Sunday, September 24, 2023

The game then...and now

Photo:  The DVD of the 1960 FA Cup Final. 

Kevin Clamp, who played with Metro some decades ago and whose son Jacob now plays for New Town White Eagles, gave me a DVD earlier this season of the 1960 FA Cup Final between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers.

Kevin’s uncle, Eddie Clamp, played for Wolves in that 1960 Cup Final.

Now that the season is over, I finally found the time to watch the DVD and I am so glad I did.

It was a window into how society and the game have changed over the past 63 years.

The game was played at Wembley Stadium in London on a scorching day.

Readers may have heard of “The White Horse FA Cup Final” of 1923 between West Ham United and Bolton Wanderers at the brand-new Wembley Stadium.

It was known as that because at 3pm, the time of the scheduled kick-off, there were 10,000 fans on the Wembley pitch.

The stands were packed and these 10,000 fans had spilled onto the pitch and a lone policeman mounted on a white horse was trying to clear them from the pitch.

The official attendance was 127,047 but it is estimated that 200,000 were in the ground, hence the overspill.

The “White Horse Bridge’ at the new Wembley is named after that occasion.

The 1960 Cup Final was called the ‘white shirt’ final by some commentators because the day was so hot that most of the spectators had taken off their jackets and the stadium was a sea of white shirts.  Most were also wearing ties.

The 1960 Cup Final was not a great game (Wolves won 3-0), but there were many points of interest for me.

The fairness and sporting behaviour of the players was the first thing I noticed.

I was surprised to see that one goalkeeper, when he deflected the ball out for a corner, went and retrieved the ball and delivered it to the player from the opposing team who was going to take the corner.

You’d never see that today.

And, the ball was placed inside the quadrant for the corner.  Today, players taking a corner have it barely touching the line markings of the quadrant and one could mount an argument that today’s trend verges on the illegal.

Twenty or so photographers sat on the grass on either side of the two goals and very close to the posts.  That would never be allowed today.

Just before half-time, a Blackburn player suffered a broken leg.  He was lying injured just outside his own penalty area.

As the ambulance officers were treating him on the pitch and putting him on a stretcher, a dozen or so of the photographers came onto the pitch and close to the injured player and started photographing.  Can you imagine that happening today?

Never.  Besides, today’s long lenses and better equipment would make it unnecessary.  I found it very surprising that they were allowed onto the field of play.

And, there were no substitutes at that time.  The injured player could not be replaced and so Blackburn had to play more than one half with only 10 players.

The commentator was the famous Kenneth Wolstenholme and he did the commentary alone.

There were none of the big brand names in boots, nor the multi-coloured boots of today.  Everyone wore drab black or brown leather boots.

The football was a plain old brown one, with a lace.  And it was the only ball used.  There were not three or four others lying about which could be used as a replacement when the ball went out of play.

The linesmen were of interest, too.  If the ball went out near them they would stop it and serve it back to the thrower.  Today’s assistant referees never field the ball when it goes out of play.  They never touch it.

And, at corners, the linesman would take up a position between the corner flag and the near post.  Today, they stand at the corner flag.

Another interesting feature was that in the first half the linesman controlled the right wings.  In the second half, they did the left wings.

I’d be interested to hear from one of today’s referees and learn when that practice changed.

In conclusion, I told Kevin an anecdote about his uncle, Eddie, who earned four England caps during his career and played for England at a World Cup.  Incidentally, he played for Arsenal and Stoke City as well as for Wolves, with whom he won two league titles.

He was nicknamed ‘Chopper Eddie’ because he took no prisoners.

While playing for Stoke, his team-mate, the famous Stanley Matthews, was butchered in one game by Chelsea’s ‘Chopper’ Harris.

Clamp complained to the referee, who told him to go away.

Clamp responded with a quote that has gone down in football folklore.

“That’s the trouble with you referees,” Clamp said.  “You don’t care which side wins.”


Photo:  The back cover of the DVD.

"Grand Final" results - 23 September 2023

Photo:  South Hobart goalkeeper Nick O'Connell makes a brilliant save in yesterday's grand final win over Devonport. [Photo by Nikki Long] 

NPL Grand Final

Devonport City Strikers 0 lost to South Hobart 2 (Eduardo Castaneda 12, Bradley Lakoseljac 50)

Photo:  Devonport skipper Kieran Mulraney up against South Hobart's Eduardo Castaneda. [Photo by Nikki Long]

 WSL Grand Final

Devonport City Strikers 2 ((Georgia King, Lucy Foote) beat Clarence Zebras 0

 Photo:  Midfield action in yesterday's NPL Grand Final at Valley Road. [Photo by Nikki Long]

NPL Under-21 Grand Final

South Hobart 2 (Samuel Lancaster 41, Harrison Oates 59) beat Launceston City 1 (Tito Brown 82)

Friday, September 22, 2023

Friday night cup final results - 22 September 2023

Photo:  New Town White Eagles parade their trophy. [PlessPix] 

Southern Championship Final-Four Cup Final

New Town White Eagles 3-0 South East United

Photo:  University celebrate their Cup Final win. [PlessPix] 

Women's Southern Championship Final-Four Cup Final

University 2-1 New Town White Eagles

Photo:  Eagles' Adam McKeown under pressure in the box. [PlessPix]

Photo:  The New Town White Eagles keeper snatches the ball from a University player. [PlessPix]

Photo:  Eagles' Henry Lush clears a South East United attack. [PlessPix]

Photo:  Eagles' Kate Ollerhead and Maddy O'Brien up against three University opponents. [PlessPix] 

South Hobart confident about grand final, and Football Tasmania's blinkered view and biased attitude

Photo:  South Hobart coach Ken Morton at this morning's media conference. [PlessPix] 

South Hobart coach Ken Morton is confident his side can beat Devonport Strikers in tomorrow’s NPL final-four grand final at 4pm at Valley Road.

Speaking at a media conference this morning, Morton said Devonport had beaten South 2-1 and 1-0 in finals this season but South had beaten Devonport at Valley Road in the league this season.

“I think we were good enough to beat them, especially in that first game, and obviously we’ve also beaten them in the league up there,” Morton said.

“Providing the players can give a good account of themselves  on the day, I think we can.

“We go into the game strong and with a good belief that we can win the game.”

Morton said some coaches like to play mind games but that he is not into that.

He was referring to Devonport coach Tom Ballantyne’s comments earlier in the week that South will need to change their style and tactics if they are to bear his side.

“I just wasn’t us to play our football,” Morton said.

“We have our way of playing football and we’ll do the same thing.  We’ll try and keep possession and we’ll try and break them down and get in behind them and score the goals to win the game.

“It’s up to us.

“They’re a good side.  Nobody can take that away from them.

“Since Peter Savill went there and built the club up and then Chris Gallo, they’ve always had a strong team and it’s up to other teams to catch them up and go past them.

“We’ll go into the game and play the way we want to play and try and break them down and to get the combinations to win the football match.

“I think every game you go into is different because of the opposition and the way they change.  The game changes within a game.”

Morton said he expected the game to be physical because Devonport’s defence is built on strength.

“It’ll be a good battle, I assume,” Morton said.

“It’s important for us to win this last game of the season.  It’s a final, so no matter what type of final they are, once you’re in them, you’re there to try and win them.

“I’m sure Devonport will want to go and win the title again in this play-off and be the champions of Tasmania completely.”

Morton said the championship is number one and nobody can take that away [from Devonport].

“Winning the league is what it’s all about,” he said.

“I think it’s been a successful year in as much as we’ve been in the two finals and we’ve finished second in the league and we’re in another final this weekend.

“On top of that, we had our Under-21s win the competition and our championship side finished third in the league, and then you can go 13s, 14s, 15s, 17s won their competitions at academy level, so I think it’s been a very, very strong year for the football club.”

South Hobart will be without attacker Iskander Van Doorne, who had to leave Australia last Tuesday because his visa had expired.


Tomorrow’s other grand finals at Valley Road are:

1.30pm, Women’s Super League:  Devonport Strikers v Clarence Zebras

11am, Under-21s:  South Hobart v Launceston City


After the media conference, I asked the Football Tasmania Communications and Engagement Manager why all photographers other than the official Football Tasmania photographer were barred from the pitch and had to do their work from behind the fence.

I asked why the usual practice of issuing vests and passes to photographers was not being followed.

The only answers I got, repeatedly, were:  “That’s the way it is now.” and “Opinions differ.”

I queried why Football Tasmania would pay an ‘official photographer’ to take photos when they could easily get photos from at least four other photographers for free.

“That’s the way it is now.  I need the photos.” was the response.

I think this policy smacks of disrespect to other photographers who have covered the game all year, and is a waste of clubs’ and supporters’ money from the FT coffers.

It makes one also wonder why clubs get no money from the live streaming of games.

I’ll be very interested to see what new CEO Tony Pignata makes of all this.

I have contacted FT president Bob Gordon and am awaiting a response.

Monday, September 18, 2023

NPL finals series leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth

Photo:  Knights keeper Jackson Gardner punches clear.  Will he leave Knights after just one season?  He has been linked to a South Australian club. [PlessPix] 

Devonport Strikers will meet South Hobart at Valley Road at 4pm next Saturday in the farcical NPL Final-Four end-of-season series.

The Strikers beat Kingborough Lions United 2-1 at Valley Road on Saturday through a last-minute penalty converted by Roberto Fernandez Garrido.

I have no idea if it was a penalty as there was no live-stream of the game.  Apparently, the camera was not working.

But, there is footage of the actual penalty, converted in ‘Panenka style’ by the confident Spaniard.

How is it that there was footage of the penalty but not of the foul that led to the penalty?  Strange indeed.

The excellent Brody Denehey had given Devonport the lead in the 32nd minute, while Kingborough’s player-coach, Alfred Hess, netted the equaliser in the 65th minute.  A case of Hess again leading by example.

He wasn’t, however, able to prevent his side losing for the first time after a run of eight wins.

He certainly has courage, however, and is willing to make the hard calls.

Who else would have had the guts to take off defender Greg Downes and striker Noah Mies, both in the 61st minute with the side 1-0 down?  It may have been because of injury, but I doubt it given they both went off at the same time.

He brought on two youngsters, Eli Wright and Alexander Brown, so it speaks more of his confidence in his young players and his eye to the future.

Photo:  South Hobart's Jacob Lancaster heads wide. [PlessPix] 

So, Devonport are in the so-called grand final.  They can win a trophy if they win, but reports suggest there is no prize money.

So, what’s it all, for other than to cloud the issue of the league champion?

Fortunately, Devonport won the first-past-the-post championship, so will South Hobart be known as ‘the champions’ of they win the grand final?

It’s all so unnecessary as in football just about everywhere in the world it’s the team at the top of the standings at the end of the roster games that wins the league and is the champion.

There’s nothing really to be gained by winning this grand final, is there?

If South Hobart win  -  and well they might as they are the only team to have beaten Devonport at Valley Road this season  -   what does it actually mean?

Zilch, I reckon.

Surely, it would have been preferable to have a 28-game league season in which every team plays every other team, twice at home and twice away.

There are reports that Garrido may seek fresh pastures interstate next year.

His performances for Devonport over the past two seasons must surely had attracted interest from interstate.  Time will tell.

Photo:  Knights' Nick Naden working out a way to get past Sam Berezansky and Lachlan Semmler. [PlessPix] 

South Hobart won the other semi-final 2-0 against Glenorchy Knights at South Hobart Oval at the bizarre time of 10am on Saturday morning.

Jaden Fidra put South Hobart in front in the 17th minute, following good work by Tobias Herweynen and Bradley Lakoseljac.

Lakoseljac made it 2-0 in the 72nd minute after an unfortunate ricochet off Knights’ Adam Gorrie out the ball into his path.

Knights had some good chances, but their finishing was off target.

Jackson Gardner was the busier of the two keepers and he denied South Hobart on at least three occasions.

South Hobart’s Nick O’Connell did what he had to do and did exceptionally well to save a Nick Mearns free-kick.

South Hobart might have had a penalty in the second half, but Mr Plomaritis waved play on.

Canadian import Iskander Van Doorne played possibly his last game for South Hobart as his visa reportedly runs out on Tuesday.

Photo:  Knights' Jack Turner heads at goal. [PlessPix]

Photo:  South keeper Nick O'Connell takes a high ball with ease. [PlessPix]