The First Time Ever I Saw Your Ground: Bristol City and Ashton Gate

Ashton Gate in the era when Everton ruled

John McCormick writes: I hitched to quite a few games – including some at Roker Park – and I do remember going down the M5 in a Reliant Robin when it (the M5, not the car) was a two-lane motorway. I still believe its  front wheel (the car’s, not the M5’s) left the ground when we went above 60.

However, for this game (for when else could I have seen Joe Baker at Bristol?) I went on a John Tennick bus. An overnight journey, a killer result, an evening of pubs and an overnight journey back. To think that we took such things in our stride. Now I’m looking askance at the 40-mile trip to Bolton in a week or so.

As, probably, is Pete Sixsmith:

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(we …) just like watching Brazil

brazil11Image: Thomás

When the odds were checked a minute ago, Brazil were still the bookies’ favourites, marginally ahead of Spain, to win South Africa 2010. We could even, at a pinch, have an all-South American final four; that would take a mighty performance from Our Lads against the Spanish. Jeremy Robson takes a cool-headed look at the past and explains, in this discussion of the importance of geography, how that would buck the World Cup trend …

When the World Cup comes round every four years, there’s one historical fact that is always trotted out in the build up to the tournament. Namely, that the winner of the competition when it’s held in Europe has nearly always been European, and conversely when it’s held in South America the winner has always been a nation from that Continent.

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1970 and Pele: World Cup memories (2)


For his second look back on the past 11 World Cups, Pete Sixsmith recalls the one that gave him most pleasure, offers a one-word explanation of his withdrawal of support from England and reflects on the greatness of Pele

The 1970 tournament is seen by many, including me, as the finest of all. It was the first one where colour TV was the rule rather than the exception, it had some brilliant football, capped by the greatest ever goal in a World Cup Final by a Brazilian full back after a pass by Pele – and it marked the end of my support for England.

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