Tuesday, 31 May 2016

A great day out !

The pictures tell the score and the story.
From the moment 'Bayo' Akinfenwa entered the arena with 15 minutes left on the clock, that turned into plus 13 more added on, it was action packed. The goals, chances, injuries, appeals, saves, tackles, breakaways and more chances, it was a frantic ending. There was even a penalty 'hoo-ha' where Azeez wanted it, then Callum Kennedy and finally Akinfenwa took the ball and that was that… AFC Wimbledon are going up to Division One.

My memory will be a chorus during the celebrations of 'Can't Help Falling in Love' and the repeated chanting of "A-F-C, Wim-Ble-Don" sang to the tune of "Liverpool, you-are-****". Lyrically this was far better.  Made me smile and sing along.

Friday, 27 May 2016

It's another story this week…
Three years ago, while on Honeymoon in Sardinia, we found this beach bar (picture right) in Chia, that was a lovely place to park off, watch the waves, have a few drinks and listen to the Italian rock music that the owner enjoyed playing. A great memory. 
A few weeks later at home in our local Italian restaurant I heard again what sounded like one of those pieces of music, so asked the waitress who it was. She wrote down for me: VASCO ROSSI - Song: Vita Spericolata
Last week I found this on YouTube. We haven't had anything not sung in English for a   STAR TRACK  - so this is a first. The song is from a 1983 album called 'Bollicine'. The video is a live concert from the San Siro football stadium in Milan, quite a setting.  Questo è Vasco Rossi:

The song translates as 'A Desparate Life' so nowhere near as romantic as my story. To follow the English lyrics click here.
For an alternative version without the crowd singing, the piano intro but with remastered sound, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERqE31Kb83U

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Welcome to my New Association Football feature where I delve back into the past. Starting with a trip down memory lane as AFC Wimbledon prepare to play Plymouth Argyle at Wembley this coming Monday in the Division Two Play-off final.

Watch this video for a brief history lesson - for those unfamiliar with how AFC began: click - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rm_83rauUDg

And from the ashes of the former Wimbledon FC the new (but old) Club stands one game away from Division One (the old 3rd Division) and being in the same league as the MK Dons. 

But I'm going back to the days when Wimbledon FC were an Amateur club playing in the Isthmian League. When you changed ends in the ground at half-time and the Wandle End of Plough Lane was know as the Smelly End. The programme cost 4d and your school gave you a pass to get you in for free. You meet your mates and had a laugh…

(Above): A 1961 friendly against Chelsea Reserves: containing Barry Bridges, Bert Murray and Ken Shellito.
(Left): An F.A. Cup game from 1963 against Bath City. No mention of City's manager Malcolm Allison in the programme notes. Guess the manager wasn't that important back then.

The Wimbledon teams shown (Above and below) will ring a few bells. Eddie Reynolds, of course, Captain Roy Law, Mike Kelly in goal, the Martin brothers John and Brian, all familiar names from the early 60s.
(Above): End of season match verses Tooting & Mitcham, who have in goal Alex Stepney.
(Above): It's a bit small to make out but the lists of goal scorers has Eddie Reynolds on 47 for the first team. With Peter Kenchington on 36 for the Reserves. My memory of Kenchington was he cut a similar profile to AFC's Akinfenwa (Below)
Which brings me neatly to the Play-off final. 
The team that drew 2-2 with Accrington and made it to Wembley contained Dutch loanee Kelle Roos in goal. In the 60s it was Mike Kelly in goal. Another coincidence was the sub bench that night had Rhys Murphy, also on loan to Wimbledon. Both team sheets here and regular choice at No.6 was Ted Murphy, always called 'Spud' by the fans back then.

We're on our way to Wembley - "Up the Dons" - though some wag on social media has picked up on the 70s connection to The Wombles and renamed the venue on Monday: Wombley ! 

And that's Association Football, isn't it?
Marvellous !

Monday, 23 May 2016

End of Season ?

Once the Cup Final is over, that's the end of the season. Or that's the way it once was.
The Wembley show piece drew down the curtain on a season and everyone got the summer off, to play tennis and cricket or row or ride, until August when the football started up again.
The 2 year gap between the World Cup (lasting four weeks) and the European Championships (another 4 weeks of Summer) put pay to that years ago. Add in the Play-Off finals, plus a few friendly warm-up matches and a Copa América tournament and before you know it Pre-season games are just a couple of weeks away and the 'close season' is over for another summer.

This last weekend saw Cup competitions in most countries played. Barcelona, PSG, Bayern Munich and Juventus all completing 'doubles' in their countries. Hibernian beat Rangers in Scotland and Man Utd (who then sacked their manager) overcame Crystal Palace at Wembley. Disappointment for Palace, but allowing West Ham to enter the Europa League as a result. See Hammers

I shall in my blog > whilst dummying past the small matter of a Champions League Final, this Saturday (because unless you have BT Sport you'll have to watch it down the pub) and also the Play-off Finals next weekend > treat this time as the 'close season'. A new football feature will be coming soon and the Football, Fútbol banner, will return in August. But a season wind-up surely wouldn't go a miss…

One final shirt or two: 

What a season for Papy Djilobodji. The Senegal player was a surprise transfer to Chelsea on deadline day back in Sept 2015. He famously played just 59 seconds as a sub in a League Cup match (link) before going on loan in January to Germany. 
He got banned in March for a throat silting gesture and then in the final game of the season scored the goal that kept Werder Bremen in the top division. He may have the freedom of Bremen…
Will we see him back in the number 15 of Chelsea ? Dunno.

This shirt stat makes for better reading….

Notes for Diary

Friday 11th June. Euros begin in France.
Wednesday 15th June. The day the new league fixtures come out.

And finally a story to expand the leagues in England…

This would play havoc with my LION League Ladder Chart

Friday, 20 May 2016

Usually I can tell you How, When and Where? I have come across a certain track. Sometimes adding Why or even What the reasons are behind the choice. Unfortunately little of that applies today. The How? could be the giveaway magazine 'ShortList' which often points me towards some new music or other. The Why? is easier because having purchased the CD I must have thought the music was great. Far more so than the name of the band, which is not so great.
So this is YUCK. Off their first album called 'Yuck', with "Holing Out".
Great chorus and swirling distorted guitars and phasing sound. Lots of evocative interference in the video that comes with a PG warning of nakedness in the final third. Psychedelic stuff.

For a lighter side of Yuck check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55sVV-t8R0c

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Football League Tables

In 1963 the boys comic 'LION' gave away a 'do-it-yourself' Football League Ladders Chart*. All four Divisions, including the two in Scotland with cardboard 'team tabs' for every club to slot into the 'ladders' and position accordingly. It was designed so you could use it every season thereafter. I have therefore brought it up-to-date for the season just finished. Though as you'll see it wasn't entirely future-proof.

The biggest difference being the four Divisions are now known as Premiership (1st), Championship (2nd), League One (3rd) and Two (4th). Which is why old-timers like me still refer to the 3rd and 4th Divisions. 
The other obvious change is the 'Top Div' now has only 20 teams and the '2nd Div' has 24. The final obvious change is some of the teams from 1963 have been relegated and replaced by new clubs.

I have made these changes by adding MK Dons to '2nd Div' and slotted Bolton in last place.
Wigan, Burton and Fleetwood are written in for the '3rd Div' and the same principal applied to the teams now in '4th Div'. 
Because the Scottish Leagues are so dramatically different I have cropped them out of the picture. Nothing personal.

One thing of note is in over 50 years the only 'tab' that has got lost was Notts County. So I have had to write them in also. Which means there are 14 teams now in the Football League that weren't part of the Lion League Ladders in the 60s. 
What of the teams I had left over ?

See here a separate picture of those teams and their current position within the English Football League Pyramid system of automatic promotion and relegation.

*How have I still got a Football Chart from 1963? Don't ask… I just have.
And so has this guy 
click and scroll page:  https://roverstan.wordpress.com/2013/01/23/1962-63-football-in-the-freezer/

Sports Desk

You couldn't make it up … with eight minutes remaining of extra-time and AFC Wimbledon having fought back from two down in the match, to lead 3-2 on aggregate, two sets of floodlights at Accrington Stanley's Wham Stadium failed and plunged one side of the pitch into near darkness.
Bewildered players and management staff stood around wondering what next? Abandon the game? So close yet almost to far for the Dons. Had someone from Accrington thrown a switch to off?
But 10 minutes later the game was back on and Lyle Taylor's 104th minute equaliser for Wimbledon would book a Wembley date on 30th May against Plymouth Argyle.

It was a hard won victory against Accrington who's more skilful football looked to have triumphed over Wimbledon's no nonsense direct approach. That is until the man mountain named Adebayo Akinfenwa came on at half time. The tactics now became even more 'get it up to big man and quick', and despite being penalised almost every time he challenged for the ball, he crucially rose formidably in the 68 minute to thump a header in and get the Dons back in the contest.
Last night after scoring - blocking out the light.

  Final score:  
  Accrington Stanley 2  AFC Wimbledon 2   
  (2-3 on aggregate to AFC)

The Unit that is Adebayo Akinfenwa:- (right)

“The Beast”, as he likes to be known, bagged 15 goals for the Dons in 2014/15, in 47 starts. Able to bench-press 180 kg, he is reputedly the world’s strongest footballer.
Has been with 10 different clubs during his career. 

Other News

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp loses his fifth cup final in a row as a manager, 3-1 to Sevilla.
It was 'Akloppalypse Now' - as one paper put it.

And John Terry signs a new one-year contract at Chelsea. Excellent news !

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

The final game of Chelsea's season was an opportunity to congratulate visitors Leicester City on winning the Premiership and it turned into a bit of a 'love-in'.
Chanting and applauding former manager Claudio Ranieri > A guard of honour to his Leicester team > A rousing chorus of dislike for Tottenham from both sets of fans > And a loud cheer and clapping from Leicester fans for Eden Hazard, presumably for his goal in the Spurs game that saw Leicester become champions. It was all very congenial and predictably the match ended in a 1-1 scoreline.
Plus there was the Chelsea crowd showing their love and feelings felt for Captain John Terry. Who may still be at the Bridge next season ?

I was going to 'do' a review of the season - player by player - but thought better of it.

  • The Blues have conceded 52 goals in this season's Premier League. It's the first time they have conceded more than 50 goals in a league season since 1996-97.
  • Only 5 home wins in the league - just 1 this year. 
  • Far too many draws = points dropped !
  • A grim season for us and next season we have plenty of weekdays off !  hmmm?
  • Guus Hiddink - top bloke. 

Moving swiftly on to Wednesday night – no not Liverpool v Seville, AFC Wimbledon at Accrington Stanley in the play-offs.  UP THE DONS !

Friday, 13 May 2016

Summer's here (almost) and the time is right for some driving music. "Roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair"*
Nothing conjures up the open road better than some American name-dropping and no one better at that than Counting Crows. This track is from their last album, ironically called 'Cover Up The Sun'.

"Now I watched Louisiana scroll across the window pane"

Fascinated by this video and want more? Search Counting Crows. Chalk Art Reveal on YouTube.

* If you thought you recognised these words, there from Bruce Springsteen's 'Thunder Road'.   :-) 

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Three months ago I posted a similar blog about Old Vinyl Records (see VV1). Back then I said "this is the tip of the iceberg and while it could be the majority of your collection is of little value, it's certainly worth checking".

I've recently been back to the 'Sister Ray' record shop and spied the following 'Top of the Pounds' LPs up for sale at more than attractive prices.

'Tommy' by The Who.

The sticker reads 'Original UK 2 x LP - Laminated Sleeve.'

My copy has the laminated sleeve and I know friends who bought this album at the same time as me. The level of wear and tear may of course effect this valuation.

'In the Court of the Crimson King' by King Crimson.

The sticker reads 'Original Island Pink Label.'

Got it !  Same comment applies I know friends who bought this album at the same time as me.
Add that to the cash collection

'A Saucerful of Secrets' by Pink Floyd.

Says 'Original UK Mono Columbia - Black & Blue.'

Obviously a very early 1968 release if in Mono and not Stereo. So fairly obscure.

'Dark Side of the Moon' by Pink Floyd.

'Solid Blue Triangle + inserts.' This refers to the record label and the 3 paper inserts that came with the album.

We're talking serious Money here, it's a gas !

Take a look and see what you have – totting up my stash comes to a cool £1000. Rock-On Tommy!
Clearly a dealer or shop is making a good profit but it's useful to know (and tell people) the real value of some of these records.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Captain Morgan v Captain JT

Not alcoholic drinks but very much the heart and spirit of their clubs, though having had very contrasting seasons. Leicester and Chelsea have virtually swapped places and points totals.
Morgan having played in all Leicester's league matches, just as Terry played every minute of every game last season.
Yet the dejected figure of Terry leaving the pitch having been sent-off at Sunderland on Saturday summed up the difference this time round. 
Even John Terry's single goal scored at Stamford Bridge against Everton was off-side !!!

We may not see JT in a Chelsea shirt again, and while his time has been full of highs there have been some lows – he's a had a magnificent career and it's never been dull, but sadly it may just have ended.

Another MASSIVE week

In media speak it's another 'Massive' week in the Premiership. Sunderland could stay up? Man Utd could pip City to a Champions League spot? Midweek games that could answer some questions ahead of next Sunday's final day of the league season.
Other News 
West Ham announced this morning the sell-out of more than 50,000 season tickets for 2016-17 at the Olympic Stadium.
The Hammers average home attendance figure this season has been 34,749 ?

Friday, 6 May 2016

Sometimes you arrive at a song in a roundabout circular kind of way. We were watching the Sky Atlantic TV series 'Vinyl' and to be expected there was plenty of music made in the early 70s. A Van Morrison song came on I was not familiar with called 'Gypsy Queen'. This lead me to other great tracks of his not found on various 'hits' compilations and therefore perhaps less well known.
Today's track is off his 1979 LP 'Into The Music' and I'd not heard it in years. Sit back, or kick back and enjoy 'And The Healing Has Begun' and the accompanying images.

"And we'll sing all the songs from way back when"

The backing band on the album includes Toni Marcus on strings and she is responsible for the fantastic violin in this track.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Not ALL about Leicester - not quite…!

And last night at Stamford Bridge it came to pass. The one team left who could possibly catch them Spurs, needed to win, but they only drew, so the 5000-1 outsiders for the Premiership title Leicester City are champions. 
For the first time in the club's 132 year history > One year on from just escaping relegation > And a squad compiled for only £57m. It's a remarkable story. Congratulations to Claudio Ranieri and to the Club and to the fans. 
The squad Who's Who: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/36091220

The detail from yesterday's match was after seeing Leicester move 8 points clear on Sunday, Spurs knew they had to win all of their 3 remaining games. Starting with a London derby against Chelsea. And 'we' knew it too.
Managers and players have this morning played down what was a lively encounter (to put it mildly). Nine Tottenham players booked, 3 Chelsea (mostly for dissent) a couple of mass brawls and two incidents, tv video may yet investigate. There was no love lost between the teams and that was to be expected in the circumstances. Spurs wanted desperately to win and Chelsea equally didn't want them to. It was emotional and highly charged and at times not particularly pretty. But it was exciting and in the end it meant Leicester would win the league and underdogs everywhere could celebrate their astonishing sporting achievement.

Anyone feeling 'lucky' having put a bet on the Foxes to win the league (click: quote) maybe interested in backing Iceland to win the Euros this summer? Their odds of 80-1 are not as long as I'd have expected. Northern Ireland though at 500-1 maybe worth a shot.

AFC Wimbledon

Congratulations to them on securing a play-off game against the fourth placed team in Division Two, with the final matches playing this weekend.
But not such good news regarding their new stadium plans, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-35881589  I'm thinking I know how AFC Wimbledon fans will be voting in this Thursday's London Mayoral elections.