“With Leon Clarke making his Premier League debut at the age of 34 for Sheffield United against Liverpool, who is the oldest debutant in a top division?” tweets Joe Turner. We’ve unearthed a golden oldie who can beat the ageing Blade by two years. Now-retired Brighton defender Bruno captained the Seagulls to promotion and then made his first appearance in the English top flight at 36 and only two months shy of his 37th birthday. But Tom Aldous points us in the direction of Graham Alexander who, at the ripe age of 37, made his Premier League debut for Burnley in 2009. Italy has always been an accommodating place for footballers who have got a fair few miles on the clock, so it is little surprise that a 39-year-old made his bow in Serie A in 2016. Goalkeeper Maurizio Pugliesi turned out for Empoli against Torino in the last game of the season and ended up on the winning team too, the home side victorious 2-1. Sticking with goalkeepers, the one and only John Burridge was … [Read more...] about Who is the oldest footballer to make their debut in a top-flight division?
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The evolution of violent football hooliganism has been recorded in a book which pins the firework-buying informal Brazilian football associations as its beginning and ultra-violent organised criminals at its conclusion. Ultras, published by Carpet Bombing Culture, attempts to tell the detailed story of the journey from football hooliganism to organised criminal activity. The book considers the start of Ultra culture in Brazil's Torcidas, which are informal football fan clubs. Started in the 1930s, fans would co-operate to buy fireworks, cloth for large flags, and other things to be used during the matches to show their support. Though their origins are innocent, the Torcidas developed into hotbeds of hooliganism, leaving the police no option but to disband them. The socio-economic downturn in the United Kingdom during the 1970s and 1980s made a fertile breeding ground for hooliganism and then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, even set up a war … [Read more...] about Inside the violent world of football’s Ultras: How firework-loving Brazilian fans sparked the ‘English disease’ of hooliganism before European die-hards took it to an even more vicious level
A BOLD KOREA MOVE With no fans or visiting media present in the stadium and a TV blackout imposed, the world’s most daily football email struggled to find out who won this week’s World Cup qualifier between North and South Korea. As luck would have it, our [REDACTED]-dwelling, [REDACTED]-designing, [REDACTED]-testing North Korean cousin [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] Fiver got in touch to bring us news of a historic and truly emphatic victory for his nation’s team. A mid-ranking government propagandist, [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] Fiver revealed that the Hermit Kingdom had beaten their hated neighbours 34-0 at Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung Stadium, with one-time Dear Leader Kim Jong-il scoring no fewer than five hat-tricks, despite having passed away almost eight years ago. What’s more, enthused our ridiculously patriotic cousin, despite the blackout, football fans everywhere will be able to witness this glorious triumph just as soon as the North Korean … [Read more...] about Splicing footage of Kim Jong-il over Matt Le Tissier’s YouTube best bits
Cork is on the way up. A soon-to-be popping Cork with a bubbly future, as more big corporations join the likes of Apple and Amazon in setting up offices here to take advantage of low overheads and an easy-going pace of life. At least, that's what we keep hearing. 'I'm not sure what it must have been like before it was on the way up,' says my wife Joanna as we walk past abandoned warehouses, boarded-up shops and all kinds of tattoo parlours along Washington Street on the way into the city centre. We're here for a short break to celebrate both our wedding anniversary and Joanna's birthday. She's never been to Ireland before and sounds dismissive, while I've often come here and have always loved the country. Shandon pedestrian bridge over the River Lee which runs through central Cork Oh dear, I'm not sure it's going to be her sort of place. She doesn't drink stout, has no interest in rugby and would rather spend an evening with Julian Assange than step into a tattoo parlour. Thankfully, … [Read more...] about A corking Irish break: Double measures of charm and legendary countryside make for a treat in County Cork
Mesut Özil seems to have accepted his days at Arsenal are numbered, having made just a paltry two appearances for the club in all competitions this season. With his manager Unai Emery reported to be unimpressed with the playmaker’s attitude in training, a January move elsewhere looks increasingly likely even if his current employers are forced to heavily subsidise his £350,000 weekly stipend. Turkish newspaper Takvim, which your polyglot Rumour Mill has delivered daily, report that Fenerbahce have opened talks with Arsenal about a loan deal and say the “dream move can come true in January”. Not for the first time in recent months Manchester City are mulling over the possibility of trying to sign Nathan Aké, having identified the central defender as the man to help plug the conspicuous Aymeric Laporte-shaped hole in their beleaguered defence. Speculation linking Aké with City during the summer ultimately came to naught, but knowing how desperate … [Read more...] about Football transfer rumours: Mesut Özil to leave Arsenal for Fenerbahce?