
his first International match, and long before he
was a cricketer he had made his name as a foot-
baller. He is a tireless worker, as anyone who
has watched him with the Sheffield United club
knows quite well, and long before his age many
men have retired from the game. He has the
respect and admiration of everyone, and this year
he has come to the front as a cricketer and finished
at the head of the Derbyshire averages. The
result of his always keeping in condition is that
he will probably go on for some years as a great
cricketer, and as one career is on the wane the other
seems to be beginning. He is great indeed at
both games. Two other members of the Sheffield
United club have also made their presence felt at
the summer game. I refer to the two half-backs,
the brothers Wilkinson. W. H., the half-back,
has never done better as a cricketer. He is a left-
handed batsman, and has made a great advance
on anything he has done before, while B. Wilkin-
son is a player of some repute. Lewis, of Somer-
set ; Makepeace, of Lancashire ; Ducat, of Surrey ;
Iremonger, of Notts; and Leach and Vincett, of
Sussex, are all cricketers who have done splendid
work during the summer game, and have turned
out footballers perfectly fit at the beginning of
the season. Indeed, if you play cricket as it should
be played it is magnificent training for football.
It is hard work getting fit at the start of the season
if you have allowed your muscles to become
flabby, while there may be no regular circulation
of the blood, and generally the muscles that you
require are very lethargic, so the difficulty is with
those who do not play tennis or cricket, or go in
for rowing or swimming or some other form of
active exercise during the summer, that they will
have to take up some serious practice. Skipping
is good, walking and running, especially short
sprinting, while punch-ball exercise and dumb-
bells may be used. There should be moderation in
all things, and one must start carefully at first and
increase thre amount of training until one feels fit.
During the season walking and some practice at
kicking, with an occasional sprint, are quite
enough to keep the player well. It is quite pos-
sible that some may suffer from the tremendous
amount of energy that they put into their game. I
do not think that those who work indoors, such as
clerks and others who are called upon to follow in-
door occupation, require more than moderate
regular exercise. It is very likely that they will
have to do their training after or before business
hours, and in the evening brisk walking of a
couple of miles, with a sprint of 100 yards four
or five times, is a good way of getting rid
of superfluous fat, and everyone can do this if he
likes, though laziness will often lead some to shield
themselves under the excuse, ” They have no
time.” One well-known forward, thoroughly
conscientious in his training, used to exercise on
the Embankment, an excellent plan. Everyone
who has to work sitting down should take a morn-
ing bath and a little practice with a skipping rope
or dumb-bells. The question of diet is of some
importance. The game is so strenuous and ex-
hausting that a substantial meal should be taken
at least two hours before a match. Many have a
beef steak well cooked, with stale bread and vege-
tables that are well done, always excluding
potatoes, and they are able to play right through
the game without feeling in any way fatigued.
The plainer the food the better. All players are
better if they leave alone intoxicants. Needham
earnestly advises young players to abstain from
them. He says that his experience is that they do
not sustain any long continued effort, and their
stimulating effect is followed by an invariable
depression. From my own observation of players
who have abstained and those who have not, I am
sure the former have done’far better than the latter.
Plenty of Internationals and men whose names are
household words are total abstainers. I remember
Vivian J. Woodward at a dinner in the football
season would neither touch intoxicating drinks nor
smoke, and England’s captain knew what he was
about. Kirwan, who captained Ireland; John
Goodall, one of the props of the game; John
Lewis, the famous penalty king; C. Williams, the
Brentford and Tottenham goalkeeper; Ducat, of
Woolwich Arsenal, are only a few of the total ab-
stainers, and to them I might add R. M. Hawkes,
International and the Luton captain. Indeed, if
you want to be of the greatest value to your side
you may take it from me that you will do better
service by leaving alone all sorts of alcohol, and as
to smoking, I am quite sure it is thoroughly bad.
I see one picture which explains to me why a great
deal of the slackness is creeping over our boys.
Again and again I have watched mere lads of
fourteen and fifteen, as well as young men of
twenty-five, come on to the cricket and football
field smoking those horrible, cheap, inferior
” fags.” How any captain can allow it is a great
mystery to me, because if we are training for a match
we always say do not smoke a day or two before,
because it interferes with one’s staying powers.
Yet I have seen boys come down to Tottenham
smoking all the way from London, all -the time
they are changing, and actually come from the
dressing room with cigarettes, and blow and blow
away right to the moment of kicking off. Not
content with that, they get through some more
cigarettes at the interval, and then wonder why they
are tired before the match is over. I have often
begged of our youths if they wish to be athletes to
remember that it means a certain amount of self-
denial, and if they want to do their best for their
side they will take this matter seriously to heart
and remember that smoking and drinking intoxi-
cants make one unfit rather than otherwise. I do
not think that the ordinary player need think about
special training, but if, on the other hand, stale-
ness comes to him a complete rest is necessary.
When you are overworked at the end of a long
season your feet will seem heavy and your kicking
will be uncertain, while you will fall and stumble
about. This is the time to retire and make room
for someone else. With a little care you will gain
the necessary freshness, and you will be able to
tell when you have got that, because you will be
anxious to play the game.

Comments (1)

Edwardian Colour Film

Posted on 15 September 2009 by JamesHamilton

This is, strictly speaking, Georgian – as in Poets – colour film, but the correct term isn’t often used, and “Edwardian” has come to mean everything between Victoria and the Miracle on the Marne.

There are quite a few examples of colour moving pictures from this period in fact, and there was a great deal of experimentation going on. But this is the best uncorrected example of a proper 3-colour subtractive system that I have found so far. If the Youtube comments are anything to go by, only the sheer expense of the method which produced this clip prevented its commercial uptake.

It’s more Henry James or E.M. Forster than Mitchell and Kenyon, but none the worse for that:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsZhK4khz9I]

But all the usual frustrations apply. Like Alfred Kahn’s autochrome emissaries, these cameramen avoid the East End of London and its continental counterparts. How I’d love this technology to have come into the hands of a Thomas Annan or Begbie. But what we have is beautiful, and fascinating in itself.

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A Bit More About Shinty

Posted on 15 September 2009 by JamesHamilton

I forgot to include a couple of pieces of local detail yesterday.

  1. STV News on a Saturday evening goes through the Shinty results in detail, but completely ignores anything English lower than the Premiership.
  2. The Camanachd Cup final is being broadcast live on BBC2 Scotland.

The core website for all this – Shinty.com – is extremely well put together. Compare this and this.

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Kinnaird

Posted on 14 September 2009 by JamesHamilton

Verifying My Sources

Verifying My Sources

I don’t know whether the village of Kinnaird (a little way south of Pitlochry and not where the AA Road Map 2006 puts it) is anything to do with Lord Alfred Kinnaird, late ragged-school teacher and President of the Football Association. But as I could combine getting this shot with avoiding the A9 roadworks tailback, I wasn’t going to care.

Although I could have done without the group of walkers at the roadside who stifled giggles as we drew up, got out, took the picture, then drove off again.

Comments (2)

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