The strange story of Sol Campbell and Notts County.
Sol Campbell was one of the Premier League’s most accomplished defenders in the early years of the 21st century. After a nine-year career at Spurs during which he lifted the League Cup in the 1998-99 season, he took the short – and highly controversial – journey across north London to join Arsenal. It was a move that saw him add two league titles and two FA Cups in five years at Highbury. He also scored in a Champions League Final, albeit when the Gunners lost out to Barcelona. In total, he played over 400 league games across his time with the two North London rivals, and won 73 England caps. In 2007-08 season, he won his third FA Cup, this time under Harry Redknapp at Portsmouth, but just over a year later, he would be involved in one of English football’s most bizarre transfers, moving to League Two club, Notts County. Even stranger than the move itself though, was the fact that his time at Meadow Lane, despite signing a five-year, £40,000 per week deal in August 2009, lasted a mere one game, and that one appearance proved to be embarrassingly bizarre in itself. Continue reading →
So, what’s in a name?
Some clubs have long histories, others’ are much shorter, but each is unique, and often speaks of the history of the area where they are based. Much the same is true of certain popular names or nicknames bestowed on clubs or areas of their stadium. The ‘Spion Kop’ at Anfield and the ‘Holte End’ at Villa Park are examples. With regard to clubs themselves, nicknames often relate to industries within their areas, hence Northampton Town are known as ‘The Cobblers’ due to the shoemaking industry there. Walsall are ‘The Saddlers’ as the leather industry was prominent in the area, Blackpool being ‘The Seasiders’ for obvious reasons. One nickname that always intrigued me however was that of Exeter City being known as ‘The Grecians.’ I’d heard a few theories about how the name may have originated, but thought the definitive way to find out was to ask the club. Continue reading →
Football can be like a kick in The Bulls.
That was then. Remember the moment? All those years ago. John Motson, he of the sheepskin coat, collar turned up against the chill, screaming “Ronnie Radford” as the Hereford United left winger peeled away, both arms aloft after firing in an improbable 30 yard equaliser on a mud-bath of an Edgar Road pitch against Newcastle United in the FA Cup. Radford was quickly engulfed in a fan invasion of the pitch, but with mud-splattered shirt, he became a ‘forever hero’ of almost every Hereford fan. It’s one of those iconic moments, and in the very definition of a cup shock result, Ricky George later pivoted to turn in the winner and vanquish the Geordies, Malcolm McDonald – who reportedly had forecasted a double hat-trick for himself – and all. But that was then. This is now. Continue reading →