Happy Birthday It’s Football Not Soccer!

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One year ago today on a Friday evening, I decided to start this blog, thinking it would come to nothing much and just provide something to pass the time with.

Little did I know that I would soon get into a regular routine of writing posts, which has amassed to a total of 109 articles before today’s celebratory triple upload.

Yes that’s right, TRIPLE UPLOAD.

I’ve occasionally published two posts in one day, but never before have three gone out on the same day. But hey, today’s different. I start the process with this post, looking at footballers who are also celebrating their birthday today, and events that have happened over the years on this day in the world of the beautiful game…

Players Born on October 15th – Five-a-side team

Goalkeeper – Paul Robinson

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An England squad member at two major tournaments, Paul Robinson eventually lost his place in the national side after a horrendous error involving Gary Neville in a Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia. On the club scene, he started his career at Leeds United before moving to Tottenham Hotspur in 2004, where he spent four years and won the League Cup in 2008. Since the summer of that year he has been at Blackburn Rovers, who he suffered relegation from the Premier League with in 2012. The Lancashire side have not been able to earn promotion back to the top flight since and Robinson has struggled with injuries in that time. He turns 35 today.

Defender – Glen Little

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Okay, he’s not actually a defender, but I couldn’t find anyone else who plays at the back and was born on October 15th. Plus, Glen Little played for Reading! Before coming to the Madjeski Stadium in 2004, the winger plied his trade around the lower leagues of England and Ireland. He was one of the main reasons why the Royals went up from the Championship in record style in the 2005-06 season. After leaving Berkshire, he featured for Portsmouth, Sheffield United and Aldershot Town before dropping down into the conference in 2011. He has played non-league football ever since and is currently at Isthmian League Premier Division club Grays Athletic. He turns 39 today.

Midfielder – Mesut Ozil

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The German midfielder has had his ups and downs at Arsenal since moving to North London in 2013, as Kyle Goldsmith summed up in his piece Hit or Miss-ut, a few weeks ago, but there is no doubting the German’s ability on and off the ball. He made his name at first Schalke and then Werder Bremen in his homeland before moving to Real Madrid in 2010, where he won La Liga in 2011. Ozil became the most expensive German player of all time when Arsenal splashed out £42.5 million for him and his first season at the Emirates Stadium brought The Gunners’ first piece of silverware in 9 years: The FA Cup. But there’s no doubting that his best moment must be winning this summer’s World Cup with Germany in Brazil, where he finished the competition with 15 chances created; the most of any German player. He turns 26 today.

Forward – David Trezeguet

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One of the veterans to sign up to the soon-to-start Indian Super League, David Trezeguet now plays for FC Pune City, as he aims to finish his career by promoting the sport in India. In his prime, the Frenchman was a star striker for Juventus, where he spent 10 years, scoring 171 goals in 318 games. The rest of Trezegol’s club career was spent in Argentina, France, Spain and the UAE, but it was on the international stage where he was a key part of France’s success around the turn of the millennium. The striker was a World Cup winner in 1998 and a European Championship winner in 2000. It may well have been these performances that earned him a place in Pele’s FIFA 100, a list of the top century of living footballers compiled in 2004 by the greatest player himself. Trezeguet turns 37 today.

Forward – Andy Cole

Soccer - FA Carling Premiership - Wimbledon v Manchester United

Capped by England 15 times, Andy 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. He lost that crown the following year to Alan Shearer – the only player ahead of Cole on the list of all-time Premier League goalscorers. Cole turns 43 today.

Manager – Didier Deschamps

Didier Deschamps

Like David Trezeguet, Didier Deschamps was a World Cup and European Championship winner with France as a player, but features in this team as the manager because he is the only one of the six birthday boys to have gone from being in the team to picking the team – for that reason I will focus on his managerial career. After retiring in 2001, he became a gaffer straight away, taking charge of AS Monaco, whom he took to their first ever Champions League final in 2004, a year after finishing runners-up in the league. Deschamps took the reigns of Juventus in 2006 following their controversial relegation to Serie B, but got them straight back up, winning the league by six points. The former midfielder also won the Ligue 1 title with Marseille in 2010, before being appointed as the French national team manager in 2012. He turns 46 today.

How they line up…

5 a side team

On This Day in Football History…

1887 – Preston Run Riot

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On 15 October 1887, Preston North End delivered the biggest beating in English football history, crushing Hyde FC 26-0 in the FA Cup. Although they had been playing football for only nine years, Preston had already established themselves as a rising power, reaching the FA Cup semifinals the previous season. When the returned to the tournament in the 1887-88 season, they met Hyde at Deepdale in the first round and proceeded to win 26-0. It remains the biggest margin of victory in English football (but still behind the British record, set by Arbroath’s 36-0 Scottish Cup win over Bon Accord in 1885).

Courtesy of This Day in Football History

1949 – The Home Nations play World Cup football for the first time

Soccer - Football League Division One - Arsenal v Newcastle United

On 15 October 1949, England and Wales met in the first World Cup qualifier for both teams, with England winning 4-1. The English and Welsh football associations had joined FIFA in 1906, but left in 1929, along with the other British associations, over a dispute about payment of amateur players. The rift prevented all of British teams from participating in the first three World Cups. The British rejoined FIFA in 1946. Rather than have them go through a separate qualification process, FIFA used the pre-existing British Home Championship as a qualification group, with the top two finishers advancing to the World Cup. The teams met at Ninian Park in Cardiff, with England taking an early lead with a 22nd-minute goal from Blackpool’s star forward, Stan Mortensen–the first England goal in a World Cup campaign. His fellow forward, Newcastle’s Jackie Milburn then added a hat-trick before Wales eventually got on the board with a late consolation goal from right winger Mal Griffiths. England and Scotland finished first and second in the table to progress to the World Cup, but Scotland withdrew because the head of the Scottish FA, George Graham, felt they should participate only if they won the BHC. England participated and were famously defeated by the United States.

Courtesy of This Day in Football History

1973 – Clough quits Derby

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If you thought that signing Robbie Savage was the most foolish thing Derby County have ever done then think again. Today in 1973 chairman Sam Longson’s ego got the better of him as he forced County manager Brian Clough out. Cloughie had taken over at the Baseball Ground in at the end of the 1966/67 season, taking over a side that was languishing at the bottom of Division Two. Within two years Clough and Peter Taylor had built a promotion-winning side and Clough would have his first stab in the top flight. Back in the good old days when promotion didn’t automatically mean a season scrapping around trying to reach the 40-point mark, Clough led Derby to a very respectable fourth-place finish. Derby were denied the chance to take part in Europe due to financial irregularities, but soon got over this blow and in the 1971/72 season put together a title challenge against the two biggest teams of the era, Leeds United and Liverpool. They came out on top and Clough took his side on a European tour the next year, making it to the European Cup semi-finals where they lost to Juventus in controversial circumstances. Ever the diplomat, Clough called the Italian’s ‘cheating bastards’ and questioned their effort in the war. Behind the scenes, chairman Sam Longson was fuming, as cracks in their relationship worsened. Two months into the next season Clough had had enough and walked out. Taylor and all the loyal backroom staff followed and Derby were in a bit of a tight spot. Fans protested at their next game, calling for the board to resign and for Clough to be reinstated.

Courtesy of On This Football Day

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