International Duty – Club Banners At National Team Games #6 (Gallery)

In this photo-series we take a look at some low-fi old school examples of ultras and hooligan group banners, club supporter group banners and regular club flags, when used in the context of an international match. This was particularly common for countries who would rotate home stadiums on a regular basis and hence visit a lot of clubs’ home grounds (with the most prominent example being Italy), while away games provided the opportunity for the likes of England’s firms to display banners that would not have been seen at Wembley. 

Italy vs Argentina, friendly, 21/12/1989
“Sconvolts” and others of Cagliari Calcio:

England vs Germany, US Cup, 19/06/1993
Bristol City
:

Germany vs Portugal, World Cup 98 qualifier, 06/09/1997
“Dietmar
Bottrop” and “Menden Sieg” of FC Schalke 04, “Blue System” of “Hamburger SV”, and many others:

Switzerland vs Scotland, Euro 92 qualifier, 11/09/1991
Arbroath FC:

Switzerland vs England, friendly, 28/05/1988
Hull City, “Blades Business Crew” of Sheffield United, and “6:57 Crew” of Portsmouth FC:

Slovenia vs Ukraine, Euro 00 qualifier, 13/11/1999
“Green Dragons”
of NK Olimpija Ljubljana:

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People On The Pitch #8: Greece vs USSR, European Championships 1980 Qualifier, 12/09/1979

In our last People On The Pitch we took at look at some FA Cup semi-finals, involving the contrast between the venues involved and the consequences. We now switch to the other side of Europe and – for the first time on the site – to one of the most classic supporter culture nations in the world (as well as classic culture of any kind for that matter).

Background:

The late 70s/early 80s was a time when English hooligans abroad were increasingly making their presence felt in many of continental Europe’s great cities, both at club and international level. The English national team’s travels to Switzerland, Luxembourg, Norway, Finland and Denmark to name a few, as well as international tournaments during the period, saw trouble both inside and out of the stadium. But in the middle of all this, there was one country where a reduced and meek English traveling support would cower in the face of an intimidating and rabid home crowd: Greece.

That particular game in 1982 we will come back to later (and may well use the exact same intro). But going back before then to the 70s, Greece had yet to  really make any sort of an impact on international football. The expansion of the European Championships from 4 to 8 teams for the 1980 edition gave the Mediterraneans their first real chance at a finals appearance of any sort, as they were drawn in a winnable qualification group with Finland, Hungary and a waning USSR.

Things did not start promisingly and indeed all hope may have already seemed lost after the first two games, as a 3-0 loss away to Finland in May 1978 – themselves on Europe’s lower tier of footballing nations – was followed by a 2-0 defeat away to the Soviets in September. But Greece’s first and second home games of the group in October saw a resounding turn around as the Finns were smashed 8-1 in Athens, with a 4-1 victory over Hungary in Thessaloniki a few weeks later. While the passion and colour of Greek supporters at domestic level proceeds itself, this fanaticism of course also translated to the national team of this proud people.



Greek supporters celebrate the reemerging hope of European qualification in Thessaloniki, Greece vs Hungary, Euro 80 qualifier, October 1978.

By the following year, the old Greek flag of a white cross on a blue background had been retired for good, as the country transitioned from the age of monarchies and dictatorships to democracy. The football team too continued its hopeful march of progression as an important point was taken from a 0-0 draw away to Hungary in May 79. This result provided a great chance for qualification going into the last group game in September, with their Soviet opponents – who hadn’t qualified for anything since their Euro 72 runner-up performance – only managing a loss and two draws since the sides had last met in Moscow.

 
Flags of Greece: 1822–1969/1975–78


Flags of Greece: 1970-1975/1978-present

The Match:

Even a win for the hosts would not guarantee qualification – as Finland’s surprisingly good form (apart form the 8-1) meant that they could still clinch top spot in the unlikely event they earned four points or more from their two remaining games-in-hand, both away in October – but the last time the USSR had come to Greek soil for a 1977 World Cup qualifier, the home side had won 1-0.

With that in mind, more than 25,000 hopeful Hellenics fill the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium (more commonly known as the Leoforos Alexandras Stadium) to capacity in downtown Athens on a sunny Wednesday, September 12th, creating an awe-inspiring scene:

The ground was home to Panathinaikos, who were participants along with Bayern Munich in a 1967 Cup Winners Cup game when the official highest attendance of nearly 30,000 was recorded. Even more than that would have been in attendance here if facilities had allowed, for what was the biggest match in Greek international football to date.

Appropriately quintessential ubran Greek architecture leers over each side of the ground, within which a caged orgy of flags, confetti, ticker-tape, smoke and general compressed mayhem surrounds the dry pitch as the teams emerge:

Some vivid late 70s hoardings run along-side the pitch and a nicely-hung Greek flag:

Behind this side stand is another huge, interesting building with two giant legs at the front, as a blurred mass concentrates hard on the game below:

At the other end, the proximity of what appears at a glance to be an ancient aqueduct (but is probably a much more modern structure) shows how entwined the stadium really is in the dense city-scape:

After only 8 minutes, Takis Nikoloudis barges into the Soviet box and scores to send the mostly-white shirted Greek fans in the terraces into deliriums:

As the celebrations begin, the first “person on the pitch” can be seen: a figure in black (oddly enough) who is just about visible sprinting past the right-side of the goalposts, before more jubilation on other sides of the ground is shown:

Both versions of the Greek national flag can be seen flying side by side amid the sea of squashed supporters:

That is how things stay as the scoreline of 1977 is repeated and the Soviets are once again defeated in Greece, which would ultimately doom them to the embarrassment of bottom of the group (a low-point which may have galvanised their future recovery and qualification for World Cup 82). For the home fans it means that the opposite is likely true, as people stream from the main grandstand in celebration at what appears to be qualification secured:

As groups of Youths run victory parades around the pitch, a row of police can be seen standing along the perimeter of the more “raucous” end terrace in the stadium to make sure that this particular element does not encroach:

The celebrations continues in the stand nevertheless as more confetti clouds (there must have been many tons of the stuff in the ground that day) fill the air. Riot police stand to the bottom left, content to tolerate the innocent expression of joy taking place on the grass:

And so the scene ends, and despite what our opening gambit alluded to earlier, no trouble – only passion. The following month the Greeks could finally rest easy and officially celebrate qualification, as Hungary defeated Finland 3-1. Although they ended up finishing bottom of their group at the tournament, a generation of young Greeks would have been inspired by the impressive achievement of reaching the finals to at all, planting the seeds to continue the nations over-achieving continental tradition with the unexpected European Championship victory 24 years later.

Panathinaikos only remained in the Leoforos for another five years when they  would move the 70,000 capacity Olympic Stadium in 1984, along with AEK Athens and Olympiakos for a time, which would also be the new main host of national team games. But happily, for various reasons the old, small ground was resurrected for several periods in the future.

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Youtube Link 1
Youtube Link 2

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Politics On The Pitch #4: Groups of Death Part 1 (1950-1969)

Back in Politics On The Pitch #3 we looked at how the football world adjusted to life after World War 2, with carefully selected qualification groups removing the chance of “politically awkward” clashes. Now we take a look back to when this was not necessarily the case, and at some historical competitive fixtures with a non-sporting significance that could not be ignored.

Background:

Despite being widely recognised as one of the most corrupt organisms on the face of the planet, and turning their flagship tournament into a money making facade where sport is basically an afterthought (it is on this site too to be fair), FIFA is responsible for some good.

The World Cup’s hideous over-commercialisation can always be countered by the fact that the festival of football does bring simple folk from random corners of the world together when their teams are drawn. The often good-natured affairs, as well as the conscious global gaze upon each match, displays through the medium of football that no matter where somebody’s from, their class, race or if they’re religious, humans do have common ground through our unifying love of the game.

Even teams representing states of competing ideologies and their fans can come together in friendly rivalry, as an average population can often be far less enthusiastic about hating their fellow members of the species than their national regimes, or stereotypes, might lead you to believe. With countries like Cuba and North Korea joining the USA and it’s allies in the organisation’s ranks, the case of FIFA’s corruption is at least equal opportunity corruption.

But of course FIFA’s global inclusiveness also creates the opposite situation, where two peoples with a genuinely tense political or ethnic history (or present) are occasionally brought together for a sporting manifestation of their international grudge. At times this will be deemed concerning enough an issue for a country to not play altogether, as was the case when the British nations withdrew from FIFA in 1919 in protest at the continued inclusion of the Central Powers teams after World War 1.

Many times these games have gone ahead though, which inevitably creates interesting situations in the stadium, and on some occasions the simple novelty or expectation of an interesting draw is enough to secure its place in history. In this vein we will now look back at some of the most noteworthy groups, tournaments and match-ups from the 20th century that had elements beyond mere football competition.

  • 1954 World Cup Qualifiers

Group 1:

Norway
Saar Protectorate
West Germany

For the 1954 World Cup qualifiers, FIFA itself rather than it’s regional confederations was still arranging all qualification groups. They were organised by geographical consideration, although not necessarily by continent as Egypt and Italy proved in Group 9. Groups 7 (Hungary and Poland) and 8 (Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and Romania) comprised solely of eastern European communist representatives.

However it was Group 1 that stood out for it’s inclusion of a small side making it’s one and only appearance in a competitive campaign, and another much larger new state making it’s first in it’s current form. The group did not actually pit sworn rival nations against each other, quite the contrary. But the two referenced participants were born out of the greatest period of slaughter the world has known.

Located in southwest Germany, the Saarland (after the River Saar, which flows from northwest France into Germany) had become the French and British ruled Territory of the Saar Basin in the aftermath of World War 1. A plebiscite with 90.4% in favour returned the region to German hands in 1935, but ten years later the Allies would be back and again take control of the now renamed Westmark of the Third Reich. Following the end of World War 2, the region was partitioned from the rest of Germany and placed squarely under French control, becoming the Saar Protectorate in 1947.

The mostly ethnic German population still considered their land as part of Germany and never intended Saar to become it’s own country. Never the less, such national symbols as a flag (paying homage to both nations involved with the colours of the French flag divided by a white Nordic cross) and an international football federation were created. The clubs of Saar competed in the local Ehrenglia league, with the strongest club 1. FC Saarbrücken competing and winning in France’s Ligue 2 as guests in 1948/49.


Flag of The Saar Protectorate.

Three months after the Saar Fussball Bund was admitted to FIFA in 1950 (having rejected merging with it’s French equivalent the previous year), the Deutscher Fussball Bund also rejoined, now representing the Federal Republic of Germany, aka the partitioned state of West Germany, but claimed mandate over Germany as a whole. Both teams were placed in Group 1 of the upcoming World Cup qualifiers along with Norway, whose status as part of the Nazi occupied lands in WW2 under the puppet Quisling regime officially made this the “Reich group”.

By the time the qualifiers were to begin in 1953, Saar had already played a number of friendlies and had participated in several other sports at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. But as stated, they preferred not to be referred to as their own country, and in football the term “selection” was more commonly used than national team. Given the area’s German self-identification, it seems slightly frustrating that one of their few shots at international football competition was “wasted” on their follow countrymen, and not someone more exotic.

The Saarlanders would go on to display the prowess of German football even if  confined to a very small area, by defeating Norway 3-2 away from home and earning a 0-0 draw in Saarbrücken. Logically then, their bigger, but no more proudly Germanic neighbours would prove impassable. A 3-0 home win in Stuttgart on 11 October 1953 was followed by the last game of the group in March 1954, as West Germany again scored three (with the home support politely applauding each goal) but Saar at least grabbed a consolation penalty on home soil.


Interesting section of Hamburg's Volksparkstadion, West Germany vs Saar Protectorate, World Cup '54 Qualifier, October 1953.

The West German’s 5-1 demolition of Norway also guaranteed that Saar would not finish bottom of the group, securing a German one-two final positioning. As West Germany went on to win the World Cup they had qualified for, the people of Saar doubtlessly would have been rooting for them and over joyed at their success. As the following year, 20 years after the original plebiscite to join Nazi Germany, another referendum was held with the same result. The Saar Protectorate was absorbed into West Germany and once again became the region of Saarland in 1957, ending it’s brief adventure in international football.

 
The crowd applaud the home side's goal in a 3-1 defeat, Saar Protectorate vs West Germany, World Cup '54 qualifier, March 1954.

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  • 1958 World Cup Qualifiers

CAF/AFC Second Round

Egypt
Indonesia
Israel
Sudan

For the next World Cup, FIFA handed over responsibility to the regional confederations for the organisation of their own qualification systems, and enforced defined geographical zones. This proved particularly problematic in Africa/Asia (with the CAF and AFC sections combined for this campaign), first as Turkey withdrew in protest at not being included in Europe. They had been scheduled to play Israel, who progressed automatically into a second round group (somewhat surprisingly Cyprus were also in Asia, giving it three different teams who would later “become” European)

This created another issue due to the Arab League boycott of Israel, the current iteration of which being in effect since the end of the Arab-Israeli War in 1949. The Arab League members of Egypt and Sudan hence refused to play Israel – who had actually previously competed as Palestine British Mandate before their independence in 1948 – and withdrew. It was to be the first of two successive World Cup qualification campaigns from which the pair would withdraw without playing a game, as for 1962 – with Egypt then competing as United Arab Republic –  FIFA refused their ultimatum to reschedule matches to avoid the monsoon season.

Another mostly Islamic state in Indonesia was the remaining team left in the group, and although they were prepared to play the Israelis, they were not prepared to travel the entire length of Asia to do so. Like Israel, the Indonesians had once competed under their pre-independence colonial name: the Dutch East Indies. But this time FIFA refused the Indonesian request for the game to be played on neutral ground which forced them to also withdraw, meaning that Israel had made it through two rounds to an intercontinental play-off without touching a ball. Here they would be at last stopped, as Wales were happy to play and defeat them for a place at the tournament.

UEFA Group 6

Finland
Poland
USSR

Back in the UEFA section itself, countries were also still placed in groups rather than drawn by seed. Cross Iron-Curtain encounters were now becoming more common, although still somewhat regional with Finland going to the USSR and Poland, Greece to Yugoslavia and Romania, but again slightly further afield for Wales who were placed with Czechoslovakia and the newly created East Germany (who’s entry during the years of Saar existence meant there had been three different German federations in FIFA at one point).

Group 6 with Finland, Poland and the USSR was the most emotionally charged on paper with both the Finns and Poles being former colonial subjects of Russia, and much more recently the Soviets’ (unsuccessful) Winter War against former and partition of the later (as well as events such as the Katyn Massacre, although Poland was by this time a satalite-state of the USSR). But knowing the steadfast resolve characteristic of all three peoples, it was surely business as usual as the Soviet Union ultimately made it to their first finals (Poland had previously competed too at 1938).


Finland vs USSR, World Cup '58 Qualifier, August 1957.

UEFA Group 1

Denmark
England
Republic of Ireland

On the other side of Europe, the Republic of Ireland met their own former colonial masters of England for the first time in a competitive setting, along with Denmark in Group 1 (with the English coming out tops). Although distrust of Englishness remained for many, with 36 years having elapsed since the Irish War of Independence the encounter was perhaps now not as significant as it would become later in the century when tensions on the island of Ireland dramatically increased once again.

At this time Ireland was also somewhat sportingly-divided between football and it’s own native Gaelic sports, with the rules of the latter forbidding those who played, or indeed watched, the “foreign” (English) sport of soccer from their ogranisation. Those who preferred football were sometimes scornfully looked down upon as “less-Irish” than those involved in Irish games, with more nationalist types therefore likely avoiding international football altogether.

  • 1966 World Cup and Qualifiers

World Cup Semi-Finals and Final

England
Portugal
USSR
West Germany

The ’66 World Cup in England was somewhat of a reunion for several of the major players from World War 2. While England, the USSR and West Germany had all qualified for the previous two editions, the West Germans had avoided their old regime’s two European enemies in ’58 (who played each other in the group stage) and all three had been knocked out in the quarter finals of ’62 before having a chance to meet.

But in 1966 the Germans would finally come up against their former double-fronted foes, first beating the Soviets in a Goodison Park semi-final before the famous final defeat to the hosts, which also crucially involved a Soviet linesman erroneously awarding England’s third goal.


Many men in suits and ties watch West Germany vs the Soviet Union in Goodison Park, World Cup 1966.

Asia/Oceania Qualifying Group

Australia
North Korea
South Africa
South Korea

The other stand-out thing was the appearance of North Korea, although the authoritarian dictatorships present in their fellow qualifying countries of Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Hungry, Portugal, Soviet Union and Spain at the time makes it not so novel. Their surprise debut at the finals was helped by the withdrawal of their South Korean cousins, citing logistical reasons in the combined Asian/Oceanian qualifying group. Given that few states held political ties with the North Koreans, all games were to be hosted by their allies Cambodia, but South Korea had been expecting Japan and left the group after the decision.

Somewhat unexpectedly, the group was also to contain South Africa (a weak Australia was the fourth team). Kicked out of the Confederation of African Football in 1958 due the apartheid regime’s player policy – by law only an all-white or all-black team could be selected – South Africa were in fact admitted to FIFA in the same year and placed in the Asian zone for the time being. But FIFA did give them one year to comply with their own anti-discrimination laws, which of course wasn’t done.

While the rest of the African teams boycotted the qualifying system entirely due to the lack of an automatic qualifying spot – as well as the original acceptance of South Africa into FIFA – South Africa were banned before their group games started (formally expelled in 1976 following the Soweto uprising) and wouldn’t play another international until 1992. This left North Korea with just two easy games against the Australians to qualify.

  • 1970 World Cup Qualifiers

AFC/OFC Second Round, Group 1

Australia
Rhodesia

The following tournaments qualifiers saw a similar situation: this time the unrecognised state of Rhodesia switched continents to play in the Asian/Oceanian section. Like South Africa, the country was ruled by a white minority elite, who had broken away from the British Empire in 1965.

But as Rhodesia agreed to FIFA’s regulations regarding mixed-race squads, they were allowed to stay in. Their only group opponent was Australia, with both games (and a third play-off game after two draws, won by Australia) played in Mozambique after the Rhodesian players could not attain Australian visas.

AFC/OFC Second Round, Group 2

Israel
New Zealand
North Korea 

Israel were also back in Asian/Oceanian having played in the UFEA zone for geographical reasons at the previous qualifiers (and originally Syria too before withdrawal). Although no other Middle Eastern side was involved this time, their presence still caused an issue as now North Korea refused to play them on political grounds and withdrew.

Victories over New Zealand and Australia meant that Israel were now going to their first World Cup, but under the initiative of Kuwait they would be expelled from an AFC with more middle eastern influence in 1974, and return to playing European and, later, more Oceanic opponents in the following decades.

CONCACAF Semi-Final Round, Group 2

El Salvador
Honduras

One of the most famous war related match-ups occurred during this campaign in the semi-final round of the North/Central American and Caribbean CONCACAF section, when El Salvador were drawn with neighbours Honduras. It is often said that their violent three games (again a play-off was needed and held in neutral Mexico City) sparked what is known as the Football War between the two countries, a 100 hour conflict (and so also known as the 100 Hour War) that remains officially in dispute at the time of writing.

While intense rioting had occurred at the two regular group games (as it was considered a group of two as opposed to a two-legged knock-out game), as well as violent play on the pitch, it was more a case of perfect timing rather than the actual cause of the war, as tensions had already been growing between the countries for bigger reasons. With the backing of large American fruit corporations, harsh new land and tax laws had come into effect in Honduras, that were particularly threatening to the large, undocumented El Salvadorian ethnic minority in the country.


Supporters of both teams and riot police, El Salvador vs Honduras, World Cup '70 qualifier, June 1969.

By the day of the play-off on 26 June, 1969 (3-2 to El Salvador after extra-time), the smaller but more populous El Salvador officially cut of ties with Honduras and would invade on July 15th starting the war. The situation was resolved through negotiation from the Organization of American States, lasting 100 hours, but the reluctance of El Salvador to withdraw meant their troops remained occupying part of the country until August. The bad blood between the two states, who share a common language, religion, general look and very similar flags, proves that not matter how close groups of humans seem, we can always find other reasons to hate each other.

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Youtube Sources:
West Germany vs Saar, 1953
Saar vs West Germany, 1954
Finland vs USSR, 1957
USSR vs West Germany, 1966
El Salvador vs Honduras, 1969
El Salvador vs Honduras, 1969

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Retro Shirt Reveiws #7: Another Shelbourne FC Fanzine Special

A few months ago we made our print cross-over debut with a special edition of our flagship Pyro On The Pitch series for the long running fanzine of Dublin club Shelbourne FC, Red Inc., produced by the group Reds Independent.

 For their latest issue (the pleasingly numbered RI64, released at last Fridays home game to Athlone Town) we returned to the longest running supporter publication in the League of Ireland with another of our many categories: Retro Shirt Reviews, where usually we breakdown an obscure jersey from our own POTP collection. However for this installment we deviated from that regular format to take an epic look back at some of the possibly lesser known kits from Shelbourne’s past.

Reds Independent can be contacted through their Twitter page for those of you immediately needing a copy. The article may in fact make it on here eventually, but for now here are pictures of the fanzine and our contribution as we once again go pyro on the pages.

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Aesthetically Pleasing Moments From Video Game Football History #9

Last time in APMFVGFH we looked at one of our favourite childhood SNES games here at  Pyro On The Pitch, with the delicious colourful glory of 1994’s FIFA International Soccer. We now rewind the clock 4 years before to 1990 and a NES game that shares a similar place in our hearts.

Yes, here we have Nintendo World Cup for the Nintendo Entertainment System, released in 1990 by the video game developer Technōs Japan Corp. Brilliantly, it is a localisation of “Nekketsu High School Dodgeball Club: Soccer” (or “Hot Blooded High School Dodge Ball Club: Soccer Edition”) released for the Family Computer, which was centered around completing high schools rather than international football teams.

The game opens with the slick screen above, featuring the Nintendo World Cup trophy itself. Like last time, the theme music is again iconic to us who remember it from our youth, but even to fans of video game music in general it is worth a listen through the link at the end of the article.

The team select screen is simply white text over the black background, but of course this is NES so it would be a bit much to expect anything more. Lists of countries are one of our favourite things anyway and there are 13 here to choose from. With the 1990 World Cup a month away when the game was released,  non-qualifiers France, Mexico and of course Japan are included, while eventual quarter-finalists Czechoslovakia, Ireland and Yugoslavia miss out. Despite being two years away from playing an international as a independent state, Russia are also listed rather that USSR:

The game itself is quite a nice chunky affair, with a whole cast of hilarious characters in the players who all appear ready to start boxing. In fact we must come back some day and do a full photo-essay on every player we can find in the game:

The kits are block colours and as you can imagine are far from accurate. Some fit basic familiar formulas such as orange for the Dutch, blue for Italy and a kind of dark yellow for Brazil (see above), but France wear green and Cameroon are in a bold purple affair (see above). The shirts themselves seem to be in fact vests as no sleeves are visible.

Along with a basic radar and count down timer, the boxes at the bottom of the screen helpfully show your team mates communicating with each other:

As you can see above there is a player laying in discomfort on the grass, clearly having been wiped out  in a collision with the bad-ass in the shades clearing the ball. It is appropriate that the players look like they are ready to box, as it is quite a violent game. Eyes regularly bulge disturbingly from heads of victims of crunching challenges, as they fly helplessly into the air:

As far as we remember there is no ref and so no fouls or free kicks. This means that particularly aggressive matches can leave bodies of injured players strewn all about the pitch like a war-zone.

You also may have noticed the ethnic differences of the players, which was quite a step in football game graphics for the team. England – wearing quite a nice navy strip with what actually appears to be red trim – are uniformly white blonde in true Anglo-Saxon fashion:

Another blonde is the woman who appears at half time in nothing but a red bikini. We have no idea what this has to do with football. At the time she probably would have been referred to as a “babe”, but progressively she appears to have ample thighs and hips:

At the end of the match, which as you can see can be won in quite a convincing fashion, your successful squad swaggers smugly across the screen with a couple of them carrying towels (of course if they lose they are dejected). The third player from the right looks furious about something, which considering the scoreline may well have stemmed from a personal slight:

Besides violence, strange reality bending occurrences are also common in the form of super shots. Here one crouching  player uses the power of super position to create two balls from one, as a red haired French opponent climbs on his head:

Doubtlessly black arts were employed to create these unnatural abominations…:

Some of which were basically weapons of mass destruction:

That was scary. But more soothing is that the game is played on a beautifully mowed green pitch. It’s not the only option though, as a selection of surfaces are available:

The concrete option creates the impression of some sort of nightmare world devoid of most matter:

The soil pitch contains a number of rocks, adding to the potential for injury:

Lastly, we come to the ultimate aim of the game: to win the Nintendo World Cup of course. The player must beat every other team in a row, with the standard of opposition gradually increasing. But before each round is the real highlight of Nintendo World Cup in the graphic that is used to represent each location. Famous landmarks include Mount Fuji, the Arc de Triomphe, Big Ben, New York City, the Colosseum, and the landscape of Patagonia for Argentina. Cameroon, meanwhile is represented by a couple of huts on the planes, with a stereotypical wild west and cactus scene apparently being the most apt thing available for Mexico.

In fact here we have each screen, apart from Brazil who were the team being played as:

Great stuff, although we’re slightly confused as to why the font is a different colour for the USA game. Having made it to the final and winning, your team is presented with the Nintendo World Cup trophy by a bald man who looks suspiciously similar to the half-time bikini woman. With the amazing little stadium finally being shown, it is also our fist time seeing fans in the background, which is good to get:

After getting the trophy, everybody smiles in anime fashion as the national flag is hoisted and the “president” claps

Considering the Japanese origins of the game, it is not surprising that there are many features of this game that are reminiscent of anime, and which probably wouldn’t have made it into a western game such as the violence and the woman. We end with one last look at the ground as the sun is setting, the stands now deserted and silent, and a lone ball sits reminding us of the epic journey we have come on:

Youtube link 1
Youtube link 2
Youtube link 3
Youtube link 4

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Cold War Classic #8: Finland vs East Germany, 1986

Our regular guest series over on MuseumOfJerseys.com is back, with installment number eight of the Cold War Classic. In each edition we usually discuss a vintage east vs west international matchup from the Cold War era, specifically relating to the amazing and fascinating kits of the time and their evolution. Detailed backgrounds are included, and all retro kits relevant to the story are expertly illustrated in glorious colour by MOJ top boy Denis Hurley. This time we look at branding and sponsorship on national team jerseys and focus in on two great nations – one which continues to exist to this day.

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Cold War Classics no. 8 – Finland v East Germany, 1986

…the brand we are talking about is of course adidas, which by the end of the era was being worn by the international football teams of every country in the eastern bloc. This apparent juxtaposition seems to prove that links to the west were more acceptable than may have been perceived, at least on state level, and that capitalist practices such as shirt branding were apparently compatible with communist ideals (even if trefoils were half-heartedly covered or removed at times). In retrospect, the adidas trend ties in with the eventual fall of communism in Europe, as, logically, they would not have been needed if all was going positively on that side of the Iron Curtain.

We have theorised before on how the need to realistically compete at the highest level, including when it came to kit and equipment, eventually trumped any ideological loyalty. Plus of course, there is the money. Adidas’ three stripes had started to appear on national teams’ kits of the region by the 1974 World Cup, with Poland, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria all donning the distinctive feature at the tournament. The Poland away shirt even displayed a trefoil too. Czechoslovakia were next in 1976, followed by Hungary, the USSR, Romania and Albania in the following years.

The last domino to fall was East Germany…

Read on

 

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What Football Is Supposed To Look Like #7: Belgian League Special 1988-1993 (Gallery)

This 7th installment of WFISTLL signals the start of a new phase for both it and our other gallery series, as we will begin to focus on such themes as specific leagues, stadiums, competitions and other aspects. But don’t fear, the original format of a “random” selection of classic scenes shall also continue.
We start this new era with a look at Belgium in the late 80s and early 90s, which it turns out was mostly a lot of riot police, police dogs, fences, pitch invasions, etc…

Scenes From The Gritty Belgian First Division, 1988-1993

Standard De Liege vs RSC Anderlecht, 05/01/1988:

K. Beerschot V.A.C. vs Royal Antwerp FC, 19/03/1988:

Royal Antwerp FC vs RSC Anderlecht, 19/08/1989:

KAA Gent  vs Club Brugge, 11/02/1990:

Club Brugge vs RSC Anderlecht, 1990/1991:

RSC Anderlecht vs Club Brugge, 1990/1991:

KAA Gent vs RSC Anderlecht, 1991:

RFC Liege vs Standard De Liege, 01/03/1991:

RSC Anderlecht vs Racing White Daring Molenbeek, 11/05/1991:

Eendracht Aalst vs KV Mechelen, 1991/1992:

KV Mechelen vs Royal Antwerp FC, 1991/1992:

Standard De Liege vs Club Brugge, 1992/1993:

Standard De Liege vs Royal Antwerp FC, 09/01/1993:

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Sources:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8_KS4UwYPM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QMUEimGtfw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vVs2QRUlBA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjv7DtFJfS8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjgV7g7V3L4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjv7DtFJfS8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTeYBmfTqXo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gH6nBz2DDk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfZciQ5_F5s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RDT06JZXyw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yipbyy_7f9w
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyjrW7HgNAo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdCeP9HPf_w

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Supporter Snap Back #2: Switzerland vs Scotland, European Qualifier, 11/09/1991

In this series we take a “quick” no-nonsense look at a given game, highlighting impressive kits, intriguing stadium architecture, and whatever else interesting that we can find. But must importantly, the supporters and their actions.
Click here for the previous installment with Parma’s visit to Vitesse in 1994. But now – on a date that would become noteworthy on exactly ten years to the day – we  go back to when Switzerland welcomed the Scottish horde for a European qualifier in 1991.

The early-mid 90s were a time in which Scotland and Switzerland would get to know each other well. Before our featured European qualifier game in September 1991, they had already clashed in Glasgow the previous October in the reverse fixture, and a month later in October 1991 Celtic were paired with Neuchatel Xamax in the UEFA Cup.

The two national teams had also been drawn together for the World Cup ’94 qualifiers and so would continue to play each other for a further two consecutive Septembers. The fixture came up again two years later at Euro 96, but after this it would be another ten years until the sides would next meet.

The Euro 92 qualifying group was a tough one with Romania and Bulgaria also strongly in the running, leaving only San Marino as the only team with no real chance of taking the one qualification spot up for grabs. With the two East Balkan countries not far behind, the game on September 11th in Berne was crucial for both teams and played on front of a suitably hot crowd.

Match File:

  • Switzerland vs Scotland
  • Euro ’92 Qualifier
  • UEFA Group 2
  • 11/09/1991
  • Wankdorfstadion, Berne, Switzerland
  • 42,012 spectators

As the teams are coming out we get our first shots of the crowd, with plenty of colour from both home and away fans:

The ever popular yellow and red Royal Banner/Lion Rampant flag of Scotland is well represented:

There is also pyro from the Swiss supporters, but equally notable is the celtic cross flag visible on the left – a well regocgnised symbol of right-wing nationalism in Europe:

Meanwhile, Scottish banners are being hung on the fence at the other end – the way they should be:

As the teams line up for the anthems, a flare can just about be seen in the left corner of the ground:

The small group of people to the left of the marching band is actually one of the best things on show, as it turns out to be a group of children fantastically dressed in Swiss league club kits, interspersed with national strips:

Speaking of kits, we should look at the teams. As the visitors, the Scottish anthem is first and here get a look at their classic early 90s goal keeper jersey – a category that we love (who doesn’t?):

The Swiss are even more 90s in their attire, wearing a unique kit made for them by little known manufacturer Blacky. This relationship came in between their stints with Adidas and Lotto:

The diagonal shoulder and shorts strips, as well as triangular brand logo, are all quite of reminiscent of Adidas’ new Equipment template from the time. But with the Swiss shirt having debuted the year before, perhaps inspiration had been drawn from the style to create the new Adidas look. Apart from the giant Swiss cross in the middle that is:

Click here for a closer look at a matchworn shirt  from the game.

On the bench, a Swiss coach is also decked out in an interesting training top which looks extremely similar to Chelsea’s Umbro made away shirt of the time, suggesting more plagiarism somewhere. The word Suisse is across the torso:

During the Swiss anthem red and white strips of material are unfurled in the fanatics section, and again the celtic-cross flag in the national-scoialism style is visible:

We then get a good look at the packed away section, with plenty of banners at the front:

One of which states “Pencaitland Boys Are In Berne; Pencaitland being a tiny village near Edinburgh:

While the captains shake hands and the team sheets are shown, we can see that more pyro is going off in the Swiss end:

The ground itself, the Wankdorf (unfortunately now demolished and rebuilt as the Stade de Suisse), has some interesting features. A wide gap at the half way line divides the supporters into two main enclosures opposite the main camera:

Large towers covered in advertising occupy at least two corners of the ground:

The Scottish section is separated from the home fans by a tunnel behind the goal and is noticeably more dense in bodies:

In the space of eight mins in the first half, the Swiss go 2-0 up. As the team celebrate one of the goals in heaving mass on the pitch while their manager pumps his fist, we also get a look at an excellent Adidas tracksuit being worn by what we assume is the extra UEFA official:

As half-time is blown for, the home fans celebrate what looks set to be a comfortable win to help propel them to their first Euros:

After the break it is evident that there has been more pyro, as clouds drift from the home end and linger above the pitch:

But it would be the away fans who next have cause to celebrate as their side pull one back only two minutes after the restart. We get a nice panning shot of the jubilation that  occurs in the immediate aftermath:

And then in the 83rd minute, Allie McCoist scores the equaliser for Scotland. Chaos in the away sector:

The game ends 2-2 with the result clearly favouring the visitors, who’s supporters celebrate as if a victory has been claimed:

We are curious to know what the red flag with a yellow circle that raises from the left is. If you know, as always give us a shout:

The draw would secure an important point for Scotland and the slip-up from the home side that would cost them and their fellow group rivals badly. As despite next losing 1-0 away to Romania, the Scots would end up topping the group on 11 points – only one point ahead of both the Swiss and Romanians.

Youtube link 1
Youtube link 2

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Retro Shirt Reviews #6

So far in our Retro Shirt Review series we have seen some beautiful obscure vintage tops from the 70s to the early 2000s, made by Erima, Puma, Reebok, Adidas and Umbro. Quite a selection of classic brands, and this streak continues now as we look at a jersey from another amazing shirt maker from the golden age.

  • Club: N/A
  • Year: Circa 1982-’85
  • Make: Admiral
  • Sponsor: N/A
  • Number: N/A
  • Similarly Worn By: Hull City

Well would you ever look at this absolute gem, produced by classic English kit manufacturers Admiral. The sky-blue shirt seems to be teamwear from the early 80s, originally part of a batch intended to be destined for a club to apply it’s crest, sponsor and numbers, but obviously for whatever reason this did not happen:

A cool blue line of trim runs through the white sleeve cuffs and v-neck collar – an extremely popular feature on kits at the time. Vertical shadow striping – another popular ’80s design – is also present and comparing the top of the shirt to the bottom in the picture above, the light and dark shade stripes switch depending on how the light is hitting them, which is pretty great.

Looking at the collar, you can see that the stripes aren’t exactly symmetrical which is a pet-peeve for some kit enthusiasts. However we’re fine with it here and the Admiral logo has been purposely placed exactly within a stripe to help make up for it:

Admiral had began to switch from their turn over/wing-collars of the ’70s to the v-neck design around 1980, most famously with the English national team shirt of ’80-’83. England’s away shirt was red at the time, but we like to imagine our jersey as a perfect fantasy third option for them, as the colour and style sinks up nicely with similar English blue alternate efforts from the period.

We can’t find anything identical to this template online, but among the closest is Hull City’s shirt from 1982 which is of a similar cut with v-neck and cuff trim, and while pin stripes were used rather than shadow stripes, they are also off centre (their follow-up 1984 shirt did feature stripes in different shades though, while keeping the pinstripes to border). Examining the labels, the same layout is used on both showing that our shirt could have originated as far back as 1982:

Being an ’80s shirt, it is of course a very tight fit. Which is a good motivator to stay in shape so it can be worn, but also makes it definitely not an option on a Monday morning after a particularly busy weekend. As mentioned, there is no number on the back, but here is a shot of it anyway showing more of that fabulous shadow striping and those tiny, tight sleeves:

In closing, this is one awesome piece of kit that we are delighted to have in the Pyro On The Pitch shirt collection as much as any actual team apparel (for which we can rarely identify the actual clubs that used them anyway). We leave with one last look at that iconic Admiral logo, placed lovingly within the shadow stripe all those years ago:

Bonus: International Selection

Bit of a cheat this time for our regular International Selection section, as we don’t have an actual football shirt to show. Instead we have chosen to highlight an excellent t-shirt that relates to that most nostalgic of tournaments for a certain age-group: the 1990 World Cup.

Yes, it’s the freaky geometric mascot of Italia ’90, named “Ciao”; the greatest World Cup mascot of all time. Let us see in a few years time if the 2002 mascots will have aged quite as well.

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Pyro On The Pitch #12: Real Madrid vs Athletic Club Bilbao, La Liga Primera División, 27/11/1983

After a brief mid-Summer break, we’re back and once again have rotated around to our original flagship series. In the last installment we checked out one of Romania’s unsung supporter communities of the early ’80s, in Universitatea Craiova and their fixture with Hajduk Split in 1983. Now we are going to revisit an encounter that we touched on back in Pyro On The Pitch #9: – Anderlecht vs Real Madrid 1984, while talking about the latter’s immediate prior history.

Background:

In 1920 Madrid FC were given the title “Real” by King Alfonso XIII of Spain, as an officially dubbed royal club of the kingdom. Having  been formed 18 years earlier after a split from a university team, they would go on to represent one of Europe’s great capital cities and become the favoured team of Spanish dictator Franco, who restored the “Real” title after it had been stripped during the years of the Second Spanish Republic, along with the crown on the club’s crest.

On the pitch Real were officially a continental powerhouse since the 1950s when the European Cup began. Success in this competition was appropriate, as the club’s president from 1943-1978, Santiago Bernabéu Yeste, was one of the three men to organise the start of the Cup for UEFA in 1955.

Considering all this, it is no wonder that the club became hugely supported and to house this support was also one of Europe’s biggest stadiums. In that same year of 1955, their Nuevo Estadio Chamartín was renamed to Santiago Bernabéu by the club’s board in honour of their chairman and was expanded from 75,000 capacity to a mammoth 125,000 (over-crowded to nearly 130,000 for a visit of Milan the following year, the ground’s record attendance).


Some of the record breaking 129,690 supporters in the freshly redeveloped Bernabéu, Real Madrid vs AC Milan, European Cup semi-final, 1956.

With their history of royalist-fasicst connections, it is also not surprising that the club’s support base swings to the right. In contrast, Madrid rivals Athletico were formed by Basque students as a feeder club for Athletic Bilbao, who’s Basque-only player policy marks them as a de-facto separatist Pays Basque team in the Spanish league, although there is a strong right-element in the Atheltico Madird support also.

By 1980, the movement of organised young supporter units that had been spreading in Europe reached Spain and Read Madrid’s Ultras Sur were formed. The group were based in the stadium’s South Stand terraces (sur of course meaning south), but rabid, colourful support was common on all sides of the massive ground. An especially large attendance was of course most guaranteed for big European ties.


Home fans celebrate a goal in what would be a 3-0 victory, Real Madrid vs Glasgow Celtic, European Cup quarter final, 1980.0.

100,000 in the Bernabéu for the visit of Spartak Moscow, European Cup 80/81.

A respectable crowd of 65,000 even came to see Real effectively play themselves in the 1980 Cope Del Rey final, also in the Bernabéu, when amazingly they ended up against their B-team Real Madrid Castilla. Unsurprisingly the A-team won 6-1, but hopefully there were a handful of hipster types disgusted by Madrid’s success who staunchly supported Castilla only, akin to a modern wrestling fan preferring NXT over WWE.


Real Madrid vs Castilla, Copa Del Rey final, 1980.

There would be a crowd of nearly twice that of the cup final for the following seasons visit of Internazionale – a slightly more challenging European Cup semi. En route to a 2-0 victory that would help win the tie (ultimately followed by defeat to Liverpool in the final), the home players could be seen scaling the pitch-side fence and saluting the packed Ultras Sur enclosure.


Players celebrate a goal at the South Stand, Real Madrid vs Internazionale, European Cup semi final 1981.

As mentioned, other areas of the ground were also home to passionate supporters. A particular section at the opposite end to the ultras and to the left of a dividing fence in the terrace was often eye catching as a sea of waving flags. But Ultras Sur, with their overtly right-wing leanings, had arrived as the dominant group at the in the stadium and would soon make their presence felt on the pitch as well as in the stands.


Home support in the North Stand enclosure, Real Madrid vs Barcelona, Primera División 83/84.

The Match:

The apparent earliest evidence of Ultras Sur’s ire being directed towards the pitch would feature the visit of the aforementioned Basques of Athletic Bilbao, now long divorced from Real’s crosstown rivals. By the time the two were to meet in a November 1983 league encounter, the Bernabéu stadium had been redeveloped again for the 1982 World Cup and as a result had it’s capacity reduced to “only” 98,000, and then 85,000 for the 83/84 season.

Before the match report we see a cartoon image – accompanied by fantastic classic ’80s theme music which really is worth checking out at the end of the article – of what  appears to be an Athletic player with a flaming torch pulling back a Real player, who’s holding a sign containing the following cryptic message in Spanish:

Today we bore more than yesterday but less than tomorrow.

Unfortunately we only have black and white footage of the match, which makes it  look far older than it is. But as always, the Madridistas are unmistakable with their mostly white tifo material, which is the first sight we see from the stadium:

While we don’t have an attendance figure, the ground seems as packed as for any big game. Indeed Real had finished 2nd the previous year to Bilbao and the two were again main competitors for the title in 83/84. At the north end, the section to the left of the goal is even more densely flagged than as seen above against Bacrelona in the same season:

But of course the main action was to occur at the other “Sur” end of the ground, as while Real attack at some stage in the first half, at least one “Bengal” flare from the crowd lands near the penalty spot. The goalkeeper immediately points an accusatory figure towards the packed terraces behind him and the camera pans up following suit:

The black and white footage makes it hard to see what has happened at first, but the definite billowing of smoke from the pyro gives it away:

We have previously seen a situation at a Spanish home international fixture where a foreign referee happily allowed a match to go on around pyro on the pitch, but in this case the native official stops the game and runs to the touchline to alert the authorities that trouble is afoot:

The announcer of the footage possibly gives an explanation for the action as part of a protest of some sort, but unfortunately as we are not fluent in Spanish this is more of a guess. However if you do understand what is being said, please get in touch!

Back in the stand, fighting among the supporters has also broken out. Whether this is rival factions clashing over the flare being thrown, or something else, is again unclear. On the other side of the parameter fence below, the press quickly assemble to document  the unfolding drama:

Before long, a hand-full of local constabulary are on the scene. But displaying the obvious unreadiness for such an occurrence, they have to sprint from the main entrance to the pitch by the dugout – a common scenario in the era that we have seen several times before:

There may have in fact been more officers already on hand though, as quite quickly the first alleged perpetrator emerges and is forcibly escorted away from the mass of bodies at the front of the stand:

Even in black and white, the fashion of the time is evident by the supporter’s big hair, flared trousers and possibly heeled shoes. He is led away out of the stadium (presumably destined for a physical beating), swiftly followed by another captive who is more obviously a football fan due to his long scarf:

The next arrest is not so easy for the police. It appears an entire regiment have surrounded the Sur-suspect and are leading him away, when a Christ-like fall occurs, quite possibly resulting in some harsh treatment to get him back on his feet:

The football has been continuing as this is going down, but after a half-hearted scan back to the game the cameraman shows that the action off the field is far more captivating, much like the ethos of this very blog. Well done, sir (or should I say, sur):

Also ignoring the match – and in a scene you would be unlikely to see today (partly because most supporters would be taking their own videos and pictures anyway) – the press form a neat phalanx to get the best shot for Monday’s papers:

Having been sufficiently subdued and back on his feet, the supporter is finally led away as the journalist jackals scurry to get one last vantage point of the pathetic, defeated face of football crime:

This was the end of the off-field story, but the remnants of the situation can still be seen later in the game as a slight gap in the crowd is visible in the same section of otherwise congested terrace:

Those of you paying attention earlier will have noticed that the report opened with a spoiler that the match ended 0-0. It would be one of many instances of dropped points for Real Madrid that season that would ultimately cost them cruelly, as Athletic Bilbao took their second consecutive championship only by goal difference. But what may have hurt most for the capital city club was that including Real Sociedad’s two title wins at the start of the decade, it was the fourth year in a row that the title went to a Basque side since Real Madrid themselves had last won it in 1980.

Youtube link.

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