Thursday, 27 January 2011

Falkirk FC - Scarlet & White Stripes

On Saturday the 21st of January 1888, Falkirk FC did something that, for many, seems not only ridiculous, but impossible. In a friendly match [there was no League] against local minnows [sorry..] Laurieston at Zetland Pk, Laurieston, the team took the field in their new tops of 'Scarlet & white stripes': ridiculous I hear you say to yourself. The team had decided the change in December 1887 and plans were afoot to debut the new strips in the two match 'northern tour' against Coupar-Angus and Fair City Athletic in the New Year. Nothing was mentioned in the match reports of those two games, nor in the following two matches, v West Carron [Falkirk Charity Cup] and Hibernian [Friendly], it was only after the Laurieston match that it was noted 'Falkirk looked well in their new colours last Saturday, and appeared to be a much heavier team when dressed in shirts than when they had jerseys.'

Very little was mentioned of it [match reports were often so small that such peripheral issues as colours, attendances, teams & scorers were often omitted], but it certainly seemed to be unpopular with the fans. I have never seen a good reason why such a move was made, there were several other teams locally which wore similar colours, but Falkirk were much more prominant, so distinction cannot be the reason [especially as Stirling's King's Park wore Scarlet & White], perhaps it was as simple as them being cheaper, I doubt we will never know.

This 'experiment' was lasted just over a year, Falkirk last donning the strips in a Friendly against Bo'ness on Saturday 16th of March 1889, I was going to put a list of matches in which Falkirk may have possibly played in 'those' strips but it I thought I had too little evidence, instead I shall leave you with two things.

1) The quote from the Falkirk Herald of 1st June 1889: 'It was decided to change the club colours to all navy blue.'

2) The representationof the strip [look away] in the website Historical Kits.

Let's just hope such blasphemy never happens again! [I have erased the memory of 1996/97's apart from a Cup Final where Falkirk wore a mainly red away top]

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Football Greats & Television

I'm back from the break, this isn't a real post only the best quote from my readings over the hols: not about Falkirk but it does sum up the feelings of those of us who rake through the past.

From 'The ball is Round' by David Goldblatt about how seemingly all the great players just happened to play during the televisual era.

"... consequently our collective memory of football before this is essentially blind, dependent on the vagaries of radio, still photography and reportage - which for all their strengths simply cannot capture the game like motion pictures. It is no coincidence that the standard canon of great players barely extends before this era. Pichichi, Friedenreich, Sindelar, Bloomer, Andrade, Scarone, Mazzola and Piola - th greatest players of their cultures and eras are barely known beyond the smallest circles of bookish devotees. By contrast, the period between 1954 and 1974 offers a whole slew of candidates for every list of greats."

For somebody who reads a bit much about the history of the game this speaks volumes: where Pele's 1200+ goals were mainly scored for Santos in their innumerable globetrotting [and money-spinning] friendlies, Friedenreich's were scored in Brazilian domestic competition, his light mestizo complexion eventually allowed him into the national team as long as he straightened his hair before every match, such were the times. Central Europe has no comparison to the beating heart of Austria's Wunderteam, Mattias Sindelar, the ugly parts being his inclusion into the post-anschluss german team and his 'mysterious' early death. Even England will look more towards the 'exploits' of David Beckham, but where does he stand next to Stephen 'Pale Face' Bloomer [who?].

I implore everybody who reads this to look into the careers of the players mentioned above [and beyond], all they did was stand out above the crowd in their time, there was a good reason that they stood out.

Polemic over