Saturday, December 14, 2013

A-list A-frames - Brentford FC

As far back as 1936, the Bees were showing the world how to trap a ball and how stylish a left footed kick can look - and sturdy-looking A-frames at 1.13 in the film.

By the early 1970's the architecture at Griffin Park had gone all Feyenoord.

The 1980's and 90's ushered in an era of A-frames that looked like Dundee United's.

The new century saw the installation of Continental D's at Griffin Park.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A-list A-frames - Exeter City FC

As late as 2005, Exeter's St James Park hosted Manchester United between two fine sets of A-frames.

Some quarter of a century earlier, the hardware at St James Park rivalled anything at West Ham or QPR or Southampton.

The bygone St James Park features in the poignant clip below.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Walsall FC

From way back Walsall appear to have had distinctive hardware. About the time the Saddlers were becoming founding members of League Division 4, they kicked into a pair of big square A-frames.

Then, up to the early 1980's it was if Real Madrid had decamped to Fellows Park.

But by the time the European champions of the time Liverpool called in 1982, Walsall had installed Continental D's, which would stay in-situ until they moved stadium in 1990.

To their credit, in the era of the homogenous box-net, Walsall still play between a pair of classic Continental D's to this day.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A-list A-frames - Plymouth Argyle FC

The Pilgrims have a long history of distinctive on-field hardware.

Standard A-frames suited the early 60's

While something more boxy (or more Manchester City) were thought to be required for the 70's and the visit of Pele

The boxy white stanchions were eventually replaced by distinctive black hardware that served Home Park from the mid-90's to stadium redevelopment (and boxnets) in 2002.

Check out the old film clip below, where the ground staff are filmed erecting the cross bar, beautiful.

Wrexham FC

While goal nets aficionados and those with a bent for the spectacular would most readily associate Wrexham's Racecourse Ground with Mark Hughes goal and a pair of classic Continental D's

A look further back at the Dragons history of goal nets shows A-frames like those at West Ham or QPR in place through the 1970's.

Then, when the Continental D's were finally introduced, rather confusingly they were tied back, box-net-style.

A glimpse of this set-up can be glimpsed in this haunting film from 1979.

Friday, November 29, 2013

101 Great Goals - Eder

Perhaps with 101 Great Goals in mind for the future, I posted the below on Eder in August 2012. Here it is in full again.

The Brazil side at the 1982 World Cup is historically viewed as the successor to the wonderful title-winning side of 1970, so it is fitting that, since our first Iconic Goal has come to represent Brazil at the first Mexico World Cup, so our second iconic goal has come to symbolise the side 12 years later at the World Cup in Spain.

Brazil netted 15 gems at the '82 finals, the Beau Sancy among them being Eder's winner versus the Soviet Union.

The beauty of the goal is in it's simplicity, from Falcao's outrageous school-yard dummy to Eder's keepy-up and sublime half volley. It looks more like a training routine than Brazil's opening World Cup game.

How do the goal nets contribute to this goal's place in the Pantheon of Iconic Goals?

The World Cup organisers had seemingly paid little heed to the goal nets at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Hanging green coloured nets that rendered them near invisible, and pulling them taut, the nets contributed all the aesthetic of kicking a ball against a wall in training.

Yet, while the nets soured Socrates' magnificent equaliser, scored 10 minutes earlier, the "training wall" nets amplify the ease, simplicity and Joga Bonito of Eder's winner, raising it to the status of the Iconic.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

101 Great Goals - Carlos Alberto

I've posted this goal in a previous context 18 months ago, but couldn't better the sentiment today.

So I post in full below, for the 101 Great Goals series.

Forget the melina and the elaborate build-up play against an Italy side exhausted and in disarray after the controversial late introduction of Gianni Rivera; the goal that symbolises the greatest team in history begins with Pele.

From there you'll see this famous goal described in terms of Pele's pass and Carlos Alberto's shot, as though this was a goal of two movements - pass / shot - when in fact, it has three movements - pass / shot / net.

Carlos Alberto's shot is often described as a thunderbolt or cannonball, where a firework might be a better metaphor:

Pele lights the fuse (first movement) - and stands well back - and the ball shoots from Carlos Alberto's boot like a rocket (second movement).

But rockets can be duds, can shoot into the night sky and fail to explode. At which times, two movements is insufficient and the sense of disappointment is palpable.

The last goal scored in the 1970 World Cup, the goal that came to symbolise the greatest team in history is no disappointment. Carlos Alberto's shot is no dud. It's aim is true.

But only when the ball hits the back of the net - and the net explodes (third movement) - does the celebration truly begin.

You'll have seen this goal hundreds of times - it's one of the most famous goals ever scored - but look at it now with fresh eyes and ask, two movements or three?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

101 Great Goals - Nelinho

I've often compared the aesthetics of scoring into the tightly sprung box nets of 2013 to kicking a ball against a wall in training. Goal nets are not meant to repel the ball. At their best - and the L-supports at Argentina 1978 are right up there with the best - they complement the shot they're receiving, so the goal event is shot + affect on net.

As can be seen in Nelinho's bending classic from the tournament's 3rd place play off. I've always loved this goal for the way the netting continues the bend of the shot, until the ball is traveling back in the direction it came from.

Monday, November 4, 2013

101 Great Goals - Teófilo Cubillas

spec·tac·u·lar  (spk-tky-lr)
Of the nature of a spectacle; impressive or sensational.
Something that is spectacular, as:
a. A single dramatic production of unusual length or lavishness.
b. An elaborate display.

Though watched at the time through the gaps in my fingers, no-one could argue Teofilo Cubillas' first goal against Scotland on 3 June 1978 wasn't impressive, sensational or an elaborate display.

But it's worth breaking the goal down to discover what exactly made this such a spectacular goal.

It wasn't the work Cubillas put in to carve out the opportunity; in the commentary, Arthur Montford accurately describes it as "almost a free shot."

And it certainly wasn't Alan Rough's feeble, if unsighted, attempt to make a save.

I've always thought what made Cubillas strike so spectacular and a Great Goal was the Hotshot Hamish-style performance by the wonderfully designed L-supported goal nets.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

101 Great Goals - Derek Johnstone

Our History of Goal Nets community has generally despaired at the ball retention properties of the nets of today, perhaps expecting little else from structures boxed, made of trampoline and stretched taut.

But stretched taut in itself need be no barrier to some decent ball retention. No nets were stretched tighter than those at old Hampden, yet they often transformed a simple goal into one that's memorable.

If scored into nets of today, Derek Johnstone's header in the 1978 Scottish Cup Final would likely rebound to the 18 yard line.

Yet the way the old Hampden nets stop it dead has always fascinated me.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

101 Great Goals - Gerd Muller

In the same way the Italian narrative of the 1970 World Cup final has been lost to the Brazilian fairytale, so has Gerd Muller's second goal in the Game of the Century played 4 days earlier, been lost to the story of Gianni Rivera.

Famously, Rivera - nicknamed Abatino for his clean and proper attacking style - couldn't be trusted by coach Valcareggi to track back, so played only 45 minutes in each game as part of a Staffeta, or relay, in tandem with Sandro Mazzola.

Valcareggi's worst fears were realised at the Muller goal, which was West Germany's equaliser for 3-3. Finding himself minding the near post at the set piece, Rivera let Muller's soft, if well directed, header pass between himself and the post, and into the net.  Rivera's reasoning to the screaming Italian goalkeeper Enrico Albertosi? He didn't know how to defend the post, so did nothing.

The narrative of this goal was quickly erased as Rivera scored Italy's 4-3 winner less than 60 seconds later, but I've always loved this goal, the way the ball rolls crazily up and round the seam of the Azteca net while Albertosi rolls his eyes in despair at the same Gianni Rivera.

Friday, November 1, 2013

101 Great Goals - Paul Breitner

Welcome to the launch of a new series of posts - 101 Great Goals - and I'd like to invite all readers of the blog to nominate their Great Goals on the Facebook page or, better still, post a link and your reasons for liking the goal so much.

What constitutes a Great Goal? As this is The History of Goal Nets, simply any goal can be considered Great if we enjoyed the aesthetics of ball striking net so much that we are moved to nominate that goal.

Your Great Goals can be nominated or posted in any order; Paul Breitner's isn't necessarily the greatest goal.  The point of 101 Great Goals is not to rank the goals, but enjoy them (as they hit the net).

So to my first choice - Paul Breitner v Chile at the 1974 World Cup.

He's scoring into the hated box nets, I hear you cry. That's certainly true, but in the mid 1970's - when everyone at home had stanchions or D's - the free-hanging nets at the 1974 finals were paradoxically the epitome of sophistication. And some - like those in the West Berlin Olimpiastadion above - actually had pretty good ball retention.

I always loved Paul Breitner's goal for the way the ball seemed to stop and hang in the air after it hit the very top corner of the net, before gently bouncing to the ground.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Beşiktaş J.K.

Besiktas old ground, the BJK Inonu Stadi was unique in being the only stadium in the world from which a fan could view two Continents, Europe and Asia.

For a while in the early-90's BJK fans could view two methods of goalnets supports.

First, BJK installed L-supports at the end of their Continental D's.

Then BJK tied the nets back box-nets-style, while maintaining their Continental  D's.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

UEFA Europa League - Standard Liège

Who: Standard Liege

Where: Liege, Belgium

What: Classic Continental D's

Why: Classic Continental D's make for classic nights in Europe (and pretty good ball retention for all 4 goals)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

UEFA Europa League - Chornomorets Odesa

The original football team in Odessa played in a hole that was dug out of the ground to form a lake. Though the lake was never built - hey, this was the Soviet Union - it was noticed that the hole was a similar shape to the Black Sea so the team that played there was nicknamed Chornomorets, or Black Sea Men.

So if the team was named after the hole, what if we were to name the stadium after the shape of the on-field architecture?

What would we call it?



Stadionul Dinamo?

(check out the ball wrapping itself round the stanchions in the Bremen goal towards the end; magic)

Monday, September 9, 2013

UEFA Europa League - Real Betis

If I showed you goals scored at Real Betis' Estadio Benito Villamarin, you'd recognise the hybrid box-nets instantly.

But looking back further than Spain 1982, Real Betis History of Goal Nets shows they - like Valencia in the same era - were serious A-listers in the A-frames department.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

UEFA Europa League - Vitoria S.C.

Vitoria de Guimaraes are one of Portugal's representatives in this season's tournament and you wonder, what's with these sides called Vitoria? They've all got cracking nets!

Recently - OK, a couple of months back; apologies everybody, life's been crazy - we looked at ES Vitoria in Brazil and their boxy A-frames.

Now check out the hardware at Vitoria SC's D Afonso Henriques stadium - classics!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

UEFA Champions League - F.C. Paços de Ferreira

This year's surprise package in the play-off round of the ECL is Portugal's Pacos de Ferreira. Their home stadium holds only 5,000 spectators so their Zenit St Petersburg tie will be played elsewhere which is a shame, since the Mata Real has hosted some spectacular goal nets in the past.

Unwilling to give up their Continental D's in the box nets era, they tied the nets back in hybrid fashion.

Some years earlier the Castores played between a genre-defying method of supporting their goal nets.

What do we call these?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

UEFA Europa League - Club Brugge KV

FCB have a glorious history of goal nets and, like NK Maribor, went to extreme lengths to keep their stanchions when box nets were deemed a necessary requirement.

In the mid-60's Brugge sported stanchions of a curve that suggested the Latin influence of Madrid and Santiago and would lead to similar at Feyenoord.

By the late 70's FCB were a force in European football and played between skinny A-frames that were classically Low Country.

The A-frames were still there in the mid-90's and the era of box net homogeneity. Exactly like those at  NK Maribor, Brugge maintained their identity by draping the box nets over the stanchions.

Monday, July 15, 2013

UEFA Champions League - NK Maribor

Slovenia's most successful side NK Maribor have a very interesting history of goal nets.

They love their stanchions soooo much that soon after Slovenian independence in the early 90's, they eschewed convention and suspended their nets by, not 2, but 3 stanchions.

Later, when obviously instructed they needed box nets to compete in Europe, Maribor couldn't bear to give up their stanchions so basically draped the box nets over the (now only 2) stanchions.

Friday, July 12, 2013

UEFA Champions League - ŠK Slovan Bratislava

In an era when Central and Eastern European sides played between Continental D's, Slovan Bratislava borrowed from Feyenoord and installed cosmopolitan L-supports. 

UEFA Champions League - Steaua Bucuresti

Most veterans of the European Cup era would remember Steaua as 1986 Champions, and may just recall the 1986 final. After an infamous 120 minutes of football, Barcelona famously failed to score any of their penalties in the resultant shoot out.

Goal nets fans may choose to remember Steaua for the gorgeous sloping stanchions at their old Stadionul Steaua.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

UEFA Champions League - Dinamo Tbilisi

Check out the great stanchions at Dinamo Stadium as Tbilisi destroy Liverpool in the old European Cup.

Dinamo maintained their wonderful on-field architecture until the late 1990's.

UEFA Champions League - Partizan Belgrade

FK Partizan join Budapest Honved FC in the annals of totally awesome on-field architecture by combining stripey posts with classic Central European 1970's Continental D's.

UEFA Champions League - Sligo Rovers

League of Ireland champions Sligo Rovers play Denmark's Molde in the 2nd round of qualifying for this season's Champions League.

The Bit O Red have in recent years preferred Continental D's. Last season's were pulled back by into a peculiar box-net format.

The Continental D's at the Showgrounds were once more conventional, almost like Newcastle's...

However, you dig far enough back and you find Rovers were really A-frame aficionados all along.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Estádio Plácido Aderaldo Castelo - World Cup 2014 Venue

Futebol arte is a celebration of diversity over uniformity, of the individual over the collective and indeed, of football as an art form, where great sides are orchestras, midfield generals are conductors and flying wingers are soloists.

The same way the Netherlands - as explained by David Winner in Brilliant Orange - as the most densely populated country in Europe brought its creative thinking about space in the everyday to its football, the spirit of futebol arte has bestowed great individuality to all facets of the game in Brazil.

Consider the wonderfully individual stanchions that previously stood at either end of Castelao, the maestro who lovingly designed them and all that's been lost to the game by replacing them with box-nets.

Please sign our petition.

Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto - World Cup 2014 Venue

Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto - or Mineirão - played host to Ronaldo during O Fenomeno's debut season, his club Cruzeiro's unique method for suspending the goal nets an inadvertent tribute to the modern game's most unique talent. 

In the rush to upgrade, gentrify and homogenise the stadium for next year's World Cup finals,  the unique - the very attribute which made Brazil Brazil, and Mineirão instantly recognisable - has been lost. 

Please sign our petition and re-install the unique at Mineirão for next year's World Cup.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha - World Cup 2014 Venue

With bent legs and the air of a man playing simply for the joy of playing, Manuel Francisco dos Santos - called a wren, or garrincha by his big sister - is the mazy dribbling embodiment of diversity over conformity, of the individual over the team, of what Brazilians call futebol arte. 

Following Garrincha's retirement the CBF named the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia after him and, out of respect to the nation's most Brazilian of players, hung the goal nets from Brazilian L-supports.

However the old stadium has been replaced by a shiny new one for the 2014 World Cup, and the Brazilian L-supports have disappointingly been replaced by box-nets.

The famous Brazilian playwright Nelson Rodrigues wrote, "He is considered a retard but Garrincha proved in the (1958) World Cup that we are the retarded ones - because we think, we rationalise."

Yet no thought has gone into junking Brazilian heritage by installing uniform box-nets in the stadium named after Brazil's most diverse player and there's no rational reason Brazil can't celebrate it's own World Cup between goal nets suspended in the traditional Brazilian way.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Brazil - Esporte Clube Vitoria

E.C. Vitoria hail from Salvador in Bahia.

While their Bahian league games are hosted at WC 2014 venue Arena Fonte Nova with it's box-nets, the bread and butter of Serie A is played out between these wonderful A-frames at their home Estadio Manoel Barradas.

Aren't these similar to the mid-70's stanchions at Manchester City?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Campaign

If you support diversity and individual identity in the game, and if you're tired of football everywhere looking the same, PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION.

You think FIFA won't budge? You think you can't make a difference?

As Rangers Tax Case wrote in the Guardian:

"Why bother? What can I do?" 

If it is something you care about, you can do anything you want.

WC 2014 Venues - Arena Fonte Nova

If it's roof doesn't collapse meantime, Arena Fonte Nova will host 6 matches at the World Cup and suspend the inevitable box nets in the style of Argentina's Boca Juniors, as witnessed at the stadium's recent inauguration.

The new stadium replaces the old Estadio Fonte Nova which had a history of unique on-field architecture, as per it's A-frames of the 1980's and 90's.

Please sign our petition and have the unique re-installed at Fonte Nova.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Off the stanchions at Wembley - England v Brazil Special

It's not John Barnes and it's not Brazilian, no matter what Martin Tyler might say in the commentary.

But isn't Graeme Le Saux's volley off the stanchions at Wembley in the 1995 friendly a bit special?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

UEFA Champions League Final Special - Wembley Stadium

It was only last night so everybody knows that Bayern were crowned 2013 champions at Wembley Stadium. But 50 years from now, could anyone looking at a clip of Arjen Robben's winner be sure of the venue?

Is there anything in the colour HD to 100% identify Wembley?

50 years ago, in the 1963 final, Milan beat Benfica.

The footage is grainy black and white but half a century later, all it takes is one sighting of the goal nets and YOU KNOW it's Wembley.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

UEFA Champions League Final Special - Parc des Princes

In 1981 Alan Kennedy's memorable goal secured Liverpool's third European Cup at the expense of Real Madrid.

The goal nets at the Parc des Princes that night were instantly recognisable as 'French'; free-hanging A-shaped nets, tied back to external box-net stanchions.

A quarter of a century earlier, at the same stadium, Real Madrid were contesting the very first European Cup final against Stade Reims.

The goal nets at the Parc des Princes that night were more Glaswegian than Parisienne.

UEFA Champions League Final Special - Wankdorf Stadium

In 1961 Benfica broke Real Madrid's monopoly on the Big Cup, beating Barcelona 3-2 at the Wankdorf Stadium in Berne, Switzerland.

Again, the method deployed to suspend the goal nets makes the Wankdorf instantly recognisable. But what to make of those ground supports? The picture below, from the 1954 World Cup final, shows the ground supports are solid and fixed to the posts and that the stanchions are effectively screwed in.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

UEFA Champions League Final Special - Hampden Park

Hampden Park has hosted two of the superlative moments of Champions League - or European Cup - history.

In 1960 Real Madrid won their fifth title, scoring seven into the Iron Man stanchions and destroying Eintracht Frankfurt.

42 years later Madrid were back in Glasgow for their ninth title. The old stanchions had gone but Hampden laid on 1960-style black nets, in tribute. Zidane did the rest.