The town of Port Talbot has for more than 60 years been synonymous with steel.The sprawling works span the horizon as you drive along the M4.In its heyday in the 1960s, nearly 20,000 people worked there. The town grew up around it.Numbers may have dwindled but even with a 4,000-strong workforce, it still has an imposing presence in the Welsh economy.It is still Tata Steel's biggest UK operation and one of Wales' economic crown jewels.Another 3,000 work at Port Talbot's sister plant in Llanwern and at Shotton and Trostre.It might be the car we drive, the tin cans for our food or the washing machine in our kitchen, but the chances are we have a piece of Port Talbot close to hand.The steel plant has benefited from some significant investments in recent years, including £185m on rebuilding one of its blast furnaces.But Tata has faced difficulties from different directions.Port Talbot: The problemsSteelworks use huge amounts of energy. The Port Talbot plant uses as much electricity, … [Read more...] about Why is Port Talbot steelworks important?
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“How many professional players bear tattoos with the name of their favourite club but ply their trade elsewhere?” wondered Roger Sleigh last week. It’s surprisingly common to find ink in homage to one club on a player wearing the shirt of another. “Leicester City’s Polish defender Marcin Wasilewski has a tattoo of Anderlecht’s badge on his right leg. He spent six years playing for them and was so popular that on two occasions a group of Anderlecht fans came over to watch him play for his new team in the 2013-14 season,” writes Liam Derry. “Incidentally it’s the same leg he broke after a shocking tackle by Standard Liège’s Axel Witsel in 2009.” “Watford’s (and previously Walsall’s) Troy Deeney is well known as a Birmingham City supporter, and has a tattoo on one of his calves – a quick Google search fails to produce any pictorial evidence but there are lots of references to it,” sleuths … [Read more...] about Which footballers have tattoos of their former clubs?
"What's the longest unbeaten run of any club against their city (or otherwise local) rivals in official matches?" wondered Adrian Rogstad, after gloating that his team, Lyn, recently celebrated 10,000 days since last losing to their Oslo city rivals Vålerenga. "Granted, we were not in the same division between 1981 and 2002, but since that season there's been 14 Oslo derbies in the league, Lyn winning 10 and four ending in draws." If we discount Bradford City, who haven't lost a derby since the late 1960s owing to the liquidation of their nominal rivals Bradford Park Avenue in 1974, Calum White's warble from Edinburgh might take it: "It's magic, you know, 22 games in a row!" That, apparently, was "the song sung by Hearts fans at Edinburgh derbies in the early 1990s" and Calum's right: Hearts were unbeaten against their city rivals Hibernian for 22 games during that period, starting with a 1-0 victory at Tynecastle at the start of the 1989-90 season and not ending until August … [Read more...] about Unbeaten runs between city rivals