A father pushed his two daughters hurriedly onto the footpath and immediately sploshed his left foot into a puddle. With a sigh, he followed his children to a 50cm strip of concrete beneath an overhanging shop front, accepting the dark patch now a quarter of the way up his denim jeans. I caught his eye as I shuffled up slightly to provide room, sharing a defiant “that’s how it is sometimes” type of smile with him as his family squeezed in beside me. Now all we could do was hope the shower would soon cease. They had their weekly shopping to complete. I had 30 minutes to locate this damn stadium.
Between inflated transfer fees, relentless top-down engineering and the acutely politicised nature of the sport in the country, China and the Chinese Super League offer little for Football traditionalists. Yet an inquisitive Football enthusiast can still chance upon an oasis of culture even in this expansive wilderness.
For most people, 2020 has offered little cheer. But the year does mark a noteworthy anniversary for Football fans from one nation that has contributed extensively to the global game. This year citizens from Seville to Santander can celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Spanish international Football.
The caged astro-turf pitch on your block where you learned to play as a kid will always have a special place in your heart. That’s for sure. But there are some 5-a-side courts you see on your travels that just outdo others in terms of location. After a recent browse through some old photo alba, we came across this masterpiece in George Town, Malaysia.
Originally constructed in bonnie Newcastle in 1915, the HMS Malaya had been of service both in World War I and II in places as varied as Denmark, Anatolia, Malta, Genoa, Cape Verde and the Caribbean. She gallantly ended her service as target bouncing bomb practice in Loch Striven in Scotland in 1944, but where Football is concerned, the HMS Malaya made her most important trip in 1921 – to the land after which she was named. Continue reading
In an effort to legitimise their rule, the National Socialists decided to relax restrictions of certain cultural activities in the territories they occupied in 1942. In Paris, this meant permitting a return to the café culture – a hallmark of Parisian society. And on the Eastern Front, the Nazis decided to organise a summer Football league in Kiev.
During and after Operation Barbarossa, the Kievans Continue reading
It isn’t often the FBTG boys wake up on a Saturday morning in the Netherlands. But when we do, we are seldom in a state to drive.
On our first Football-culture trip to the Netherlands, stadium tours in Alkmaar and Amsterdam were pleasant, but ultimately outdone by a rain-soaked yet brilliant Friday evening contest between SC Telstar and FC Twente and the Rabobank IJmond Stadion in IJmuiden. Mercifully Continue reading
Glasgow Celtic, Corinthians, Thai Port, Dynamo Dresden, AEK Athens, PSS Sleman…. you may well disagree with this list, but the sheer strength of character of some professional Football clubs around this fine planet bestows upon them a status and image that transcend the norm.
These are the clubs that consistently entice Continue reading