Archive for the ‘sport’ Category

001 (1100x1280).jpgI first became interested in American Football when Channel 4 began coverage of the regular season in 1982. From the off with Big Audio Dynamite’s “The Bottom Line” & later Propaganda’s “Duel” as the opening credit soundtracks I spent many Sunday evenings with my Dad repeating the tackle sounds that were superimposed over the music.

He was a 49ers fan (his Sqdn in the RAF), I for my sins supported the Oilers for no other reason than remembering hearing those words from the Apollo 13 news feed “Houston we have a problem” years before. Needless to say, Dad tended to have a smile on his face more than I when the results were read out.

Being a keen wargamer I could often be found with other spotty youths in my local games/hobby shop and during the 80’s was constantly drawn to the rather odd cover of Avalon Hill’s Statis Pro football. It somehow reminded me of Brian Yuzna’s film “Society” with the QB sprouting a second head from his neck. Following the 1986 Superbowl, I finally jumped in and purchased the 1985 Season.

From that point on until the early 90’s when girls annoyingly got in the way I began a continual solitaire campaign as it quickly became apparent that the game worked well for solo play. Realising that time would make it impossible to play full seasons (224 games per regular season) I decided just to concentrate on the play-off part of a season which at the time with 2 wild card games would only result in 9 games per season.
A game like Statis Pro I imagine, attracts a certain type of player that likes stats. I am no exception, my whole life evolves around spreadsheets to the be/amusement of many who know me. So in the advent before computers it was down to pencil, paper and joy of joy’s square paper. I have kept records of every scoring play since.

To begin with I didn’t want to just replay each season with the actual teams that made it that year, rather randomly select and see what match up’s occurred. I didn’t want to spend hours on working out a system so in the end I just used the 1985/86 end of regular season standings and added the win record of each team to a d20 roll. What resulted was failure to qualify for the Giants (historically 14-2) & Cleveland (12-4) while Tampa Bay (2-14), Indianapolis (3-13) and St Louis (4-12) all snuck into my inaugural season. Even more unexpected was Tampa Bay’s 42-10 thrashing of the mighty Chicago in the Divisional Play Off. Dallas ran out eventual winners 62-3 against a shell shocked Pittsburgh in the most one sided game I have ever played. At this stage my record keeping was not as good as I would have liked and although I kept records of who scored I did not record the actual plays. For SBII I used the fictional standings from my SBI campaign with the d20 roll. A new and improved worksheet followed to record the Raiders under QB Jim Plunkett & RB Marcus Allen’s outrageous stats sweep all before them taking the title by beating New Orleans 35-30.
After a couple more Play Off seasons I found out that it was possible to buy sets of other seasons. At the time I don’t think all were available so I chose the 1987 cards and from SBV switched to them. I was also aware that the cards I was using were becoming more outdated historically and consigned to the past as I couldn’t keep up with the real regular season. By the end 1996 I had completed 7 play off seasons using the 85 and 87 sets but was playing far less regularly. Inside the original box is a receipt from Avalon Hill in December 96 for another card set the 1989 one. It was now taking me years to complete just a few games when in about 2004 I finished a game and put the box away where it remained untouched until this month 15 years later. Time has not been kind to the box or the contents. Some cards have nasty rubber band perish stains on them and the rules needed a spot of laminating (another guilty pleasure) as they had completely separated, but apart from that the game contents are complete.

And so to bring up to date, I have finished the SBIX season and am now well on my way to playing SBX. With the wonder of the internet and BGG I have now found out what card sets are out there and being a completist have decided to fill in the blanks of my collection. To that end I am already planning (with spreadsheets!) the start 2 or 3 whole new campaigns starting with the 1980 set perhaps playing 1 season per card set. To date Minnesota and Philadelphia have never had a game while Indianapolis have featured in every play off season bar the current one so I eek out a card set over 2 or 3 seasons to improve the chances of all teams having a runout. Using one card set for 2 seasons will allow for 24 play off seasons before I need to think about the fan home made versions. I suspect I’ll be well into my seventies by then and may have finally seen an Oilers team lift the Lombardi trophy before they or I become extinct……………

HUBRIS – Logophile entry #14

Posted: May 14, 2014 in sport, Words

My introduction to this word came a long long time ago in a distant galaxy far away. Actually when I was studying Classical Civilisation for A level and it popped up more times than the stereotypical camp carry-on sidekick that appeared in EVERY greek comedy play that I had to endure…….I’m fairly confident that its now not a particularly well used word or infact well known and in due course it disappeared from my vocabulary.

Then this year Crystal Palace were promoted to the Premier League.  What’s that got to do with this word? My re-introduction after a few years hiatus (last time before the advent of social media) to the so called fans of the so called big clubs, that’s what. Demonstrating more hubris than a Greek Tragedy your average premier league “big 5” fan shows such disrespect to the fans of the other 15 clubs that in their opinion they just have to turn up to take the points as no one is interested in the opposition and besides, how dare they actually try to win. When things don’t go according to plan they throw their teddies out of the pram and begin blaming everyone from the media, to the ref, to foreign involvement but never their own tarnished team. I saw this first hand this season as Palace managed to totally ruin 2 of the 3 top teams title ambitions.

So there you have it – HUBRIS – noun – Excessive pride or arrogance. In Greek tragedy an excess of ambition, pride, etc, ultimately causing the transgressor’s ruin. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence, accomplishments or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power. In ancient Greek, hubris referred to actions that shamed and humiliated the victim for the pleasure or gratification of the abuser – See supporters of Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal & Manchester United and a minority of Manchester City fans. 



Ultra’s show what it means to be a Palace fan









Crystal Palace 3 (Delaney, Gayle 2)

Liverpool 3 (Allen, some other bloke and Goofy)

Just when you think it can’t get any better this happens. Liverpool turn up expecting little old Palace to lie down and after 79 minutes despite the fans urging the home team on it looks just that at 0-3 down.  Liverpool showing an incredible lack of respect and more hubris than a Greek Tragedy press for a 4th, 5th and more crowing about a 9-0 previous encounter 24 years ago.  Then the game changing moment, Delaney gets the ball and goes for a long range effort. Just at that exact moment Palace’s mascot Kayla the Eagle flies at light speed across the path of his shot, the beat of her wings enough to deflect the course of the ball past the hapless Liverpool keeper.  Sensing their chance, the Palace faithful erupt into song “Steve’s got a ticket to Slide, steve’s got a ticket to slide, slide, slide”  True to form the scousers hit the panic button and completely fall apart. But then another twist, Palace are on parity having scored 3 goals in 10 minutes, at 3-3 in the dying seconds Liverpool seeing their title hopes about to be shattered attack a final time. Up pops Palace old boy Victor Moses to try to break Palace’s hearts and score the easiest of winners for the scousers. BUT………….NO………………WAIT. Displaying that rare thing in modern sport “Loyalty” as he goes to shoot he contrives to mishit the ball and scuff his kick allowing Palace to clear their lines and take a well earned draw.

Liverpools players and fans are inconsolable, in tears they are led out of Selhurst Park to their coaches bound for Bear Gryll’s Island and a month’s training how to behave like men of old.  Palace celebrate shattering another title contenders aspirations and Kayla is given seconds of another liver bird for supper.

And now, time for some some gratuitous orangeness…….


Kayla landing at Selhurst Park









West Ham 0

Crystal Palace 1 (Mile Jedinak – penalty 59 minutes)

Well well well. I’ve been holding off on this until we were mathematically safe (such is the cruel hand of fate being a Palace fan) but after a fifth successive win (equalling our best ever record in the modern premier era) we have finally confirmed our Premier League status for the first time in our history.  Well done Eagles and especially well done to the manager Tony Pulis.  Now we can have a say in who actually wins the league.



Crystal Palace 1 (John Terry own goal! 52 minutes)

Chelsea 0

Attendance – Sell out 25,166

There’s very little else to add here without turning it into a essay of Tolkien proportions, suffice to say another “big teams” fans put firmly in their place OFF the pitch as usual and for the first time since 1990, on it as well.

WARNING this 42 second clip contains a tune so catchy you’ll still be humming it hours after hearing it, not a problem if like me you love it, but if you’re like the wife be warned …………


cpfc-primary-badge-642-px61-813693_478x359[1]Its been a while, but as the season in the Premier League continues I find myself looking back more and more nostalgically about the rivalry with arch villains Brighton and Turd Albion.  It might be that our next chance to meet is coming sooner rather than later for most Palace fans as we hover precariously above the relegation zone but if the dreaded R word does happen at least we’ll be able to once more cross swords with this execrable rabble from the South Coast.  It still gets me every time as I start writing about this topic how much pent up hatred I have for the Weed. Yet at the same time life without them would be quite dull. So here’s a 5 minute clip told by someone I think is supposed to be Palace’s Mascot, Pete the Eagle, recounting to his son the almost biblical fairy tale about that special feeling Palace have in their hearts for Brighton.



*Translation “Goal, goal, goal, goal, goal, goal, I am going bonkers”


So another bad night, lying in bed wide awake my mind racing, I suddenly out of the blue started thinking about those days of yore when football was good to watch and the players were proper heroes.  Deciding there and then to start a new if only occasional series for my blog surprisingly the first name to spring to mind was not a Palace player (that will come later never fear) but a player that wasn’t even English and who never played in English football.

So cast your mind back to 1978.  This was the time when I started getting into football. A World Cup Top Trumps set and an introduction to Subbuteo by my next door neighbour sealed my interest so when the World Cup began I was well and truly hooked.  The high-tech tele-trak action replays were a vision to behold but there was one big problem. England hadn’t qualified and there was of course no way I’d be supporting the Sweaty’s.  So who to support? Peru, Iran or Holland being in Scotland’s group? No it came down to unfancied Austria.  I had one of those newspaper cut-out and fill in charts and the Captain of this team had such an interesting sounding name it stuck in my mind.  I remembered him as well as I had from a few months before been bought a World Cup book that had a photo of a very unlikely looking footballer from the time. i.e instead of a curly perm and Souness style thick moustache he had a very square looking short back and sides and at times a narrow Dick Dastardly/Terry Thomas and occasionally Charlie Chaplin/Sparks number!


ARTISTIC IMPRESSION – 10.0. Krankl narrowly misses scoring against the East Germans in a 1978 World Cup qualifier. He was subsequently sent off and missed the return match.

He was photographed in action in a World up qualifier attempting a header against East Germany and  doing a mad sort of star jump in mid-flight.  Now the player in question is of course Hans Krankl. Subconsciously I think I also picked Austria as a way to wind up the next door neighbour who despite being English was a rabid German-o-phile and wouldn’t have a bad word said against Germany (West). He just waxed lyrical over and over about how brilliant everything in Germany (West) was. Being older than me by a few years he would always seem to have an answer to prove his statements about why everything German was the best (we’re talking sport and tanks and war stuff here folks).

Krankl had scored 7 goals in 5 games in the qualifying campaign although 6 came in one match a 9-0 demolition of minnows Malta but still there was a pedigree that some countries by not respecting would rue. The World Cup began and shock horror little Austria first beat Spain 2-1 (Krankl scoring), then turned over Sweden 1-0 (Krankl pen) and thus having qualified for the 2nd stage just lost out to a desperate terrified Brasil 1-0 but finished top of their group.  Going into the 2nd stage group they were drawn with Italy, Holland and West Germany.  A 5-1 thumping at the hands of Johan Cruyffs superstars was an ominous start. Then defeat to Italy in the form of a solitary Paulo Rossi goal left them with no chance to progress to the semi’s despite a game to play against neighbours and world champions WEST GERMANY. So a stroll for the Germans or so everyone thought……… if you want to hear the commentators mad moment try the link, if it doesn’t work pop over to you tube and search for “Hans Krankl forever”.

This game was forever known as the Miracle of Cordoba or the Disgrace of Cordoba (if you were German chortle chortle).  My next door neighbour actually cried as his all-conquering Germany got the shock of their lives, crashed 3-2 and were dumped out of the World cup. I had my first football hero! For those of us who don’t speak German or the Austrian dialect the score went like this

19 mins Rummenigge scores –  Austria 0 – West Germany 1

59 mins Vogts own goal  – Austria 1 – West Germany 1

66 mins KRANKL scores – Austria 2 – West Germany- 1

72 mins Holsenbein scores – Austria 2 – West Germany – 2

87 mins KRANKL scores – Austria 3 – West Germany – 2

Krankl moved to Barcelona from Rapid Vienna so clearly a world class talent. This game was that good it sealed my love of football, and I even bought an Austria Subbuteo team and painted a Chaplin tache on the no.9!