Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Evolution of football boots: From engineer's boot to soccer slippers

In the early days football boots weighed approx. 500 grams when dry and twice as much when wet. Manufacturers when made aware player’s boots were only in contact with the ball for about 10% of the game developed less heavy boots. Lighter footwear meant players were less exhausted and subsequently the overall speed of play increased. This made for a more enjoyable spectator sport. By the early 50's the soccer boot was streamlined with the ankle hugging component reduced to below the malleoli (ankle bones).

Initially this met with some concerns about ankle injuries but proved ill founded. The traditional soccer boot was now a slipper or soccus. Leather soles were first replaced by molded rubber, then injection molded PVC, before nylon and plastic prevailed. The new synthetic materials were waterproof, cheap to produce and substantially lighter than leather. The upper of the slipper became thinner and improved treatment of leather with synthetic waterproof compounds contributed to the development of the new styles. Development of latex foam, meant the soccer shoe could be cushioned with no detriment to overall mass and new lightweight synthetics were stronger and harder wearing than traditional soles. By the 60s the overall weight of the new era of boots dropped significantly.

The physical properties of kangaroo skin were recognised very early in the 19th century and most quality sports footwear was made from marsupial's skin. This tradition has quietly continued in soccer shoes and now most quality shoes are made from medium brown, vintage kangaroo leather. This is a name given to the process of tannage (preparing the leather) and often the leather is dyed to popular colours. Kangaroo hide is the toughest and most durable available and been used to produce quality sports shoes for rugby, American football, baseball, basketball, tennis and cycling shoes for over a century. It is lightweight yet very strong and many times stronger than the same thickness of cowhide. Comfortable and supple it requires no break-in period and gives the player a tight fit with optimal feel for the ball. Suitably treated Kangaroo leather is favoured because of its high performance nature. Kangaroo leather has a naturally high strength-to-weight ratio. In the 80's, Australia's CSIRO undertook independent tests which confirmed these findings and determined that, when shaved to 20% of its original thickness, kangaroo leather retains between 30% and 60% of its original tensile strength, as compared to a retention rate of 1% -4% for calf and bovine leathers. In a further study by the CSIRO, it was found that kangaroo leather was at least 50% stronger than goatskin gloving leather in tear strength and puncture resistance. Microscopically the hide displays high uniform orientation of fibre bundles in parallel with the skin surface. The skin of the Kangaroo does not contain sweat glands or erector pili muscles, which would weaken the skin surface. The yellow elastic fibres (elastin) are evenly distributed throughout the skin thickness which gives the leather greater tenacity. These properties remain even when the leather is split. Tanning further enhances the leather's properties by unsticking the fibre bundles thereby allowing them to move independently.

From time to time animal rights activists have brought the use of kangaroo skin to the public's attention by condemning players like David Beckham, who initially endorsed their use. Reputable firms collect kangaroo hides during the Kangaroo Harvest and agencies such as Environment Australia - Wildlife Protection regulate and control the harvest and manufacture of all kangaroo leather. There are several tyoes of kangaroo and only non-endangered species can be used for the clothing industries. Public concern however encouraged development of the pleather industry and many top quality boots now incorporated plastic polymers as an alternative to animal leathers.

According to Grau (1997) the focus of boot research from the 70s was primarily directed at anti-pronatory control (preventing the foot from rolling over). This was combined by using cushioning mechanisms to damped shock to the foot. Later researchers looked at torsion and pressure distribution across the foot. Initially it was wrongly assumed overloading of the weightbearing foot was the primary cause of most injuries. This research led to shoe design thought to cope with the problems but the number of reported injuries did not decrease. Moreover it seemed, in retrospect, many reported injuries arose as a result of the injury preventing solutions in boot design. Many injuries are attributed to adverse physical conditions at the interface between the soccer shoe and the playing support surface. No shoe can ever guarantee full protection against serendipitous injury. The function of the soccer boot provides both a means of attachment to the playing surface whilst encasing the foot for protection. The maintenance of static balance for a player performing an individual skill demands a significant level of torque. Excess torque or twist passes proximally through the foot pedestal to damage the ankle or knee. During contact, a static foot anchored to the ground negates its ability to dampen down (shock absorb) external forces, such as caused by contact with another player. The ankle and knee then have to absorb the energy of impact; alternatively torque within the short bones of the foot may cause them to fracture. This type of incident was illustrated by injury to England's captain David Beckham during the FIFA World Cup Korea Japan 2002 game against Sweden in the opening round.

Grau S 1997 Quo vadis sport-shoes? Wish and reality of preventing injuries through sport shoes Third Symposium on Footwear Biomechanics, Tokyo 1997 International Society of Biomechanics.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

A brief history of Shin Guards

Shin guards first made an appearance in 1874 and were made from large cricket pads to protect the front of the leg. As the speed of the game increased these grew smaller and many players discarded them altogether. Tired players preferred to play out the later stages of the games with their socks rolled down. This prevented cramp and gave them extra freedom. However the rules of the game no longer allowed this.

(Law No. 4- The Players Equipment Each player is required to wear a jersey or shirt, shorts, socks, shin guards and shoes. Socks must completely cover the shin guards. Goalkeepers must wear a color different from either team or any official. No player may wear any item that could cause danger, including any type of jewelry.) International Football Association Board (IFAB).

Cricket was the first sport to adopt the use of shin guards. Shin guards are used to cover what ever part of your shin is most susceptible to pain. Shin guards were made of leather and aluminum covered in cloth for extra protection. Initally shin guards gave an unfair advantage to the batsman because his leg pads covered the stumps. In 1809 the leg before wicket rule was introduced and the umpire could deduce whether a ball would have hit the stumps if the batter was not hit first. Leg pads became more popular as protective measures against the impact from the ball and are worn by the batsman, the wicket-keeper, and the fielders that are fielding in close to the batsman.

Sam Weller Widdowson (1851 -1927) was a cricketer and footballer and cut down a pair of his cricket shin pads and strapped them to the outside of his stockings using straps of leather in 1874. At first he met with derision from fellow players but shin guards eventually caught on as players saw the practical use of protecting their shins. Nottingham forest was the first team to wear shin guards. These products are the only protective covering permitted for players in football soccer game. After the application of shin guards in association football, they quickly spread to other sports and are now considered necessary for most contact sports.

There are a two basic types of shin guards used in soccer i.e. slip-in shin guards and ankle shin guards. Different player positions use shin guards to provide different types of protection and fit. Defenders need a heavier shin guard with extra ankle protection. Midfielders need protection, but also need to be able to move freely. Forwards need a light shin guard with protection and ankle support. Goalkeepers can wear a light shin guard with minimal protection.

Modern day shin guards are made of many differing synthetic materials. The properties of individual materials and combinations give specific function such as weight, strength, comfort, durability and resistance to impact. Modern shin guards are made with a hard outside casing and a soft inner layer. Outer surface is crafted in thermoplastic materials with shock absorbing inner material made from Ethyl Vinyl Acetate (EVA) or other foam type material. Shin guards do not absorb large quantities of energy and so are unlikely to prevent bone fractures from high energy type trauma.

Shin guards protect by spreading impact loads over wider areas of the skin. The force of the initial impact is reduced as peak pressure is dampened down. The properties of the materials display energy absorbing characteristics, which further protect the player's leg from injury.

Adidas is known as a leader in design and protection, but other names, such as Umbro, are known for comfort, and many people like Estero. From novice to expert, shin guards are an important piece of safety soccer equipment.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

History of Studs & Cleats

The ability to play on different surfaces was recognised early-on and hence the sole of the boot needed to offer resistance or ground traction. At first the metal tacks on engineer's boots were used, but Rule 13 meant greater care needed to be taken. Eventually leather cleats (or studs) replaced these.

By the twenties Adi Dassler had developed replaceable studs which firmly established his credentials as soccer boot specialist in Germany. The length of studs was governed for in 1951. When new polymers became available natural materials were replaced by synthetics. The idea for molded studs had been tried on hockey boots and when they were transferred to soccer boots a new revolution took place. Today plugs and cleats of variable length are used.

Soccer boots should afford confident contact with playing surfaces as well as adapt optimally to all types of surfaces and weather conditions. On hard surfaces, including hard natural turf, cleats of different configuration are recommended. On softer turf or wet ground surfaces shoes with detachable studs with varying length provide the best anchoring to the ground. On snowy surfaces other configurations are necessary and rubber studs preferred. Icy surfaces again demand a different sole configuration. Traditionally, Bootmen were retained by professional clubs and oversaw the maintenance of the football boots, usually via the apprentices.

One of the most famous soccer apprentices and bootboy was Rod Stewart (Bentford FC).

Using their previous experiences as players with a command for the game Bootmen advised the young players on the type of boot for the weather conditions. The Boot Room a place where the game strategy was worked out and the most famous Boot Room was at Liverpool FC under the direction of Bill Shankly. (Bootroom Boys: Ronnie Moran, Roy Evans, Bob Paisley, Tom Saunders, John Bennison & Joe Fagan)

Bt the beginning of the New Millenium tread patterns changed to incorporate curved cleats set into circular arrangements. The circular arrangement facilitates better grip in all directions and faster acceleration from the playing surfaces. Greater emphasis was given to the base area across the ball of the supporting foot, which reduces peak pressures on the soles of the feet over a long game. Cleat designs now allow the foot carrying the player's weight to pivot when the player twists or is struck by another player. This helps reduce injury form direct trauma. Further the anti-torque property offered by the circular configuration of compressible teeth (cleats) is thought by the designers to reduce rotational injuries to the knee and ankle.

As the game has improved and the demands of professionalism become a primary focus the number and types of injury recorded have increased. These in no short measure have been associated with boot design (Masson & Hess, 1989). Traditional conical cleats have been cited as the main cause of such injuries and lock into the turf. It was recognised as far back as 1948 that heel cleats were responsible for foot fixation and this contributed to knee damage in soccer players. The principle functions of cleats was to offer resistance next to the ground by holding the foot stable as the body's centre of mass passed over it. One major disadvantage is if the cleat fixed too firmly to the ground then damage to the musculo-tendonous, ligamentous, cartilaginous, or osseous structures of the joints may occur. When the foot was fixed by impact or rotation of the body, these corkscrew forces passed upwards to the knee and were thought to damage the joint and its peripheral attachments. Attempts were made to design a more useful sequence of cleats for heels and forefoot but in the absence of molded soles this meant few players were aware of them. According to Torq & Quedenfeld, there were two factors, which determined foot fixation and these are the number and the size of the cleats. The authors were able to show in a retrospective study of football injuries, players wearing cleats were less likely to suffer knee injury. (The shoes with molded soles containing fourteen, 3/8 inch cleats. Minimum cleat tip diameter of 1/2 inch and maximum cleat length of 3/8th inch.)

History of soccer balls (20th Century)

At first the football structure stayed the same although some manufacturers did alter the shape of the panels. During the war years a carcass was introduced between the bladder and the leather cover. This was made of tough cloth which both strengthened the design as well as improved the ball shape. Wartime shortages however meant balls were made from inferior leather which weakened the ball causing them to deflate and sometimes burst with use. Lack of suitable water proofing also resulted in the ball increasing in weight during play in adverse weather conditions. This matter was not overcome until the introduction of synthetic paints to waterproof the leather covers. One other innovation was the introduction of a new type of valve to eliminate the laced slit on soccer balls.

Coloured balls (usually whitewashed) were used as early as 1892. These were not recognized as official and it took until 1951 before an official white ball was first permitted. This coincided with the introduction of floodlights and allowed spectators to see the ball easier. Orange coloured balls were later introduced to help see the ball in the snow. In the early days of international soccer, different countries favored different types of soccer ball. This caused much controversy. The introduction of International Board set up by FIFA standardised all aspects of the game including size weight and type of ball.

By the 60s the first totally synthetic ball was produced. Ball covers were made from PU (polyurethane) and PVC (poly vinyl chloride). Best soccer balls used in competition and by professionals were produced by using PU synthetic leather. Promotional soccer balls or practice balls were constructed with Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) or rubber (molded or stitched) covers. Panels were either; stitched, glued or thermally molded together. At first many felt leather soccer balls provided better bounce and more consistent flight in the air. Eventually by the late 1980's synthetic leather had totally replaced the leather ball. Synthetics used in today's soccer balls emulate the cell structure and quality of leather with less water absorption.

The structure of the modern football came from a most unlikely source. American architect and innovator Richard Buckminster Fuller (1895 – 1983) was involved with constructing buildings using a minimum of materials. In the late 40s he developed the intrinsic mathematics of a dome and applied it to a spherical structure called the geodesic dome. Dr. Walther Bauersfeld had previously constructed a similar dome some 30 years earlier but Fuller was awarded United States patents and is credited for popularizing this type of structure. A geodesic dome is a spherical or partial-spherical shell structure or lattice shell based on a network of great circles (geodesics) on the surface of a sphere. The geodesics intersect to form triangular elements that have local triangular rigidity and also distribute the stress across the structure. Buckminster Fuller erected his first geodesic dome building that could sustain its own weight with no practical limits in 1949.The dome was successfully adopted for specialized uses, such as the modern soccer ball.

Modern soccer balls are made of synthetic leather panels sown together in a design based on the geodesic dome. The shape is a series of hexagons, pentagons and triangles, which can be fitted together to make a round surface. The modern ball consists of 20 hexagonal (six sided) and 12 pentagonal (five sided) surfaces. When they are sewn together and inflated they make a near perfect sphere or spherical polyhedron analog to the truncated icosahedrons. Balls made with fewer panels generally are easier to curve when kicked because of less stability to the cover. Black patches on the otherwise white ball helped players to perceive any swerve on the ball. The first 32-panel ball was marketed by Select in the 1950s in Denmark. The first "official" FIFA world cup Buckminster type soccer ball was the Adidas Telstar used in the 1970 world cup at Mexico.

By the end of the 20th century bladders were made from latex or butyl. The latter is considered to retain air for longer periods of time. Latex bladders do provide better surface tension but overall butyl bladders were thought to offer the ideal combination of contact quality and air retention. The material thickness of hand sewn balls was increased with multiple layers of lining placed between the cover and the bladder. Composed of laminated layers of polyester and/or cotton bonded to give the ball added strength, structure and bounce. Professional soccer balls usually had four or more layers of lining. Promotional or practice balls were constructed with less layers of lining. Many balls now include a foam layer for added cushioning and ball control. Butyl valves replaced traditional valves for air retention. Higher grade competition balls had silicone-treated valve for superior performance.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

History of soccer balls (19th Century)

Desmond Morris (1981) had some interesting theories why footballs were kicked and not handled. He described the origins of the early Aztec game, and considered the ball represented a symbol of the sun and players were forbidden to touch it during the game. The goals were stone rings set high on the side of walls of the playing field. The flight of the ball was taken to represent the cycle of the sun through the heavens with the rings the sunrise and sun set. After the match the ball was ceremoniously burnt. In other parts of the world, the ball was thought to represent the severed head of an animal, indeed sometimes it was teams competed to carry off the prize and bury it in their territory. All for good luck. Another variation on this theme was the ball was the head of a vanquished foe and kicking it played out the final humiliation. In the medieval game the ball represented a prize to be fought for and won. In the modern game, according to Morris, the ball is the missile to knock out the opposition.

One plausible explanation why soccer in the northern hemisphere became a winter sport was described by Manley (1992). The Medieval custom was to kill live stock in November in preparation for winter sustenance. This gave an excess of pig's bladders. Poet, Alexander Barclay (1476 - 1552) described this in 1508:

They get the bladder and blowe it great and then
With many beans or peasons put within
It ratleth, soundeth, and sineth cleare and fayre
With foot and with hande the bladder for to smite
If it falls to the grounde they lifte it up agayne
The sturdy plowmen, lustie, stronge and bolde.

Many historians accept the reason for the late edition soccer to sport despite its popularity was the lack of a uniform shaped ball, suitable for kicking. South American Indians were known to play a game with a lighter more elasticized ball, but it took from the fifteenth century to the nineteenth century before Europeans were able to manufacture stable rubber products. Pig bladder footballs were never a standard shape or size and all depended on the size and shape of the pig's bladder. The more irregular the bladder, the more unpredictable behaviour came from the ball once kicked. Before air inflators, pig¹s bladders were blown up by mouth and clay pipes were used to this effect. Shoemakers covered the gaps with stitches to make the ball feel harder and more durable. Charles Goodyear patented vulcanized rubber in 1836 and it took until 1855 before he produced the first vulcanized rubber football. The panel pattern was similar to a traditional basketball. The first competition ball was used in a game in 1863 between the Oneida Football Club, the first organized team in the US, and a team of players from Boston Latin and Boston English Schools. There is some dispute as to the nature of the game, whether it was a version of soccer or a precursor to American Football, they called it the Boston game. The ball became the trophy from that game.

At the Great Exhibition, Crystal Palace, London (1851), a Rugby (town) boot maker by the name of William Gilbert had two exhibits i. e. a round leather ball suitable for dribbling; and an ovoid ball for a game of carrying and handling. Gilbert had previously made his reputation as supplier of rugby balls to Rugby School. His wares were considered superior and harder than any rivals and made his fortune selling oval balls not only in England but also to Australasia. The Gilbert name is still a major manufacturer of rugby products today.

Originally Gilbert worked for H.J Lindon who tragically lost his wife when she contracted a lung disease from blowing up many hundreds of pig's bladders. Whether this inspired him or not remains unknown but Lindon developed the first inflatable rubber bladder in 1862. This ensured the ball remained hard and oval. He claimed to have invented the rugby ball but sadly did not patent the idea. The round ball was preferred because it was easier to kick and the oval ball was easier to handle.

In 1863 the English Football Association was established and they set out written rules for the game. At first there was no reference to the dimensions of the ball. However in 1872 they decided to regulate the ball dimensions.

“the ball must be spherical with a circumference of 27 to 28 inches with a weight at the start of the game of 13-15 ounces “

This is still very much in force today with FIFA, the only change being in 1937, the weight increased to 14-16 ounces.

Once the English Football League in 1888 and the Scottish League in 1890 the demand for footballs increased. Companies like Mitre and Thomlinson's of Glasgow started to mass produce standard competition footballs. Strength of the leather and the skills of the cutters and stitchers were the main factors in producing a football that would retain shape. The top grade covers were made with leather from the rump of a cow while lower quality balls were made from the shoulder. Advances in ball design came with the development of interlocking panels instead of the previously used leather sections that met at the north and south poles of the ball. The balls were then produced with a more acceptable round shape.

By the nineteenth century strong rubber bladders were available which could withstand intense heavy pressure. Balls made from inner tubes and covered with heavy brown leather were light enough to bounce yet could be kicked. The leather outer was made by stitching 18 sections of tanned leather arranged in six panels of three strips each. The sections were stitched together by hand with five-ply hemp, leaving a small lace up slit on one side. This was done with the ball was turned inside out and once completed the whole sphere was reversed to turn inside out. A collapsed rubber bladder was inserted through the open slit and then inflated to the approved pressure. The slit was then laced tight. The ball was ideal for kicking but proved painful when using the head due to the heavy stitching. Soccer balls were made from cowhide which presented two major problems. Balls made from natural hide varied in quality depending upon which part of the cow had been used to make the ball. Footballs varied in thickness and quality and the leather often degraded during play. A second problem related to the ability for cowhide to absorb water and became heavier as the game progressed. This slowed the game down and made heading difficult and painful. Later when a new type of inflatable valve was invented this improved the ball surface and footballs were made completely lace less. Heading the ball and dribbling became easier and when waterproofing the ball became possible this completed the revolution.

In the final of the 1930 World Cup, Argentina and Uruguay, the teams could not agree on which ball to use. So they decided to use an Argentinean ball the first half and a ball supplied by Uruguay in the second half. Argentina wer ahead at halftime 2-1, however, Uruguay came back to win the match in the second half 4-2 using their own ball.

Manley D (ed) 1992 The Guinness book of records 1492: The world five hundred years ago Enfield: Guinness Publishing Ltd.
Morris D 1981 The soccer tribe London: Jonathan Cape, London 193-194.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

FIFA World Cup Songs: Scotland vs England

The largest sporting event in the world is the World Cup. Professional sport and marketing are closely wedded and by the time of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia . arrives we will be wearing the same gear the soccer players are wearing during the competition. The best team in the World meet every four years to see who is the very best .

Scotland, is one of the oldest football nations in the world (England is the other), the former fiercely proud of playing in eight World Cup tournaments. The latter won it in 1966. Scotland has qualified on nine occasions and in 1950 took the unprecedented decision to not participate because they felt ill prepared and did not consider themselves worthy as British Champions. Despite the nation’s unenviable record the squad have never advanced beyond the first round of the finals competition. Historically they are considered talented and brave hearted with their play sometimes bordering on brilliant, but the efforts of the qualifying Scottish National Squads have always been fruitless.

To the Tartan Army failure to qualify to the World Cup competition is a national disgrace. Scotland’s failure yet again has left all ‘Jock Tamson’s bairns’ melancholic. The last time Scotland qualified for a World Cup final was in 1998 in France. The only positive note to all of this is we have not been exposed to yet another Scottish Football Squad song. Such events kicked off in 1966 when England won the World Cup (and we have never been allowed to forget it). The tournament had an official song called 'World Cup Willie'. It was sung not by an Englishman, but by a Scot called Lonnie Donegan. Jimmy ‘Greavsie” Greaves, himself a member of the England Squad, was less than complementary about the choice of singer at the time and considered him passé. The single did not sell particularly well and remains a curio.

At the next FIFA World Cup Mexico (1970) Scotland did not qualify. The defending champions England went to Mexico strong in squad and with a team song that would top the UK charts. “Back home” was recorded in a tiny recording studio with all the England team present. The song was written and produced by Bill Martin (Scotsman) and Phil Coulter (Irishman) – well it is Great Britain after all. ‘Back Home’ set the bench mark for all squad songs to follow. A lyric triumphantly proclaiming the trophy was pretty much in the bag and there was not much point in anyone else turning up set to a simple tune. England got knocked out in the quarter finals after a major scandal alleging misbehaviour in the camp.

By 1974, Scotland were back in the finals which were hosted in West Germany. To celebrate their return to the world stage the Scottish squad recorded a little ditty entitled “Easy Easy.” Although the single got into the UK Top Twenty, Scotland was eliminated in the first round (What’s new?). England did not qualify for the FIFA World Cup West Germany.

Argentina hosted the World Cup in 1978 and horror of horrors, England again failed to qualify. The Scottish manager, Ally McLeod mistakenly talked up his team strongly inferring it was more or less a foregone conclusion they would win the championship. The ever gullible, Tartan Army thought so too and in the resulting euphoria which proceeded the competition saw comedian, Andy Cameron (born in England) jump on the bandwagon. He recorded Ally’s Tartan Army which became a hit.

Determined to succeed in the charts (at least) the Scotland World Cup Squad engaged the help of another cockney Jock, Rod Steward. 'Ole, Ola' (Mulher Brasilieira), like Ally’s Tartan Army the single sold well and both charted in the UK Top Ten. Sadly Scotland fared less well on the field and was dismissed somewhat dramatically from the competition at the end of another scandal filled first week. Rod and Andy did likewise and were summarily dismissed from the pop charts.

Spain hosted the FIFA World Cup 1982 and old rivals Scotland and England were back in contention. The England World Cup Squad released ‘This time (We’ll get it right)’ (co-written by Chris Norman of Smokie) and the Scottish Squad had “Bonnie Scotland We have a dream” written by B.A. Robertson. Both songs charted but while England went through to the second leg of the competition, Scotland was un-ceremonially dumped at the end of the first week. What’s new?

In 1986 the World Cup was again held in Mexico. Scotland qualified this time but were knocked out in the first round of the competition. England meantime lost in the quarter finals. England’s official world cup song "We've Got the Whole World at Our Feet"/"When We Are Far from Home" and Scotland’s ‘Big trip to Mexico’ both faded quickly. The same song writers wrote both songs.

The Old Enemies were back at it in the Italian World Cup finals in 1990. Scotland World Cup Squad’s "Say It With Pride" flopped at the lower end of the Top 50 as the Tartan Army’s team failed to make it through to the second week of competition. World in motion by Englandneworder (England and New Order) topped the charts but the England team went out in the semi finals on penalties.

By the time the 1994 FIFA World Cup was hosted by the US (neither Scotland nor England qualified), so there was no song. Four years on the World Cup France 1998 saw Scotland qualify and this time with the help of Del Ametri and their dedicated single "Don't come home too soon." As usual the song did better than the team and the Scottish squad was back home to listen to it in the Top Twenty. The official song of the England National Football Team was "(How Does it Feel to Be) on Top of the World?" by "England United." This was a makeshift ‘supergroup’ consisting of Echo and the Bunnymen, Space, Spice Girls and the lead singer of Ocean Colour Scene, Simon Fowler. The song was written by Ian McCulloch. The song and the team did quite well but England lost again on penalties and failed to make it through to the quarter finals.

Scotland did not qualify for the FIFA World Cup South Korea/ Japan 2002 but England did and once again lost in the quarter finals. The official World Cup song did not involve the squad that task fell to the golden tonsils of Ant & Dec with We’on the ball.

By this time there was a plethora of other songs and music associated with the competition but most were unconnected to the English Football Association. In 2006 Germany again hosted the World Cup finals. No Scotland, but England was there with “World at Your Feet" by Embrace as the official England World Cup song. Did well too but England were knocked out on penalties in the quarter finals again.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup was held in South Africa (and Scotland was not be represented). Despite England qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, the Football Association announced there would be no official song. However James Cordon and Dizzie Rascal cover of Shout (previously a hit for Tears For Fears) was adopted. The FA refused to be associated due to links to hooliganism in the lyrics. In any event England were knocked out in Round 16 .

England's 2014 Official World Cup Song is Greatest Day by Gary Lineker and Gary Barlow. It is a cover of Take That's "Greatest Day"

The Official World Cup Song for the 2014 Competition is We Are One (Ole Ola)

Worth a listen
Lonnie Donegan
World Cup Willie (1966)

English World Cup Squad
Back Home (1970)
This time (We’ll get it right) (1982)
We've Got the Whole World at Our Feet" / "When We Are Far from Home (1986)
Englandneworder (English World Cup Squad with New Order)
World in Motion (1990)

Scottish World Cup Squad
Easy Easy (1974)
Ole, Ola' (Mulher Brasilieira) [We're gonna bring that World Cup back from over there] with Rod Stewart (1978)
We have a dream (1982)
Big trip to Mexico (1986)
Say It With Pride (1990)

Andy Cameron
Ally’s Tartan Army (1978)

Del Ametri
Don't come home too soon (1994)

England United
(How Does it Feel to Be) on Top of the World? (1994)

Ant & Dec
We’on the ball (2002)

World at Your Feet (2006)

Ricky Martin
La Copa de la Vida'(1998)

Boom (2002)

Monday, February 5, 2018

Association Rules

Popularity in organised sports followed changes to employment conditions in the UK. The working class had more recreation time and the search for leisure pastimes was thought to account for the meteoric rise in organised sport. In 1862, Notts County became the first professional team. The oldest soccer clubs in the world started by an impromptu ‘kick abouts’ by a group of young men of the professional class.

In 1867 Queens Park became the first Scottish Club. At first the Scots' game was associated with delicate ball control and short passing known as the combination game. The English preferred individual players who could dribble passed their opposition. As the early years passed regional variations began to arise and some players perfected the screw shot or bending the ball in flight. These strategies necessitated precise control of the ball the combination of physical ability and boot became critical if the ball was to be mastered. It took more than a decade after the rules of the game were formulated for the artisan classes to become interested in playing association football. Rugby was by far the more popular game with the cloth cap fraternity but gradually this was to change. The phenomenon of the newly perfected electrical illumination also caught the imagination and football promoters help floodlight matches.

The standard of play improved with the establishment of the English Football League (1888) by William McGregor . Organised competition with spectators meant a greater emphasis on entertainment and the game began to speed up. The need to free up movement in the players meant restrictive clothing needed to be modified or go. Costumes became gradually lighter in weight and the cumbersome leg pads or shin guards were reduced in size and tucked inside the socks. The only exception to this was boots which became more robust and heavier.

At first the Football Association was against professionalism but eventually 1885 it did accept the inevitable and sanctioned professionalism. Transfer of professional players meant a marriage of football styles which in turn led to formation play and further engaged the crowds.