Tuesday, November 30, 2010

30 November 1872 - The First Official International

On 30 November 1872, England and Scotland played the first ever official international, which ended in a scoreless draw.

The two countries had actually played five earlier matches, with England winning three of those and the other two ending in draws, but FIFA does not consider them full internationals, as the Scottish sides were mainly limited to players based in the area surrounding London, where the matches were played.

In October 1972, the FA decided to play a match against Scotland in Glasgow "to further the interests of the Association in Scotland." There was no Scottish FA at the time, so the Scotland's oldest club, Queen's Park FC, stood in for the national team, with all players coming from that club. Nine different clubs were represented in the English side, with Oxford University having the most players at three.

Played at Hamilton Crescent in Partick, the match started after a 20-minute delay for fog. 4,000 people were there to watch, paying a ticket price of one shilling each. Scotland had the best chances of the day, with two shots hitting the crossbar (actually, a strip of tape hung between the top of the posts), but neither side managed to find he back of the net and the match ended 0-0.

Monday, November 29, 2010

29 November 1978 - Anderson Breaks England's Color Barrier

On 29 November 1978, England beat Czechoslovakia 1-0 in a friendly at Wembley. England's right back that day was Nottingham Forest's Viv Anderson, making the first start by a black player to appear for England in a full international match.

Born in Nottingham in 1956, Anderson began his professional career with Forest in 1974 and became a regular starter the following year. An attacking right back, he was an integral part of the team that won the League in 1978, then back-to-back European Cups in 1979 and 1980. He also won two League Cups with Forest (1978, 1979) and the 1980 UEFA Super Cup.

His impressive form during that successful run led England manager Ron Greenwood to call him up for the friendly against the Czechs. Midway through the second half, with the match scoreless, Anderson surged forward to create a opening for Tony Currie, who then crossed the ball into the box where a waiting Steve Coppell knocked home the day's only goal.

Despite his excellent performance, Anderson had to wait until June 1979 for his second England appearance and didn't feature in a competitive match until November 1979. In all, he received 30 caps, the last coming in 1988. He eventually retired in 1995 and was elected to the English Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

28 November 1999 - A Hat To Go With His Gloves

On 28 November 1999, Vélez Sársfield defeated Ferro Carril Oeste 6-1 in an Argentina top flight match with a hat-trick from an unlikely source--their goalkeeper.

José Luis Chilavert had joined Vélez in 1991 and helped guide the club to their most successful period, winning 4 domestic titles and 5 international trophies between 1993 and 1998. Along the way, the Paraguayan international earned multiple individual honors, including Argentinian Player of the Year (1996) and South American Player of the Year (1996). He was also named the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper three times (1995, 1997, 1998).

In addition to being a strong goalkeeper, he was a skilled free kick marksman, often taking his side's penalty kicks. In the match against Ferro, in fact, all three of his goals came from the spot.

In all, Chilavert scored a total of 62 goals in club and international competitions during his career.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

27 November 2004 - Wimbledon's Game Sets Match Record

On 27 November 2004, two-year old club AFC Wimbledon set an English record by playing in their 78th consecutive league match without a loss.

The club was founded in June 2002 by former supporters of Wimbledon FC, after that club had relocated to Milton Keynes. The new team entered the English football pyramid in the ninth tier, the Combined Counties League, but rose quickly. After losing 2-0 to Withdean 2000 on 22 February 2003, they went unbeaten for the remainder of the season and narrowly missed out on promotion. Their unbeaten streak continued throughout their entire second season as they finished on top of the table in 2004 and jumped to Division 1 of the Isthmian League.

They passed the old record holders, St. Blazey, on 13 November 2004 by drawing 1-1 with Bromley in the 76th match of their unbeaten run. After a 2-0 victory over Dulwich Hamlet the following week, they traveled to Bashley for their record-setting match. Bashley went up 1-0 in the 9th minute, but were undone by set pieces. Wimbledon's Matt Everard equalized in the 60th minute with a header from a corner kick, then Martin Randall gave the visitors the lead with another header from a corner in the 89th minute.

Wimbledon's streak ended on 4 December with a 2-0 loss to Cray Wanderers, but they won the league for their second consecutive promotion. They were promoted twice more--in 2008 and 2009--and currently play in the fifth tier.

Friday, November 26, 2010

26 November 1992 - The King Has Entered The Building

On 26 November 1992, French striker Eric Cantona moved from Leeds United to Manchester United for the princely sum of £1.2 million. He would go on to earn the nickname "King Eric" from the United faithful and be named the club's Player of the Century.

Cantona, who had spent the majority of his career to that point in France, had moved to England in January 1992 for a one-week trial with Sheffield Wednesday. When Wednesday offered to extend the trial period, Cantona declined, choosing instead to sign with Leeds for £900,000. He made 15 league appearances for Leeds that season, helping Leeds to the First Division title. Early in the following season, he made his move to Manchester United, who were sitting in 8th place at the time.

The striker was an instant success at Old Trafford and United finished his first season 10 points clear at the top of the table. Before he retired in 1997, he would amass a total of four league titles and two FA Cups with United, scoring 82 goals in 185 total appearances. His time there was not without controversy, however, as he was fined for spitting on a Leeds supporter on a return trip to Elland Road and received a 4-month suspension for kicking a Crystal Palace fan.

His personality and success made his a popular figure among Manchester United supporters, who recently voted him as the club's Player of the Century. His name has also been mentioned as a possible successor to Alex Ferguson.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

25 November 1914 - Hearts Go To War

On 25 November 1914, sixteen players from Heart of Midlothian enlisted for service in World War I, becoming the first British team to sign up in such large numbers.

The United Kingdom had declared war on Germany the previous August, spurring enlistments across the nation. Football, however, continued as usual, though not without criticism from some who thought the players would be put to better use in the trenches. Hearts were on a strong run, taking a firm hold on the table's top spot from the first matchday and holding onto it for 36 straight weeks (they would finish in second place).

In November 1914, Edinburgh politician Sir George McCrae declared his intention to raise a battalion of volunteers within a week. Sixteen Hearts players signed up immediately, 11 of them with McRae's Battalion, the 16th Royal Scots. Another five tried to enlist, but were rejected for medical reasons. Those who did enlist were soon joined by players from Hibernian, Falkirk, and Raith Rovers, as well as supporters and club staff members.

The 16th Royal Scots deployed to the continent in 1916 and saw their first major action at the Battle of the Somme, near the French village of Contalmaison. On the first day of battle, the 16th lost 229 men, including three Hearts players, and saw another 347 wounded, while making the greatest advance that day against enemy lines. Before the end of the war in 1918, Hearts had lost seven players, including five from McRae's Battalion.

In 2004, Contalmaison erected a monument to McRae's Battalion, with a special plaque recognizing the contributions of Heart of Midlothian.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

24 November 2009 - For Once, The Commentator Really Was Blind

On 24 November 2009, the Guardian's Paul Doyle provided live commentary of a Champions League match despite missing the first 32 minutes.

The chief football writer for the Guardian website, Doyle was responsible for their minute-by-minute commentary of the Champions League group stage meeting between holders Barcelona and eventual champions Inter Milan. But just after the whistle, Doyle announced "The match has kicked off, or so I assume. My hi-tech TV has just crashed." It was still down when Barcelona scored the opening goal in the 10th minute, prompting Doyle to write "Word is there's been a goal by Barca--scored by Pique--but intense study of my blank screen does not offer up any clues as to how it came about. Brilliant." Some readers sent their own descriptions of the action to Doyle, while others suggested simply making stuff up. He also missed Barça going up 2-0 in the 26th minute, relying on Sky's Sports News Channel for word of the goal.

His TV was repaired by the 33rd minute, but with Barça's two-goal lead, there wasn't much to see. The holders passed the ball around Inter for the remainder of the match, winning comfortably. Inter did get their revenge in the semifinals, beating Barcelona 3-2 on their way to winning the tournament.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

23 November 2002 - Figo's Unhappy Return

On 23 November 2002, former Barcelona hero Luis Figo returned to Camp Nou for only the second time since his controversial move to Real Madrid two years earlier. It did not go well.

Figo joined Barça in 1995 and quickly became a fan favorite, winning two league titles and the 1997 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in his five seasons there. In 2000, Real Madrid lured him away for the then-world record fee of £37.2 million. The move did not sit well with the Barcelona faithful, who regarded the move to Madrid as the ultimate betrayal.

When Figo returned to Camp Nou in his first season with Real Madrid, he was subjected to taunts and jeers, but that was nothing compared to his appearance in 2002. By then, he had won La Liga and the Champions League with his new club, intensifying the state of the rivalry. By the time he prepared to take a late corner, emotions had risen to the point where people in the stands were throwing things at him, including plastic bottles, cans, and lighters. Someone even threw the head of a piglet and one of a rooster.

The situation grew so bad that the referee stopped the match for 16 minutes before allowing it to continue. It ended as a scoreless draw, leaving nobody satisfied.

Monday, November 22, 2010

22 November 1922 - Minter's Unlucky Number 7

On 22 November 1922, Wilf Minter scored seven goals in an FA Cup match and still ended up on the losing side.

The match was an FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round replay, pairing Dulwich Hamlet from the Isthmian League against Minter's side, reigning Athenian League champions St. Albans. Their first meeting ended in a 1-1 draw at St. Albans, with the hosts nicking a late equalizer.

Played before a crowd of 4,060 at Dulwich's Champion Hill, the replay featured emergency replacements in both goals, which undoubtedly contributed to the scoreline. After the first 30 minutes, Minter had his first hat-trick and St. Albans were leading 3-1. Dulwich rallied to go ahead 5-3 in the 60th minute, but Minter notched another hat-trick in the next 10 minutes to push St. Albans ahead, 6-5. With 5 minutes remaining, Dulwich scored again to send the match to extra time.

Dulwich struck first in extra time, but Minter again rose to the occasion, scoring his seventh to equalize five minutes from time. The teams appeared to be headed for another replay when a Dulwich player named Davis scored his fourth of the day to win the match 8-7.

Dulwich nearly repeated the feat 7 years later, drawing 7-7 with Wealdstone in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

21 November 1973 - The Soviets Avoid A Chile Reception

On 21 November 1973, Chile beat the Soviet Union 1-0 in a World Cup qualifying play-off match. It helped that the Soviets didn't bother to show up.

For the first time ever, World Cup qualification pitted a European team against a South American team in a playoff for the final spot in the tournament. The two teams drew 0-0 in the first leg, played in Moscow on 26 September. The second leg was scheduled for the National Stadium in Santiago, which had recently been used as a prison camp during that year's Chilean coup d'etat led by US-supported General Augusto Pinochet against Soviet-backed President Salvador Allende.

The Soviets refused to play in the stadium, effectively withdrawing from the tournament. The match went ahead as scheduled, though, with the Chileans kicking off before a crowd of thousands. They passed the ball down the pitch to their captain, who kicked it in from right in front of the goal. FIFA, however, declared the match a forfeit.

Immediately afterward, Chile hosted a friendly against Brazilian club Santos and lost 5-0.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

20 November 2004 - The Return Of Socrates (Or A Reasonable Facsimile Thereof)

On 20 November 2004, legendary midfielder and former Brazil captain Socrates returned to the pitch for the first time in 15 years, making a solitary appearance for amateur English side Garforth Town.

Embodying a combination of strength and flair, Socrates began his professional career in 1974 with Botafogo, but spent the majority of it with Corinthians, scoring 172 goals in 297 appearances between 1978 and 1984. He also played for Fiorentina, Flamengo, and Santos before returning to Botafogo for his ostensible final season in 1989. Along the way, he earned 60 caps for Brazil and captained them in the 1982 World Cup.

After his initial retirement from football, Socrates--who obtained a medical degree during his playing days--became a print and television commentator on sports and politics. His unusual appearance for the Northern Counties East League First Division side Garforth Town was orchestrated by Town owner Simon Clifford, who used the publicity to promote his stable of Brazilian-style soccer academies.

In the 78th minute, with Garforth and visitors Tadcaster Albion level at 2-2, Socrates--then 50 years old--stripped off his layers of protective clothing and entered the match. With his first touch, he took a powerful dipping shot from 25 yards forcing a save from the Tadcaster keeper. But that was his only real contribution to the match, which ended at 2-2. Afterward, he said "It was much faster than the type of football I'm used to. It was a lot more competitive and keenly fought but I really enjoyed it and it was an interesting experience."

Friday, November 19, 2010

19 November 2008 - Argentina Tries To Recapture The Magic

On 19 November 2008, Argentina embarked upon the new Diego Maradona era with a 1-0 victory over Scotland.

As a player, Maradona had led Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup, then to the 1990 Final. His playing career ended in 1994, but he remained a near-permanent fixture in the press due to his public battles with drug use and weight gain. He had been out of professional football for over 13 years when Argentina came calling again and had no managerial experience other than a year apiece at a couple of clubs in Argentina--Mandiyú in 1994 and Racing Club in 1995.

His first match in charge of the national team was the win against Scotland, thanks to an 8th-minute goal from Maxi Rodriguez. But poor results followed, including a record 6-1 loss to Bolivia in a World Cup qualifier on 1 April 2009. Argentina eventually did qualify, prompting Maradona to instruct to his critics to "suck it." But after cruising through their first-round group, they lost 4-0 to Germany in the Round of 16.

Amid conflicting reports about his future, the AFA announced on 27 July 2010 that they would not renew his contract.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

18 November 2009 - Henry's Hand Gives Ireland The Finger

On 18 November 2009, France secured their place at the 2010 World Cup thanks to one of football's most controversial goals.

Facing Ireland in a playoff after both finished second in their respective qualification groups, France were heavily favored to advance. They won the first leg in Dublin, 0-1, so that they needed only a draw in Paris to advance. But a 32nd-minute goal from Irish striker Robbie Keane put the visitors ahead. Les Bleus desperately searched for an equalizer, but were repeatedly denied by the brilliant play of keeper Shay Given.

With the sides level at 1-1 on aggregate at the end of regulation, the match went into extra time, when a Florent Malouda free kick found forward Thierry Henry in the box. Henry clearly controlled the ball with his left arm, before centering it for defender William Gallas, who knocked it home. Given and the other Irish players immediately protested, but the referee allowed the goal to stand.

Time then expired with Ireland unable to find another goal, so France won 2-1 on aggregate. After the match, Henry admitted to using his hand, but downplayed his responsibility, saying "I'm not the ref." Ireland petitioned FIFA for a replay, but were denied.

Although frustrated by the loss, Irish supporters took a measure of solace from France's poor World Cup performance, as Les Bleus managed only one draw and two losses and were eliminated in the group stage.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

17 November 1989 -They Really Don't Like Each Other

On 17 November 1989, Egypt met Algeria at Cairo Stadium to decide who would advance to the 1990 World Cup. The hosts won, 1-0, but the match is best remembered for the ensuing violence, earning it the nickname "the Hate Match."

The two sides had a long history of dislike, dating back to the 1950s when Egypt refused to play matches intended to support Algerian independence. By the 1970s and '80s, brawls had become a staple of their matches.

By 1989, Algeria were considered the better team, having gone to the two previous World Cups and finishing in third place at the 1988 African Cup of Nations. In order to book their ticket to the 1990 World Cup, they needed only a point against Egypt, who had not qualified for the World Cup since 1934.

With a capacity of 100,000, Cairo Stadium was close to packed a full 4 hours before kick-off. The home supporters were rewarded with a 4th-minute goal from Al-Ahly striker Hossam Hassan (pictured), which turned out to be the matchwinner. After the final whistle, Algeria's players, coaches, and officials surrounded the referee, then began throwing plants and dirt into the stands. At a post-match reception, Algerian midfielder Lakhdar Belloumi struck the Egyptian team doctor, blinding him in one eye.

On 18 November 2009, the two teams met again in a World Cup qualification playoff, with Algeria winning 1-0 as riots and violence again dominated the post-match reports.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

16 November 1893 - This ... Is ... Sparta!

On 16 November 1893, AC Sparta was founded in Prague. It has since become the most successful football club in the Czech Republic and has launched the careers of several star footballers, including Jan Koller, Pavel Nedvěd, Petr Čech, and Tomáš Rosický.

The idea for the club came from three brothers, Václav, Bohumil and Rudolf Rudl, who held the founders meeting on 16 November 1893 where they approved the articles of association. They originally chose the name Athletic Club Královské Vinohrady after their local district in Prague, but changed it the following year to AC Sparta in honor of the ancient Greek city.

Sparta won their first league title in 1912, when Prague was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and have since won 34 more. Since that first one, they have one at least one title in every decade except the 1970s, when they went into a period of decline that culminated with their relegation in 1975. After only one season in the second division, they returned to the top flight and eventually reclaimed the title in 1984. They are the current champions, having won the league in 2010.

Sparta were the second football club to use that name, following Sparta Rotterdam, who were founded in 1888.

Monday, November 15, 2010

15 November 1950 - Age Is Just A Number (And In This Case, That Number Is 38)

On 15 November 1950, Arsenal defender Leslie Compton received his first cap for England. He was 38 years and 64 days old at the time, making him the oldest debutant for England since WWII and their oldest outfield player ever to make his first appearance.

Compton--who was also a noted cricketer--had played for Arsenal since 1930, helping them win the league trophy in 1948 and the 1950 FA Cup. In the Gunners' FA Cup semifinal match against Chelsea that year, Compton scored a last-minute equalizer from a cross delivered by his brother to force a replay, which Arsenal won 1-0 before beating Liverpool in the Final.

His outstanding play that season led to his call-up for England's British Home Championship match against Wales that November, one of three players to make their England debut that day (the others were Lionel Smith and Leslie Medley). Played before a crowd of 59,137 at Sunderland's Roker Park, England went up 2-0 at the half before finishing the match 4-2.

Compton played only once more for England (a 2-2 draw with Yugoslavia at Highbury on 22 November 1950) before his retirement in 1952 . He died in 1984 at the age of 72 from complications related to diabetes.

England's oldest-ever debutant was Crystal Palace goalkeeper Alexander Morten, who was 41 years, 114 days when he played against Scotland in 1873.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

14 November 1973 - Capello's Early Job Audition

On 14 November 1973, Italy beat England at Wembley with a late goal from future England manager Fabio Capello.

Capello, then a midfielder for Juventus, was in only his second year with the Azzurri. But he had already scored against England, helping lead Italy to their first-ever win over the Three Lions in Turin five months earlier.

When the teams met again in a friendly at Wembley that November, they were locked in a defensive struggle for most of the match, with Italy's Dino Zoff and England's Peter Shilton each performing well in goal. As full-time neared, striker Giorgio Chinaglia beat defender Bobby Moore and sent a cross in to Capello, who knocked it past Shilton for the match's only goal. It was Italy's second win over England and their first at Wembley.

Capello scored only 8 times in his international career, which lasted until 1976. In 1991, he turned to management and took charge of England in 2008.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

13 November 2007 - She Should Have Used eBay Like The Rest Of Them

On 13 November 2007, the Magistrate's Court in Belfast fined a local jeweller £500 for selling counterfeit football memorabilia. The owner, Anne Lauro of Kavanagh's, also had to pay £37 in court costs and received a conditional 18-month discharge.

Following up on complaints lodged by some Scottish clubs, authorities inspected Mrs. Lauro's premises in December 2006 and located a total of 53 items bearing the names and logos of clubs such as Leeds United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Rangers, Celtic and Manchester United. Representatives from each of the affected clubs identified the merchandise--which included rings, cigarette lighters, hip flasks, tankards and pendants--as counterfeit (unlike the presumably authentic cuff links in the photo at right).

Ms. Lauro was convicted on 10 charges of selling counterfeit goods and was fined £100 for the first 5 charges, then given a conditional discharge on the remaining 5 charges.

Friday, November 12, 2010

12 November 2004 - To Be Fair, Marlet Was Crap

On 12 November 2004, former Fulham manager Jean Tigana won a legal claim against the club and owner Mohammed Al Fayed entitling him to £2.5 million in compensation.

Tigana (pictured) had taken over at Fulham, then in Division One, in July 2000 and earned promotion to the Premier League in his first season. In his second season, Tigana made some expensive additions to the squad, including goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar (£7 million) and striker Steve Marlet (£11.5 million), in an effort to preserve the club's top-flight status. But by his third season, Fulham were struggling to avoid relegation, due in part to poor performances from Marlet, leading Al Fayed to sack Tigana in April 2003.

Fulham later sued Tigana, claiming he had "grossly overpaid" for van der Sar and Marlet by an approximate total of £7 million (and suggesting he had taken a portion of the excess in kickbacks). Tigana countered with a lawsuit of his own, alleging breach of contract.

The High Court considered Al Fayed's testimony to be unreliable and ruled in favor of Tigana, finding that he had "behaved properly and conscientiously in his dealings with Fulham." The ruling entitled Tigana to an award of over £2.5 million from Fulham in share options and other compensation. He currently manages Bordeaux after two seasons in charge of Beşiktaş.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

11 November 2007 - The Death Of Gabriele Sandri

On 11 November 2007, a clash between supporters of Lazio and Juventus turned deadly when one of the fans was shot and killed by a policeman.

26-year old disc jockey and Lazio fan Gabriele Sandri was travelling to Milan from Rome with a group of friends to see Lazio play against Inter. Along the way, they stopped at a service station in Tuscany, where they ran into a group of Juventus fans. A fight broke out, followed shortly by the arrival of the police. Luigi Spaccarotella, one of the policemen, fired a shot that hit Sandri, who was sitting in his car. The bullet struck him in the neck and killed him.

Football supporters across Italy rioted in response, forcing the Italian Football Federation to cancel matches across the country.

During the subsequent investigation, Spaccarotella claimed to have fired his gun into the air, then accidentally set it off while running, believing that the second shot was the one that struck Sandri. In 2009, Spaccarotella was convicted of criminally negligent manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

10 November 1899 - All's Fair In Football And War

On 10 November 1899, British forces in South Africa during the Second Boer War had a football match interrupted by an artillery shell. The shell did no damage, but allowed one of the teams to sneak a goal amid the confusion.

The match took place at the parade ground of the Gordon Highlanders near Ladysmith in the British Colony of Natal, South Africa. The Gordons were playing against a team from a local Natal regiment. After only two minutes of play, a 90-lb artillery shell launched by Boer forces from a nearby ridge flew over the players' heads and exploded harmlessly near the far side of the pitch.

One of the Gordons took advantage of the confusion caused by the explosion to score a goal against his distracted opponents. The Natal players understandably objected, to which the Gordons later responded by sending a letter to the Football Association. Their complaint was that the rules at the time did not allow for any such objections. There is no record of a reply from the FA.

The Gordon Highlanders went on to later success, with their regimental team winning the 1890 Irish Cup.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

9 November 2002 - Hamm's Golden Chip

On 9 November 2002, the United States claimed their second consecutive Gold Cup with a 94th-minute goal from Mia Hamm in the Final against Canada.

The Final was a match-up of the tournaments two juggernauts, with both sides winning all of their earlier matches and conceding only a single goal between them (in Canada's 11-1 victory over Haiti in the group stage). The two teams also had a history against each other, with Canada losing to the US in the 1991 and 1994 CONCACAF Women's Championship before winning the title in 1998.

Playing before a crowd of just under 7,000 on a rain and fog-filled night at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the US took the lead with a shot from forward Tiffeny Milbrett. Canadian striker Charmaine Hooper equalized in first-half stoppage time, scoring the tournament's only goal against the US. The match appeared to be headed for extra time when Hamm, whose injured shin had limited her role to that of second-half substitute, chipped Canada's keeper from 18 yards out for the win.

By reaching the Final, both teams qualified for the 2003 Women's World Cup. There, they met in the third place match, with the US winning again, 3-1.

Monday, November 8, 2010

8 November 1946 - He Could Teach Carmen Sandiego A Thing Or Two

On 8 November 1946, Guus Hiddink was born in the Dutch town of Varsseveld. He would go on to become one of the world's most celebrated--if peripatetic--football managers.

He began and ended his 15-year playing career as a midfielder for Dutch side De Graafschap (1967-70, 1972-76, 1981-82), but also spent time with PSV Eindhoven (1970-72), the Washington Diplomats (1976), the San Jose Earthquakes (1977), and NEC (1978-81). Upon his retirement in 1982 from playing, he returned once more to De Graafschap, but as their manager. But he made his managerial name at PSV Eindhoven.

He moved to PSV in 1984 as an assistant coach, then took over the top job in 1987. In that first season as manager, he led PSV to the treble success of the Eredivisie, the KNVB Cup, and the European Cup. He followed with two more league titles and KNVB Cups in his next two seasons. Then, after short stints at Fenerbahçe (1990-91) and Valencia (1991-94), he took over the Dutch national team in 1995.

Despite success with the Dutch (finishing in 4th place at the 1998 World Cup), he did not stay long, starting a journey that would include spells with Real Madrid (1998-99), Real Betis (2000), South Korea (2000-02), a return to PSV (2002-06), Australia (2005-06), Russia (2006-10), and Chelsea (2009). He led both South Korea and Australia to their greatest World Cup successes (the semifinals in 2002 and the 2006 Round of 16, respectively). And on two occasions, he simultaneously managed a club and a country (PSV and Australia in 2005-06; Chelsea and Russia in 2009).

In 2010, he moved to his current post in charge of Turkey's national team.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

7 November 1913 - He Was No Stranger To Football

On 7 November 1913, future Nobel Prize-winning author Albert Camus was born in Mondovi (now known as Dréan), French Algeria. Although famous for his novels and essays, he was once quoted as saying "All I know most surely about morality and obligations, I owe to football."

Camus attended the University of Algiers, serving as goalkeeper for the school's junior side from 1928 to 1930. Although he enjoyed his time on the pitch--later telling a friend he preferred "football, without hesitation" over the theater--his athletic career ended at the age of 17 when he contracted tuberculosis. He continued his studies, however, and soon turned to journalism.

In 1942, he published The Stranger, his first novel. Although critics hailed it as a landmark of existentialism, Camus denied that label. Instead, he referred to his works as reflecting a "benign indifference" to life. He was politically active, often writing in support of human rights, which earned him the 1957 Nobel Prize for Literature.

He died in a car accident in 1960 near the French town of Villeblevin.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

6 November 2006 - The Professor Prepares To Teach The Sweet Science

On 6 November 2006, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger lost his customary composure, getting into a touchline scuffle with West Ham boss Alan Pardew after the Hammers won with a late goal.

Played before a crowd of 34,969 at Upton Park, the match displayed signs of tension long before the two managers got into it. It started as a physical battle on the pitch, but soon escalated--as Arsenal forward Robin van Persie prepared to make a first-half throw, he was hit in the head by a coin thrown from a section of the home supporters.

Both sides exchanged scoring opportunities, with both keepers doing well to deny the opposition. In the 62nd minute, Pardew replaced striker Bobby Zamora with Harewood. Harewood rewarded the manager's decision with an 89th-minute matchwinner, turning in a cross from close range to beat Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann.

Pardew exuberantly celebrated the goal with his management team, drawing the ire of Wenger who appeared to shove Pardew, then refused to shake his hand after the match. The West Ham boss later apologized, saying "Emotions were high but there was nothing dangerous or horrible. That is what happens with last-minute goals."

Friday, November 5, 2010

5 November 2009 - Testing The Adage That The Only Bad Publicity Is No Publicity

On 5 November 2009, top-seeded Brigham Young University defeated fourth seed New Mexico 1-0 in the semifinals of the Mountain West Conference Women's Soccer Tournament. But the match made international headlines because of the actions of New Mexico defender Elizabeth Lambert.

After BYU took a 1-0 lead with a 31st-minute header from forward Carlee Payne, cameras caught Lambert (pictured, right) engaging in aggressive play with Payne and fellow BYU forward Kassidy Shumway (pictured, left). At one point, Lambert elbowed Payne in the back then later pulled Shumway to the ground by her ponytail. Surprisingly, none of those actions drew any attention from the referee, though Lambert received a late yellow card for a trip.

The story went viral as video of Lambert was shown on ESPN and the internet, resulting in her receiving severe criticism and, reportedly, one marriage proposal.

Following the game, Lambert apologized for her actions and was suspended for two games. She returned to the team in 2010 as New Mexico captured the MWC championship.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

4 November 1909 - The Marksman From Fall River

On 4 November 1909, future US World Cup hero Bert Patenaude was born in Fall River, Massachusetts.

A prolific forward, Patenaude began his football career in 1928 with Philadelphia FC. But after only eight matches there (and one with J&P Coats) he moved to his hometown team, the Fall River Marksmen. There, he won three American Soccer League titles (1928-29, Fall 1929, Spring 1930) and the 1930 National Challenge Cup (the forerunner of the current US Open Cup).

He was called up to the US national team in 1930, just in time to take part in the first World Cup. He scored a goal in the US opener against Belgium, then made history by scoring the tournament's first-ever hat-trick as the US beat Paraguay 3-0. After Argentina ended the US run in their next match, Patenaude and his teammates toured South America, but he never played for the US again in a competitive match. In total, he was capped 4 times, scoring 6 goals.

Returning to the States, he played for a number of teams before retiring in 1936. He returned to Fall River, where he died on 4 November 1974--his 65th birthday.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

3 November 1987 - Chelsea Enter Their Blue Period

On 3 November 1987, Arsenal defeated Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, starting the Blues' club-record run of 21 league matches without a win.

It was a surprising turn for Chelsea, who had gotten off to a high-flying start for the season, winning 6 of their first 9 matches. By the time the Gunners arrived in week 15, the Blues had suffered a small dip in form, but were still sitting comfortably at 6th place in the Division One table. Meanwhile, the Gunners had gone on a tear, winning 9 of their last 10 to arrive at Stamford Bridge in the top spot.

Arsenal proceeded to win 1-3, triggering a Chelsea slide that saw them go another 20 matches without a win (the last match in that series was a 1-1 draw with Arsenal). The poor run of results cost manager John Hollins his job, as the club sacked the former Chelsea captain in March. The Blues finally won again against Derby County on 9 April 1988, but it was their last league win of a season that ended in relegation.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

2 November 1997 - The Center Is Probably Still Holding It

On 2 November 1997, football featured on The Simpsons for the first--but not last--time.

That day's episode, titled "The Cartridge Family," centered on the problems created by Homer's purchase of a handgun. But it opened with the Simpson family attending a match between Mexico and Portugal, lured by the possibility of getting autographs from stars such as "Ariaga, Ariaga II, Bariaga, Aruglia, and Pizzoza!" There's also an appearance by Pelé, who receives a sack of cash for promoting Crestfield Wax Paper.

The Springfield crowd soon gets bored with the match (in contrast to the foreign announcer, based on Andrés Cantor, who loudly describes the action as the "center holds it! Holds it! HOLDS IT!") and erupts into violence. It starts when Lenny punches Principal Skinner, but turns into a full-blown riot when Groundskeeper Willie and his Scottish friends jump into the fray. After it spreads out of the stadium, Mayor Quimby declares mob rule, which results in Homer getting a gun.

Football returned to The Simpsons 10 years later with a guest appearance by Ronaldo.

Monday, November 1, 2010

1 November 1952 - They Can't Call Him "Jimmy Scarce" Anymore

On 1 November 1952, Gillingham's Jimmy Scarth entered the record books by scoring what was, at the time, the Football League's fastest hat-trick.

The accomplishment came in a Division Three (South) match against Leyton Orient, played at Gills' home ground, Priestfield Stadium. It was shaping up to be a dismal season for Gillingham, who on the day were sitting in 17th place out of 24 teams. Orient were right behind them in the 18th spot, giving the contest the appearance of an early relegation battle.

Scarth had just joined Gillingham that year from Tottenham. Although part of the Spurs side that won the League in 1951, Scarth never fully found his form at White Hart Lane, making only 7 league appearances (and scoring only 3 goals) between 1948 and 1952. Surprisingly, he matched that tally against Orient alone.

Initial reports record his hat-trick as coming in at 2 minutes and 30 seconds, the fastest in Football League history at the time. The record fell in 2004, when Bournemouth's James Hayter scored a hat-trick of his own in 2 minutes, 20 seconds. Subsequent reports claim that Scarth's goals spanned 2 minutes flat, but the League recognizes only the originally reported time.