White(out) Lane: Snowy Spurs

Construction at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club ground - snow panorama 2 (2017)
Spurs’ new stadium under construction in the snow (December 2017)

CB writes…

Last weekend was pretty miserable. Torrential rain and freezing winds had an impact on both the English and Scottish league programmes, with a number of games postponed or abandoned due to the revolting weather.

Modern undersoil heating and drainage both mean this happens much less these days – but in the past, inclement winter weather could be a real problem for even the biggest clubs.

These wonderful pics show a snowy White Hart Lane at various points in time from the mid-1920s to the late 1950s, and are a reminder of the amazing work that ground staff all over the country do in the wintertime. I don’t envy their job!

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The Very Merry Mindstretching ASRV Christmas Football Quiz!

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Yes, Pep. It’s Christmas. Well done. You’ve almost reached the end of 2018 without imploding, unlike your rival on the red side of Manchester…

We, on the other hand, have spent far too much time in 2018 being inordinately fascinated by the aforementioned Pep Guardiola’s myriad selection of amusing facial expressions (and Dimitar Berbatov’s eyebrows, but that’s another story) – however, we’ve managed to pay just enough attention generally to compile another ASRV quiz for the festive season!

Like our infamous Halloween quiz, there are thirty football-related questions here. This time, however, we have split them into three themed groups – Christmas, 2018, and miscellaneous/random. Again, some of these questions are pretty easy, some not so easy, and some are downright evil!

Leave a comment or tweet us with your answers. Results will be posted after Christmas once our hangovers have cleared and we’ve eaten all our selection boxes. No prizes, but some serious internet bragging rights are at stake here. And don’t forget that if you get stuck, Google is your friend….


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1) These days, football at Christmas is usually associated with Boxing Day. That hasn’t always been the case though. In which year was a full league programme last played on Christmas Day itself in England?

2) Santa is very real. Or, at least, FC Santa Claus is a very real football club with a very festive name. Which country are they from?

3) Which famous Argentinian goalscorer was equally festively nicknamed ‘El Ángel Gabriel’?

4) What is another, more seasonal, name for the 4-3-2-1 formation?

5) Historically, they are probably the best known and most successful of all the women’s football teams that came out of the munitions factories of World War One. They played (and won) their first match on Christmas Day 1917 in front of a crowd of ten thousand. Who were they?

6) There are numerous English teams that are (or have been) nicknamed ‘The Robins’. Can you name TWO of them?

7) In Scotland, you’ll find teams playing at grounds with names that sound like the kind of place you’d go to get your Christmas tree (yeah, we’re reaching!), such as Fir Park and Fir Hill. Which two clubs play at these grounds?

8) If you need lights for your tree, you might want to head over to Sunderland, where they have a whole stadium of the stuff! However, there’s also another ‘Stadium of Light’, the Estádio da Luz. Where is it, and who plays there?

9) Since there’s always a classic musical on the telly over Christmas, which TWO British teams are most closely associated with the song from the film and stage show Carousel, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’?

10) Another Christmas movie TV staple is Mary Poppins. Which legendary striker received this as a (not very flattering) nickname?


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11) In January 2018, football lost the trailblazing West Brom legend Cyrille Regis, who sadly died aged only 59. At WBA in the late 1970s, Regis was known as one of the club’s ‘Three Degrees’. Who were the other two?

12) What was unusual about the FA Cup third round tie between Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace in January 2018?

13) By the end of the 2017-18 campaign, Manchester City had become the first club to score 100 points in a top flight season. Ten years earlier, Derby County set a more unwanted record for the fewest points scored in a season. How many points did Derby get in 2007-08?

14) In the group stages of the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League, five cities had two clubs each in the draw. Which cities? (Bonus Point for the clubs too!)

15) Which legendary football commentator retired from the BBC in May 2018?

16) In the 2018 World Cup, the fabulous Harry Kane scored a hat-trick in England’s 6-1 drubbing of Panama. Only one other hat-trick was scored at this World Cup. Who scored it?

17) Who set (another) unwanted record, this time at the World Cup, for being the first player to score an own goal in the Final?

18) In fact, a record number of own goals were scored in the tournament as a whole. How many?

19) If you follow us on Twitter, you’ll have seen us enthusing about the very excellent Homeless World Cup project back in November. In which city did it take place?

20) At the end of November 2018, Robbie Keane announced his retirement from football. After a long career going back to the late 1990s, he ends it as the Republic of Ireland’s all-time top scorer, and is still very much loved at numerous clubs. Including loan deals, how many different club sides did he play for at senior level?

Miscellaneous and Random:

21) You might be surprised to know that the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup (basically the American version of the FA Cup) is one of the oldest football cup competitions in the world. In which year did it begin?

22) Since the Premier League was founded in 1992, 49 different clubs have played in it. Which SIX of those clubs have, to date, never been relegated from the EPL?

23) Of all the clubs who won the old First Division title in the pre-EPL era, only one has never played in the Premier League. Who are they?

24) During the 1997-98 Bundesliga season, which player became the first goalkeeper to score a goal from open play in that league?

25) Which English Championship side was once famous for having a pub at every corner of their ground? (Bonus Point for the name of the ground too)

26) To date, only one non-English club has ever won the FA Cup. Who are they, and in which year did they win?

27) One of the greatest of all the football legends, this player has been showered with accolades and awards for many years – including an honorary British knighthood. Who is he?

28) Who is (probably) the only footballer to have won an Oscar?

29) There is only one footballer on the famous Peter Blake-designed cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Who was he?

30) The Italian Serie A side Juventus have long been famous for their distinctive black and white striped shirts, but which British club did they ‘borrow’ these colours from?

Good luck and a very Merry Christmas from ASRV!


Football at Christmas: Sam Bartram in the fog

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CB writes…

A short and sweet post today. This is one of my favourite football stories, and, as the festive season approaches, it had to be told! Until the 1950s, it was very common for a full league programme to be played on Christmas Day in England, something we would never think of in the modern era.

Sam Bartram - Charlton Athletic

On December 25th 1937, Chelsea were playing Charlton Athletic at Stamford Bridge. It was a cold and foggy day and the Charlton keeper Sam Bartram (above top at left, with the Chelsea goalie Vic Woodley) hadn’t seen much of the ball – or much of anything, really…. actually, let’s hear the story from the man himself, as I think this says all that needs to be said:

Soon after the kick-off fog began to thicken rapidly at the far end, travelling past Vic Woodley in the Chelsea goal and rolling steadily towards me. The referee stopped the game, and then, as visibility became clearer, restarted it. We were on top at this time, and I saw fewer and fewer figures as we attacked steadily.

I paced up and down my goal-line, happy in the knowledge that Chelsea were being pinned in their own half. ‘The boys must be giving the Pensioners the hammer’, I thought smugly, as I stamped my feet for warmth. Quite obviously, however, we were not getting the ball into the net, for no players were coming back to line up, as they would have done following a goal. Time passed, and I made several advances towards the edge of the penalty area, peering through the murk which was getting thicker every minute. Still I could see nothing. The Chelsea defence was clearly being run off its feet.

After a long time a figure loomed out of the curtain of fog in front of me. It was a policeman, and he gaped at me incredulously. ‘What on earth are you doing here?’ he gasped. ‘The game was stopped a quarter of a hour ago. The field’s completely empty.’

And when I groped my way to the dressing-room the rest of the Charlton team, already out of the bath, were convulsed with laughter.