Old Football Grounds:Roker Park

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Roker Park is the former homeground of the Black Cats which is Sunderland was opened in 1898 and was demolished a century later in 1998.In the 1890s Sunderland was looking to build a new stadium and move from Newcastle Road which was their first stadium.In 1898 after years of construction Roker Park which was designed by legendary arhictect Arhibald Leich was built and opened on the 10th of September 1898 while the first match was a friendly against Liverpool which the Black Cats won by  a single goal.In the following years after Roker Park opened improvements were made at the Roker End which in 1912 was concreted while by 1913 the capacity of the stadium rose to 50000.In 1929 a new Main Stand was build and again was designed by Leich,but the construction of the Main Stand almost bankrupted the club,while in 1936 the Clock Stand and the capacity of Roker park reached 60000,in some matches attendance was 75000.During WWII a bomb landed on the pitch which killed a policeman who walked past the ground.In 1952 floodlights were installed at Roker Park and in 1966 the stadium itself hosted several matches of the 1966 FIFA World Cup in England.In the 1970s the stadium was further imporvements which included  the installation of underground sprinklers,instaalation of the electronic crowd monitoring system and the re-sheetng of the roof.However due to a downturn in club’s fortunes both on and off the field in the 1980s,Roker Park began to decline and the capacity of the stadium was reduced to 22500.With the Taylor Report which demanded that all professional football clubs in England convert their stadiums to all-seaters,the Black Cats began to explore the idea of abandoning Roker Park and build a new stadium,eventually in 1997 the Black Cats played their final match at Roker Park again against Liverpool and again won by a single goal.After that the club moved to the Stadium of Light and in 1998 after a century of existence Roker Park was demolished.

 

Another exciting promotion fight in the Serie B is beginning

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In recent years the Italian Serie B has become one of the most competitve secod divisions besides lacks the finances of the EFL Championship but nevertheless but doesn’t lack the quality which makes it competitive.Also we witnessed the rise of many clubs which were either forgotten like SPAL and surprises like Benevento,Carpi and Crotone.This weekend begins the new Serie B season and it will offer a true battle for the promotion to the Serie A.For the start one of the promotion favorites is Carpi,the red-whites played in the Serie two seasons ago and besides  which lost the promotion playoff final last season against Benevento besides in the regular season they finished 7th which was enough to make it to the promotion playoffs,the red-whites from the rich footballing region of Emilia-Romagna are entering as one of the promotion favorites.Another club which is looking to return to the Serie A is Frosinone,just like Carpi the yellow-blues were relegated to the Serie B two seasons and are looking to a return back to the Serie A.Last season the yellow-blues were the most closest to a return to the Serie A,but a defeat in the penultimate round of the regular season against Benevento had destroyed the dream of automatic promotion and besides they had the same points like Hellas Verona it were the yellow-blues who were promoted automatically with a better goal difference with Frosinone.In the playoffs the yellow-blues were defeated by Carpi by a single goal in the playoff semifinals and that ended the Serie A dream for the yellow-blues which this season will play at their new stadium the Stadio Benito Stirpe which repleaced their old ground Stadio Matusa and they hope they will celebrate promotion this season in their new stadium.The three clubs relegated from the Serie A last seaso are also counting on a quick return to the Serie A,but it won’t be easy.By far the most complicated situation is at Palermo,the rosanero from Sicily were in a state of complete chaos last season due to the antics of Maurizio Zamparini which owns Palermo and the fans want him gone from the club,just last season the club managed to change six coaches in a single season which brought a disaster besides in the last round they defeated Empoli and draged them to the Serie B with them.Speaking of Empoli last season they were one of last season’s biggest flops.The Azzurri had a 10 point advantage over Crotone in the relegation battle in the Serie A last season and they managed to be relegated thanks to an impressive form of Crotone during he spring and the catastrophic form of the Azzurri themselves.This season they are looking to redeem themselves after a catastrophic Serie A campaign which saw them being one of the biggest flops last season.But is there is a phoenix club charging the course towards promotion like in last seasons there were?One of them not to long ago played in the Serie A and in the 1990s was a European sensation and that is Parma.The Emiliani have suffered two bankrupcies in the last 13 years and have been promoted to the Serie B last season after deating Alessandria in the promotion playoffs are looking to be the next club rising from the ashes,but Parma itself is a far-cry from the days of the 1990s when it was the Italian sensation in Europe and where so many famous players made their mark at the club.Right behind Parma,but less known is Venezia,the Winged Lions have returned to the Serie B after 13 long years and with Fillippo Inzaghi as the man on the bench of the club,they are ready to make their next step which is a return to the Serie A for the first time since the late 1990s when the last time where featured.Last but not leased is Foggia,another forgotten club from the 1990s era of the Serie A which in the last two decades spent in the football wilderness and last season they were promoted as well to the Serie B after 19 long years and are longing to return to the Serie A as well.There are many promotion favorites this season in the Serie B,from clubs which are trying to make a  quick return like Palermo and Empoli to smaller sides which played in the Serie A just two seasons ago like Capri and Frosinone to the clubs looking to restore their lost lost glory days like Parma and Venezia.All of this will excite us in the new Serie B season which will bring excitement and competition like never before.

Old Football Grounds:Boothferry Park

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Boothferry Park is te former ground of Hull City and it was their home ground from 1946 to 2002 when the club moved to the KC Stadium which is their new modern home ground.The history of Boothferry Park is traced back to 1929 when the club sought to build a new stadium,however due to severe financial difficulties the building of Boothferry Park was halted numerous times.In 1939 a plan for a sports stadium was a catalyst to build Boothferry Park and with the help of the FA which gave a 6600 Pound loan Hull City began to build Boothferry Park which had to be ready for the 1941 season.Unfortunately WWII has again stalled the construction of Boothferry Park and the ground was used by the Home Guard ad for a period to repair tanks.As building material became scarce in the first post-War years,Hull City was forced to play its matches at The Boulevard which was the home of the rugby league club Hull FC.However in August 1946 after 17 long years Boothferry Park was opened besides it was a race against time to open in the first match against Linvoln City and by 1948 attendance at Boothferry Park peaked at 40000 when Middlesborough played the Tigers in the FA Cup,however the record attendance at the stadium remains t this day when Manchester United played he Tigers in February 1949 when 55000 spectators watched the match between the two clubs.Also the stadium had its own railway station-The Boothferry Halt which opened in January 1951.New lights at the stadium were used for the first time in 1964,while in 1965 the South Stand was built,however the crisis in the British economy against has salled further development besides in 1979 there were plans to build a supermarket and leisure complex on the car park.In 1991 a decade before the closure of the stadium,Boothferry Park went through major refurbishment which set the capacity at 15,150 and besides major redevelopment projects conitnued through the 1990s,Hull City began to explore options to build a new stadium in 1997 and in 2002 after 56 years Hull City moved to the ultramodern KCOM Stadium which also became the new home of the rugby league club Hull FC.Meanwhile until 2007 Boothferry Park was used by the Supermarket chain Iceland and in 2008 the demolitions of the stadium began while in 2010 Boothferry Park was finally demolished.

Remembering Yugoslavia’s Chilean generation

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Over the course of its history during the 20th Century,Yugoslavia the European Brazil produced so many well known and famous players,but it was nothing compared to the young Yugoslav generation which won the 1987 FIFA  World Youth Championships which were held in Chile.The Chilean generation became one of the best and finest in Yugoslav football which in the 1990s after the wars in Yugoslav was the backbone of new established national teams and which to this day carries the impact and the legacy.Yugoslavia qualified for the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championships through the 1986 UEFA European Under-18 championships which Yugoslavia hosted a year earlier and where the Yugoslav blues finished 5th which was enough to make it to Chile.But very few could believe that they in Chile could go all the way and win the title.Back then the Yugoslav blues were coached by Mirko Jozic who’s prior managing experience was with NK Junak Sinj and the youth categories of the Yugoslav national team which coached for 15 years.However on the roster the story was way different,it would feature the names which in the 1990s and later would play a major role in ex-Yugoslav and European football which continues to this day.For the draw Yugoslavia was placed in the group with the teams of Australia,Togo and the host of the tournament-Chile.The Yugoslav blues would go to dominate the group without any problems.In the opening match against the hosts with the goals of three future Croatian legends-Boban,Suker and Stimac,they would easily defeat the La Roja in front of their home crowd 4-2,while in the second match they would score an easy victory against Australia 4-0 and in the final group match against Togo they would win 4-1,in short the Yugoslav blues had an easy group where they scored 12 goals and only let their opponents score 3 goals against them.After that only sky was the limit for the Yugoslav blues in the knockout stage where everything was possible.In the quarterfinals Yugoslavia faced Brazil in a deadlocked 1-1 match until in the final minutes of the match Robert Prosinecki scored the goal which sent the Yugoslav blues into the semifinal against Eastern Germany which would feature a young Matthias Sammer and Rico Steinmann which would play their roles in the final years of football in Eastern Germany just like their Yugoslav counterparts and it was truly indeed a football classic between the two communist nations which years later will both cease to exist due to the fall of the Berlin Wall.Besides Sammer scored the equalizing goal,Suker scored the winning goal which sent the Yugoslav blues to the final with West Germany.In the final at the Estadio Nacional both Yugoslavia and West Germany played a hard fought match and it wasn’t until Zvonimir Boban scored the goal which broke the deadlock and when it seemded that Yugoslavia would win,the Elf scored theequlizing goal just minutes after Boban broke the deadlock with a penalty scored by Marcel Witeczek.When after 120 minutes there was no winner the roulette of penalty shootouts gave Yugoslavia its first FIFA World Youth Championships title.Yugoslavia achieved one of its biggest successes in football which would be only repeated by Serbia two years ago when the Young Eagles won their first FIFA U-20 World Cup title,but the significance is more on the side of the Chilean generation.The reason is that the Chilean generation of Yugoslavia would produce future legends and provide Croatia with the core of players which would build its success in the mid-to-late 1990s when Croatia first as a debutant at the 1996 Euros in England went all the way to the quarterfinals and then in 1998 it would achieve a sensational result at its debut in the biggest stage of world football at the World Cup where they would finish 3rd.In the end it cannot be denied the significance of the Yugoslav Chilean generation which made a huge impact and left a legancy which is felt to this day.

 

Legendary Shirts:Denmark

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In the summer of 1986 the FIFA World Cup was held in Mexico brought the debut of a new national team which was rising that time in Europe and came from Scandinavia which would be Denmark.In their debut World Cup the red-whites which featured of a squad which consisted of names such as Preben Elkjaer Larsen and Michael Laudrup which played in Italy respectively for Verona and Juventus and with German coach Sepp Piontek would surpsingly win their group which consisted of Uruguay,Scotland and West Germany.First the red-whites would beat Scotland led then on the bench by Alex Ferguson by a single goal,then they crushed Uruguay 6-1 in their second group match and in their third group match the red-whites surprisingly defeated West Germany which was one of the favorites to win the tournament and which on its squad had the names of Voller,Rummenigge,Augenthaler,Matthaus,Magath,Littbarski and others.The red-whites shook the Elf by defeating them 2-0 and won their group.However the red-whites would be heavily defeated by Spain in the round of 16,nevertheless they left a good impression at the World Cup in Mexico and it was a sign of things to come.And it came six years later in the summer of 92 when the European Championships were hosted in neighbouring Sweden.With Yugoslavia kicked out from the tournament due to the war,Denmark was reinvited to the tournament and became one of the most sensational stories of 20th Century European football when on the soil of its neighbour became a sensational winner of the 1992 UEFA European Championships besides having the most shortest period of preparation with most of its players on the beach,but with teamwork and a strong character they won their first only and to date European Championship.In the years and decades that followed the red-whites didn’t had so much success but are looking to reenter the football scene after so many years being in the wilderness,but two summers have launched Danish football into the World and European football map as a team which pulled surprise results and their 1986 shirt worn at the World Cup in Mexico became a must have for collectors across the World.