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Old 12-08-2021, 13:51   #1
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2021/22 Prediction League; Game 2 v Cambridge United (home)

Accrington Stanley


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2021/22 Prediction League Game 2; v The Cantabrigians (away)

Three middle-aged women sitting on a park bench discussing their children.

"My son studied Architecture at Cambridge. He's 25 now and he makes 70,000 a year " the first woman said.

"My son read Law at Oxford. He'll be 23 in October and he makes 100,000 a year" said the second woman.

"My son left school at 16", said the third woman, "and he makes half a million a year working as a sports mechanic"

First woman said, "I've heard of car mechanics and typewriter mechanics, but not sports mechanics. What's a sports mechanic?"

And the third woman said, "Well, you know, he fixes football matches, rugby matches ......"

There was a bit of Goliath-slaying going on the the First Round of the EFL Cup this week, n'est-ce pas? Vegan Greenpeace United put out Bristol Citties 6-5 on pens; Newport did the TractorBoys 1-0 away despite the Suffolk Punches having signed about eight new forwards (and despite them being lucky to get a draw against Morecambe on Saturday); the aforementioned Morecambe Did It unto Blackburn at Ewood; the Wombles took out Charlton away 1-0 (Addicks now P2 GF0); Argyle did a Corporal Jones on the Posh (and they don't like it up 'em!); Stevenage beat the Luton Louts 3-0 on pens after a Desmond (and The Admiral - see last week's thread - scored one of Luton's goals); the Furry-Nosed Pointy Things put Lincoln to the sword (4-2 pens); Wigan tupped Hull (who had tupped PNE on Saturday) away, 8-7 on pens; and the Cobblers stunned the Sky Blues at the Ricoh (which sounds like the opening verse of a Barrie Manilow song ........... and I'd like to thank all those sides (and others) for opening a clear route for us to Wembley later in the season!

Barrow v Aston Villa - Pick of Round Two! Must be worth a couple of quid!

And the European Super Cup - once a resident fixture in Monaco, and of recent years a game for football centres of excellence has, this year, landed at Windsor Park, Belfast ............ enjoy the spectacular sights of Belfast on your way home .......... if you get home; Chelski v Villareal .......... Covid has a lot to answer for

And I do know that Lionel Messi is probably the Best Footballer in the World, but am I alone in thinking that a signing on fee of 25 million and a salary (without image rights and sponsorship, no doubt) of upwards of 600k a week is immorally obscene? Pay any player what he's worth, and reflect what he can bring in, but on that money Messi could afford to feed the whole of Argentina .............. and let's hope he does!

There are said to have been settlements in and around Cambridge since prehistoric times, and the area seems to have been invaded by every Tom, Dick and Harry in the years that followed; Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Saxons again - not sure about the Jutes and the Danes - and William of Normandy (who very astutely built a Castle on a hill called Castle Hill!) ...... They got a University in 1209 (Oxford had had one of sorts for 100+ years by then), and they got the Black Death in 1349 ... the motto of OU (no, not the Open University!) by the way, is "Dominus Illuminatio Mea", which roughly translates (Bernard?) as "For God's sake, who's got a groat for the lecky, 'cos I can't see what I'm eating"

"Prehistoric Times", if you don't know, means - apparently - "when there was human life, before records documented human activity" (so if no-one saw you do it you could plead not guilty), and runs from 2.5 million years ago until 1200BC ........ why it stopped in 1200 BC exactly, and how they knew it was 1200BC, has never been satisfactorily explained

Cambridge in fact played a unique role in the invention of modern football, by all accounts: the game's first set of rules were drawn up by members of the University in 1848 and the "Cambridge Rules" were first used on Parker's Piece (an area of park land in the City) and had a 'defining influence' on the 1863 Football Association rules which again were first used in matches on the same pitches; under these rules, football allowed "no hacking, tripping or handling the ball." As the organising committee said, it would be "the triumph of skill over force"; try telling that to Giorgio Chellini, who did his level best to rip Saka's shirt off his back and give him serious whiplash injuries in the Euro Final! ...... I thought he deserved a red for the most cynical cheating I've seen in ages .........

On a different subject, famous Cambridge residents, I discovered, include Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, Charles Darwin, Ian McKellen, Richard Attenborough, Oliver, Newton and John (the stars of "Grease", who actually isn't an Aussie by birth), and Stephen Hawking ....... which leads to your first Starter for Ten; what's the connection between Hugh Laurie, Cambridge, and the closest Boat Race for almost a Century?

The club was founded in 1912 as Abbey United (hence they play at the Abbey Stadium), and became Cambridge United in 1951. They played in local amateur leagues before joining the Southern League in 195758. Under then-manager Bill Leivers (who managed them from 1967-1974, being replaced by Big Ron Atkinson) they won the Southern League Premier Division in 196869 and 196970, which helped secure their election to the FL in 1970. In those days, of course, it was still re-election; so (second Starter for Ten); which side lost their League status to allow for Cambridge's promotion? And Leivers was RB in the Man City team I used to watch at Maine Road in the late 50s (LB was Welshman Cliff Sear, and GK was the fabulous Bert Trautmann)

Within eight years they were in the Second Division (tier 2); they peaked at 8th place in 1980, but suffered a dreadful 1983/4 and GreasyPoled x two; under John "Long Ball" Beck, they gained promotion from the Fourth Division, and won the Third Division in 1991.They reached the Div 2 play-offs in 1992, after finishing 5th, but failed in their bid to become founder members of the Premier League, losing in the semi-final over two legs to Leicester City (1-1 at home, 0-5 away). By 2005 they were toast, back in the Conference, where they stayed for 9 years. They were promoted to Ligue Un last season in second place with a record of W24 D8 L14 and a GD of +24, having scored 73 goals (both numbers being the best in League Two)

They shed five in the summer, best known being striker Paul Mullin (no, the other one) to Wrexham-Hollywood FC; they signed eight, including CB Lloyd Jones from the Cobblers, RW Shilow Tracey from Spurs and striker Sam Smith (the music career must be on hold) from Reading ........... they also signed GK Will Mannion (which I mis-read as Wilf Mannion) from Paphos FC in Cyprus (who were only formed in 2014).

Curiously, inside forward Wilf Mannion - best known for being only 5' 5", a great header of a ball, as an England International and stalwart of the Middlesbrough side from 1936 to 1954 - apparently also played for Hull City (1954/56) and for Cambridge (1956/58 in the Eastern Counties League and the Southern League); however, his Hull career was severely restricted when the Football League banned him over critical articles he had written for a newspaper, and hence non-league. Brian Glanville, in Mannion's obituary which he wrote for The Guardian, referred to "an unhappy and unsuccessful spell as manager of Cambridge Utd", of which I can so far find nothing else

They drew the Boat Race with Oxford in their season-opener last Saturday, and beat Swindon 3-1 on pens in the EFL Cup after a goalless Desmond, giving them Millwall (away); their Troffy group has them alongside Oxford, Stevenage and Spurs u10s ....

Their biggest League win ever was 7-0 against Morecambe in 2016; biggest league defeat was 7-0 v Luton Louts in 2017; biggest FA Cup defeat was 7-0 against Slumberland in the League Cup in 2002 - something of a pattern developing here .............. Club record for most League appearances belongs to Steve Spriggs (416 between 1975 and 87) ...... highest attendance was 14,000 v Chelsea in 1970 .... and they have one of the youngest managers in the League - Mark Bonner, who is 35, but with the stress of the job doesn't always look it ..... previous managers include Roy McFarland, Gary Johnson and former French professional footballer Herve Renard (which broadly translates as Harvey the Fox) who currently manages Saudi Arabia

Deadline for entries is, as always, scheduled kick-off time, which once again - to my surprise - is 3.00pm on a Saturday (14th August) ......... we've met "The Yellows" eight times over four seasons in the League (2014/15 to 2017/18), and of those games we've won three and drawn one at home (2-1, 1-1, 2-0 & 1-0) and away we've won one, drawn two and lost one (2-2, 3-2, 1-2 & 0-0), so we're ahead on points and goals scored (12 by us, 8 by them)........... goals by lots of people - Piero Mingoia with 3 leads the list, Sean McHighhopesfortheseason with 2, and others with one each, including Shay McCartan, Tariq Fosu-Henry, Josh Windrush, Kayden Jackson and Billy Whizz

And Hugh Laurie's connection to the closest Boat Race for years (1980, when Oxford won for the fifth time in a row, winning by a canvas) was that Laurie - then, I think an undergrad medic at Selwyn College - rowed at number 4 for the losing Light Blues (Cambridge) .............. And Cambridge United were elected into the Football League at the expense of Bradford (Park Avenue), who dropped into the Northern Premier League before going into liquidation in 1974; the Phoenix BPA - who appear, in Bradford, to be known just as "Bradford" - now play in the Bananarama North .........

Good luck to everyone! ............ Keep the Faith! .......... And thanks for playing!

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