Shaun is happy

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Shaun is happy.

The fixtures are out, marking the official end of British Summer Time, and with it the heightened expectation of Sky making a total mockery of everybody’s best laid plans to try and see their team on the road.

This season sees a new corporate partnership in ongoing hopelessness and total advocacy in chaos. SASTA will be providing no service, no assistance and no consideration for the ‘EFL’s’ away supporters as they continue on their arbitrary folly of cancelling trains for a laugh. And don’t even think of asking for your money back.

I predict a boom in minibus hire this season.

Meanwhile, on Planet Twaddle, EFL Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey said: “Our first season rebranded as the EFL promises to be one of the most exciting yet for league football and we’re delighted the TV cameras will be with us every step of the way to showcase all the action as it unfolds at stadia up and down the country.

“As ever, whilst being supportive to our principal broadcast partner, who continue to provide our clubs with an important guaranteed income, we are extremely conscious of the impact moving fixtures for television can have on fans.

“We are in a regular dialogue with Sky to ensure that any Sky Bet EFL matches set to be displaced for live coverage are done so as soon as is practically possible.”

Shaun is happy.

We must congratulate Shaun in taking an evidently tortured-over 120 words and making them say absolutely nothing; a masterclass textbook corporate drivel.

In short, Sky have tried to consider maybe thinking about the distant possibility of accommodating inconvenienced fans, as long as it doesn’t interfere with it affecting themselves in this continuing omni-shambles, of course.

And calling the Football League the ‘EFL’ will of course make the season that much more exciting. How do we know? Shaun said so, and Shaun is happy. Cardiff City and Newport County should think themselves lucky that England is bending so far backwards in ignoring them…

Meanwhile, English football administrators – still split into three separate and diverging entitites – shuffle papers on their desks, make meaningless arbitrary changes of no significance, make fatuous statements, and supporters are still inconvenienced. Easiest gig going.

So Shaun is happy.

The forgotten international match at The Goldstone…

Any self-respecting Brighton fan will let you know that The Goldstone Ground (RIP) played host to a smattering of internationals down its 95-year history.

In 1948, Luxembourg beat Afghanistian 6-0 in an Olympic Football Tournament match, while in 1977 England U21s beat Norway by the same score, with host striker Peter Ward bagging a hat-trick. Aston Villa’s John Deehan (2) and Manchester City’s Peter Barnes completed the rout.

In 1989, England ‘B’ took on Italy ‘B’; a match which would include many players who would feature in the following year’s World Cup. 16,125 watched on a cold night in November Tony Adams equalise Giovani Stroppa’s opener.

But one international appears to have snuck in under the radar…

16th April 1910 – The Goldstone Ground, Hove

England Amateurs 10
Wilson (4), Steer (4), Chapman, Berry
France 1
Tousset

Att: 3,500

Few in-depth records exist about the match, and no match reports appear to have been unearthed.

The England Amateurs team 1910

It was, strictly, England Amateurs against a French full national side. At that time, there was a distinction made between professionals and amateurs. However, while the match is not given full international status in England (nor are any England Amateur matches), the amateur side was considered strong enough for other countries – including France, Belgium and Germany – to consider them full internationals in their records.

In all, England Amateurs played France eight times, winning seven and losing one, scoring 61 goals, conceding four. France’s heaviest-ever home defeat was to England Amateurs in Paris, the hosts losing 15-0 in 1906.

As an afore-mentioned self-respecting Brighton fan, the most interesting point I found in all this is that the 10-1 match against France was played at The Goldstone Ground 104 years ago, and was therefore the first international to be played there.

Admiring the German Löw for football…

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Joachim Löw has it within him to be one of the great international managers of all-time

I write this 45 minutes after the end of a World Cup Semi Final that will be talked about forever. But at this present time, in the immediate aftermath, it was a match which is only being talked about in terms of the end of an era for Brazilian football.

Maybe, but that misses the central issue regarding this match. This was the start of something special in football.

The Germans have been building for this since their nadir in 2000 (lost all of the Euro 2000 matches) and 2001 (losing 5-1 in Munich to England).

They were down, bowed, humiliated and a shadow of their former selves. They looked at themselves in a cool, calm and professional manner and set about a long-term programme of re-building and improvement – with a little help from Howard Wilkinson’s plans, and the English FA’s own insular arrogance.

What we saw tonight was the culmination of 12 years of hard work, focus and a keen philosophy for the improvement of German football on a domestic and an international level. They have reached the semi-finals in the last four tournaments they have participated in. Are you watching, Greg Dyke – or are you happier being at Wimbledon while the World Cup is on?

If the boot had been on the other foot, we’d have been drooling over an awesome Brazil side. As it was, the boot on the Brazilian foot may well have had its studs showing, thigh-high. They may have their own issues – they played in a World Cup on home soil where they won few friends around the world – but it’s still unthinkable that anyone could put seven past them.

Be in no doubt – Germany were as good as it got and, despite feeling that they can yet get even better, their first priority is to prove themselves the best on the stage that matters this coming Sunday.

Oh, and congratulations to Miroslav Klose on his 16 World Cup Finals goals – scored at a combined distance not dis-similar to Andy Carroll’s idea of ‘close control’ – knocking Ronaldo into second place.

Zac Toumazi speaks to the Albion Roar

THE ALBION ROAR

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Zac Toumazi, chief executive of Sussex CCC in conversation with The Albion Roar, stated he can’t expand further on the allegations of match-fixing against Lou Vincent and Naved Arif from a match in 2011. However, he has stated Sussex’s full co-operation with the ECB.

He feels that the game has moved on dramatically since then in terms of player and staff education, getting hold of players at a young age and warning them of the risks and temptations that may come their way.

“I was asked ‘is the game clean?’ As far as I know, it is. But you’re always going to get individuals who think they can beat the system. Our job is to educate, prevent, and if we have to… punish.

“This is not the behaviour of the county club, this is the behaviour of individuals…”

To hear the whole interview with Zac Toumazi in his role as…

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Zac Toumazi speaks to the Albion Roar

Image

Zac Toumazi, chief executive of Sussex CCC in conversation with The Albion Roar, stated he can’t expand further on the allegations of match-fixing against Lou Vincent and Naved Arif from a match in 2011. However, he has stated Sussex’s full co-operation with the ECB.

He feels that the game has moved on dramatically since then in terms of player and staff education, getting hold of players at a young age and warning them of the risks and temptations that may come their way.

“I was asked ‘is the game clean?’ As far as I know, it is. But you’re always going to get individuals who think they can beat the system. Our job is to educate, prevent, and if we have to… punish.

“This is not the behaviour of the county club, this is the behaviour of individuals…”

To hear the whole interview with Zac Toumazi in his role as chief executive at Sussex CCC, go to www.albionroar.co.uk

OGH – Oldie Goes Home

Gary Hart - over 400 games, and still not had enough

Gary Hart – over 400 games, and still not had enough

News reaches us that evergreen stalwart and Albion legend – YES, LEGEND – Gary Hart is leaving Sussex to return to his native Harlow, Essex to continue his playing career at the ripe old age of 42.*

I’d just like to take a moment to spell out our appreciation for Gary Hart.

Never mind the ‘£1,000 and a kit’ transfer fee, never mind the myriad managers who kept him on and appreciated him as a low-maintenance player, nor indeed his versatility (including an appearance in goal) – fine qualities those these parts that make up the Harty legend are.

Gus Poyet: “If I could have 11 players with Gary’s attitude, my job would be so much simpler…”

This was a player who ran through walls for you; the arch-wind up merchant with a bundle of energy with pace to burn – even after his broken leg. He would give more, run faster, track back harder and set-up goals for 95 minutes out of every 95 minutes asked of him.

You knew when the team was read out, and OGH’s name was on it, there was someone you could trust with putting in a full shift, giving his opposite number no peace, probably leaving some part of opponent’s anatomy embedded in the Withdean pitch forever.

Kerry Mayo: “I roomed with him for 10 years. Jesus, I bet he sleeps at home with the windows open…”

45 goals may not sound a great return in 13 years, but there were some great goals in there – 25 yard screamers, rounding the Wolves defence to slot home, a near-post bundle against Leeds. However, this was a player who loaded the ammo too. The ‘Assists’ column next to his name must be awesome; the most famous surely being setting up Lloyd Owusu for his ‘three inches off the ground’ header against Oldham Athletic.

Thank you, Harty for all your hard work, your tenacity, your goals and the enjoyment you gave us while we were trying to avoid getting pneumonia at Withdean. Come back to Sussex any time you’re ready. Remember your friends here – you have THOUSANDS.

And there must be a place on the Legends Wall at the Amex soon – surely…?

So it was an honour and a privilege (really) for Ady and I to interview OGH in the Reverb dungeons in April 2012 to record an episode of The Albion Roar. Admittedly we’d been badgering him – alright, stalking him – to come on for months. He’d always said he’d do it, but never got round to coming on. Eventually, I think he just ran out of excuses.

But what a great 90 minutes we got out of him. He was funny, humble, cheeky, erudite, honest – but most of all, extremely grateful and appreciative of all the love that came his way during his 13 years at the Albion.

Gary Hart: “I never took penalties because I missed one when I was 15, and got beaten up by my team-mates for it…”

If you appreciated OGH’s effort, take some time out to listen to his interview – he was great. You can listen to the show in the Roar archives at www.albionroar.co.uk/archive.php

* It could be 37*, mind…