Wednesday, March 4, 2015

4 March 1945 - Red Star Rising

On 4 March 1945, European and world champions Red Star Belgrade formed from the ashes of a previous club, SK 1913.

As their name suggests, SK 1913 were founded in 1913, but as SK Velika Srbija. From 1919 to 1941, they were known as SK Jugoslavija and twice won the Yugoslavian championship (1924, 1925). When the Kingdom of Yugoslavia dissolved in 1941, they again changed their name, this time to SK 1913.

In 1945, however, after the end of World War II, the government of the new Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia labeled accused the club of collaborating with the Axis powers by playing matches during the war. The government formally disbanded the club, handing their stadium, colors, offices, and players to the newly-formed Red Star.

Red Star went on to become a dominant club, with a record 26 league titles and a record 24 national cups as their nation changed from SFR Yugoslavia to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, then to the Federal Republic of Serbia and Montenegro, and to its current status as Serbia. Red Star have also tasted international success, winning the both the European Cup and the Intercontinental Cup in 1991.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

3 March 1983 - Gould Puts His Money Where His Mouth Is

On 3 March 1983, Bristol Rovers manager Bobby Gould levied an unusual fine--against himself.

Gould was then in his second season in charge of Bristol Rovers, though he had played there for a season as part of a journeyman career that saw the striker suit up for a host of clubs including Coventry City (82 league appearances), Arsenal (65), West Brom (52), and West Ham (51). He retired from playing in 1979 and joined Chelsea that year as Geoff Hurst's assistant.

When the Blues sacked Hurst in April 1981, Gould filled in as caretaker, holding the reins for their last four matches, then took the full-time position at Rovers that October. When he arrived in Bristol, Rovers were launching their Division Three campaign having been relegated from Division Two the previous spring, and Gould led them to a 15th place finish.

In the 1982-83 season, Rovers rose as high as second in the table in the first half of the season before slipping down to sixth on New Year's Day. They were pushing up again, rising to third before losing at Bradford City in February. Gould strongly took issue with the referee's decision-making that day, engaging in what he later described as "mouthing off." But he proved that even the manager was to be held accountable and, on 3 March, fined himself £200 as a consequence. 

Rovers finished in seventh position that season and Gould departed for Coventry City. He returned to Bristol Rovers in 1985, then moved to Wimbledon two years later when he won the 1988 FA Cup.

Monday, March 2, 2015

2 March 2008 - Daei Dawns For Iran

On 2 March 2008, Iran ended their lengthy search for a new manager with the surprise appointment of international football's all-time leading scorer Ali Daei. Although he presided over only 24 matches, he is sixth in the list of Iran's longest-tenured managers.

Daei's appointment came as part of Iran's efforts to replace their longest-tenured manager Branko Ivanković, who coached the team for 42 matches, winning 29. Although the Croatian was popular with fans for his success, he was not favored by the Iranian government, who preferred to have an Iranian national in the position. So when the government eventually succeeding in removing Ivanković, along with the head of the Iranian football federation, after the 2006 World Cup, they went through three other Iranian-born managers before eventually picking Daei in 2008.

At the time of his selection, Daie, who had scored a world-best 109 international goals for Iran between 1993 and 2006, was in his second season in charge of Iranian club Saipa FC. He finished that season out for Saipa while taking on the additional responsibility of managing Iran.

Ironically, Daie's national sides had difficulty scoring, resulting in their failing to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. That resulted in his removal from the post after just over one year, despite a record of 16 wins and 6 draws in 25 matches. His win record of 64% is the best percentage among Iranian managers with more than 10 matches in charge.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

1 March 1979 - The Seventh Time's The Charm

On 1 March 1979, West Brom defeated Leeds United in the teams' seventh meeting of the season.

They first met that season back in August, battling to a scoreless draw in the second round of the League Cup. Another scoreless draw followed before Leeds advanced with a 1-0 victory. They also met twice in the league where they split the results by both losing at home.

Only two days after the second league meeting, they faced off at the Hawthorns in the fourth round of the FA Cup and finally found their shooting form, playing to a 3-3 draw. That result set up the replay for 1 March at Elland Road.

Scoreless at the end of regulation, the replay went to extra time, where West Brom revenged their League Cup exit with a 2-0 win. Unfortunately for the Baggies, they were eliminated in the next round by Southampton (the same team that knocked Leeds out of the League Cup).

Saturday, February 28, 2015

28 February 2010 - You Don't Mess With Mother Nature

On 28 February 2010, German amateur side TSV Wimsheim defeated Grunbach with a goal from an unlikely source--the wind.

In the 58th minute, with the match scoreless, Grunbach midfielder Oliver Wiedemann stepped up to take a goal kick in the place of keeper Alexander Sollner. As the ball rose into the air, a powerful gust of wind pushed it back toward the Grunbach goal. It came down in the box, bounced over Sollner, then past Wiedemann and into the net.

According to the German tabloid Bild, since no opponent touched the ball after the goal kick, the referee should have disallowed the goal and awarded a corner kick instead. But the referee allowed the goal to stand and it provided the margin of victory as Wimsheim went on to win 2-1.

Shortly after the match, a video of the goal became a minor internet sensation.

Friday, February 27, 2015

27 February 1900 - Bayern Is Born

On 27 February 1900, eleven football players in Munich split from their previously-existing sports club to form FC Bayern Munich. The new club would go on to become one of the world's most successful clubs, winning a record 24 league titles, a record 17 German Cup trophies, and eight European trophies.

Those eleven players were members of Münchner TurnVerein 1879, which focused primarily on gymnastics. When a majority of the club decided not to allow their footballing contingent to join the German Football Association, the eleven left the club and started their own, selecting Franz John to be the new club's first president.

Bayern enjoyed early regional successes, then won their first national title in 1932 under coach Richard Kohn. Kohn, who was Jewish, left the club in 1933 to escape the Third Reich, and Bayern went into a fallow period that lasted throughout the war years. By the mid-1960s, however, they had started a resurgence behind players such as Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, and Sepp Maier.

They dominated the Budesliga from the '70s onward, winning 20 of their 24 league titles and 10 of their 17 German Cup trophies between 1971 and 2008. They also established their European credentials with three consecutive European Cup trophies from 1974 to 1976, then winning it again in 2001 and 2013. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

26 February 2006 - Like A Nigel Tufnel Amp, Roma Goes To Eleven

On 26 February 2006, AS Roma set an Italian record by winning their eleventh consecutive league match. Even better for the Giallorossi, they set the record against bitter derby rivals Lazio at the clubs' shared stadium, the Stadio Olimpico.

The streak started on 21 December 2005 with a 4-0 home win over Chievo. Roma were sitting eighth in the Serie A table at the time, but had risen to fourth by the time they faced Lazio in the Derby della Capitale. For their part, Lazio were hopeful of ending Roma's winning run, having earned a 1-1 draw against their rivals earlier in the season. They drew further optimism from the fact that Roma captain and talisman Francesco Totti, who had scored eight goals in the run's previous ten matches, was unable to play due to injury.

As it turned out, however, Roma didn't need him. With Totti watching from the stands, Brazilian winger Amantino Mancini (pictured) provided the creative spark, first delivering a corner that his fellow Brazilian, midfielder Rodrigo Taddei, tapped into the net to put the visitors ahead in the 31st minute. In the second half, Mancini danced the ball into the Lazio box before laying it off for midfielder Alberto Aquilani to slot home in the 63rd minute. The home side were unable to penetrate the Roma defense, which held on for their eighth clean sheet of the streak.

The victory broke the previous Italian record of ten consecutive wins, set by Juventus in the 1931-32 season, then matched once by Bologna (1963-64) and twice by Milan (1950-51, 1989-90). Roma's record would not last as long, however, as Inter smashed it the next season, winning 17 straight. Coincidentally, Inter were the ones to end Roma's winning streak at 11 with a 1-1 draw on 5 March 2006.