Monday, February 25, 2013

UEFA Europa League - SS Lazio

SS Lazio and Rome's Stadio Olimpico have a colourful History of Goal Nets.

At the time of the King of the Bidoni and "This is Rome, right, but where's Lazio," it was all about box nets that billowed like tents.

A generation earlier, huge Iron Man stanchions somehow fixed to the pink of the running track framed nets that never strayed off the edge of the field.

A decade earlier, Olimpico was home to skinny A-frames that wouldn't have looked out of place in the Total Goalnets era of the Eredivisie.

You can get a better look at these A-frames in this Roma clip from the mid-sixties.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

UEFA Europa League - K.R.C. Genk

Genk are a result of the 1988 merger between K. Waterschei S.V. Thor Genk and K.F.C. Winterslag.

Where Waterschei played between a slightly oversize pair of Continental D's (see Belgrade '76?)...

Winterslag went for top marks in the identity stakes - any time you saw these spectacular Continental D's you'd know you were watching Winterslag.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

FA Cup Special - Manchester City v Leeds Utd

This weekend's fifth round of the Cup has Man City and Leeds squaring up to one another at Etihad.

In respect of the aesthetic value-add goal nets can bring to the game, Etihad's black, almost invisible nets are among the worst around.

This wasn't always the case at City. They used to LOVE their goal nets.

Nearly 40 years ago the sides met at Maine Road in the old First Division. Similar to the way City responded to Euro 76 by installing Continental D's, so after the West Germany World Cup they found a way to follow the free-hanging fashion while keeping their A-frames, and went for the hybrid design.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

UEFA Europa League - Liverpool FC

Technological change is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal - Albert Einstein

Though only a select few such as Gheorghe Rotariu would call Graeme Souness a pathological criminal, his throwing the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater approach when taking over at Liverpool in 1991 saw him taking an axe to such fine Anfield institutions as the Boot Room, Steve McMahon and the old red A-frames.

1991-92 was the curtain call for the A-frames.

The Continental D's installed for the 1992-93 season heralded an unprecedented downturn in the club's fortune. Indeed, after that season's 6th place finish in the League, Liverpool failed to qualify for Europe for the first time in nearly 30 years.

That the A-frames were there for the first European campaign in 1964-65 shows the old red stanchions were as integral to the modern history of the club and its glory years as Shankly-Paisley-Fagan-Dalglish.

But not Souness.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A-list A-frames - Nottingham Forest

Looking at Forest's History of Goal Nets it was hoped the installation of the Continental D's would coincide with Cloughie's arrival in 1975, or winning the League in 1978, or winning the European Cup in 1979 and further demonstrate the talismanic importance of changing the goals (see Manchester United).

But Forest didn't install the Continental D's until the 1980-81 season, AFTER their second European Cup win against Hamburg. Indeed, the Continental D's could be seen as a herald for a downturn in fortune for Forest, much as they were for Liverpool some ten years later.

Prior to the D's a proud set of A-listers stood at either end of the City Ground, bearing witness to Cloughie and his glory years.

Monday, February 11, 2013

UEFA Europa League - SSC Napoli

European competition resumes this week and the History of Goal Nets is going to look at those clubs playing in the last 32 of the Europa League, kicking off with SSC Napoli.

Still the fourth best supported side in Italy, the Napoli of today boasts stars such as Edinson Cavani, and a stadium with modern box nets. Dig those blue ground supports...

25 years ago the San Paolo boasted the King of Naples and A-frames straight off the A-list.

Twenty years prior to that, you knew you were watching Napoli when you saw their Iron Man set of stanchions.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Millwall FC

The Lions moved to what was known as the New Den in 1993, where modern box nets inevitably followed a fairly standard set of Continental D's.

But dig into Millwall's history of goal nets at the (old) Den and a rich seam of diversity is revealed.

The early 90's groove was a highly distinctive set of Continental D's.

While just a couple of years earlier black A-frames (similar to Hibernian's?) stood at either end of Cold Blow Lane.

The same stanchions can be seen up close about a minute into this beautiful clip from 1979.

But in the fine tradition of saving the best for last, back in the fierce Mid-70's the architecture were white A-list A-frames, separated at birth from the A-frames at Leeds Utd.

Friday, February 8, 2013

International Week Special - Romania v Australia

Far from this International friendly week's glittering fixtures of France v Germany, or England v Brazil, Romania beat Australia 3-2 in front of a couple of thousand spectators at Malaga Athletics stadium. What made the game so noteworthy was the goal nets - suspended from Continental D's.

Though FC Malaga train at the facility, the Atheltics stadium is obviously not a football stadium, hence the temporary all-in-one goal units that can be carried on and off the field as required. But all-in-one goal units are widely available in boxnet form. Did you see the recent footage of the goals in Brazil collapsing after a defender crashed into the net? When the defender pulls on the net, the whole goal collapses since the posts, bar, net, supports and ground support are all one entity.

So what's interesting about the goals in Wednesday's friendly international is Malaga's stadium management have a choice of which goals to use, and FIFA's Stadium Book is clear FIFA prefers boxnets, yet here are Romania and Australia, two international sides, shooting into a set of Continental D's?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Off the stanchions at Wembley - Mick Channon and Colin Bell

Everybody knows Czechoslovakia won Euro 76 with still the most audacious penalty kick of all time.

But who remembers Czechoslovakia's first game in qualifying for that tournament was a 3-0 defeat at Wembley, with two headers rebounding off the stanchions at Wembley?

Great headers, first by Mick Channon, then Colin Bell.