Archive for the ‘Why I love Football’ Category

New Season Preoccupations

August 2, 2013

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It’s back, the football season. Oscar Garcia’s squad are in Leeds tomorrow, at the very start of a new campaign. I won’t be there, I am in the UK, but I do have other preoccupations (see above).

His name is Bowzer, and he’s already more fun than six awaydays together, with free booze. Expect phots of him and your author in all kinds of tricks and sport scrapes, but in old clothes, his teeth are like a mini-Great White’s and my garbs are the mainstay of his puppy diet.

I will, work allowing, be at Falmer next Saturday. Hoping for the same as last season up to the play-offs and something verrrry different afterwards, if we do make them. I still haven’t digested the Palace fiasco to this day. Enjoy your season wherever you are.

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Juventus 1 – 2 Sampdoria

January 10, 2013

Got back to Brighton this afternoon, and I’ve been going through my photos from a week in Turin. I’ve taken so many decent ones that it’ll take a few posts to do them justice. So, without further ado, here’s the best from the highlight of the holiday – Sunday’s brilliant win by 10-man Sampdoria over Juventus.

I bought two tickets for 50 Euros each in a local Listicket shop in central Turin. I wasn’t at all chuffed about having to fork out this kind of money, but it was a one-off, and I know when I go to watch Samp again in Genoa the tickets will be half that. Watching Samp then tonk the greedy Juve bastards (it’s the club suits, not the fans, I’m aiming at here BTW) was all the more sweeter, and I got my money’s worth for that alone.

Samp fans in fine voice pre-match

We got a lift to Juventus Stadium off the head of Sampdoria TV, a nice bloke called Matteo, who read my column in StandAMF and wanted to interview me for the local Genoa-based Samp channel. We were a bit late arriving at the Football Ground Formerly Known as the Stadio delle Alpi, so we only managed three or four questions to camera, about the pros and cons of Italian v English football. I talked shite and I’m guessing the interview won’t see the light of day. Matteo bid us farewell and promised to email the edited-for-broadcast TV clip. Haven’t heard from him since! LOL

Juve’s stadium is in a beautiful setting, with the Alps, rolling in the cold winter sun to the northwest, as a breathtaking backdrop, one of the most recognisable vistas in world football. They have a fully functional shopping mall beneath or beside (or inside) the stadium structure, and it’s all very Modern Football. I was feeling a bit disappointed at this stage, Juventus are more than a mere football club, and their corporate stadium is the only one in Serie A currently owned by the club that plays in it. Some have to share, like the two paupers in Genoa/Genova, so like our game here at home no-one really has a chance against such wealth and ostentation. Or do they??

Taking our seats I was more than a little happy we were about 10 seats away from the hardcore Samp fans who made the trip over the hills of Liguria for this supposedly mis-match of Italian football extremes (you can’t buy away tickets in Serie A as a foreigner). The quaint reinforced glass partitions could surely take a lot of abuse, but any British hoolie worth his salt could scale them in a nanosecond. I’m sure they have more security in place when Torino FC visit for the Derby della Mole. The upshot was you could watch in fascination, like at a zoo – up close and personal – the antics of opposing fans at their best: when the teams are on the pitch. It was a real hoot, and as I had to sit on my hands when Samp scored twice, it was even harder to keep a straight face when the Samp fans were goading the locals, and me – I was to them a Juve fan from the fact I was sat among the enemy.

The Curva Sud (it’s not curved anymore)

The stadium is ok, big and bowl-like, like St Marys on steroids. They say it’s an improvement on the delle Alpi, as the running track is gone and it’s more “English” with the fans close to the pitch. But the Juve fans have piped music to help them sing, and the Drughi Ultras behind the home goal are pretty muted – no flares, smoke bombs and general mayhem like at the Marassi and other Serie A grounds. When Juve scored their stonewall penalty to take the lead, the PA got in with a song before the bulk of the home fans could let out a roar. Shit, utter shit, my pet hate at any football match is de rigueur at the biggest club in Italy – fuck modern football.

Juve were relaxed, arrogant even, and assured of victory once the hot-headed Berardi got a second yellow midway through the first half, just after the penalty. Samp looked doomed, and I predicted a 3 or 4 goal hammering. How wrong I was. They picked up a gear from somewhere and in the second half, although they held on from some ferocious Juve assaults on goal, two fantastic breakaway goals from the Argentinian teenager Icardi dispatched the Italian Champions, and with clinical aplomb. The home fans went into silent shock, while the sliver of blue/white/red/black to our right went mental. It was great, and even though I’ve watched live games “in the wrong end” quite a few times, I’ve never been so close to see goading like this – how the Blucerchiati enjoyed themselves. Another joy was to see fans’ favourite Angelo Palombo back in the team after being out in the cold for so long. The little guy played in central defence and would have got my Man of the Match if Icardi hadn’t been so deadly.

1st half action

We left elated as they kept the Samp fans in after the final whistle, and to round it all off our taxi driver back into town was a diehard Torino fan, so he was pretty happy to ferry us back into central Turin, where we enjoyed watching the replays of Icardi’s goals before heading out for a steak and some beers. Awesome.

Juve win & score a penalty, nothing dodgy about it

I’ll get some pictures up of Turin later, as it’s a very photogenic city, with a lot to point a camera at. Cheers.

Juve taunt Samp

Samp respond – those stewards’ hats are reinforced, like crash helmets

Argy bargy on the pitch, I love Italian gamesmanship

Pirlo hits a corner in

Samp equalise LOL

Marchisio gets stretchered off

Samp win it with ten men

Turin: Part One

January 5, 2013

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Starting our second full day in Turin this morning, so much to do and see in this beautiful Italian city. I’ve taken loads of phots on both my normal camera and the iPhone, so many I thought I’d better start uploading them to here early doors; I know I won’t be arsed when I get home.

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Picked the match tickets up for Juve v Samp yesterday, and got seen off for €50 apiece, remember tickets for Samp at home cost €21 each. Juventus are the biggest fish in Serie A, so I guess we were always going to get charged more. The bastards.

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Expecting Samp to take a bit of a beating, but with the new manager apparently happy to return the combative fans’ favourite Angelo Palombo to the playing field, it might be a tighter game than predicted. Stay tuned for more updates.

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STAND Against Modern Football #2

October 16, 2012

After issue #1 sold out in no time, everyone involved in STAND AMF was astonished about the demand for such a paper fanzine today. It really was a roaring success. So, you better be quick and get an order in for issue 2 which went on sale yesterday from the excellent new STAND website.

I’ve submitted a small write up about my recent trip to Genova to watch Sampdoria v Torino, but apart from that I’m not sure what else is in this edition, but if it’s anything like the seminal #1 and the writing on the new site then you really can’t afford to miss it, if you’re against modern football yourself of course. If however you’re a SoccerAM-loving #bantz #tekkers whopper then it’s definitely not for you. Simple.

The demand has proven that people are crying out to be heard in our country, they want to have a voice against the sad state of British (and most foreign) football, and STAND is the only thing going in print that’s giving a platform to these voices in Olde Blighty. Thanks to everyone who bought the first issue, and if you keep supporting it it can grow into a lot more than the excellent fanzine it undoubtedly is right now.

Cheers

Sampdoria 1 – 1 Torino (Part 2)

September 26, 2012

More phots of the game itself. Awesome place, even when only two thirds full.

The banner reads “12.30pm – eternal hatred of modern football” because this game was brought forward from 3pm to suit the TV companies scheduling

Sampdoria 1 – 1 Torino (Part 1)

September 26, 2012

I’ve put my photos from our trip to Genova to see Sampdoria v Torino on the blog here, but as I’ve written two articles for both The Seagull Love Review and StandAMF about the whole experience I think it’s best I don’t repeat it all again here. You can buy both publications soon online for a pittance each by checking in here and here, and anyway, as the cliche of the old cliche goes “Pictures speak louder than words” or is it “Pictures are louder than bombs”? Fuck knows.

Some loud bombs at the Marassi for this one, a special game in every way. I’ve already booked flights for the visit of Fiorentina on the 28th April next year. Absolutely recommend it to anyone who likes to be treated as an adult at a game of football, the difference to back home is incredible, and to be honest makes me more determined to fight the modern game here. Oh, and Genova is a worthwhile visit on its own, without the football. NO AL CALCIO MODERNO.

For the significance of Paolo Mantovani to UC Sampdoria click here

IN OGNI ANGOLO DELLA CITTA

September 19, 2012

The bags are packed, the wallet is full of Euros (for those delicious Genovese pesto dishes), the tickets are ready to pick up from Sampdoria Point on Sunday before the match. All I have to do now is brush up on my pidgin Italian and get my (and the Doris’s) arse up to Gatwick tomorrow morning to fly to Genova.

We’ll be taking in the sights of this beautiful old Mediterranean port city and of course I’ll be photographing everything, especially match day at the Marassi. This is a trip I’ve been meaning to do for years now, and it’s finally happening.

Phots will go up here when I get back next week, and expect two different write-ups (with aforementioned phots) in both @tslr and @standamf

Ci vediamo

STAND Against Modern Football #1

August 24, 2012

Get it while it’s hot

It’s finally here, the most anticipated publication since the Almighty took a hammer and chisel to two great big fuck off stone tablets on top of Mount Sinai, and said to Moses “Ere y’are lad”. The first issue ever of Stand – Against Modern Football is finished and on sale now; and the Lord said “from small acorns shall grow mighty oaks”. Here’s a link to the site where you can buy it:

http://standamf.bigcartel.com/product/stand-fanzine-issue-1

You’ll notice the cover is a picture of the protests at The Goldstone Ground during the dark days of Archer and Bellotti, very apt I think.

Rolling of the press

I wrote a piece in issue 40 of The Seagull Love Review about STAND, as the guys behind this new national fanzine are mates of mine and the TSLR boys, who themselves do a stirling job producing Brighton’s one and only fanzine.  STAND’s Tumblr have reposted my TSLR article here. Buy a copy of TSLR at the match to read more about it. Actually, buy both of the bloody things and let’s get Albion fans at the heart of what we hope will be a popular, fan-led movement to bring a bit of sanity back into the higher levels of the professional game of football.

I have written a 1500 word article in this first issue of STAND about the Albion, our struggles from Archer through to those NIMBY bastards on Lewes Council, and to hopefully show that not all modern stadiums and club stories are doom and gloom, and that there are still things in the modern game that are worthy and benign – and the current state of Brighton & Hove Albion is definitely one of them. We, as a club, are still among the good guys, and that’s something to be proud of in my opinion.

After all, Brighton fans wrote the rule books about fan power, taking on the shysters, the clowns, and the fucking crooks who always seem to weasel their way into football clubs and associations. We’re old hands at this kind of thing. And that’s why Build a Bonfire and We Want Falmer are such important books about this fight for the soul of the game. So get STAND AMF bought, contribute, spread the word.

To Hastings, and making a STAND Against Modern Football

July 19, 2012

A Morris Dancer free zone

I’m itching to get over to the east of East Sussex for this one, it’s been ages since I’ve seen the old pig’s bladder being kicked about. I have quite a few in-laws from around the Hastings area, but they’ve no interest in football; odd lot over there, but great place for a bevvie, especially the Old Town.

I’ll take the old Panasonic with me, so I can capture a few daguerreotypes to put up here, and a Hovian trademarked BHAFC match report – if I can stay sober enough to shoot phots that is.

In other news – the peasants are revolting. There’s a new paper football fanzine, unlike anything you’ve read before, being stuck together for publishing as we speak. It’s called “Stand – Against Modern Football” and it does exactly what it says on the tin. Even better, yours truly has an article in there, all about…..well, you’ll just have to buy it and see. The co-editors are (drinking) pals of mine, who are already in the business of magazines and fanzines, so it’s not some bodge job. You can check it all out on their Twitter @standamf, Facebook, and their blog. Sabotage Times have done a good write up here as well.

The boys at Stand have got 1200+ followers already on the old Twitter, so there is momentum behind this venture – after all, it’s our game and they are fucking us over, enough is enough – time to make a STAND.

The fanzine will be available to buy online only at this stage, stay tuned here or at @TheHovian to find out more.

NO AL CALCIO MODERNO

Cigars all round

June 1, 2012

The Seagull Love Review, the Voice Of Albion Fandom©, has been rewarded for years of turning out BHAFC’s only living fanzine, by being shortlisted in the Best Fanzine category in the 2012 FSF Football Writers Awards. It’s a remarkable achievement when you look at the fanzines they are sharing the plaudits with. United We Stand for instance is ipso facto a glossy football magazine, and boasts the Daily Telegraph’s Jim Write as a regular writer. This is no mean feat.

Sam & Stef, TSLR’s joint editors, have been producing the fanzine on a shoestring budget from the Withdean days, and have been a permanent fixture home and away selling copies up and down grounds in three different leagues. As I’ve said before, football fanzines are part of the very essence of the unique football culture on these islands and they should be lauded, especially when they are as good as our very own TSLR.

So, a big round of applause to everyone involved with banging the rag out every season, and if you’re reading this as an Albionite who hasn’t bought a copy or got involved, then look out for the fanzines sellers on the concourses around Falmer next season, and start buying. Cheers.