Thursday, September 27, 2012

Brazil - The Last of the Mohicans

When we started the Brazil series back in 2010 we delighted in the footage of the Brazilian top flight bucking the global trend towards free-hanging boxnets and retaining their traditional L-supports.

At that time we were genuinely optimistic that the nets at the 2014 World Cup finals would be suspended by L-supports.

However, as the finals have drawn nearer, Serie A teams who we originally featured as having L-supports - Botafogo and Palmeiras for example - have joined the trend towards boxnets.

As well, six brand new stadia are being constructed for the World Cup finals and only the most optimistic among us would consider anything but homogeneous boxnets are going to be installed by FIFA.

Brazil was once this dreamed-of place where the outside world hadn't yet reached - Echo Beach.

Now, those few stadia who still retain their traditional L-supports are like Chingachgook in The Last of the Mohicans, standing at the edge of the cliff, realising they're the end of the line.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Goalnets and FIFA's Stadium Book

In a previous post it was shown that, while FIFA's The Laws of the Game ran to some 142 pages, goalnets merited only 26 words.

Article 7 (on page 3) of UEFA's Stadium Infrastructure Regulations adds 8 words more:

d) they (the goals) must not pose any danger to players

Which got us wondering - which feature of goalposts and crossbars could possibly "pose any danger to players"?

FIFA's Stadium Book is the bible on the technical recommendations and requirements for stadium design.

On page 67 it recommends this method for suspending the goalnets:

And on the next page, under "Dangers and obstructions", FIFA adds 31 words to the lexicon of goalnet rules and details what it considers a danger to players:

Goal nets should not be suspended by any kind of metal frame or "elbow" but should be suspended by the method illustrated (see diagram above), as this does not constitute a danger to players.

So there it is in black and white - according to FIFA the stanchions (metal frames), Continental D's and L-supports (elbows), all the diversity we celebrate here, are a danger to players.



Total Goalnets - NAC Breda

We don't speak Dutch so can't be certain, but are the two guys chained to the goals at NAC's Beatrixstraat protesting about swapping the Continental D's for boxnets?

Why not?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Total Goalnets - AFC Ajax

It's peculiarly Dutch that the Ajax side which won three consecutive European Cups 1971-73 and a Champions League title in 94/95 had a home ground - De Meer - that was so small, big games had to be played at the city's Olympic stadium.

"The Dutch think innovatively, creatively and abstractly about space in their football," writes David Winner in Brilliant Orange "because for centuries they had to think about space in every other area of their lives." It's not hard to argue that no-one thought more innovatively or creatively about football within the cramped space of De Meer than Johan Cruyff.

You could find Continental D's at the De Meer right up to the club's move to Amsterdam Arena.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Total Goalnets - FC Twente

Most fans in the UK were too busy sniggering at Shteeve McClaren's Dutch accent to fully appreciate FC Twente's - and McClaren's - achievement in seeing of perennial heavyweights PSV and a free-scoring Ajax and Luis Suarez to win their first ever Eredivisie title in 2010.

35 years earlier FC Twente had their first brush with major success. However they were crushed in their home leg of the UEFA Cup final to an excellent Borussia Monchengladbach side, who netted five into the Twente A-frames.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Total Goalnets - ADO Den Haag

In the mid 1970's ADO Den Haag were FC Den Haag and they played West Ham off the park in the old European Cup Winners Cup, scoring four into the skinny Dutch A-frames at Zuiderpark.

20 years later the club renamed to ADO Den Haag, changed the on-field architecture but kept the faith with the A-frame.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Total Goalnets - Feyenoord Rotterdam

It's Total Hot Tub Time Machine at The Tub.

Feyenoord scored the goals which won the 1974 Eredivisie into A-frames.


Then celebrated that title win by going all Real Madrid.

Five years later skinny A-frames greeted the same PSV.

(And hosted Aston Villa v Bayern Munich two years after that)


Then just for something different, the stadium guys at de Kuip installed L-supports from the mid-80's onwards.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Total Goalnets - Roda JC Kerkrade

Wives saw men of the explosion
Larger than in life they managed
Gold as on a coin or walking
Somehow from the sun towards them

The coal-mines of the southern Netherlands are long closed, and Roda JC, the coal-miners club, have moved on to box goal nets and the flash Parkstad Limburg.

But like the miners in Philip Larkin's The Explosion quoted at the beginning of this post, the club's past and their proud, simple, industrial A-frames at the old Sportpark Kaalheide are now silhouetted in the mind, like a colliery wheel against a golden sunset.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Total Goalnets - PSV Eindhoven

Through the 1970's, a tall and slim pair of A-frames stood at either end of PSV's Philips stadium.

(The same calendar year PSV surrendered their proud record of being unbeaten at home in European competition to Rangers)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Total Goalnets - Eredivisie

Explaining the unique Dutch perspective that created total football, "Brilliant Orange"author David Winner writes that the Netherlands is the most densely populated country in Europe and that, "The Dutch think innovatively, creatively and  abstractly about space in their football because for centuries they had to think about space in every other area of their lives."

And in "The Ball is Round,"  David Goldblatt waxes long on the roots of total football, and finds them in total architecture - where Dan Roodenburgh, architect of Ajax' De Meer stadium proposed that the many separate elements in a building or project must be functionally and stylistically integrated into a whole vision - and the fine arts. Goldblatt argues eloquently that the "stripped down modern form (of Vermeer) can be seen in the abstract paintings of Mondrian who progressively reduced landscape and the natural world to the simplest elements of the visual arts - lines and blocks, horizontals and verticals, primary colours, black and white."

Both ideas can be seen to have come together in the Dutch on-field architecture of the 1970's, where simple, stripped down A-frames were designed to fit within the tight spaces of the cramped stadia that were such a feature of the Eredivisie at that time.

Total Goalnets - Eredivisie is a club-by-club review of Holland's history of goal nets of the era when the Dutch played the game in a way no-one had done before, and when Johan Cruyff was "Pythagoras in boots."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rotherham United

The Millers may have a shiny set of free-hanging box goalnets at their spanking new home, New York Stadium

But in their recent History of Goalnets they once entertained between a classically baggy pair of Continental D's at old Millmoor

And further back, skated on ice into old A-frames