Tuesday, 10 June 2014

We gave you football Brazil...could we please have it back?

So lately I have been hearing about a man called Tom Donohoe who was a nice cheeky chappy Scotsman way back in the 1890s. Apparently old Tommy thought he would up and leave his beloved homeland Scotland to teach football in the sunshine for a change. Donohoe in fact is believed to be the man who actually brought football to Brazil. Pretty cool, huh? Except for the fact that Brazil went onto become arguably the greatest footballing nation in the world while Scotland... well...I don't think I really need to explain how Scotland is viewed in the footballing community.

To think if Tom Donohoe never left Scotland, we probably would not have seen the likes of Pele, Romario, Ronaldinho or Ronaldo and the 5 time winners would maybe not even have reached the dizzy heights that Scotland pray they one day  do.

When writing this I thought that maybe I could just politely ask Brazil to give up there place in the World Cup and allow Scotland to play  considering we practically gave them football but apparently FIFA and the Brazil government think I am "Ridiculous" and "A complete eeijet" so I unfortunately Scotland will  not get to play in the World Cup this year but who knows? Maybe 2018? 2022? 2026? I am almost positive that by the year 2062 Scotland might qualify for a World Cup again.

Anyway how about we actually talk about the World Cup. It kicks off this Thursday and celebrations have scattered through Brazil like a Mexican wave on speed but that's why we love Brazil - the dancing, the music, the once in a lifetime atmosphere as we believe that absolutely anything could happen.

Since the early days when the World Cup only involved invited nations it has come a long, long way to now being the largest sporting event in the World. Even for countries like Honduras or Costa Rica who nobody gives a hope in hell, this is a special time. These players get to play in front of thousands of people in a massive stadium and millions more around the world on TV. This for most players is the biggest moment of their careers and I cannot wait for that first match to kick-off and be caught up in World Cup fever once again.

What were we supposed to be talking about again?

Oh yeah, Tom Donohoe. The man who gave birth to football in Brazil. I still love Tommy, but like the little boy who kicked his ball in someone's garden awkwardly asks "Can I have that ball back?" I - on the behalf of Scotland -  ask the whole nation of Brazil  "Can we have that ball back?"

Please can we get the ball?


Saturday, 7 June 2014

Goodbye to Youth Development


By @GillenReid

I speak to you as a rangers fan, of this I make no secret and i hope 
that some of you will harbour a small amount of sympathy for me 
considering the past goings on. What we will do though is examine the 

supposed rebuilding process McCoist has put our team through, now there 
is no doubt about it many a time has he cemented his name as a legend in 
rangers history, when he took his place as manager that is a very 
different story.

Collectively fans have noticed a consistent lack of experience through 
his rebuilding a team of the past. We were banished to the third 
division this was presented as an opportunity to revolutionize the way 
rangers play football, create an identity and utilize one of the best 
facilities in Scotland (Murray Park)

Obviously throughout that short period McCoist had no choice but to use 
players that he has available, instead of capitalising on this by using 
the youth players that have progressed through the academy he created a 
reason to say that his progress was hamstrung as a result of the ban 
placed on rangers obtaining players above the age of 18.

The following couple of seasons have been different, the ban expired so 
a chance of creating a new team presented itself, so he signed a number 
of players Cammy Bell, Jon Daly and the likes. Top level players, 
clearly dropping a couple of divisions for the money. The freshly 
created team collected a few players over the age of 30, McCoist opting 
for experience again. These new guys had a lot of expectation placed 
upon them, and rightly so Jon Daly for example it was speculated that he 
was offered three times the amount Dundee United were willing to offer 
to renew his contract, so this level of experience wiping the floor on a weekly basis was a bare minimum.

This was not the case, from paying a visit on a few occasion the team seemed incoherent, uncertain as to who's role is what, struggling to grasp the strategy laid out to them. The boos followed.

A closer look at the more recent events will present us with clearer evidence, the ramsden cup final McCoist opted for a line up minus the 
new kid on the block Calum Gallacher, who following the promotion during an unbeaten season scored on a number of occasions, and yet this did not warrant an appearance until the 111th minute and we all know the score in that game.

The more recent events have proven to be the most infuriating, Charlie 
Telfer moved onto Dundee United, being part of the youth cup winning 
side along side Gallacher I can understand the lure of SPFL game time on 
the other hand a family member accused rangers of "stingy" terms, 
forcing him to move to United.

We sold the captain of the Scotland U-18s team Stuart Urquhart, again 
who progressed through the ranks of rangers but considered not good 
enough to play for the first team, we let Kane Hemmings go who went on 
to achieve "Player of the Year" for Cowdenbeath who at the time were a 
division above us.

All this evidence suggests that the way this team is being managed lacks 
direction and forward thinking, simply using the profile and wage of 
rangers to attract the required players to do a job, if a problem occurs 
throw more money at it to solve.

I cant help think that this strategy will prove to be self destructive.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Scotland at the World Cup - Twinkle Toes

Throughout the history of football we have seen a number of terrific players to come in tiny form. The likes of Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona and Jimmy "Jinky" Johstone spring to mind who are all under 5'6 but another player, again a little magician scored for Scotland one of the greatest World Cup goals ever. His name Archie Gemmill. 

Back in '78 Scotland were on a roller-coaster of a ride in their World Cup group. There was a shock loss to Peru in the opening game of the group for the Scots then an underwhelming draw against Iran in the second match which meant going into the third and final group stage game Scotland had to beat the'74 runner's up and hotly tipped favourite to go all the way this time round - Holland. The Dutch were led by the great Johan Cryuff and had some of the finest talent in the world so everyone counted Scotland out. 

What happens when you count the Scots out? We me not be able to beat Iran or Peru but when we go in underdogs then Scotland win. That's exactly what they did. However Scotland needed more than just a win, they needed a clear three goal advantage in order to progress to the next round. The Scots went down 1-0 after just 34 minutes on the clock due to a penalty. It only took 10 minutes for Kenny Dalglish to equalise though and give the tartan army a glimpse of hope. Literally 2 minutes later Archie Gemmill scored the best goal I have ever seen and one which stunned everyone. The tricky winger turned Holland's cool, calm and collected defence into a fluttering mess of tackles. Gemill simply skipped by each defender with such ease you would think he was playing a pub team out there. Watch the video and see for yourself this insane goal because it truly is one of the greatest in World Cup history. 

In the end Scotland won the game 3-2 but that wasn't quite enough so they were, unsurprisingly, sent home early...something they have got pretty good at over the years. So we don't have the 1978 World Cup as a fond memory of when Scotland finally progressed but we will always have that goal.