Thursday, December 22, 2016

Match of the Day - Week 17

This week's Match of the Day features two Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur games and the history of goal nets at the Dell.

Our first game is on an 1989 gluepot of a pitch. It's a victory for Spurs played out between the much-loved and much-missed old stanchions at the Dell.

Our second game is from ten years later. Though the old stanchions have given way to Continental D's, the ground staff still have very little area in which to hang and pin the nets.

As an early Christmas present, look out for a Matt Le Tissier special to equalise for Saints about 4:00 in. Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Big Match - Week 16

This week's Big Match is the Crystal Palace v Leeds Utd game from the corresponding weekend (16-19 December) 1971.

Peter Lorimer's typical volley for Leeds is featured in the clip below but look out also for the crazy wooden bottom supports holding the Selhurst Park goal nets to the ground.

Such bottom supports weren't unique - they could be seen previously at the Wankdorf Stadium in Berne, Switzerland for the 1954 World Cup, as per clip below.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Match of the Day - Week 16

This week's Match of the Day is the Merseyside derby.

A personal, all-time favourite goal is Andy King's half volley at Goodison Park in 1978. Not so much the shot itself which, with all the time in the world brings to mind Jose Mourinho's thoughts on Wayne Rooney's passing - you can tell me it's amazing, but mine is amazing too, without any pressure - but the way the ball hits the net.

The shot into the top corner probably hits the side netting then the A-frame stanchion and given the power with which it was struck, it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect a huge rebound.

Yet somehow the 1970's technology clings to the ball, and somehow keeps it behind the line so Ray Clemence has to walk the walk-of-shame to retrieve it.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Match of the Day - Week 15

Lads, it's Tottenham...

And here's one of the best goals scored in the Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur fixture.

It's 1993 and United have their Continental D's holding up the goal nets at Old Trafford.

Denis Irwin's name went on the scoresheet, but what everyone remembers is Eric Cantona's pass.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Big Match - Week 14

The Big Match for the first week in December is the 1976 clash between Fulham and Oldham at a frozen Craven Cottage.

The match features a magisterial performance from George Best crowned with a wonderful chipped goal and the often overlooked hardware at the Craven Cottage. A little bit Wembley lookalikes, they're quintessentially English in shape and perfectly set off by the software, hung snug around its shoulders.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Match of the Day - Week 14

Match of the Day looks ahead to this weekend's Everton v Manchester United game by looking back at two previous matches between the sides and the history of goal nets at Goodison Park.

The sides met on the first day of season 1967/68, Everton winning 3-1 between the A-frames that would stand at Goodison till 1980. The first goal, an Alan Ball tap-in, is at 2:40.

15 years later, Howard Kendall and the Continental D's were in; the old A-frames out.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Big Match - Week 13

Tottenham and Chelsea duked it out on Saturday and the same sides met at Stamford Bridge 45 years ago this very weekend; Chelsea v Tottenham is this week's Big Match.

There's no fancy 3-4-3 and Charlie Cooke takes the Victor Moses role in grabbing the 1971 winner but the real highlight is the old goals at the Bridge.

There's the classic hooked hardware (similar were seen at Barcelona and the Wankdorf Stadium in Switzerland) and the software has the added net-within-a-net 2nd layer stanchions protection (as seen at Colchester and Tottenham around the same time).

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Match of the Day - Week 13

This week's Match of the Day focuses on the Celtic v Aberdeen Scottish League Cup final at Hampden Park, looks back at three previous finals between the sides (all of which Aberdeen won) and highlights the sad history of goal nets at Hampden Park.

The first match is the 1976/77 Scottish League Cup final which featured a penalty from Kenny Dalglish in his last season in the hoops, an Aberdeen side on the ascendancy under Ally McLeod and the old Hampden nets pulled tight over the made-from-girders stanchions in all their imperial glory.

The sides met in the Scottish Cup final seven years later. Aberdeen, under Alex Ferguson, were then in their imperial pomp while the octogenarian Hampden Park was in freefall, best seen in the nets which now hung loose and randomly over the old hardware.

Sure, everything was still present and correct but something was lost at Hampden after the riot of 1980 and it never recovered.

By the Scottish Cup final of 1989/90 the Continental D's which had replaced the old stanchions in 1987 and which the blazers at the SFA no doubt thought trendy, were a great symbol of the Band Aids applied to the patient on life support.

While the old square goals had been installed when the old ground was first built and so were architecturally as one with the great bowl of an arena, the Continental D's were out of time and completely out of place.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Big Match - Week 12

While Arsenal and Manchester United played out a 1-1 draw between the box nets at Old Trafford on Saturday, the sides also met on the same weekend 41 years ago.

This week's Big Match is that game from 22 November, 1975, a 3-1 win for the Gunners featuring a great dig by Stuart Perason, a crazy OG and an early Alan Ball goal that rebounded off the classic green stanchions at Highbury.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Match of the Day - Week 12

This week's Match of the Day previews the clash between Manchester United and Arsenal by looking back at two previous matches between the sides and the changing History of Goal Nets at Old Trafford.

United took the honours in the 1975/76 season, running out 3-1 winners between the classic A-frames which stood at Old Trafford until Alex Ferguson's time. Check out Steve Coppell's goal for 3-1, the ball striking the stanchion - classic!

The game between the sides in 1990/91 was a 0-1 win for Arsenal played out between the Continental D's with which Alex Ferguson replaced the old A-frames, details mostly forgotten as this game is remembered for The Fight.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Big Match - Week 11

The Big Match this week is Luton Town v Arsenal from the weekend of 6 November 1982.

While the space available behind the goals at Kenilworth Road didn't change, Luton changed their old A-frames (which were curved and narrow, exactly like those other clubs similarly challenged for space - West Ham, QPR, Southampton etc) for a stylish set of Continental D's.

And though there is little space behind the line for a goal area, Luton have done their best to help with ball retention by hanging too large nets which are permitted to hang loose, making for a great aesthetic experience when viewing the four goals.


Friday, November 4, 2016

Match of the Day - Week 11

This week's Match of the Day previews the north London derby - Arsenal v Tottenham.

As Arsenal are at home this Sunday, Match of the Day would usually highlight a game from an Arsenal home game - Highbury - and the wonderful history of goal nets there.

However a game from White Hart Lane - though painful for Spurs fans - offers different angles of focus, so this week's Match of the Day is the 0-5 from December 1978.

First, though TV coverage offers only a narrow, camera-eye view of the pitch, how do you know the game is at White Hart Lane? Easy - the sloping, square stanchions, totally distinctive for Tottenham.

Second, given his spectacular goals for 0-4 (and the Motson commentary) you probably always remembered this game as the Liam Brady game. Then poor Alan Sunderland, who scored a hat trick!

Lastly, in this era of Guardiola pressing and Klopp heavy metal football, check out Brady pressing the defender and stealing the ball for his goal. Plus ca change...

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Big Match - Week 10

The Big Match comes from the afternoon of Halloween, 1981.

It's West Ham v Middlesbrough at the Boleyn Ground.

Though the Boleyn nets are famously shallow, ball retention is helped by the stanchions planted just off the grass, which creates a narrow trench that slows or stops the ball.

Given the box nets of 2016 - pulled tight as smiles at Brad Pitt's house and made of trampoline - would Ray Stewart's penalty for 3-0 have rebounded to the half way line?

Friday, October 28, 2016

Match of the Day - Week 10

This week's Match of the Day previews Sunderland v Arsenal, a fixture with a long and proud history of goal nets (at Roker Park).

The sides played out a 1-1 draw between the square Roker Park stanchions in October 1969.

The square hardware still there in 1980, but with added spring in the software (spoiler alert: crazy box net-style rebounds).

Just two years later Sunderland had replaced the old square-os with standard A-frames (with better ball retention) and won 3-0.

In 1996/97, the last season at Roker Park, Sunderland won 1-0 between Continental D's and stripey goal nets.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Big Match - Week 9

This week's Big Match comes from the corresponding weekend in season 1980/81.

It's West Ham United v Bolton Wanderers and the wonderfully eccentric hardware at the old Boleyn Ground.

West Ham played out between these marvellously distinctive goal frames foe decades and any time you saw them playing on TV you KNEW the game was at the Boleyn because of the stanchions.

Where now any similar totems of distinctive identity at West Ham?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Match of the Day - Week 9

Match of the Day previews this weekend's Chelsea v Manchester United, by looking back at the same fixture in late 1992 and the iconic Stamford Bridge hardware (then in its second last season before being replaced by box nets).

Cantona's equaliser is particularly awesome, the way the ball is attracted to, then sticks to the stanchion, like a magnet.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Big Match - Week 8

This week's Big Match comes from the weekend of 17 October 1971 and features the fantastic old shallow A-frames at Loftus Road and a perfect hat-trick from Rodney Marsh as QPR thrash Birmingham City.

What is interesting is how well the Loftus Road nets retain the ball, in contrast to QPR's later reputation and despite the basic lack of area in which to do so.

Might this be down to the saggy software of big white squares, which was later replaced by the thin mesh-like net of the later 1970's?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Match of the Day - Week 8 Special

The Monday night Liverpool v Manchester United match permits a second MOTD for the week and the Big Match series will follow Tuesday.

Previewing tonight's clash by looking back at two 3-3 classics and the wonderful ball retention at Anfield across two different methods of supporting the red goal nets.

April 1988 - the old red A-frames were still in place as late as 1988, with the nets hanging short, off the hardware. There are a couple of great goals among the six, particularly Steve McMahon's for 3-1 which goes straight in the corner - and stays there!

January 1994 - six years later, another six goal thriller. The Anfield goal nets were the supported by Continental D's but they had the same ball retention properties as the old stanchions. Check out Denis Irwin's free-kick for 0-3, its goes straight in the top corner - and stays there!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Match of the Day - Week 8

This week's Match of the Day previews this weekend's Manchester City v Everton clash at the Etihad by looking back at three previous fixtures and the History of Goal Nets at Manchester City's old home, Maine Road.

In April 1971 City beat Everton between big A-frames with blue nets dropped just behind the goal line and pulled taut, similar to West Ham at the old Boleyn Ground with similar ball retention properties.

Fast forward to March 1982. City are still hanging taut blue nets but this time they are suspended by the Continental D's installed just after Euro 76.

By the mid-1990's City have replaced the taut blue nets with saggy white software that responds beautifully to the four goals (the pick of which may be Paul Walsh's for 3-0).

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

101 Great Goals - Frank Worthington

You could put Frank Worthington's picture in the dictionary under the word laconic. With a skill so great, Frank needed few words of explanation (though he did write an autobiography, the hilarious One Hump or Two).

In his 1979 goal of the season contender for Bolton Wanderers versus Ipswich Town, the goal nets too go all laconic. 

Yes, if they were of 2016 vintage, the goal nets could have responded to Frank's wonderful keepy-uppy and volley by making a big noise and springing a rebound round three sides of the goal before jettisoning the ball to the penalty spot. 

However the old, laconic Burnden Park A-frames are happy to kill the shot behind the line which requires the beaten goalkeeper to walk the walk and retrieve the ball. The game is paused in this time and Frank's magnificent skill can be celebrated properly. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Match of the Day - International Special

This week's Match of the Day is a World Cup qualifying special.

It previews this weekend's England v Malta match by looking back at the teams' previous game at the old Wembley Stadium, in May 1971.

It was back in the day when England could be expected to run riot against opposition such as Malta and they (particularly Martin Chivers) did, winning 5-0.

Much has changed since then, not least the Wembley goal nets.

Life was simpler then...

In retaining the ball behind the goalkeeper, the Wembley nets of 1971 keep things simple and, as such, are perfectly in keeping with a routine win for England over Malta.

At least three of the goals scored in 1971 would rebound round the goal like a pinball or out to the penalty spot if scored into the Wembley nets of today.

I read this week online that such rebounds add a "spectacular" element to the goal scored.

If true - it's not, but if true -  this would change the optics of the five goals scored in 1971 from the mundane to the spectacular and would distort the nature of the England victory over a then lowly Malta.

Simple can be beautiful too.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

101 Great Goals - John Metgod

You probably thought it was done, but there's still life in the old 101 Great Goals series.

Three wonderful things about John Metgod's legendary free kick for Nottingham Forest immediately spring to mind;

The 100 metres run-up (which gave the hint something special was about to be unleashed;

The Exocet trajectory of the shot;

John Metgod's celebration.

As our focus is the goal nets, I'd like to add a fourth wonderful thing - the simple physics of a traditionally hung and supported goal net killing the shot and retaining the ball.

The West Ham goalkeeper Phil Parkes is beaten - humiliated - and when he finally gets up, he still has the walk of shame to retrieve the ball from the net.

Compare John Metgod's cannonball with the recent Serge Gnabry rocket, a great goal, completely ruined by the ball bouncing straight back out to him.

If the ball had bounced back after John Metgod's free kick, it'd probably still be traveling today.

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Big Match - Week 7

This week's Big Match comes from Stamford Bridge on the corresponding weekend in 1978 and features the West Brom side of Regis, Cunningham and Batson (and Godden, Robson, Wile, Statham and the two Browns!) simply overwhelm a poor Chelsea side.

It's also a showcase for the Stamford Bridge hardware which remained fantastic, despite the downturn in Chelsea's fortunes.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Match of the Day - Week 7

Match of the Day previews a fixture from the forthcoming weekend by showing a previous meeting between the chosen sides, and the History of Goal Nets on display in the clip.

This week - two clips of Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City, nearly 20 years apart.

The first clip is a 2-3 City victory from 1973 and there are two things to note.

First,  the regular, sturdy, totally unmistakeable White Hart Lane stanchions, then in white.

Secondly,  the nets-within-nets that were in vogue at the time. The photo below is of Colchester v Leeds at Layer Road in 1971 and clearly shows the net-within-nets phenomena in all its glory.

The second clip is from 1990. Spurs with Lineker and Gazza in their post-Italia 90 pomp, ran out 3-1 winners between White Hart Lane stanchions now painted blue.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The History of Goal Nets Art

Reposting from June 2013 to remind everyone of the creator of the art on this site. 

My friend, and most talented Brazilian artist Gustavo Garcia has kindly given permission to reproduce his wonderful art on this site.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Readers of this blog will instantly understand the thousands of words and emotions Gustavo's wonderful art conveys.

Please see Gustavo's other works at:

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A-list A-frames - Torquay United

Shame to read of the problems at Torquay United in the new WSC.

Four years after the club lost its their Football League status, it must be hard for Gulls fans to remember better days.

But who could forget the late-80's League Cup tussle versus Tottenham and the totally brilliant Plainmoor A-frames?

Or the Play-Off penalty shoot-out at Wembley in 1991?

Three things to note -

1 - Torquay's 2nd penalty (about 4:00) gets jammed behind the Wembley stanchion; fantastic!

2 - Blackpool's fifth penalty (about 7:30) is maybe the worst penalty you'll ever see.

3 - The old Wembley stanchions. Still beautiful after all these years...

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Big Match - Week 6

The Big Match series reviews the History of Goal Nets at a fixture played on the corresponding weekend in years past.

This week's Big Match comes from Highbury in September 1974 and features one of Luton Town's most famous goals (at 10:30 in the clip below).

It's a 4-goal thriller Arsenal v Luton but the real star of the show is the old Highbury stanchions.

Still wonderful after all these years.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Match of the Day - Week 6

Match of the Day previews a fixture of the forthcoming weekend. It shows a previous meeting between the sides featured, and highlights the History of Goal Nets on display in the clip.

This week - Swansea City v Manchester City from 1984.

Two great goals right into the goalkeeper's left hand corner and both shots killed by the superb A-frames at Vetch Field, meaning the ball stays behind the beaten goalkeeper.

A great start to the weekend.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A-list A-frames - Aston Villa

Aston Villa would likely be most associated with the Continental D's at Villa Park during the glory days of the late 1970's, early 80's.

However, further back in their History of Goal Nets, Villa had an excellent set of A-frames.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Big Match - Week 5

This week's Big Match is the 20/9/80 West Ham v Watford clash from the Boleyn Ground.

Five goals and a last minute diving header from Trevor Brooking!

Plus - the much loved stanchions at the old ground. Who at the soulless London Stadium wouldn't like to see the return of these?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Match of the Day - Week 5

Match of the Day previews a fixture this weekend through 30-year eyes...

It's West Brom v West Ham from the Hawthorns in 1986.

A 5-goal thriller and classic Continental D's.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Big Match - Week 4

This week's Big Match beams in from Selhurst Park, 35 years ago.

It's the League Division Two match between Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic on 12 September 1981.

Look out for the classic A-frames in the clip, and a 20-yard opening goal which would still be on the rebound if scored into the box nets of today.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Match of the Day - Week 4

This week's Match of the Day is the Manchester derby, United v City, from April 1974.

Tear yourself away from Denis Law's face of regret.

 See how the Old Trafford nets just kill his backheel.

 An irrefutable note of finality to United's plight.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

World Cup Final 1970

It may not be a coincidence that what may be the most famous game ever played, may also be one of the most photographed.

As everyone knows there were five goals - two of great quality, two of more dubious quality and a rocket shot that would still be travelling were it not for the marvellous Azteca goalnets.

With close-ups of those wonderful nets, here are each of the goals.

Pele 1-0 (18 minutes)

Boninsegna 1-1 (37 minutes)

Gerson 2-1 (66 minutes)

Jairzinho 3-1 (71 minutes)

Carlos Alberto 4-1 (86 minutes)

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Big Match - Week 3

As Brian might say...

This week's Big Match comes from week 3 of the 1976/77 season and features the League Division Two match between Millwall and Chelsea.

Look out for two great goals, a howler from the Chelsea goalkeeper and the magnificent A-frames at The Den.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Match of the Day - Week 3

Match of the Day will preview a fixture from the coming weekend by looking back at that same fixture in a previous year.

This week's Match of the Day is Watford v Arsenal from September 1984, played out between the old out-sized Continental D's at Vicarage Road.

Pick of the goals for me is Charlie Nicholas' opener (at 2:30 in the clip). Just love the way the net kills the ball, leaving a long walk for Steve Sherwood, the Watford goalkeeper, to retrieve.

Which is your favourite goal, and why?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A-list A-frames - Olympiastadion München

A curiosity from 1972 - A-frames in Munich!

(Gerd Muller's hat-trick goal can be seen at 1.23.20)

Sadly, the rhyme or reason for their installation would appear to be lost to time.

They weren't installed when Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga on the last day of the 1971-72 season, and the standard Olympiastadion box nets were back for the Olympics later that summer.

Ajax were in the middle of their European Cup three-in-a-row at that time so perhaps we see the influence of Dutch football in the shape of the stanchions - check out PSV Eindhoven, for example.

They're awesome A-frames.

Just, what were they doing there?

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Big Match - Week 2

The Big Match for Week 2 is Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea in August 1978.

Tottenham's recent World Cup winning Argentine imports Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricardo Villa attracted most of the attention at the time.

Connoisseurs of the goal nets will instead revel in the instantly recognisable White Hart Lane hardware and marvel at the software's ball retention properties.

Gerry Armstrong's rocket shot for 2-1 would rebound to the halfway line today, while Kenny Swain's header for 2-2 would pinball round box nets pulled taut and made of trampoline.

Check out the behind the goals replay for that equaliser, you just don't see nets this good any more.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Big Match - Week 1

New season, new series...

Each week I'll post highlights of a game from the corresponding week of fixtures from a previous season, and openly marvel at the goalnets on display.

This week, starting with perhaps the most famous opening day fixture ever, QPR v Liverpool in 1975/76, featuring Gerry Francis' goal of the season. 

The goal of the season award was totally justified as the goal is totally awesome.

So too, is the Loftus Road hardware. OK, not the best for ball retention but compared to the high tech but homogenous square boxnets on display today, they feel like an old pair of Puma trainers you once chucked away, but would dearly love back. 

Or maybe that's just me...

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Grand Designs

When I started this blog, I began by writing about what a stadium's goalnets said about the character of that stadium or its home club (eg Arsenal) or what part the goalnets played in the club's history (eg Manchester United). I also ran a series on the World Cups, demonstrating how the evolution of goalnet fashion and technology has been every bit as interesting as tactics, or rules (or strips).

More recently I've simply celebrated great goalnets, by which I hope to remind readers that goal design doesn't happen by accident. Somebody somewhere - either within the club or, if the posts, stanchions and nets are bought 'off the shelf,' at the manufacturers - designed the architecture. Did a drawing. Turned the drawing into reality. Ensured reality entered history.

Such great designs didn't just follow what went before, nor were they obviously fashionable at the time. But in the second decade of the new century, when everybody's got box goalnets and everything looks the same, I'd like readers to remember that football can look different to how it looks today, and difference can be beauty in itself.