Friday, October 21, 2016

21 October 1933 - The Man With The Record Cup Collection

On 21 October 1933, Real Madrid striker Francisco Gento was born in the Guarnizo district of Cantabria in northern Spain. By the time he retired, he was the club's all-time appearances leader and he remains the only man to win six European Cups.

An outside left forward, he started his professional career in 1952 with Racing Santander, but moved to Real Madrid for the 1953-54 season. He started slowly there, with no goals in 21 appearances that season, but earned his first silverware as Real Madrid won the league for the first time in eleven years.

The honors flowed regularly after that, with another league title in 1955 and the first of five consecutive European Cups in 1956. In 1957, he scored in Real's 2-0 win over Fiorentina (video below), then provided the 107th-minute match-winner against Milan in 1958. After the five-time streak, Real returned to the final on the losing side in 1962 and 1964, then won it for a sixth time in 1966. Gento, who captained the side in 1966, was the only person to play for Real Madrid in all six wins, making him the only person in history with six European Cup titles to his name.

Upon his retirement in 1971, he had made a total of 599 appearances for Real, making him the club's appearances leader at the time, though his tally has since been surpassed by four others. he moved into management briefly--for Castilla, Castellón, Palencia, and Granada--before becoming a European ambassador for Real Madrid.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

20 October 1968 - Lots May Be Fair, But They're Not As Exciting

A 1-1 Olympic quarterfinal draw between Bulgaria and Israel on 20 October 1968 resulted in FIFA's adoption of penalty shootouts.

The two teams met at the Nou Camp in León, Mexico. It was a heated affair, with referee Michel Kitabdjian issuing six cautions in the first minute (three to each team).

In a battle of prolific attacks, Bulgaria took an early lead with a 5th-minute goal from an unlikely source, Slavia Sofia defender Georgi Hristakiev. For the next 84 minutes, Hristakiev played a more traditional role as Bulgaria managed to stifle Israel.

But Yehoshua Feigenbaum eventually cracked the Bulgarian defense, drawing Israel level in the 89th minute and the match ended at 1-1 after 90 minutes. In order to determine which team would advance, the rules at the time required the drawing of lots. Bulgaria won and progressed to the semifinals where they beat Mexico, 2-3. They then moved on to the final, losing to Hungary 4-1.

After watching his team lose via lots, Israel supporter Yosef Dagan wrote to FIFA, suggesting they resolve draws with a penalty shootout. FIFA adopted the proposal in 1970.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

19 October 1908 - There Was Something Rotten Here, But It Wasn't Denmark

On 19 October 1908, Denmark played their first official international, beating France 9-0 in the opening match of the Summer Olympics.

The Danish Football Association formed in 1899, but waited several years before forming their first international squad. In 1906, an unofficial Denmark team composed of players from the Copenhagen Football Association participated in--and won--the 1906 Intercalated Games (an informal version of the Summer Olympics) by beating an Athens team 9-0. They followed up by registering their first official side for the 1908 Summer Olympics.

There were two matches scheduled for the tournament's opening day, but Hungary withdrew from their game against the Netherlands for financial reasons. As a result, Denmark and France contested the first official Olympic international.

Playing before a crowd of 2,000 at London's White City Stadium, Nils Middelboe (pictured) scored the first official Olympic goal when he put Denmark up in the 10th minute. He scored another in the 49th minute, while the Danes also got goals from Vilhelm Wolfhagen (15', 17', 67', 72'), Harald Bohr (25', 47'), and Sophus Nielsen (78') en route to a 9-0 victory. (The French team was their "B" side; their "A" side met Denmark three days later and suffered an even greater defeat, losing 17-1 with a staggering 10 goals from Nielsen.)

Denmark reached the tournament final, but lost to Great Britain 2-0.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

18 October 1908 - A Derby On Neutral Ground

On 18 October 1908, AC Milan and Inter played the first Milan derby. In Switzerland.

The match came just over seven months after Inter's formation. They had previously been part of AC Milan, but split in March 1908 over a dispute about the propriety of signing foreign players (Inter favored it, hence the adoption of "Internazionale" as their name).

The first meeting between the two clubs came in the Coppa Chiasso, a tournament played in the the Canton of Ticino in southern Switzerland. Milan won the first two editions, played in 1906 and 1907, which consisted of three and four teams, respectively. For the 1908 tournament, the field expanded to six teams, including the newly formed Inter. The two Milanese teams reached the final which Milan won 2-1.

Since then, the two clubs have met a total of 216 times. Of those, Inter won 77 and Milan won 75, with 64 draws.

Monday, October 17, 2016

17 October 1919 - When They Said Everything Was For Sale, They Meant It

On 17 October 1919, Leeds City FC held an auction to dispose of the club's assets, including the players. They all sold, at prices ranging from £1,250 to £100.

The auction was the result of a scandal that saw the club expelled from the Football League. Earlier that summer, Charlie Copeland, a disgruntled former Leeds City player who had recently moved to Coventry on a free transfer, publicly alleged that the club had made illegal payments to players during the war years. The Football League and the Football Association formed a joint commission to investigate the allegations and gave Leeds City a deadline of 6 October to produce their financial books.

The deadline came and went, but the club refused to produce the documents. As a result, the League expelled them and the FA issued an order closing the club. Five club officials, including manager Herbert Chapman, were banned for life (though Chapman's ban was lifted after he provided evidence that he was not involved in the illegal payments).

The Metropole Hotel in Leeds hosted the auction to dispose of the club's assets, including kits, training equipment, goalposts, and all sixteen members of the squad. Billy McLeod fetched the highest price, moving to Notts County for £1,250, with Harry Millership and John Hampson going for £1,000 each (to Rotherham County and Aston Villa, respectively). The lowest price was £100, paid by Lincoln City for Francis Chipperfield.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

16 October 2009 - Three Is The Lucky Number For Ghana

On 16 October 2009, Ghana won the U-20 World Cup, beating Brazil on penalties, 0-0 (4-3). And they did it despite playing most of the match with only ten men.

It was the third appearance in the U-20 Final for the Black Satellites, who finished as runners-up to Brazil in 1993 and to Argentina in 2001. Brazil, meanwhile, had reached six previous finals and won four of them.

In 2009, Ghana were led by striker Dominic Adiyiah, who had scored a tournament-best eight goals en route to the final, including an extra-time match-winner against South Africa in the Round of 16 and braces against Ghana's 3-2 victories over South Korea and Hungary in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. Brazil had an extra-time victory of their own, needing a pair of late goals from winger Maicon to slip past Germany in the quarterfinals.

In the final, played before a crowd of 67,814 at Cairo International Stadium in Egypt, was an ugly affair for the first half, with two Brazilians seeing cautions and Ghana defender Daniel Addo receiving a 37th-minute red card for a challenge on Brazil's Alex Teixeira. Brazil could not take advantage of the situation, though, and neither team managed to put the ball in the net during the first 120 minutes.

Brazil went first in the penalty shootout and were up 3-2 after four kicks each. But Maicon, who had come on as a 75th-minute substitute, sent his shot high and wide, allowing Adiyiah to pull Ghana level. Ghana keeper Daniel Adjei then guessed correctly on Brazil's next kick to deny Teixiera. The last shot was taken by Ghana midfielder Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, who coolly slotted the ball into the lower right corner for the win.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

15 October 1971 - He'll Always Be Andy To Me

On 15 October 1971, striker Andy Cole was born in Nottingham, England. He went on the become the third-highest goalscorer in Premier League history.

Cole began his professional career in 1989 with Arsenal, but played for a total of twelve clubs before his retirement in 2008. He stayed the longest at Manchester United where he scored 93 goals in 195 league appearances between 1995 and 2001. While there, he won five league titles, two FA Cups, and the Champions League.

A prolific scorer, his best season was with Newcastle United in 1993-94, when his 34 goals made him the league's Golden Boot winner. 

Cole left Old Trafford in December 2001 for Blackburn and won the League Cup the following season. After spells at a number of other clubs in England, he ended his career with Nottingham Forest in October 2008. Along the way, he tallied 187 Premier League goals, behind only Alan Shearer (260) and Wayne Rooney (194).

In 2000, several press outlets reported that Cole had asked to be called by his full first name, "Andrew," rather than the shortened "Andy," prompting a surprisingly vigorous discussion. He later claimed, however, that he had been misquoted and had instead just answered a reporter's question about what his full name was.

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