Post by sandbachhatter on Dec 2, 2016 12:58:10 GMT
A - ARARAT YEREVAN (ARMENIA)
Nicknamed ‘White Eagles’, on account of their slightly Nazi-esque club crest, they were formed far earlier than our other two clubs this week, exploding onto the global football scene in 1935 (which may explain the club crest I guess).
Boasting that they are ‘the most popular football club in Armenia’, which surely means their 14,000 capacity ‘Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium’ is fit-to-burst every home fixture, they have only won the title once, in 1993, since the Armenian Premier League was formed the year before (following the break-up of the Soviet Union). They have, however, won the ‘silver prize’ four times, and the ‘bronze prize’ once, because Armenians seemingly like to treat their football like a f***ing sports day.
Despite the utterly boring ‘white with black shorts’ at home, and ‘red with a bit of white, plus red shorts’ away, their stadium is fantastic and looks like a rollercoaster which was abandoned at some point during the 1970s:
There is no one of note within their playing squad, but amazingly only Marat Daudov (Ukrainian midfielder) and Nassim Kpehia (Ivory Coast midfielder) don’t have names which end in ‘yan’, the other 22 players all do!
Post by sandbachhatter on Dec 20, 2016 8:49:42 GMT
B - BLOOMING FC (BOLIVIA)
Full name of Club Social, Cultural y Deportivo Blooming. So much more than a club (mes que un club as one might say)
Home games are played in the 38,000 capacity Tahuichi stadium. A wonderful bowl of a ground built in 1939. Think the roof might need a bit of work though.
Their home kit is similar to county's from the early eighties. (Don't mention the war, I did once earlier but I think I got away with it)
They are based in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. And have a major rivalry with Oriente Petrolero their derby is called the clásico cruceño (Classic Holy Cross)
Originally set up in 1946 after the first club set up by a group of friends called 'blue sky' dissembled. They found inspiration from the profusion of youth in the city (still one of Bolivia's fastest expanding cities) this led to the name Blooming to represent the flourishing future.
After finishing runners up in 1982 and 1983 they won the first division in 1984. The following year they entered the Copa Libertadores and in the group stages against Venezuelan side Deportivo Italia, Juan Carlos Sánchez scored 6 in an 8-0 thrashing. Still a record to this day.
In 1994 whilst beating their big rivals 5-0 a pitch invasion by Oriente fans led to the game being abandoned for two days and then finished behind closed doors.
One of their famous ex players was the great Mario Kempes.
Post by sandbachhatter on Dec 20, 2016 8:50:18 GMT
C - CURACAO FC
First up is an international team, Curaçao. I’m sure you already know that Curaçao is in the Southern Caribbean. If you go to Caracas in Venezuela, take a left and then a right, you’ll end up in this beautiful Island (well, actually you’ll come across Klein Curaçao first, which is a smaller island, and uninhabited).
The country has only been around since 10th October 2010, although I believe the island itself has been there for a little longer. Curaçao was created after the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved, although the football team continued to play under the banner of the Netherlands Antilles until 2011.
With a population of just 150,000, they do have some well-known names who have turned out for them: Vurnon Anita of Newcastle's, Cuco Martina of Southampton, Leandro Bacuna of Aston Villa and, perhaps most famously of all, everyone’s second favourite Zeus (after the Greek god of sky and thunder, obviously) … Zeus de la Paz the, erm, Nuneaton reserve goalkeeper.
Also in the running with Zeus for the most famous name in Curaçaon (is that the word?) football is their manager for the 2015/16 season: Patrick Kluivert. They had their best World Cup Qualifying campaign with him in charge, although won’t be in Russia in 2018 thanks to a 2-0 defeat to El Salvador. His last two matches in charge were in the Caribbean Cup: defeating Guyana 5–2 and the U.S. Virgin Islands 7–0, so not a bad way to leave. Their best ever result was just after Kluivert left, when they beat Puerto Rico away, 4-2 AET in October.
They play their games at Stadion Ergilio Hato which is the island's largest stadium, with a capacity of 15,000. Ergilio Hato apparently was regarded as one of the best keepers in the world in the 1940s and 1950s. His nicknames perhaps give the best indication of the type of keeper he was: Pantera Negra (Black Panter), Vliegende Vogel (Flying Bird) and Man van Elastiek (Elastic Man). However, he refused to become professional, preferring to stay on the Island – and who could blame him.
There is one final incident of note to add and it from the Curaçao local league. It involves a player called Orville Barnett who plays for Victory Boys and, to say he was upset with a lino’s decision, is a bit of an understatement. Instead of doing what most normal players would do (you know, wait until the end of the game and have a big whinge), he lunges at the official. Leading with an elbow, he absolutely clatters into the unsuspecting linesman, before a mass brawl obviously ensues.
The official holds his own, throwing a number of punches at the player in an impressive counterattack. I think a lengthy suspension may be looming. Not even the god of sky and thunder can get him out of that one.
Post by sandbachhatter on Dec 31, 2016 17:44:32 GMT
D - FC DINAMO-AUTO TIRASPOL (MOLDOVA)
Despite their name they do not play in the city of Tiraspol but in the village of Tinauca a couple of miles outside of the main city. There are two large clubs in Tiraspol: Sheriff and FC Tiraspol and so they are the smaller cousin (bit like Stockport to the Manchester clubs I suppose).
Playing at the Dinamo Auto Stadium which boasts an impressive capacity (if not particularly impressive looking) 1300 places. To me it looks more at home at Step 4 or 5 of the English non league, but then which of them would have what looks like a stately home at one end.
They managed a credible 5th place in the National Division last season but have never qualified for a European tournament.
Post by sandbachhatter on Jan 7, 2017 20:42:16 GMT
E - ETHIOPIAN COFFEE (ETHIOPIA)
In 1976, “soccer lover civil servants of the country commenced to engage in football when opportunities appeared to be arisen.” Basically, I understand that the Club arose to fulfil the needs of workers at a coffee factory, registered with a league and the rest is history.
The Club’s nicknames are Bunye and Coff Coff. Hopefully that hasn't triggered too many painful memories of the school nurse. Playing in a yellow and black kit, their home ground is the 35,000-capacity Addis Ababa Stadium. The stadium also hosts athletics championships and the legend that is Haile Gebrselassie has raced there.
The Club last won the top league in the 2010-11 season. In the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, they had the league’s top scorer in Ethiopian international striker, Tafesse Tesfaye. Unfortunately, there seems to be a very strong and well-funded side in the league named Saint George SC, Coffee’s arch rival, and they’ve won the league 28 times! Along with a brief mention of a beer sponsor, Ethiopian Coffee FC’s income “is generated from coffee exporters, coffee suppliers, local coffee wholesalers, coffee growers and coffee roasters.”
Considering some major English clubs have been slow to support women’s football, how wonderful it was to read that the Ethiopian Coffee Women’s Club was formed back in 1996! Unfortunately it lasted only 5 years but it was thankfully reformed in 2012.
Post by sandbachhatter on Jan 20, 2017 13:04:53 GMT
F - FYLKIR (ICELAND)
Fylkir are an Icelandic club from eastern Reykjavik. They were first known as Knattspyrnufélag Seláss go Árbæjar, but changed their name so that it would be easier for people to remember and say!
The club was formed on 28 May 1967, so will have its 50th birthday this year. Although it is quite young, the team has played in Iceland's Premier League since 2000 - and in the UEFA Cup, Europa League and Inter-Toto Cup.
In 1977 Fylkir got to the Third Division Final, but had to play its B-team as the first eleven had already gone on holiday with each other to Spain!
Fylkir play in orange shirts, black shorts and orange socks, but their change colours are royal blue - just like County. People can also play volleyball and handball or do gymnastics and karate at the club.
The club's fans meet before and after games at the Blásteinn pub, which means 'Blue Stone'. Sometimes the players go there as well. It must get very busy!
Post by sandbachhatter on Feb 5, 2017 20:12:20 GMT
G - GIBRALTAR UNITED
An outfit that, rather unusually for a football club, was founded during World War Two (in 1943).
The founders themselves were servicemen of Gibraltar who wanted to play matches against British regiments and other military units within the Territory - and, once the War was over, this most local of teams performed rather well, as Gibraltar United - featuring native Gibraltarians only - went on to collect 11 league titles, ahead of other clubs with squads of players from Spain and the wider world.
The club had a momentary lapse between 2011 and 2014 when, in a bid to achieve even greater success, it merged with the far more cosmopolitan Lions FC. But the lure of a return to an all-Gibraltar set-up was too strong. So strong, in fact, that the reformed Gibraltar United were prepared to take relegation to the Second Division as part of the deal - although they became top-flight again at the first time of asking.
Gibraltar United play at the Victoria Stadium - and so, too, do all the other nine First Division clubs! Needless to say, ‘home advantage’ and ‘away-day specialists’ are not part of the Gib-footy pundits’ vocabulary...
Post by sandbachhatter on Feb 5, 2017 20:16:26 GMT
H - BK HACKEN (SWEDEN)
BK (Bollklubben) Hacken are based on an island in Gothenburg, and are nicknamed ‘The Wasps‘, for the same reason Watford are nicknamed ‘The Hornets’ Formed in 1940 (a fantastic time for forming a football club in Europe) by 14 and 15 year olds who wanted to play in the national league system, their name comes from the huge hedge (hack) that used to surround their ground.
As well as chest, sleeve, shoulder and front of shorts sponsors, they also have upper back, back of shorts, and buttock sponsors; the F1 cars of the football world.
Hacken have spent most of their time outside the Allsvenskan (which sounds to me like the place Swedish heroes go when they die), but have been in the Swedish top flight for most of the last decade. They have even reached the UEFA Cup first round in 2007-08, but narrowly lost 8-1 to Spartak Moscow. They have reached the qualifying rounds several times since, losing to the might of Cork City and UN Kaerjeng 97.
They play in the 6,500 capacity Bravida Arena, and the main reason for selection here is that they have the coolest floodlights of all time.
Post by sandbachhatter on Feb 11, 2017 22:08:30 GMT
I - ÍBV VESTMANNAEYJAR (ICELAND)
The club was formed in 1945
I thought I'd break the mould with the last write up being for the Ladies team although they do field a men’s team.
The Ladies team play at the spectacular Hásteinsvöllur stadium which has a capacity of 3034 and was renovated in 2002. It is situated in the city of Vestmannaeyjar in the Southern region of Iceland. This looks like extreme terrain.
They are coached by Ian Jeffs from Chester and play in the Icelandic Womens Premier League where not surprisingly the season runs from the end of April to the end of September.
The team play in white with the 3 V's on their socks.
In 2016 they finished 5th after playing 18 games and amassing 31 points and finished the season strongly with the last 7 results being WLWLWWD.
They did well in the 3 Cups coming in runners up in the 'Cup', 'Woman's Cup' and winning the 'League Cup'.
Claim to Fame: Last year’s squad was made up mostly by Icelanders, but there were also 2 English [Abigail Cottam (forward) and Rebekah Bass (midfielder)], 2 American 1 Norwegian, 1 Canadian and 1 Jamaican.
Post by sandbachhatter on Feb 17, 2017 12:15:40 GMT
J - JOMO COSMOS (SOUTH AFRICA)
Based in Johannesburg, they play in the National First Division and the club is owned by South African football ‘legend’ (his words, not mine) Jomo "Black Prince" Sono. Jomo’s playing career spanned the late 70’s and early 80s in North America, including New York Cosmos. They play at the Makhulong Stadium, capacity 10,000.
The club was founded on 29 January 1983, from the remnants of Highlands Park, a previously successful South African club. Sono bought the club when he ended his playing career in the United States and was initially called Dion Cosmos, with the first part of the name representing the previous sponsor of Highlands Park and the second part being from Jomo Sono’s former NASL club. That lasted a year and the first indications of Jomo’s enlarged ego started to emerge and he renamed the club Jomo Cosmos.
They play in an all red home kit and an all blue away kit. Nice and simple.
Under Sono's ownership, the club achieved several successes: it won the National Soccer League in 1987, the Bob Save Super Bowl in 1990, the Coca-Cola Cup in 2002 and 2005 and the SAA Supa 8 in 2003.
In 2008, Jomo Cosmos were relegated from top-flight football for the first time since 1993 and have been a yo-yo club ever since: Promoted in 08/09, relegated in 09/10, promoted 10/11, relegated 12/13, promoted 14/15, and relegated in 15/16 so now they play in the second tier National First Division.
Their heaviest ever defeat was 5-0 away to the Kaizer Chiefs. You would imagine that the conversation between the owner and manager would be quite tense after the match – indeed, you might predict a riot. Especially as Jomo Sono is such a dominant force in the club. Well, as if being owner and naming the clubs after himself isn’t enough, he’s also the manager. So yes, after the 5-0, he must have had a stern word… with himself.
And if you still doubt that Jomo has a high opinion of himself, the club website has a prominent section about him entitled: Introduction of a Legend. I bet he refers to himself in the third person.
One story of note for the club. Freak weather can often hit football hard. December & January often see fixtures postponed due to frozen or waterlogged pitches. But what about this…
In 1998 Jomo Cosmos are playing Moroko Swallows. Suddenly, a blast of lightning strikes the pitch, sending players and supporters from both sides scattering. Two Swallows players were kept in hospital with their injuries, whilst the game was understandably abandoned. Blimey, I know Jomo Sono has god-like status, but that’s taking thing a bit far.
Post by sandbachhatter on Feb 24, 2017 12:32:05 GMT
K - KONGSVINGER (NORWAY)
In honour of our good friend Jarkko, let’s head to Norway, and the brilliantly-named ‘Kongsvinger’ which, loosely translated, means ‘giant ape’s digit’. Or something like that.
Don’t let their boring-as-sh*t strip put you off (plain red shirt with white shorts at home, and the exact reverse away, blah, blah, blah), as Kongvinger have a lot going for them apart from their brilliant name.
Founded in 1892, they play in the very small 6,000-seater Gjemselund Stadion, of which most of the 6,000 seats appear to be behind one goal.
Even better, they are the proud owners of the sort of club crest you might expect to see on an old lady’s teapot (see above).
Their manager, according to Wikipedia, goes by just the one name, ‘Vacant’, so I assume he considers himself something of a celebrity, like Cher, or Bono, or Madonna.
In the ‘90s, they featured in both the UEFA and Intertoto Cups, managing a draw at home against the mighty Juventus in the former (only to be narrowly knocked out on aggregate in the return leg), and they later trounced some of Maccy’s boyos, Ebbw Vale FC, 9-1 on aggregate in the latter. And who doesn’t like to see the Welsh take a beating?
Post by sandbachhatter on Mar 3, 2017 12:30:30 GMT
L - LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY FC (ENGLAND)
Loughborough University Football Club (also known as Loughborough Students Football Club) is an English football club based in Loughborough, Leicestershire. The club are currently members of the Midland League Premier Division and play at the Loughborough University Stadium.
Chosen because it was my old stomping ground 40+ years ago. The club was founded in 1920 under the name Loughborough College. Nicknamed “The Scholars”. They joined Division Two of the Leicestershire Senior League in 1966, where they remained until 1972. The club then left Senior football, and did not return until 2007 when they were promoted to the Premier Division of the Midland Combination. In 2008–09 they won the league's Premier Division, and were promoted to the Midland Alliance. The Scholars ground shared at fellow local side Loughborough Dynamo until moving into the new Holywell Park, Loughborough University Stadium.
In 2011 the club beat Boldmere St Michaels 4–2 to lift the League Cup at Walsall's Bescot Stadium, then won the trophy again the following season when they beat Tipton Town 2–0.
Popular manager Stuart McLaren resigned from his post in 2014 after being announced as the new Stirling Albion manager. Following this, Michael Skubala was appointed as Performance Manager and put former Chesterfield manager John Duncan and Graham Harvey in charge of the 1st team. However they were not able to avoid the club ending in the bottom three of the Midland Football League Premier. Relegation was nonetheless avoided due to Causeway United folding at the end of the season.
For the 2015–16 season, the club turned to former Quorn AFC assistant manager and experienced non-league man Karl Brennan, in his first full management role.
Post by sandbachhatter on Mar 10, 2017 12:52:25 GMT
M - MIGHTY JETS (NIGERIA)
Playing in red shirts and black shorts they play in front of 15000 fans at the Rwang Pam Stadium, in the Nigerian National Division (2nd tier). They share this stadium with not one but two other teams: JUTH FC, and Plateau United.
Due to crowd trouble in 2014 they were banished to the city of Owerri – approximately 500 kilometres away for the remainder of their home games (similar to when Man Utd had to play a European tie in Plymouth (except there were probably lots of United fans that far away).
However now back in Jos they are trying with a new board of Directors to get themselves promoted to the Nigerian premier League – good luck!
Post by sandbachhatter on Mar 17, 2017 12:57:08 GMT
N - NECAXA (MEXICO)
Club Necaxa ply their trade in the Premier-equivalent of Liga MX - having gained promotion from the second-level Ascenso in 2015/16.
Heady heights for an outfit that was, until the immediate post-War years, purely amateur - and a club that struggled for many years with its finances after turning professional in 1950.
Necaxa started life in 1899 under the name of the Light and Power Company belonging to British engineer William Frasser, who founded the club and proceeded to populate much of its squad with members of the Cornish community working in the area until the Mexican Revolution of 1910 drove them away (although Cornish pasties remain to this day a local delicacy in the surrounding Mineral del Monte area!).
The club changed its name to Necaxa, after the local river, in 1923 when the Mexican Football Federation decreed that its clubs should not be named after private companies. And from 1971 to 1982, after being sold to a Spanish business, it operated as Atlético Espanol before getting back on its feet financially, reverting to its current name, proceeding to chalk up three League Championships in the 1990s and, perhaps most remarkably of all, finishing third in the 2000 FIFA World Club Championship.
As well has having three different names, Necaxa have had even more nicknames! They were dubbed Los Rayos ('The Thunderbolts') and Los Electricistas ('The Electricians'), by way of a nod to their origins. Their red and white colours prompt some to cheer them on as Los Roji-Blancos. And, coinciding with times when our beloved County swept many before them, their all-conquering amateur team of the '30s (Los Once Hermanos - 'The 11 Brothers'), as well as the title-winning '90s side (El Equipo de la Década - 'Team of the Decade'), are fondly remembered with special designations.
Post by sandbachhatter on Mar 26, 2017 19:16:00 GMT
O - FC OSS (NETHERLANDS)
Not founded by Bonanza fans but by two friends from the Dutch town of Oss. They originally intended to call it Small But Brave but settled on TOP which apparently are the initials of the Dutch equivalent of Up Our Pleasure. The club was known as TOP until 1994, when it was renamed TOP Oss at the request of the town mayor and finally took the name FC Oss in 2009. They played from 1991 through to the 2009/2010 season in the Eerste Divisie (the Dutch second level), but were relegated to the Topklasse (the Dutch third level) in April 2010. In 2011 Oss became the Topklasse third Division Champions and returned to the Eerste Divisie.
The club play at the Frans Heesen Stadium which seems to be a compact little ground that would be rocking when filled to its 4700 capacity.
Club colours are red and white striped shirts, red shorts with the second kit the classic white shirts, black shorts. The most famous name on the playing staff would be one Ronald Koeman (Jnr) who is one of the goalkeepers.
The most famous recent player would probably be Kevin Van Veen who scored 16 goals in the first half of last season and was then sold to Scunthorpe United for a club record fee. This season he has scored 11 times in 37 appearances and managed to rack up 12 yellow cards. Impressive!