Tag Archives: folklore

Celtic"s victory over Barcelona comes from a league in chaos

Celtic's seismic victory over Barcelona was born out of chaos

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UPDATED:

23:30 GMT, 8 November 2012

Glasgow: there is something special about the way football weaves like a parallel river Clyde through this city, something tangible about the manic significance of the game in everyday life. It is a force of identity, one that has coated generations of Glaswegians.

Celtic: there is something special, too, about this club formed in 1888, about a reach that extends from Glasgow’s East End into wider Scotland, across to Ireland and beyond many other shores. The roots are Irish-Scottish, but this is a global club.

It is one housed in a stadium which still has a grand, old-fashioned feel. Celtic Park is an authentic football arena that has been around in different frames almost as long as the club itself.

History-makers: Watt makes it 2-0 and a Spanish newspaper dubs keeper Forster 'The Great Wall'

History-makers: Watt makes it 2-0 and a Spanish newspaper dubs keeper Forster 'The Great Wall'

If you know your history, as they sing, you can feel it alive here. Even some Rangers fans, who know about Glasgow, football and history, respect Celtic and Parkhead.

And on Wednesday night, it breathed and roared again. One day after the club honoured the 125th anniversary of its founding, the ancient and modern collided.

The final score in a Champions League Group G game — Celtic 2 Barcelona 1 — was added to club folklore. Often a defeat is called ‘seismic’. This was a seismic victory that registered throughout Britain.

The famous ground bounced, all sides of it. Unprompted, in the course of a post-match press conference in which he was asked about signing ‘taller players’, Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova mentioned ‘Celtic fans who have been amazing tonight’.

Dream moment: Tony Watt celebrates scoring against Barca

Dream moment: Tony Watt celebrates scoring against Barca

Gerard Pique, one of three World Cup winners on the Barcelona bench, said there were ‘no words to describe the atmosphere at Celtic Park’. These are men who have been places, and who had just lost.

The Celtic goalscorers — Victor Wanyama, a 21-year-old, 900,000 Kenyan, and Tony Watt, an 18-year-old local boy signed for 50,000 from Airdrie — represent the new face of Jock Stein’s club. Celtic’s cute scouting network, headed by John Park, has proved itself.

The club’s record transfer remains the 6million paid to Chelsea for Chris Sutton 12 years ago. Barcelona’s defence in Glasgow contained Dani Alves (31m), Javier Mascherano (17.6m) and Jordi Alba (12.3m).

The contrasts were as vivid as green and white hoops, and they abounded. There was a full-page advert for coal in Wednesday’s match programme. Turn the page and there was a picture of Xavi. Climate change was among many comparisons on a day that made Scottish football think.

The 12th man: Celtic's fans hold a banner with their take on the lyrics from Sally Cinnamon by The Stone Roses

The 12th man: Celtic's fans hold a banner with their take on the lyrics from Sally Cinnamon by The Stone Roses

For Celtic, 07/11/12 became all about glory; across in Edinburgh, meanwhile, at Hearts it was getting ever more gory. Heart of Midlothian are another ancient Scottish presence. Formed 14 years before Celtic, Hearts have been at Tynecastle since 1886. It is another ground reeking sweetly of history, but Hearts are in peril.

A few hours before Neil Lennon (below) named a Celtic team missing Scott Brown, Emilio Izaguirre and Gary Hooper — captain, most coveted defender and main striker respectively — Hearts were dealing with omissions of their own. They were issued with a winding-up order by HMRC over 449,692.04 of unpaid tax and National Insurance.

Hearts asked their fans to stump up — again — 110 each in a one-off share issue.

Some people are on the pitch: Neil Lennon celebrates Celtic's second goal

Some people are on the pitch: Neil Lennon celebrates Celtic's second goal

‘Without the support of fans there is a real risk Heart of Midlothian Football Club could possibly play its last game next Saturday, 17 November against St Mirren,’ stated the club, adding: ‘This isn’t a bluff, this isn’t scaremongering, this is reality.’

Understandably, supporters feel cornered. As with many other fanbases, Hearts followers now have to consider whether they want to save their club (yes) or the regime that runs their club (probably no).

There is a doomsday scenario which sees Hearts bypass administration and go straight into liquidation. Having lost Rangers in 2012, the SPL could not afford to lose Hearts as well.

Plenty have gloated about Ran-gers’ demise, while the ‘Armageddon’ warning made in July by SFA chief Stewart Regan looks alarmist every time Celtic do well in the Champions League.

Heading for victory: Victor Wanyama puts Celtic ahead

Heading for victory: Victor Wanyama puts Celtic ahead

But Regan also said in July, as Rangers were demoted from the Scottish Premier League to the Third Division: ‘Clubs may be able to survive for a short period but it’s unsustainable. There would be a slow, lingering death for the game in Scotland. There are no winners, there are only losers in this.’

There are question marks against Hearts now. Kilmarnock are thought to have debts of 8m. Dunfermline yesterday denied they are on the brink of administration. There was another game in Scotland on Wednesday night: Motherwell v Dundee United in the SPL. The attendance was under 4,000.

At some stage — six, 12, 18 or 36 months from now — this will surely affect Celtic, whose European successes are unrepresentative of domestic Saturdays. It is a mishmash. Symbolic of a surreal Scottish year is that Lennon, an Irishman who has had his life threatened ostensibly for being Celtic’s manager, should become national spokesman.

Crowded out: Charlie Mulgrew and Victor Wanyama challenge Andres Iniesta

Crowded out: Charlie Mulgrew and Victor Wanyama challenge Andres Iniesta

‘This is a great footballing country with a great history, whether it be club-wise or nationally,’ Lennon said on Wednesday. ‘It has produced some of the greatest ever players.

‘It’s in a bit of a lull but we’ve got a great club here. When we came into this competition we wanted to gain respect for the players, the club itself and the game here. I hope this has given the game here a huge boost.’

Lennon’s maturity as man and manager is notable. The 41-year-old was on the rocks a year ago. Now he has overseen a victory of which Kenny Dalglish, no less, said: ‘Only Lisbon beats it.’

That was a reference to the European Cup final of 1967, of course. And it is to Lisbon that Celtic go next. They go there as a team ready to reach the Champions League last 16, but from a country worried about the state of its game.

They go, as Loretta Lynn sang, like a diamond in the coal.

Robin van Persie can be Old Trafford great, says Patrice Evra

Van Persie can be an Old Trafford great like Van Nistelrooy, says Evra

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UPDATED:

22:33 GMT, 4 November 2012

Top of the Barclays Premier League for the first time this season, Manchester United could even afford to express some disappointment that they hadn’t put Arsenal away by a greater margin on Saturday lunchtime.

‘If you could see our dressing room, you would think we had lost,’ said Rio Ferdinand.

The United defender had a point. Rarely will United be so superior to Arsenal and only win by one goal. Nevertheless, the presence of Robin van Persie in the United team looks increasingly significant.

Dutch of class: Van Persie has made a flying start to his United career

Dutch of class: Van Persie has made a flying start to his United career

The former Arsenal captain now has 10 goals to his name this season and the comparisons with the great and the good of United folklore have started already.

After Saturday’s game United captain Patrice Evra said: ‘Everyone knows what a great player he was at Arsenal, but it is never easy to play against your old team-mates.

‘People can now see that Robin is strong mentally. He seems like he has played for us for many years and he reminds me of Ruud van Nistelrooy. I hope he can keep going because he can be one of the best, just like Ruud.

‘I played with Ruud when I signed for United and I remember what a great player he was. They are both Dutch but it’s more than that. They have the same class and touch when you pass the ball to them.

Goal machine: Van Nistelrooy left United in 2006

Goal machine: Van Nistelrooy left United in 2006

‘(Robin) has started so well and I just hope he can keep going because, at United, you have to do that in every game.’

Booed rather predictably by Arsenal’s supporters on Saturday, Van Persie scored in the third minute but chose not to celebrate. Ferdinand said:

‘These games go one of two ways against your old club. You either get a goal, play well and win or have an absolute beast, get sent off and lose.

‘It was good to see Robin get on the scoresheet. He is a natural goalscorer and long may that continue. He showed a bit more class not celebrating than their fans showed to him.’

Aaron Lennon relishing Tottenham clash with Lazio

Lennon relishing Lazio test and evoking memories of Gascoigne

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UPDATED:

10:36 GMT, 19 September 2012

Aaron Lennon has hailed the arrival of Lazio in Tottenham's opening Europa League clash which will evoke memories of midfield superstar Paul Gascoigne who famously played for both clubs.

Spurs begin their assault on Europe's second competition knowing they could have been playing Champions League football had it not been for Chelsea's stunning success in last year's competition.

But the Italian side are a huge draw for fans and arrive with a flawless record in Serie A after winning their opening three games.

Italian job! Lennon is relishing the prospect of playing Lazio

Italian job! Lennon is relishing the prospect of playing Lazio

And with the likes of Miroslav Klose and Brazilian international Hernanes among their ranks, Lennon knows Spurs will have their work cut out to make a winning start in the competition.

He said: 'It's a big game against a massive club. It will be hard but we're looking forward to it.

'I think the Europa League has improved as a competition over the last few years and playing in these big games improves you as a player.'

'Gazza was an unbelievable player, one of the greatest players ever to play for Spurs and of course England,' added Lennon. 'I remember him playing for England, every time he pulled on that shirt he shone.

'He had amazing quality, such confidence on the ball and he was a matchwinner, as well as being a great personality.'

Tottenham legend: Gascoigne will always have a special place in Spurs folklore

Tottenham legend: Gascoigne will always have a special place in Spurs folklore

Paul Gascoigne invited to watch Lazio v Spurs

Gazza guest of honour! Lazio want England legend at Europa League match against Spurs

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UPDATED:

16:18 GMT, 31 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Lazio will invite Paul Gascoigne to their Europa League match against Tottenham in Rome to celebrate the link the former England star created between the two clubs.

Gascoigne joined Lazio from Spurs in 1992 and entered the club's folklore – his first goal for the club was a last-gasp equaliser in the Rome derby.

Memories: Lazio want their former star Paul Gascoigne as a guest against Spurs

Memories: Lazio want their former star Paul Gascoigne as a guest against Spurs

Lazio's general manager Maurizio Manzini, who had the same position at the club in Gascoigne's time, said they would like the 45-year-old to attend the game in Rome.

Lazio and Tottenham have never played a competitive game before, and have been drawn together in Group J along with Greek side Panathinaikos and Maribor from Slovenia.

Manzini said: 'Tottenham is a team Lazio knows very well, a great team with great traditions and we are very familiar with White Hart Lane starting from the time we had Paul Gascoigne.

'There is always a corner of Tottenham in our hearts. He is a mythical figure for Lazio fans and very popular in general in Italy.

'I remember the Atalanta ultras, who had a reputation for being really tough, opened an enormous banner with a picture of a huge bottle of beer saying “This is for you Gazza”.

'I hope we will have the chance to see him in London and for sure we will invite him to the match in Rome.'

Gascoigne has struggled to deal with alcohol problems since retirement but his agent said earlier this summer that he has embarked on a health drive.

Perfect 10: Gazza became a Lazio hero with this goal in the Rome derby

Perfect 10: Gazza became a Lazio hero with this goal in the Rome derby

London 2012 Olympics: Scott Sinclair and brother Martin make Games history

Sinclair brothers looking forward to making marks in history book for Team GB

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UPDATED:

22:10 GMT, 18 July 2012

Scott Sinclair and brother Martin are relishing the prospect of carving out a niche for their family in Olympic history.

The Swansea winger is setting his sights on a gold medal with Team GB and Martin is aiming to follow suit with the Paralympics GB seven-a-side cerebral palsy team.

Brothers: Scott and Martin Sinclair will make Olympic history

Brothers: Scott and Martin Sinclair will make Olympic history

Whatever happens the Sinclair siblings have their place in Olympic folklore.

‘It’s the first time two British brothers have taken part in the Olympics and Paralympics, which makes it that bit more special,’ Scott said ahead of the Team GB warm-up game with Brazil.

Wimbledon 2012: Lukas Rosol can"t live up to Rafael Nadal win

Rosol can't live up to Nadal humbling in straight sets defeat to Kohlschreiber

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UPDATED:

14:38 GMT, 30 June 2012

Rafael Nadal's conqueror Lukas Rosol fell on his sword at Wimbledon as he lost in straight sets to Philipp Kohlschreiber.

The previously-unheralded Czech has been the talk of the tournament since his sensational second-round dumping of Nadal on Thursday night, and there was not a spare seat to be had as he took on the experienced German on Court 12.

But it proved to be a game too far for the 26-year-old as he surrendered 6-2 6-3 7-6 (8/6) and, although his reputation has been enhanced, he leaves London still having failed to progress beyond the third round of a grand slam.

Game over: Lukas Rosol leaves the court after losing to Philipp Kohlschreiber

Game over: Lukas Rosol leaves the court after losing to Philipp Kohlschreiber

His name will live long on SW19 folklore, though, and the likes of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray may well be thanking him for a long time to come should they win the tournament in the absence of second seed Nadal.

He could have done with their help today as he seemingly struggled to adapt to being away from the limelight out on a windy outer court that was a far cry from the lights and roof of Centre.

Pure delight: Kohlschreiber celebrates beating Rosol out on Court 12

Pure delight: Kohlschreiber celebrates beating Rosol out on Court 12

Rosol contested a line call in the opening game – forgetting Hawkeye was not available to him as it had been on Centre – and, while those packed inside craned to take photos of Wimbledon's latest giant-killer, his serve was broken in just the third game when he was unable to find the audacious winners that he did against Nadal.

The tidy Kohlschreiber was receiving little if any support from the crowd but went about his business effectively, breaking again in the seventh game and then serving the set out to 15.

A lot to live up to: Rosol beat Rafael Nadal in the previous round

A lot to live up to: Rosol beat Rafael Nadal in the previous round

He continued his impressive form into the second set, breaking twice more as Rosol became visibly frustrated at his inability to scale the heights he had less than 48 hours earlier.

He did show some fight in the third set, taking it to a tie-break and then saving three match points when 6-3 down, but when he planted a backhand wide it handed Kohlschreiber a deserved win.

That did not stop Rosol soaking up the adulation of the crowd, however, even if at this stage it was not intended for him.

Brendan Rodgers: I want visits to Anfield to be like a bad day for every other team

Brendan's red revolution: I want visits to Anfield to be like a bad day for every other team

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UPDATED:

19:10 GMT, 1 June 2012

KENNY DALGLISH ON TWITTER

'Congratulations to Brendan and Good Luck to everyone at LFC. Kenny'

As Brendan Rodgers Rodgers sat with the media at Anfield on Friday, a recording of one of Liverpool's many terrace anthems drifted through an adjoining wall.

At this club, you are never far away from historical reminders.

Scroll down for video
YNWA: Brendan Rodgers has been unveiled as the new Liverpool boss

YNWA: Brendan Rodgers has been unveiled as the new Liverpool boss

Brendan Rodgers

But while those following a stadium
tour at Liverpool's iconic ground may have been happy to soak up
flashbacks of the way things used to be, the club's new manager
thankfully has his focus set firmly on the present.

Rodgers arrived on Merseyside on Friday with his eyes wide open.

He was sensible and diplomatic enough to nod towards his new club's glorious past.

Next in line: Rodgers succeeds Dalglish at the Anfield throne

Next in line: Rodgers succeeds Dalglish at the Anfield throne

Big hitters: Rodgers with Liverpool's managing director Ian Ayre (left) and chairman Tom Werner (right)

Big hitters: Rodgers with Liverpool's managing director Ian Ayre (left) and chairman Tom Werner (right)

A Northern Irishman born into a family of Liverpool supporters 39 years ago, he no doubt meant it, too.

But it is clear he recognises Liverpool's problems. They are part of the attraction.

After the failure of Liverpool's Back
to the Future experiment with Kenny Dalglish, it appears the club's
American owners have now hired a realist.

One with a romantic heart, but a realist all the same.

All those who follow this club should be grateful.

'Today hopefully starts a new cycle, a realistic cycle of where the club is at,' said Rodgers.

'This process will hopefully lead to success in the years to come.

Dynasty: Rodgers is joining a club which is steeped in history

Dynasty: Rodgers is joining a club which is steeped in history

Rodgers with the shirt

'I genuinely think that Liverpool is
the heartland of football and of football folklore. The people who have
worked and played here is absolutely incredible.

'I do feel blessed to be here and I will fight for my life to prove I am good enough.

'But the attraction is also the frustration that is around Liverpool in terms of where they want to be.

'This is a club where I need to align
the playing group with the supporters. There is an imbalance at the
minute. You've got some of the world's best supporters here and the
playing group is not quite at that level yet.

Big task: Liverpool's terrible league performance needs attending to

Big task: Liverpool's terrible league performance needs attending to

'You've got some wonderful players
here but the work over the next number of years is to see if we can get
that aligned with where it has been for many years before.

'The reality is that, right now, it's not.

'I'm not going to sit here and bluff
and say anything other than what I believe to be the truth. What excites
me is the motivation to get that level back up again and that is why I
came here.'

Rhetoric will not buy you results in
football. Nevertheless Rodgers' ability to strike exactly the right tone
was deeply impressive.

Under Dalglish, Liverpool were a club in denial.

On the field, it was the crossbar's fault. Off the field, it was everybody else's fault.

Task: Can Rodgers get the best out of Andy Carroll, Jordan Henderson and Stuart Downing

Task: Can Rodgers get the best out of Andy Carroll, Jordan Henderson and Stuart Downing

Replaced: Rodgers takes over from Kenny Dalglish (left) with Liverpool in need of an overhaul

Replaced: Rodgers takes over from Kenny Dalglish (left) with Liverpool in need of an overhaul

On Friday, though, we were introduced to a grown-up.

A man strong enough to tell his new
employers he wouldn't come unless he was placed in sole charge of the
football, a man happy to underline what objective observers have known
for some time – this Liverpool squad is not good enough.

There was no arrogance but Rodgers' selfconfidence was tangible.

Years of developing his methods at
Chelsea, Watford, Reading and Swansea have given his self-belief steel
legs on which to stand.

He spoke of playing 'relentless'
attacking football and of creating an environment at Anfield that will
make opposition players long for full time.

Let's go: Rodgers will have to gee up the Anfield troops

Let's go: Rodgers will have to gee up the Anfield troops

It has been a while since any visiting team have felt like that.

'I was here with Chelsea in the
Champions League (in the 2005 semi-final) and the players said they had
never experienced support like that,' Rodgers recalled.

'That was ultimately what won the game for Liverpool and that is what I want to do here.

'I want to use the incredible support to make coming to Anfield the longest 90 minutes of an opponent's life. That's the idea.

'I want to see this great attacking football with creativity and imagination, with relentless pressing of the ball.

Thumbs up: Jose Mourinho supports the appointment of Rodgers

Thumbs up: Jose Mourinho supports the appointment of Rodgers

'I know what it's like because I had a team like that at Swansea.

'Teams came to Swansea and after 10
minutes when they hadn't had a touch of the ball they were looking at
the clock. It makes for a long afternoon.'

While Rodgers may romanticise his
time at Swansea a little – his critics say his team played too much of
their pretty football in their own half – it will nevertheless be
intriguing to watch him try to introduce his style at a club with better
players and, crucially, a little more money.

Rodgers' hands flicked out in front of him as he described the quick passing and ball retention that is so dear to him.

The Kop would like that.

New kit: Craig Bellamy shows off Liverpool's new strip

New kit: Craig Bellamy shows off Liverpool's new strip

Having already spoken to Steven
Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, he had praise for goalkeeper Pepe Reina
and, indeed, the whole of his new team's back four.

Interestingly, his only reference to the midfield left by Dalglish was when discussing the 'ultimate player' Gerrard.

Ready: Bellamy backed Rodgers' appointment

Ready: Bellamy backed Rodgers' appointment

From that we can draw our own conclusions.

'In terms of the core group here, there is some brilliant talent,' Rodgers said.

'I work closely with players. I can make a promise that I will improve players.

'But it took a lot of hard work to get that at Swansea. We will need that here. That is why I am here.'

Wanted: Hoffenheim's Gylfi Sigurdsson (left) is being chased by Rodgers

Wanted: Hoffenheim's Gylfi Sigurdsson (left) is being chased by Rodgers

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Paul Gascoigne recreates famous pose ahead of Euro 2012

Come on England! Legend Gazza urges Roy's boys to create their own Euro history

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UPDATED:

14:51 GMT, 25 May 2012

Now here's a man that needs no introduction.

If you're old enough to remember the summer of 1990, close your eyes for a moment and let the images flood back once more.

Nessun Dorma, Jackie Charlton, Des Lynam, Toto Schillaci, those penalties. And yes, this man. One Paul Gascoigne.

Paul Gascoigne

Paul Gascoigne

Paul Gascoigne wears the England home shirt as he reveals a billboard of himself to launch Umbro's 'Faces of England' campaign, in central London

England fans have known plenty of melodrama over the years, but few campaigns compare to 1990 when it comes to pure theatre. And Gascoigne's booking, and subsequent tears, during the semi-final against West Germany is the stuff of folklore.

Plenty more years followed for Gascoigne in an England shirt, with his most famous tournament performance after 1990 coming on home soil at Euro 96, where that iconic goal against Scotland, and agonising near miss against Germany, provided indelible images.

Memories are made of this: Gascoigne in tears after the 1990 World Cup semi-final (above) and scoring his brilliant goal against Scotland at Euro 96 (below)

Memories are made of this: Gascoigne in tears after the 1990 World Cup semi-final (above) and scoring his brilliant goal against Scotland at Euro 96 (below)

Paul Gascoigne

Paul Gascoigne

And now the man universally known as Gazza, who celebrates his 45th birthday on Sunday, has unveiled some new images.

Many people will remember that the 'tongue out' pose was one that Gascoigne became known for in his playing days, including before that titanic 1990 World Cup semi-final against the Germans.

And as the nation prepares for another rollercoaster ride at Euro 2012, Gascoigne has been reflecting on the honour of playing for his country.

'It brings a lump to my throat when I think about how proud I am to have played for my country,' he said.

'There’s nothing better than representing England – the buzz of the crowd and feeling the support of the whole country.

Paul Gascoigne

'Wearing the shirt again has brought back many happy memories and seeing myself on display in the capital, being celebrated as an icon of England is truly an honour.

'I bumped into Colin Hendry recently and it (the game against Scotland) felt like only yesterday that I left him on the turf at Wembley. We delivered in style that day and I wish the current squad all the best this summer and hope they wear the shirt with pride.'

As Roy Hodgson leads England to Euro 2012, few supporters will need reminding that the country's only success on the international stage came 46 years ago.

England's opening game of the tournament is against France on June 11, with further group games to come against Sweden and Ukraine.

Gazza is taking part in Umbro's 'Faces of England' campaign.
For more information, go to: www.umbro.com/facesofengland