Banner boys get sign of approval from boffin

FOOTY fans are the wittiest people in the country, according to a leading academic.
Dr Jamie Cleland, a sports sociologist from Loughborough University, came to the conclusion after studying banners that followers of the beautiful game brought to matches.
“Angela Merkel Think’s We’re At Work’ displayed by Republic of Ireland fans at Euro 2012 after their country was bailed out by Germany is among several that caught his attention.
Now The Art of Banner Banter competition has been launched to encourage footy fans to showcase their talent by creating and sharing a banner with a chance of winning £5,000.
Dr Jamie Cleland said: “Many of the most well-known banners tap cleverly into the news agenda of the time. These banners have more of a cultural and social meaning, providing an opportunity for the creator to comment on topical issues in a sophisticated way.
“The fans creating these banners are often well-educated males who are on the cusp of a new stage of their lives.
“The act of creating the banners is naturally a very social occasion and getting together with a group of friends to create witty banners for display at sporting events allows them to express this mischievous edge to their character”
The competition is being run in conjunction with Tullamore D.E.W Whisky.
Entrants should take a picture of their carefully crafted banner and share on Twitter using the hashtag #bannerbanter.

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England could host Euro 2020 – and Wales, and Scotland, and Ireland, and France, and Portugal, and Estonia…

EURO 2020 will be held across in a number of cities from across the continent, the European governing body UEFA decided today.
The decision was taken by UEFA’s executive committee at a meeting in Lausanne – meaning there will be no one country hosting the tournament.
The Football Association have already put forward Wembley to UEFA as a possible venue for the final. The announcement will also give hope to Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland hosting some Euro 2020 matches – they too have already expressed their interest to UEFA.
The bidding process for the host cities will start in March and will take a year with decisions made in the spring of 2014.

Euro 2020 could be hosted by all of Europe

MICHEL Platini has suggested that the entire Continent could share the burden of hosting the European Championships.
Although Turkey wants to take on the tournament in eight years’ time, the country is also hosting the Olympics that year, putting the plan in doubt.
But despite Scotland, Wales and Ireland declaring an interest, UEFA top brass Platini says a plan to have “12 or 13 cities” across different European countries hosting matches will be considered.
He said: “The Euros in 2020 could be held all over Europe.
“It could be either one country and 12 stadiums, or one stadium in 12 or 13 cities.
“This matter will be discussed very seriously.
“It is the political decision that needs to be made. We wouldn’t have to build stadiums or airports. That could be important in an economic crisis.”

What would you sacrifice for Euro success?

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WHAT would you give up to see your team triumph in Polkraine this summer?
New Europe-wide fan research from Sharp FanLabs has revealed that the Irish are prepared to make the most sacrifices to see their side victorious, followed by Croatians and Ukrainians.
English fans are in 12th place, while the French and Germans are the most unwilling to make sacrifices.
But what would they loses? England fans would lose their bottle – with 57 per cent abstaining from alcohol for at least one month to see England lift the trophy.
On average, 13 per cent of European football fans and 14 per cent of English would give up alcohol forever to see their team win the tournament – however zero per cent of Greeks would be willing to make this sacrifice.
On average, 29 per cent of Europeans would give up sex for at least one month to see their team win the Euros this year – although 30 per cent of Italians and English would not be prepared to give up slap and tickle for a single day!
A whopping 18 per cent of Danish fans would give up sex forever in exchange for a Danish Euro 2012 victory!
For further stats about how England fans are feeling in the run up to Euro 2012 and to chat with likeminded fans, check out their Facebook page or take the test yourself.

Download a free Euro 2012-inspired mp3

INDIECATER, a small record label that lives on the web and survives off lovely indie melodies, has put together a new compilation album to celebrate Ireland’s participation in Euro 2012.
Sing Up For The Boys In Green features eight talented bands from Ireland and two from the United States.
A spokesman said: “The result is 11 tracks of football witticisms, whimsical vocals and dashing jangling chords that boasts the songs as well and the sentiments so will appeal to both the sporty and the more musically minded.”
You can grab a free sample, Three Nil-Nils by Ican Ican’t by clicking here.

Season Review – 1891-92

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SOME of Goaltastic’s readers may be aware that today is a special day – the 120th birthday of the Loughborough Echo!
To mark the occasion, I thought I’d take a look back at football way back in the days when the paper went on sale for the first few times, to see what Goaltastic’s predecessors may have covered…

  • Champions of the Football League were Sunderland, while the short lived Football Alliance was won by Nottingham Forest. West Brom won the FA Cup.
  • Leading goalscorer in the 1891-92 season was Sunderland’s John Campbell , who notched 32 goals.
  • Accrington, Stoke and Darwen were relegated from the league. Darwen became the first squad to concede a century of goals in a season – shipping 112 in total.
  • Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Newton Heath were elected to the league, while Accrington and Stoke were readmitted – this was the last season before promotion existed. In those days, you were either in or out. The following season however a new Second Division was created, while the rival Football Alliance ceased to exist.
  • England beat both Wales and Ireland 2-0, after playing both in the same day, before beating Scotland 4-1 to be crowned Home Nations Champions.
  • Everton moved out of Anfield and into Goodison Park, allowing Liverpool to be formed. They never walked alone ever again…

International call-up for Pennant – for Ireland?

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STOKE winger Jermaine Pennant could make an unexpected return to international football, playing for the Republic of Ireland.
The former England Under-21 player, now 28, has given up hope of an international career for his country of birth – but believes he may qualify for Ireland through his grandfather.
He said: “My grandad is Irish, so there’s a chance I can play for them. I’m not getting any younger and I would like to play international football.
“And who’s to say Ireland can’t get to the next World Cup? If I could be a part of that, then it would be great.
“Of course, I would love to play for England, but it has never happened and I don’t think it is going to.
“That’s not because of my ability, but maybe misdemeanours in the past have put a halt to that coming about.”