Since it’s the cricket season and we’re in the middle of the Ashes Series, I wanted to share this lovely quote from the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. Peter the Cat was the much-beloved feline resident at Lord’s Cricket Ground in North London during the 1950s and 1960s, and it’s clear he was quite a fan of the sport.
When his “ninth life ended” in 1964, Peter was given a singular tribute, becoming the first and only animal to receive an obituary in the cricketing bible Wisden – a real honour, and testament to his reputation at Lord’s:
Cat, Peter, whose ninth life ended on November 5, 1964, was a well-known cricket-watcher at Lord’s, where he spent 12 of his 14 years. He preferred a close-up view of the proceedings, and his sleek brown form could often be seen prowling on the field of play when crowds were biggest. He frequently appeared on the television screen. Mr SC Griffith, Secretary of MCC, said of him: “He was a cat of great character and loved publicity.”
I reckon he would be great friends with the modern-day Barmy Army…
Sadly, it appears there are no actual photos of Peter himself in existence, despite his many television appearances, so you’ll have to make do with a picture of a rather handsome model cat instead!
Goalkeepers are strange people, especially when they have their scoring boots on. Here’s a recent piece on the subject by me from And Still Ricky Villa, the football blog I edit.
Picture the scene. It’s deep into injury time of a crucial cup match, and you’re desperately in need of a goal to take the game into extra time. The opposition have conceded a corner, and you’re all up in the box to try and scramble a goal – and by all up, that means your goalie too. The corner arcs in and rattles round the box until your keeper leaps high into the air, his head making contact with the ball…. and it’s in the back of the net!
It is often said that goalkeepers are a breed apart, and they certainly seem to be made of different stuff to your average primadonna of a centre forward. For a start, they have to have a thick skin since they will frequently be blamed for losses (as ex-England goalie David ‘Calamity’ James once put it “It’s not nice…
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The perils of playing football on Christmas Day! Absolutely love this story…
A short and sweet post today. This is one of my favourite football stories, and, as the festive season approaches, it had to be told! Until the 1950s, it was very common for a full league programme to be played on Christmas Day in England, something we would never think of in the modern era.
On December 25th 1937, Chelsea were playing Charlton Athletic at Stamford Bridge. It was a cold and foggy day and the Charlton keeper Sam Bartram (above top at left, with the Chelsea goalie Vic Woodley) hadn’t seen much of the ball – or much of anything, really…. actually, let’s hear the story from the man himself, as I think this says all that needs to be said:
Soon after the kick-off fog began to thicken rapidly at the far end, travelling past Vic Woodley in the Chelsea goal and…
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Many of you know that I’m a passionate football fan, and I very much enjoy writing about the Beautiful Game. Over the past decade or so, I have become increasingly fascinated by the history of sport, and of soccer in particular. I wanted to write more on the subject, but felt Another Kind Of Mind was not quite the right space for that. Instead, I started something that is.
So, if you’ve been wondering where I’ve been for most of 2018, may I direct you over to my new project…
And Still Ricky Villa… is a blog about football. All sorts of football – everywhere and everywhen. And it’s not just me who is involved – we’d love to hear from football fans who would like to write for us in the future. Have a look here for more details if that sounds like you.
So far, we have mostly covered World Cup stuff, but there are a number of new posts in the pipeline, including pieces on the strangeness of goalkeepers, the new Spurs stadium (of course), and lots of spooky stuff for Halloween (seriously, you’d never believe the number of major football clubs that claim a resident ghost or two!).
Incidentally, the blog’s name comes from a very famous piece of commentary by the BBC’s John Motson on an equally famous FA Cup final goal, which was scored by the legendary Spurs player Ricky Villa in 1981 (see the video below – it’s a real treat of a goal, I promise!). This is one of my earliest football memories, and one of the reasons I am a Spurs fan to this day. Seemed kinda apt, really…
It’s come to McKenzie. What a good tackle by Graham Roberts. And now Galvin. Spurs have got… two to his right and Galvin wants to go on his own. Villa…. AND STILL RICKY VILLA! What a fantastic run. HE’S SCORED! Amazing goal for Ricky Villa! – John Motson
We welcome writing and images from fans of all clubs, anywhere in the footballing world – we’re here for the game, not the rivalries. If you’d like to contribute to And Still Ricky Villa, feel free to get in touch! You can find loads of ideas for articles here, or pitch us something over on our Twitter account.
As with many things in life, I came across this somewhat bizarre little newsreel clip while I was looking for something else entirely (I was actually searching YouTube for videos of football being played in extreme weather – you can find my playlist of that here). When I saw this frankly odd snippet of film, I couldn’t resist posting it here for your enjoyment too!
Since we are in the midst of the Rugby Union Autumn Internationals and the Rugby League World Cup (England have reached the final!), it seemed like the perfect time to share this quirky look at what has to be one of the most unpleasantly cold and uncomfortably violent crossover sports imaginable (and I’ve played actual rugby. In the actual mud).
Filmed at the Streatham Ice Rink in south London (I honestly can’t see this type of game being played on the beautiful green reaches of the Twickenham pitch!), and, according to the narrator “a mixture of rugby and American footer”, this 8-a-side match between the Senators and the Royals doesn’t actually seem to have much in the way of tactics going on – unless you count falling over in a heap and shoving the opposition off the ice at 25mph as tactical play!
Usually, my Playlisting posts involve music, but this one is a little different. Today, we’ll be overrun by pine martens on the pitch, alligators and capybaras on the golf course (not at the same time, obviously), and sheep on the football field – plus a demonstration of the need for goat line technology, an invasion of plastic pigs, psychic octopi, the penguin cup final, various avian pitch invaders, cats with a fascination for ball games, and lots and lots and lots of dogs. Dogs love football. And we all love a dog on the pitch.
This playlist was originally compiled as a bit of fun for the members of an online football prediction league I play in, but it seemed a little unfair not to share the hilarity with a wider audience – so it’s time to meet a selection of sporting (and not so sporting) animals…
If you know of any sporty animal videos that can be added to the playlist, post a link in the comments or tweet me!
Today’s vintage film clip is from British Pathé, and is a fascinating glimpse into the world of football fifty years ago. With England playing Iceland in the Euro ’16 round of sixteen tonight, I thought it might be fun to have a look at some real English footballing success from the past. So we’re heading back five decades to the year England won their one and only World Cup.
We start with a brief look at how the World Cup footballs were skilfully made (mostly by hand, in Yorkshire) and continue with some great colour footage of the final itself, then some newsreel footage of the players being feted afterwards. And, of course, we get a glimpse of the legendary Pickles the dog, who found the World Cup in a hedge after it had been stolen a few months before the competition started.
I grew up on stories of ’66 from football-mad relatives who were actually there – they were at every single England game of that World Cup, including the final. They saw it all from the first match to Bobby Moore lifting the Jules Rimet trophy (and that Geoff Hurst goal? Didn’t go in). In this lifetime, I’d love to see England lift another trophy and match the achievement of that legendary team under Sir Alf Ramsay. I’d love for the magic of ’66 to live again, just a little bit…
Today is the opening day of the football European Championships in France and I’m quite excited. Indeed, I’ve got my fixtures wallchart ready and am planning my match predictions as we speak. One reason I’m quite excited by all this is that my team, the mighty Spurs, have sent a whole eleven (count ’em!) players to Euro ’16 – including five who are in the England squad – which, after the highly dramatic season we just had, is absolutely as it should be!
While I was looking for something football-related to mark the occasion, I came across this fantastic silent newsreel footage of the 1924 Spurs team in training and I just had to post it here (for obvious reasons…). Even from this brief clip, it’s fascinating to see how much is familiar to the 21st century football fan, as well as how much the game has changed since the 1920s – just look at those shorts and that heavy ball in comparison to the hi-tech kit worn and used by modern players, for a start. I honestly can’t see the likes of Wayne Rooney in get up like that…
Watch out for more vintage football-related posts coming soon.
I reckon so.
And it sounds great in the sunshine.
“Some people are on the pitch! They think it’s all over! It is now, it’s four!”
We can but hope….
England v Italy, 11pm BST tonight
I don’t often write about sport, but I couldn’t let this one pass me by. I was rummaging in amongst my small library of football books today, searching for a particular quote (which is actually a whole other blog post in itself. Probably), when I found this little gem.* Apparently taken from the 1897 edition of the club handbook, here’s some useful – if perhaps slightly patronising – advice on how to be a proper 19th century Spurs fan:
Hints to Spectators
Learn the rules well before criticising.
Respect the rulings of the referee and refrain from unseemly demonstrations so common on many football fields when decisions are unpalatable – the best of referees make mistakes.
Applaud good football impartially.
Don’t let a defeat discourage you. It is at this time that encouragement is most wanted by players.
Don’t express your disapproval of a player so that everyone can hear, it only upsets him and he loses confidence.
This season’s team will doubtless accomplish some fine performances. Don’t, in your enthusiasm, forget that there is such a thing as mistaken kindness where athletes in training are concerned.
Don’t stop at home when the team goes away; they want your support more than ever when on opponents’ grounds.
Let visitors go away with the impression that the Tottenham crowd are good sportsmen.
Whether at home or away don’t forget the ‘Tottenham whisper’.
It’s amazing how little some things change over the course of a century – quite a few of these ‘hints’ are still clearly recognisable as issues within the game as a whole, and rightly so in some cases! However, despite being a life-long Spurs fan, I have absolutely no idea what the ‘Tottenham whisper’ is. Can anyone enlighten me?
* Powley, Adam and Cloake, Martin – ‘The Spurs Miscellany’ (Vision Sports Publishing, London; 2007), p.116