[Football] The Birth of Zemanlandia

Paul Grech Friday, October 24, 2014 ,
Caution: for years that was how clubs reacted upon their promotion to the Serie A. The big clubs, those with money and power, were simply too strong for them, so naturally they did their best to limit the damage.

It got worse once foreign players were allowed back into the Italian game. Those same big clubs - and even the not so big ones - could attract some of the world’s best talents widening the gap even further. Lacking similar resources, the small provincial sides that found themselves in the Serie A often reacted by trying to put up the barricades; by placing their faith in an organised and well-manned defence in the hope of limiting the damage as much as possible.

That is how Foggia were expected to play once they won the Serie B in 1991. After all they were a small club managed by an unknown and with a squad full of inexperienced players, none of whom was even a remotely a familiar name. But instead of doing what many others had done before them and cowered when put in front of the mighty elite of Italian football, Foggia went on the attack, blowing everyone away with a cavalier style of football the likes of which had never been seen before.


[Athletics] The Man With The Starting Gun

There are moments during an athletics meet where the crowd falls silent and all their attention is focused on the half dozen or so athletes waiting to kick off an event.  During that moment, even though no one is looking at him, the most important person in the stadium is the one standing next to the athletes; the official calling out the orders one of which will be that the race can begin.

Alan Bell is one of these men.  When injury cut short a promising career as a high jumper, his local club asked him to help out officiating a youth event.  “I don’t know what I have to do, I told the club secretary who had given me a gun to start off a race,” he recalls with a laugh.  “To which the club secretary replied: don’t worry, they won’t know if you get it wrong either!”

Copyright 2010 Paul Grech: Writer