1966 and All That!

England-1966-fifa-world-cup-logo_SEINNI_MYNDINThis weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the England football team’s World Cup final victory over West Germany at Wembley stadium on 30th July 1966.

A hard-fought contest over 90 minutes saw the match go into extra time with the score poised at 2-2, but two further goals by Geoff Hurst – making him the first and so far only player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final – won the match for England 4-2. Not without some controversy – debate still rages over whether or not England’s third goal was actually legitimate, as certain camera angles appeared to show that the ball had not crossed the line.

England’s fortunes in subsequent finals have been mixed; a semi-final appearance at Italy 1990 under Bobby Robson has been their best achievement since 1966. Indeed, controversy seems to have followed England’s World Cup performances – on and off the field! Alf Ramsey’s ill-advised substitution of the talismanic Bobby Charlton during the quarter final against West Germany in 1970 has long since been deemed responsible not only for losing England the match 3-2 in extra time (after England led 2-1 with 8 minutes to go), but also subsequently – in a dour reflection of the black mood of the country – for then Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s surprise defeat in the 1970 General Election which took place four days after the match!

England fans would also choose to forget Diego Maradona’s infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal in the 2-1 quarter final defeat to Argentina at Mexico 1986, while German fans may claim a degree of cosmic football karma during their second round 4-1 knock-out of England at South Africa 2010, when Frank Lampard’s would-have-been equalising goal for 2-2 was disallowed despite having crossed the goal line – a reverse echo of Hurst’s goal in 1966, perhaps!

We hold a large stock of books about football and football coaching among our sports section on Level 2, and if you care to revisit England’s World Cup adventures as reported by the press of the time, why not take a trawl through our online newspaper archives?

World Cup Fever!

cattias photosFootball fans across the globe rejoice tonight as the 2014 World Cup Finals kick off in Brazil this evening, beginning a month-long sporting carnival featuring some of the finest football players in the world.

Hosts Brazil are the pre-tournament favorites and will be hoping to kick the ball running with a victory over Croatia in the opening game that kicks off at 9pm tonight. 30 other countries qualified for the tournament, comprising a total of 13 European sides, 6 South American, 5 African, and 4 each from Asia and North America. They’ve all been drawn into 8 groups of four teams. The eventual winner in the final, to be played on Sunday 13th July, can expect a prize of $35 million dollars, as well as the distinctive Silvio Gazzaniga trophy.

The tournament is being staged with a background of some controversy; there have been doubts about Brazil’s ability to stage a safe & secure tournment following recent and ongoing domestic and social upheaval in the country. And FIFA, football’s world governining body, is embroiled in a bitter dispute over the legitimacy (and wisdom) of the award of the 2022 Finals to Qatar.

You don’t have to look far in the Library for something to read about football; we have a growing section of books down in our sports section on Level 2 devoted to the sport and its history. You can also read all about previous tournaments via our electronic newspaper archives, which are available to browse via Library Catalogue Plus. Though for many England football fans, such a dip back into the past may bring back unwanted memories…!!

Brazil 2014 World Cup logo by Cattias Photos, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

International Football at the University Stadium

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If the start of the domestic football season earlier this month has re-whetted your appetite for the game after the summer break and you’re at a loose end, then why not pop along to the Loughborough University Stadium this week, which is hosting three Under 17’s football matches as part of an FA International Tournament.

The three matches will see national youth sides from Italy, Portugal and Turkey competing. The England Under 17 team complete the four teams in the tournament, although sadly the home side are playing their matches at the Pirelli Stadium in Burton upon Trent.

All three games kick off at 3pm and spectators are welcome to attend the matches for free – no advance tickets are required either. The dates of the matches are as follows:

  • Wednesday 28th August                Turkey v Italy
  • Friday 30th August                         Italy v Portugal
  • Sunday 1st September                   Portugal v Turkey

Who knows, you may get the chance to see the next Cristiano Ronaldo or Mario Balotelli in action!

Football Rules OK… at the British Library

footballs by beefy_n1

To mark the 150th anniversary of the Football Association the British Library have just put on display the very first FA football rule book in their Sir John Ritblat Gallery as part of their Treasures of the British Library display.

On 26 October 1863, at the Freemasons’ Tavern in London, a group of men came together to form The Football Association, with the objective of establishing a unified code of rules to regulate the sport. It took six meetings to agree on the original 13 laws of football, which were reproduced in the FA Minute Book, lovingly compiled and handwritten by Ebenezer Cobb Morley, and is today regarded as the most important book in the history of the world’s most popular sport.

The rule book will be on display in the gallery between 21st August – 17th December. It is the latest addition among a host of treasures from the British Library vaults, including a 13th century reissue of the Magna Carta, William Shakespeare’s first folio, some of the very earliest versions of some of the classic works of English literature, and a selection of original written lyrics by the Beatles.

For further details of the exhibition, visit the British Library website here:

http://www.bl.uk/whatson/permgall/treasures/index.html

Footballs image by beefy_n1, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

UEFA Under-17 Championship Football at Loughborough

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There’s a golden opportunity to see some of the international football stars of the future (for free!) at the University’s Holywell Park Stadium over the coming week as the UEFA Under-17 Championship kicks off its elite round at Loughborough.

Three matches from Group 6, comprising of England, Portugal, Slovenia and Russia, are taking place at the following times and dates:

  • Saturday 23rd March, 2-4PM, Russia v Slovenia
  • Monday 25th March, 2-4PM, Portugal v Slovenia
  • Thursday 28th March, 3-5PM, Portugal v Russia

Admission is free for all three matches.

The UEFA Under 17 Championship has been held annually since 1982 and is organised by the sport’s European football governing body, UEFA. The Elite Round is the final qualifying stage for the finals which will be held in Slovenia in May. Holland are the current holders of the trophy, which was last won by England in 2010 with a team which included budding Premiership stars Jack Butland, Andre Wisdom and Connor Wickham.

For further details, visit the Loughborough Sport site here.

Are You Watching, Fabio?

BBC broadcaster James May with Dr Andy Harland of the Sports Technology Institute

The England football team has had a less-than-stellar record when it comes to taking penalty kicks in tournaments in recent years – but TV’s Top Gear host James May recently paid a visit to Loughborough University to find out if science can help improve this!

Filmed for inclusion in an episode of James May’s Man Lab recently broadcast on BBC2, Mr May visited researchers at the University’s Sports Technology Institute who, by using a range of measurement tools and high speed video cameras, captured the precise detail of his own penalty kicking technique before suggesting areas for improvement.

The ultimate aim of the excercise is to prove that an Englishman can successfully take a penalty and score a goal (some chance!!!)

If football is your game – whether as a player or an armchair pundit – the Library is well stocked with a variety of books about every aspect of the game, from its history and cultural aspects to coaching and training techniques. The database SPORTDiscus is also an invaluable resource for further up-to-date research.

If you want to watch this particular episode of James May’s Man Lab, it’s currently available via the BBC’s iPlayer at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b017jk97/James_Mays_Man_Lab_Series_2_Episode_4/

England fans may doubtless hope Fabio Capello sneaks a look to take a few tips before next year’s European Championship finals…!

Kicking Off the New Season

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Molineux Stadium, photographed by Tony Evans, taken from Flickr, used under cc licence

The English Barclay’s Premier League kicks off its opening fixtures of the 2011-12 football season this Saturday, with the promise of another exciting year of top calibre football.
 
As usual, pundits remain divided as to who will lift the title next May, currently held by the ever-green Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United. But they face stiff competition from big-spending neighbours Manchester City, as well as the strong London contingient of Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, plus a resurgent Liverpool side under the steady guidance of their Kop hero, Kenny Dalglish.
 
But football isn’t just about the Premier League. The League Championship and Non-League football seasons have already begun, and way down in the Midland Football Alliance (some nine steps from the Premier League!!) our own Loughborough University football team has already made an excellent start to their campaign, winning their first two matches. Last season they finished a very creditable fourth in the league against a strong contingient of Midland semi-professional sides.
 
And on September 3rd, the team prepare to launch themselves at the first hurdle towards Wembley glory, with a home FA Cup preliminary round tie against Yaxley or Godmanchester Rovers.  The team will also be competing in the FA Vase, the British Universities and Colleges Sport Competition (BUCS) and the Midlands Universities League.
 
You can follow the team’s fortunes via their homepage here, and can find a comprehensive list of the division’s fixtures here. Why not pop along and cheer them on!
 
And if you’re interested in football – either as a fan or a sports science student – don’t forget that the Library has a comprehensive range of sports databases, including SPORTDiscus and and the Physical Education Index, as well as a wealth of football-related books on our shelves.

Energy and Football – Worthwhile Goals!

E.ON, one of the UK’s leading energy companies, is at the forefront of a campaign to help amateur football teams up and down the land reduce their costs, after a report which reveals that UK amateur football, as a whole, is likely to be using around a staggering £43m worth of energy in pursuing its activities, with £7m of that total spent by those 2,000 semi-pro or amateur clubs with their own grounds.

According to E.ON, the amateur football sector as a whole could save up to 30% of its total energy bill by installing more modern, efficient and intelligent equipment, such as LED floodlights, timers and occupancy sensors, and by applying better controls, usage patterns and good maintenance.

As sponsor of the FA Cup since 2006, E.ON is no stranger to worthwhile football campaigns that make a positive difference to people’s lives. In the 2007/2008 season its Carbon Footyprint was the game’s first ever green campaign, helping to reduce the environmental impact of the FA Cup by encouraging fans to make simple energy pledges like leaving the car at home or gathering their mates together to watch matches on a single TV.

The Library has access to a wide variety of information about football, the environment, the effect sport has on the environment and its part in helping protect it via our many databases on Metalib, particularly SPORTDiscus and the databases in the Environment section.

To find out more about the campaign, E.ON have set up a Facebook page all about it here.

Football Legends

Though England’s bid for glory during this summer’s World Cup in South Africa ended as something of a national debacle, there’s still plenty to be proud about of our ‘National Game’! And to reflect this, the BBC Archives have recently released a classic series of radio interviews detailing the lives and careers of some of Britain’s greatest footballers.

Jimmy Armfield, a former England captain himself and now one of BBC Sports’ Radio’s most respected and revered pundits, hosts these trips down football’s memory lane, and includes interviews with such icons as Stanley Matthews, Geoff Hurst, Bobby Charlton and Kevin Keegan, and should prove vastly entertaining and enlightening to football fans of all generations and nationalities. They’re available to listen to through the BBC Archives website here.

Needless to say, as the series focusses on players of legendary status, none of the current England football squad are represented!