Referring to football as “the beautiful game” is a tired cliche but its origins reveal much about how the sport developed and spread around the world. It was used to describe football long before the phrase was popularised in the 1970s by Pele, and Pele most likely borrowed it from Brazil teammate Didi. Read the […]
Penalty kicks generated fierce opposition when they were first introduced to football in the early 1890s, with amateur players of the day outraged at the implication that any good sportsman would commit a deliberate or “professional” foul. They protested by refusing to score or save them. This article for When Saturday Comes looks at the […]
A complicated history and plenty of local rivals have not ended the Heed’s hopes of returning to the Football League. This latest When Saturday Comes “Still with us” feature on former League clubs looks at Gateshead FC, the third incarnation of a club that originated in South Shields. Read the full story in issue 361 […]
A new book reveals the varied life of one of football’s earliest stars, the England and Sheffield Wednesday outside-left Fred Spiksley. My review of Flying Over An Olive Grove by Clive Nicholson, Ralph Nicholson and Mark Metcalf is in the January 2017 issue of When Saturday Comes.
Gainsborough Trinity have always overachieved, despite the best efforts of their local rivals. With a population of around 20,800, lower than the likes of Glossop, Accrington and Fleetwood, Gainsborough is one of the smallest towns to have had a Football League club. Read the full story in issue 351 of When Saturday Comes.
In the summer of 1899, football’s most famous goalkeeper took on a Sanger’s Circus elephant in what was billed as ‘The Greatest Novelty in the World’ – an elephant-versus-man penalty shoot-out. This is the story of one of the great football sensations of the Victorian era. Published in issue 349 of When Saturday Comes.
A short obituary piece on the popular former Newcastle goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek, who died in December aged 47, exploring how Pavel became a Geordie. After a tough start, Pavel endeared himself to fans with his hard work on and off the pitch. Published in issue 348 of When Saturday Comes.
The rise and fall of Gretna FC is one of the most fascinating football stories of recent times. After swapping English non-league for the Scottish Third Division in 2002, the border-town club won three successive promotions, reaching the Premier League and a Scottish Cup Final, plus the UEFA Cup qualifying rounds. But, after just six […]
A piece on Darwen, the smallest town ever represented in football’s top flight, for When Saturday Comes. The current AFC Darwen is a continuation of Darwen FC, founded in the early 1870s, one of the oldest Football League clubs. When Saturday ComesDecember 2015Page 40 Read the full article in the December 2015 issue of When […]
My review of Touching Distance by Martin Hardy is in the November 2015 issue of When Saturday Comes, and on the WSC website. “The 1995-96 Premier League season should not be fondly remembered on Tyneside. This was the year that Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United raced to a seemingly unconquerable 12-point lead, only to be ruthlessly […]