Tag: Football

Guest Post: Injuries That Almost Changed Sports History

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Every athlete’s worst nightmare is not whether they’ll miss out on a trophy or whether they could have signed a more lucrative deal or played for another team. There is one thing they all dread more than anything and that’s an injury that could seriously affect their career. While every athlete experiences at least one injury during their career, some of those affecting some of the world’s greatest athletes could have completely changed the course of sports history. Here are just four of the most famous injuries that could have had major impacts.

Guest Post: From Kings to Kicks – The Evolution of Football Shoes

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Take a moment to envision the famous figure of King Henry VIII known for his six marriages and numerous unorthodox decisions (pardon the pun), wearing the very first custom-made pair of soccer shoes. In 1526, the very same year the Tudor ruler started courting his soon-to-be second wife Anne Boleyn although already married to Catherine, he also made another historic decision – to have his soccer shoes made.

The game of football as we know it today does stem from England, and the king’s single capricious demand may have very well been the catalyst for the footwear we use today. The game itself, however, is over 3,000 years in the making, dating back to the old Mesoamerican cultures, so it took us a substantial amount of time to get to the level of superior engineering that today’s football players enjoy. Here’s a brief, but thorough glance at how this quite literally game-changing footwear has come into existence.

Arthur Jones, Dick Butkus and the Long Con

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Controversial to the nth degree, Arthur Jones was a man known for his pull no punches approach. Wonderfully innovative, the founder of the Nautilus exercise phenomena had a strict sense of right and wrong when dealing with his small circle of clients.

This was demonstrated, most spectacularly, when Jones was approached by Dick Butkus, then linebacker for the Chicago Bears, in 1973. One of the most feared players in the NFL, Butkus had by then built a legacy based on ferocious tackling and a dogged determination to make quarterback’s lives a living hell.

On the first meeting of the two men however, Butkus was something of a sorry sight. Despite a physically imposing frame (Butkus stood at 6ft 3 and weighed over 240 lbs.), the Bear’s legend was almost crippled with the knee problems that would soon force him to leave the NFL. Compounding matters was the fact that Butkus was now out of contract with the Bears, meaning that any idea of a last payout was becoming slimmer by the day.

The Bloody History of the Intercontinental Cup

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From 1960 to 2004 UEFA and their counterparts in South America were responsible for the Intercontinental Cup, an annual tournament that pitted the winners of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup against the winners of the Copa Libertadores. In part driven by lofty ideals of creating a closer footballing family, the first decade of the Cup was troublesome to say the least. By the end of the ‘60s, the Cup had become synonymous with bloodshed, sendings off and misbehaving fans. Sadly it could have been so different.

It’s Complicated: Nkrumah, Football and African History

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“The masses of the people of Africa are crying for unity…”

Kwame Nkrumah

Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president in the nation’s post-colonial history was a controversial figure at the best of times. He proposed African unity but was at times an authoritarian leader. He lent a helping hand to those in need, but often on his terms only. Regardless of people’s opinions of him, one thing was clear. He was sincere in what he fought for. Nkrumah had a grand dream of uniting all of Africa and whilst ultimately he failed, he left an interesting story. This is especially the case when it comes to Ghanian football history.

Politics and football in Africa are more often than not bedfellows. Ghanaian football is no different.

Malcolm Allison and the Modernisation of English Football

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Playboy, character or revolutionary?

Rarely are such terms used to describe the same person and that is what made Malcolm Alexander Allison such an enigma to those who knew him. Allison was hugely influential in the introduction of modern training systems in 1960s England but his reputation as a trainer was often overshadowed by matters off the pitch. A shame when one considers Allison helped spread ideas about weight training, aerobic fitness and nutrition in a sport renowned for its archaic training methods.

Hakoah Wien and Muscular Judaism

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Is there a Jewish style of football?

Once upon a time this question would have been answered definitively. Yes. In the early 1900s, Hakoah Vienna or Hakoah Wien were a dominant force in Austrian football who were staunchly proud of their Jewish roots. From 1909 to 1938, Wien rose up the ranks in Austrian football before being shut down by the Nazi Regime. It’s a story few know, but one worth examining.