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November 06 2013

*We are here to stay* ❝Africans living under the shadow of removal in Hamburg have been able to…

We are here to stay

Africans living under the shadow of removal in Hamburg have been able to articulate their own agenda, writes Klaus Neumann, and football fans and residents are backing them

http://inside.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/stpauli2.jpg

http://inside.org.au/we-are-here-to-stay

#hambourg #Allemagne #migration #réfugié #asile #manifestation #FC_Sankt_Pauli #foot #football #football_fans

Une deuxième belle histoire de « rencontres improbables » (foot & police & migrants) après celle-ci : http://seenthis.net/messages/192807

October 20 2013

*Ils chassent les garçons. J'ai honte de cette ville* *"Die machen Jagd auf die Jungs. Ich schäme…

Ils chassent les garçons. J’ai honte de cette ville

"Die machen Jagd auf die Jungs. Ich schäme mich für diese Stadt"

http://www.n24.de/n24/Nachrichten/Politik/d/3693564/tuersteher-bewacht-fluechtlinge.html

http://image4-cdn.n24.de/image/3693646/3/large16x9/yh6/hotte-kriegel_580x325.jpg

Hotte passt auf die Flüchtlinge auf. Er schlichtet Streit, schließt ihnen das Eisentor auf und hinter ihnen wieder zu, kontrolliert die „Clubausweise“. Er taxiert die Neugierigen am Eisentor des Kirchenplatzes, beobachtet Passanten. Er behält die Autos im Blick. 55 Jahre alt, ziemlich groß, Glatze, großer Kopf und dicker Hals auf breiten Schultern, Zigarette, Taschenlampe. Hier kommt niemand vorbei.

Seine Schützlinge sind die „Lampedusa-Flüchtlinge“, die meisten kommen über Libyen aus Ghana und Mali. Männer, die Angst vor Hubschraubern haben, weil sie an den Krieg erinnern, erzählt er. Männer, die in Panik geraten, wenn sie von Polizisten an eine Wand gestellt werden, dann eingesperrt und befragt. Ein Zimmer, ein Deutschkurs und Liebe, sagt Hotte. Das fehlt ihnen zum guten Leben. „Hamburg verschwendet ein riesengroßes Potenzial“, findet er. „Die machen Jagd auf die Jungs. Ich schäme mich für diese Stadt“, sagt er mit Blick auf die Polizeikontrollen der vergangenen Tage.

via https://joindiaspora.com/p/3186026
#LampedusaHH

#Hamburg #Hambourg #Lampedusa #Flüchtlinge #refugees #réfugiés
#Kirchenasyl #asile

FC St. Pauli: Den Flüchtlingen gerecht werden

http://www.fcstpauli.com/website/var/tmp/thumb_1662__auto_27578fad68dc8fa56f720dc126efa586.jpeg

Der FC St. Pauli ruft zur Besonnenheit bezüglich #LampedusaHH auf. Es muss gemeinschaftlich nach einer Lösung gesucht werden.

Offizielle Homepage des FC St. Pauli von 1910 e. V.
http://www.fcstpauli.com/home/verein/news/4079

Mit großer Betroffenheit haben wir die Ereignisse der letzten Tage rund um die Lampedusa-Flüchtlinge verfolgt. Das Schicksal der rund 80 Menschen, die in unserem Stadtteil unter anderem in der St. Pauli-Kirche Zuflucht gefunden haben, hat uns vom ersten Tag an bewegt, und wir haben schnell und unbürokratisch mit Sachspenden geholfen.

via https://joindiaspora.com/p/3185843
#LampedusaHH

cf.: sur le FC St. Pauli ici: http://seenthis.net/messages/170031

#Hamburg #Hambourg #Lampedusa
#Flüchtlinge #refugees #réfugiés
#Kirchenasyl #Asyl #asile #gardien #Türsteher
#Fußball #football #foot

August 17 2013

Pas encore vu, mais ça a l'air bien... *Kick Off* Shawkat Amin Korki – Iraq – 2009 ❝Des réfugiés…

Pas encore vu, mais ça a l’air bien...

Kick Off
Shawkat Amin Korki – Iraq – 2009

Des #réfugiés occupent le stade de #Kirkouk, n’ayant toujours pas trouvé de lieu où vivre. Deux amis passionnés de #football veulent monter, après la victoire de l’#Irak à la coupe asiatique, un #tournoi entre Turcs, Arabes, Kurdes et Assyriens. Mais rien n’est simple en Irak. Dans un style enlevé, Shawkat Amin Korki livre une #comédie dont la fraîcheur et l’humour soulignent d’autant plus le destin tragique de ces réfugiés dans leur pays.

La joie de jouer
En réalisant Kick Off, le jeune cinéaste kurde Shawkat Amin Korki réussit, avec peu de moyens et, surtout – car leur présence crève l’écran –, des acteurs nonprofessionnels, à exprimer la réalité d’une situation où la nécessité de la #survie n’empêche pas de vouloir vivre. C’est-à-dire aussi #aimer et #jouer. Et ces
acteurs le démontrent eux-mêmes, laissant voir leur propre joie de jouer, en faisant parfois des tonnes, pour notre plus grand plaisir. Aucun artifice pourtant, pour nous faire oublier la #guerre et l’#occupation : le bruit récurrent d’un rotor d’hélicoptère, le son des #bombes, au loin, le petit frère d’Asu qui se traîne sur une jambe, une #mine lui ayant enlevé l’autre, la situation précaire de ces réfugiés dans le #stade. C’est ce stade qui sera d’ailleurs le lieu unique de l’action, dont les tribunes sont les remparts, protection hypothétique contre les agressions du monde extérieur. Le réalisateur nous en fera découvrir quasiment tous les recoins, montrant l’ingéniosité de leurs occupants à les utiliser.

http://www.trigon-film.org/fr/movies/Kickoff/flyer_240.jpg

http://www.trigon-film.org/fr/movies/Kickoff

#film

June 19 2012

The style stars of summer – in pictures

From footballers to film stars and fictional detectives, we unveil this season's key fashion leaders. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery



April 26 2012

Barclays Photographer of the 20 Seasons Awards shortlist - in pictures

To mark the 20th season of the Premier League, Barclays launched a special Barclays Photography Awards to find the best photographer and individual 'shot' since the inception of the league in the 1992/93 season. The winners will be announced in May. Until then check out the entries in the Shot of the 20 seasons category



December 18 2011

Viñoly brought in as Chelsea looks at move to Battersea power station

Architect behind latest failed redesign for London's Battersea power station hired as creative brain behind developer Mike Hussey's plan for stadium for Chelsea football club at the site

Rafael Viñoly, the architect who worked on the most recent failed redesign for Battersea power station in London, has been hired as the creative brain behind developer Mike Hussey's proposal to build a stadium for Chelsea football club at the site.

Viñoly worked on the £5.5bn revamp of the Grade II*-listed London landmark that won planning permission last year, but the plan collapsed a week ago when the power station was put into administration after its owner, the Irish property firm Real Estate Opportunities, failed to repay £324m to its lenders. The 16-hectare site in south-west London, valued at £500m in October, will be put up for sale by the administrators, Ernst & Young, with Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich seen as a frontrunner to acquire it.

Viñoly is collaborating with the architects Kohn Pedersen Fox on the plan put forward by Hussey, a former Land Securities executive. Chelsea has not made a decision to leave its Stamford Bridge home but has appointed Hussey's Almacantar vehicle, along with KPF, to draw up plans for a 55,000-capacity stadium to be situated to the south-east of the power station.

New York-based Viñoly wants to retain as much of the power station as possible, keeping structural changes to a minimum. His new plan is thought to be less ambitious than REO's 750,000 sq metre development of 3,400 homes, as well as shops and offices. The power station's distinct four white chimneys were to be demolished and rebuilt, as they were deemed to be "beyond repair".

But Keith Garner, an architect and member of a local campaign group, said: "Jamming a large football stadium against Battersea power station is a bad idea." The Battersea Power Station Community Group wants the turbine hall turned into an exhibition centre – a showcase for British design and manufacturing – with offices and flats on the upper floors. Garner held up the successful revamp of the former Dean Clough Mills in Halifax, once the world's largest carpet factory, as an example. He has tried to get Google UK interested, which is based in nearby Victoria and needs more space.

REO's lenders, Lloyds Banking Group and Ireland's National Management Asset Agency, are keen to recoup their money. Nama is thought to prefer Chelsea, while other potential bidders for Battersea include the Malaysian property group SP Setia, UK developers including Berkeley, Development Securities and British Land, along with sovereign wealth funds and private equity firms such as Blackstone.


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June 04 2011

Roman Abramovich upsets the Venetians as he blocks the view

Russian billionaire and girlfriend Dasha Zhukova are major players at Biennale, but locals call mega-yacht 'idiotic'

Rock stars tethered their jet skis to the back of it during the film festival in Cannes, its clean lines have impressed quayside onlookers in Antibes, and England footballer Frank Lampard is reportedly set to propose to his television presenter girlfriend on board.

There can be no doubt that Roman Abramovich's enormous yacht Luna is enjoying the spotlight this summer as it tours the Mediterranean. But the citizens of Venice, a city more familiar than most with extravagant displays of wealth down the centuries, are not impressed.

The Russian oligarch's £115m, 377ft behemoth moored unannounced last week at one of the city's most stunning lagoon locations, as Abramovich and his girlfriend, Dasha Zhukova, pitched up for the Venice Biennale.

Local residents, accustomed to stunning views over St Mark's Basin, found themselves staring straight at the twin helipads and bulletproof windows of the vessel, which dwarfs all rival yachts at what has become an annual reunion of some of the most expensive private vessels in the world.

First to complain was Venice's mayor, Giorgio Orsoni, who is threatening a new tax on vessels such as the Luna. "The boats are getting too big and blocking the view," he said. "These yachts are showing up to see Venice for free, but St Mark's Basin is being turned into a motorway and we have to start limiting the traffic."

Marco Paolini, co-owner of the Caffè Florian on St Mark's Square, whose artsy customers launched the Biennale in 1895, condemned the "idiotic" presence of Abramovich's boat. "There are so many beautiful places here, why do these people have to bring their houses with them?" he said.

Complete with a covered pool, massive communications tower and a crew of 40, Luna is just one vessel in what has been dubbed Abramovich's "navy" of mega-yachts. Now moored at the Riva dei Sette Martiri, close to the Biennale Gardens, local bloggers have joked it could be mistaken for one of the more abstract installations at the show.

Abramovich, 44, has not been glimpsed amid the uproar. But Zhukova, 29, a noted party-thrower, has made the Luna the place to be seen for the critics, buyers and artists currently thronging Venice.

Elton John and Courtney Love were among the VIP crowd ducking in and out of the 89 national pavilions last week, with the longest queues at the British section, which has been given a makeover by installation artist Mike Nelson.

The boat, though unloved by locals who find themselves living temporarily in its shadow, has proved a celebrity magnet this summer, hosting singers Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale at Cannes after Madonna's visit last summer. Reports have also suggested that Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea football club, could lend Luna to Lampard so he can propose to Christine Bleakley of ITV's Daybreak.

Severino Rigo, a retired IBM engineer who lives on the Riva dei Sette Martiri, said: "The real eyesores are the security barriers the crews erect where they dock, which extend out two to three metres across the pavement."

"I do not recall ever seeing such a large yacht as Abramovich's moored so close to the Biennale," said Enrico Tantucci, who is covering the event for local newspaper La Nuova Venezia. "It's like waking up in the morning to find someone has built an office block where the water used to be – no wonder locals have been complaining."

Zhukova's latest artistic project is also unlikely to endear her to Venetians. Many of the city's residents are embroiled in a battle to rid the city of the huge advertising hoardings that have been covering historic palazzi while they undergo restoration. The Coca-Cola billboard which engulfed the Bridge of Sighs and helped to spark the controversy is close to where the Luna is docked.

Zhukova has reportedly asked around 60 artists to create fake 15-second adverts which will be shown on a huge jumbotron TV screen, mounted on a barge sailing up and down the Grand Canal.

Zhukova has said she wants to open a debate about the anti-ad campaign, given that proceeds from the billboards are being used to pay for the vital restoration of Venice's palazzi.

The arrival of the mega-yachts has also exacerbated tensions over the rapidly growing number of cruise ships which steam past St Mark's and down the Giudecca canal before dropping off thousands of passengers who "just have time to eat a frozen lasagna and look for a place to pee", according to one of the signatories to the growing Facebook campaign to stop the 50ft-tall cruisers they claim shake the foundations of Venice's ancient buildings.

Rigo said that the hundreds of cruise ships now filing past his window were an even bigger problem than the mega-yachts. "After all, the private boats represent high-quality tourism," he said.

Not everyone is so negative. Abramovich's huge wealth has become a crucial asset to the Biennale which, held every two years, has become the world's most important contemporary art event. His funding has prompted new competitions and collections. Franca Coin, president of the Venice Foundation, said residents should be grateful to Abramovich and Zhukova for patronising the arts. "One more yacht in Venice is a lesser evil," she told Corriere della Sera.

Zhukova, the daughter of a Russian tycoon, has made a substantial impact in the art world, successfully opening Moscow's first modern art gallery in a former bus depot, while helping her boyfriend in plans for a $400m arts complex on an island he is leasing in St Petersburg.

But for Rigo and his neighbours, support for the arts only partly compensates for the blight of so many gleaming trophies of the super-rich 20 metres from his front door: "The vessels only stay a few days, but I'd rather see the beautiful view from my window, and the tourists don't know what they're missing."

• This article was amended on 5 June 2011 to correct the impression that Zhukova spoke to Italian media about the anti-ad campaign. She told the Wall Street Journal.


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May 06 2011

Keira Knightley and David Beckham, as portrayed by John Squire

The actor and the footballer are among the famous faces to feature in a new exhibition by the former Stone Roses guitarist. But you may have trouble telling which is which ...

Keira Knightley, Woody Allen and David Beckham are among the famous faces to feature in a new exhibition by ex-Stone Roses guitarist John Squire, albeit in abstract form. They may be less pleased to learn they are joined by serial killer Harold Shipman.

John Squire: Celebrity, which opens next month, features paintings of ancient symbols and "mythical eight-pointed stars" portraying an array of well-known figures. "It's a brief respite from the endless bombardment of celebrity images," Squire said. "It asks: how often do we really need to see copies of complete strangers' faces, and why do we collectively choose those particular people?"

Squire is best known as one of the founding members of the Stone Roses. He painted the Jackson Pollock-inspired cover of their classic debut album in 1989. Following his departure from the band in 1996, Squire performed as a solo artist and as part of the Seahorses, before concentrating on becoming a visual artist. "Through this new body of work, Squire employs the icon of the eight-sided star to bring the contemporary obsession with fame and celebrity into critical focus," said Vivienne Gaskin, who is curating the exhibition at the Idea Generation Gallery in London. "The paintings call into question our celebration of known figures and, crucially, the value systems we have adopted as a society."

John Squire: Celebrity will open at the Idea Generation Gallery in London on 10 June 2011.


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April 12 2011

Exhibition puts women's football on the map - in pictures

Timed to coincide with the launch of the Women's Super League, Moving the Goalposts exhibition charts the rise and fall of women's football



English women's football aims to score again

An exhibition on the history of women's football and the FA's launch of a Women's Super League should help to bring fans back to the game

View pictures of the exhibition here

Lily Parr, born in 1905, had a prodigious appetite for food and Woodbines. But calorie consumption and chain-smoking didn't prevent her from becoming the most celebrated female footballer of hers or any other age.

Parr was a star. Her appearance in the all-conquering Dick, Kerr "ladies" football team from Preston helped to draw a crowd of over 53,000 to Goodison Park, Liverpool, on Boxing Day in 1920. "Another 5,000 were locked out," says Colin Yates, artist, teacher, football coach and organiser of an exhibition in Manchester called Moving the Goalposts: A History of Women's Football in Britain (1881-2011). Yes, 1881. "When I go into schools and talk about the women's game, the boys are derisive and the girls seem to think it's a fairly recent phenomenon," he adds.

Boys and girls made similar assumptions about black players when he first took football-related anti-racist initiatives into schools. He was able to tell them about Arthur Wharton, whose mother came from Ghanaian royalty, and who was playing in goal for Preston North End around the same time that Parr's fame was spreading beyond the boundaries of that Lancashire town.

Phil Vasili co-wrote a play about Wharton with Irvine Welsh and, having three footballing daughters, he was happy to provide the words to go with the pictures and cartoons at the women's football exhibition. That 1881 game was between Scotland and England in Edinburgh, and both teams wore high-heeled boots, he tells us. "Unfortunately, the next match between the teams, in Glasgow, had to be abandoned because of attempts by some of the young men in the 5,000 crowd to get too close to the women players!"

"There was a salacious side to it," Yates confirms. But by the first world war, the women's game was being more appreciated for its skills than its sex appeal. Women were expected to vacate the football fields as well as the factories when the carnage was over as the FA was becoming increasingly uncomfortable about a popular alternative to the men's game. Spurious arguments were put forward about the dangers of competitive sport to women's health and fertility.

The final straw came in 1921 when women's teams played charity matches to raise money for the families of striking miners. FA-registered clubs were promptly banned from allowing women's football on their grounds.

Ninety years on and the FA this week launched a Women's Super League. On its website, the FA proclaims: "To be successful in England, women's football has to emerge from the shadow of the men's game and establish its own identity."

Lily Parr and her team-mates would have been astonished.

• Moving the Goalposts is at the People's History Museum in Manchester until 15 May.


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November 08 2010

Chelsea in talks to leave Stamford Bridge and move to Earls Court

Exclusive: Chelsea FC considering move to site of Earls Court Exhibition Centre – but move could torpedo plans to build 8,000 home complex

Chelsea Football Club are in talks to quit their 105-year old home at Stamford Bridge and build a ground on the site of the soon- to-be-demolished Earls Court exhibition centre to hold at least 60,000 spectators, the Guardian has learned.

The Premier League champions, owned by the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, are considering a move to the prime west London site just half a mile from their existing home amid growing concern they are losing ground to rivals with bigger and bigger stadiums.

Discussions have been kept secret because the move could torpedo a plan by the leading architect Sir Terry Farrell to transform Earls Court into a new residential enclave with more than 8,000 new homes. The scheme enters the latest phase of public consultation this week and is being undertaken with fellow landowners, Transport for London and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

"The discussion is now on again," said a source close to the deal. "It is largely because the owners are progressing alternative uses for the site and there's lots more urgency for Chelsea to make a decision. From Chelsea's point of view this is their last opportunity to get a new ground and stay in the same area they have been in for over a century."

Chelsea flirted with acquiring the same site four years ago but talks came to nothing. Now the site is larger and Chelsea's chairman, Bruce Buck, has been warned the club faces a "deficit" as a result of Stamford Bridge's lack of capacity.

"There have been discussions about it and the club is clearly considering its next step," confirmed a source close to Chelsea, who added that negotiations are at an early stage and no deal has been signed.

The club has met the site's owner, Capital and Counties, in recent months and Chelsea and its advisers are holding "a series of key meetings to decide whether to pursue a bid or not", according to a source close to the talks.

A new stadium would not be ready until 2015 because Earls Court is scheduled to host the 2012 Olympic volleyball competition before the exhibition centre is demolished. After 73 years in which it has hosted gigs by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Oasis and Madonna, its economic viability has been compromised by the establishment of major new concert and conference venues elsewhere in London, including the 02 arena at the Millennium Dome.

Tonight Buck said it was "very difficult for us to make the philosophical decision that we are going to move on", but conceded that the lack of capacity at Stamford Bridge left it out of pocket compared with other clubs.

"Certainly we wouldn't leave west London or thereabouts and there are very few sites available," he said. "We have to do things with our other commercial activities to make up the deficit that is created by the fact we don't have a 60,000 seat stadium. We can't say that we will never move or have a new stadium but at the moment, it's not at the front of our agenda."

However, Chelsea insiders said Buck is keen to boost matchday takings because Uefa is introducing rules limiting the ability of super-rich owners to bankroll clubs without squaring spending with revenues. Despite winning the league last season, the club was only fifth in terms of average attendance in football's top flight behind Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool. Stamford Bridge accommodates around 41,000 fans compared with 76,000 at Manchester United's Old Trafford ground and 60,000 at Arsenal's Emirates stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United recently made bids to occupy the 80,000 seat Olympic stadium.

The emergence of Chelsea's renewed interest in Earls Court is awkward for Capital and Counties, which has launched a public charm offensive for its housing project employing Edelman, the international public relations company. It is promoting the "four villages and a high street" vision for the area and declined to comment on negotiations with Chelsea.

"Our vision for Earls Court is for a world class residential-led development delivering thousands of new homes and jobs, and creating a remarkable new place in London," a spokesman said. "As part of that we maintain discussions with a wide range of stakeholders and neighbouring landowners including both local authorities, TfL, the GLA and the local community."


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June 18 2010

The beautiful game: Adrian Newell's Scoreline posters

Newell's Scoreline project, turning classic World Cup goals into graphic constellations



June 13 2010

Video: Paul Trevillon on how he draws Wayne Rooney

In the first of a special World Cup mini-series, artist Paul Trevillion, co-author of the Observer's You are the Ref strip, describes how he sees England's talismanic striker and demonstrates how to draw his portrait



May 05 2010

Which footballers have become politicians? | The Knowledge

Plus: Football v Natural disasters (2); the international venue merry-go-round; and the closest league season ever. Send your questions and answers to knowledge@guardian.co.uk

"With the general election approaching," begins Doug Webster, "I was wondering whether any politicians had been decent footballers. And did any footballers go on to be decent politicians? If such a thing exists."

We have looked at this before (footballers pursuing political careers: George Weah, Pele, Zico, Oleg Blokhin and Marc Wilmots all covered) but, with election day in the UK so close at hand, it's worth having a look at a few others who have swapped the dressing room for the dispatch box – or at least tried to.

One of the unsuccessful candidates was Andrey Arshavin, who ran on a pro-Kremlin ticket for Vladimir Putin's United Russia party in regional council elections in Russia in 2007. Though the Arsenal forward (then at Zenit St Petersburg) withdrew his candidacy before a vote was cast, his international team-mate Roman Pavlyuchenko did keep his name in the hat in 2008 and was elected to the regional council in his home town of Stavropol.

"I suspect one of the highest profile players to turn his hand to politics must have been Josef Boszik, legendary wing half of the legendary Hungarian side of the 1950s," writes David Warriston. "Boszik, a boyhood neighbour of Puskas who once said he could find a Boszik pass in the darkness, was a member of the Hungarian parliament for several years in the 1960s. He had the option of turning his back on Hungary when the revolution broke out in 1956 but decided to return.

"So too did Gyula Grosics, the goalkeeper, who after the collapse of the Soviet regime was a spokesman for a right-wing political group. Perhaps he can be forgiven because a few months after the 1954 World Cup final he was arrested for treason and put under house arrest for 18 months. Presumably the commissars felt he should have got down quicker to Helmut Rahn's rasping low drive."

Staying with the mighty Magyars, the Hungarian prime minister elect Viktor Orban is a keen amateur player with Felcsut FC and cancelled a cabinet meeting so that he could participate in his club's mid-season training camp in 2001. "You could even sign him in Football Manager 2006," writes Dave Edwards.

Mark Hayden writes in with a remarkably detailed CV of Olli Rehn, Finnish MP and MEP, currently serving as European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, who played football for his hometown club Mikkelin Palloilijat in Finland's top division. And Robert Marriott has news of Rev Robert Bradford, the Ulster Unionist MP for South Belfast in the 70s, who played for Glenavon and Distillery in his youth.

But it's not just eager amateurs who after hanging up their boots throw on a pair of smart leather shoes, start ringing doorbells and ask if they can rely on your vote. Following the path trodden by Pele and Zico from joga bonito to the somewhat less bonito world of Brazilian politics is Romario, who, writes Admir Pajic, has recently announced he's running for congress with the Brazilian Socialist Party. "My principal objective is to work with all my strength to aid impoverished children," said the former striker.

And finally there's Gianni Rivera, the Italy forward who played in four World Cups (1962, 1966, 1970 and 1974), won 60 caps for his country, played over 500 times for Milan and holds two European Cup winners' medals. "You'd be hard pressed to say he wasn't a decent footballer," writes Roger Kay. "He later entered the Italian Parliament and was later a Euro MP. Whether he is a decent politician is another matter: how does one judge such things?" How indeed.

FOOTBALL v NATURAL DISASTERS (2)

Last week we looked at football falling foul of natural disasters (lightning, hurricanes and the like, rather than the obese WWF tag-team of the early 1990s.) As ever, the Knowledge inbox has been filling up with those "I can't believe you missed ..." emails.

Not a natural disaster as such but a freak gust of wind caused the suspension of a Premiership fixture between Orlando Pirates and Black Leopards at Ellis Park in 2007. Play was abandoned for five minutes after advertising hoardings flew across the pitch, injuring several players. It had been something of a troubled fixture: Kick-off had to be delayed by 15 minutes because of a power cut and seven minutes after the resumption of proceedings following the wind break the game was abandoned due to torrential rain.

Niel Butler emails in with this rather terrifying clip of a dust devil interrupting a children's game and no less scary in its own way is this footage of bees-stopped-play from Christopher Watling.

"On 28 August 2008 during the inaugural season of Concacaf's Champions League play-off round the match between Mexico's UNAM and the Jamaican club Harbour View was cancelled after Tropical Storm Gustav (later upgraded to hurricane status) slammed into Jamaica," writes David Downs. "Later that same tournament the group phase match between Houston Dynamo and El Salvador's Luis Angel Firpo was postponed several weeks when Hurricane Ike prevented them from playing in Houston in September."

VENUE MERRY-GO-ROUND

"I've been doing some poking about," confesses Ali Houston, "and apparently over the years Scotland and Wales have played against each other in 24 different venues. Is this an international (or inter-team) record? My poking has discovered that we've played England on only 20 grounds, so don't even try starting there."

Mexico and the United States can match Scotland and Wales, reckons Jesse Ziter, with the neighbours meeting in 24 different venues (deep breath): Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada; Columbus Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio; Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas; Estadio Azteca, Mexico City; Estadio de los Deportes, Mexico City; Estadio Neza '86, Mexico City; Estadio Parque Artigas, Paysandú, Uruguay; Estadio Tecnológico, Monterrey, Nuevo León; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Foxboro Stadium, Foxboro, Massachusetts; Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey; Havana, Cuba; Invesco Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado; Jeonju World Cup Stadium, Jeonju, South Korea; Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California; Monterrey, Nuevo León; Puebla, Puebla; Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California; Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas; RFK Stadium, Washington; Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California; Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois; Stadio Nazionale, Rome, Italy; University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona.

Brett Taylor can beat that, however, with Australia v New Zealand. "As soon as I read it I thought Australia v New Zealand might be in with a chance of beating that. My digging was made easy by the excellent ozfootball.net website and it confirmed my suspicions. According to that site the Socceroos have met the All Whites at 35 different venues, in six different countries including the obvious two and Indonesia, Vietnam, Tahiti and England. One or two may be the same venue with a changed name, I'm not certain. We're set to play them again on 24 May at the Melbourne Cricket Ground which I think will be the 36th venue."

Right, here we go in chronological order (even deeper breath): Carisbrooke Park, Dunedin; Athletic Park, Wellington; Domain (now Carlaw Park), Auckland; Brisbane Cricket Ground; Sydney Cricket Ground; Newcastle Showground; Exhibition Ground, Brisbane; Basin Reserve, Wellington; Blandford Park, Auckland; Lancaster Park, Christchurch; Melbourne Showgrounds; Sydney Sports Ground; Cong Hoa Stadium, Saigon, South Vietnam; Senayan Stadium, Jakarta, Indonesia; Newmarket Ground, Auckland; Olympic Park, Melbourne; Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland; Parramatta Stadium, Sydney; Hutt Recreation Ground, Lower Hutt; Sydney Football Stadium; Athletics Park, Wellington; Caledonian Ground, Dunedin; Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo; QEII Stadium, Christchurch; Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide; Breakers Stadium, Newcastle; Lakeside Stadium, Melbourne; North Harbour Stadium, Auckland; Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane; Papeete, Tahiti; Westpac Trust Stadium, Wellington; Stadium Australia, Sydney; Ericsson Stadium, Auckland; Craven Cottage, London.

A worthy effort, but here's Tim Dockery. "I spent too long a time on such a short answer," he writes, somewhat missing the point of this column, though we'll forgive him. "But here goes: Argentina and Brazil have played each other 94 times in 41 stadiums in 27 cities in 16 countries."

The details of which can all be found at the brilliant Brazil RSSSF site. Or below (extremely deep breath):

Estádio das Laranjeiras, Rio de Janeiro; Campo do Velódromo, São Paulo; Club Gimnasia y Esgrima, Buenos Aires; Parque Pereira, Montevidéo; Campo do Sporting Club, Viña del Mar (Chile); Campo do Barracas, Buenos Aires; Central Parque, Montevidéo; Estádio do San Lorenzo de Almagro, Buenos Aires; Estádio de São Januário, Rio de Janeiro; Parque Antártica, São Paulo; Estádio do Independiente, Buenos Aires; Estádio Centenário, Montevidéu; Estádio Nacional, Santiago (Chile); Estádio do Pacaembu, São Paulo; Estádio Monumental de Núñez, Buenos Aires; Estádio Olímpico, Cidade do México (Mexico); Estádio do Racing, Buenos Aires; Estádio Nacional, Lima; Estádio do Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro; Estádio Olímpico, Guayaquil (Ecuador); Estádio Nacional da Costa Rica, San José; Estádio Hernán Siles Zuazo, La Paz; Estádio do Morumbi, São Paulo; Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte; Estádio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre; Niedersachsenstadion, Hannover; Estádio Cordeleon, Rosario; Estádio Rosário Central, Rosário; Estádio Sarriá, Barcelona (Spain); Estádio da Fonte Nova, Salvador; Olimpic Park, Melbourne (Australia); Stadio Delle Alpi, Turin; Estádio Vélez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires; Estádio Pinheirão, Curitiba; Estádio Monumental, Guayaquil; Estádio do Arruda, Recife; Estádio Attilio Paiva Oliveira, Rivera (Uruguay); Estádio Tres de Febrero, Ciudad de Leste (Paraguay); Estádio do Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre; Waldstadion, Frankfurt; Emirates Stadium, London; Estádio José Pachencho Romero, Maracaibo (Venezuela); Estádio Mundialista, Rosário

KNOWLEDGE ARCHIVE

"After the Chelsea game yesterday Sky Sports were saying this was the first time since the Premier League's inception that the top two teams have gone into the last game on the same points," wrote Terry Chops back in the halcyon days of 2008. "But how many times has it happened before that in the English top flight? And has there ever been a season when the top three teams went into the last game on the same points total or even the top four?"

Yes. Back in 1968, it was level-pegging as Manchester City and Manchester United began their last matches on May 11. Under joint managers Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison, City overcame Newcastle 4-3 in a sensational match while United were turned over 2-1 at Old Trafford by Sunderland.

For further examples you must hark back to the sepia-tinted days of yesteryear when folk wore hats and lived life in a fast and jerky fashion. The year is 1950 and bums in the Midlands and on the south coast are squeakier than the door in Michael Jackson's "Thriller".

Wolverhampton Wanderers and Portsmouth are going into the final weekend level on 51 points with Portsmouth top owing to a slightly superior goal average (goals scored divided by goals against). When Wolves thumped bottom-placed rivals Birmingham City 6-1, they must have thought they'd done enough but a 5-1 home win against mid-table Aston Villa saw Portsmouth clinch the title by two-fifths of a goal.

The 1914-15 season was a good one for Everton. Liverpool were embroiled in a dodgy betting scandal and Everton were crowned champions. Thanks in no small part to Bobby Parker, who scored 35 goals in 36 games, Everton were neck-and-neck with Oldham and separated by a wafer-thin goal average. On the last day of the season they stumbled rather than strode across the finishing line with a 2-2 draw that, with Oldham choking in a 2-0 defeat, was just enough.

At the end of the 19th century the fixture list gave fans a last-game, winner-takes-all title-decider by pairing Aston Villa against Liverpool, who were level on 43 points. A superior Villa goal average meant Liverpool had to go for the win but got nowhere near. Villa dished out a 5-0 drubbing and partied as if it was 1899, for that's what it was.

In the nearest thing to a memorable top-of-the-table threesome nail-biter, the 1904-05 season was a corker. Everton had a point advantage and having played a game more than title-chasing rivals Newcastle and Manchester City (those were the days before Super Sundays on Sky) were reliant on both teams losing. Manchester City obliged with a 2-3 reverse but Newcastle beat Middlesbrough 3-0 to be crowned champions. That's when the top flight was exciting, eh Kev?

For thousands more questions and answers take a trip through the Knowledge archive

Can you help?

"Here in Portland, USA, tonight brings a strange occurrence," writes Zach Dundas. "The NBA's Phoenix Suns play our Trail Blazers in a play-off game; at the same time, in the decidedly more modest second-division football league (or United States Soccer Federation Division II Pro League, if you want to get technical), our beloved Timbers face a home fixture against regional rivals Vancouver Whitecaps. As everyone knows, the Suns are led by Steve Nash, a Canadian Tottenham fan (surely not the only one). As far fewer people know, the Whitecaps feature Martin Nash, Steve's brother. Two brothers playing in different sports in away matches against teams in the same city, at exactly the same time. Has this ever happened before?"

"During this January's FA Trophy fixture between Cambridge United and Eastbourne Borough, U's striker Danny Crow scored an own-goal to put Eastbourne 2-0 up before scoring two penalties at the correct end," writes Matt Ramsey. "Having watched the match DVD I was able to time the speed at which he scored at both ends, having scored the first penalty only 99 seconds after putting through his own net. Is this a record?"

"This season Atlético Madrid have reached the final of the Europa League, despite winning only two of their 14 European matches this season," notes Christopher Betteridge. "Have a side ever reached a major final by winning fewer matches than this?"

"Norwich's 3-0 away win at Bristol Rovers today means we've scored in every league away game for the entire season," writes Ffion Thomas. "How often has this feat been achieved?"

"With Bayern all but securing the Bundesliga title at the weekend, Arjen Robben has won four different league titles in four different European countries," says Kriz Walsh. "Aside from Mateja Kezman, have there been instances of other players winning four titles in four different countries, or even five?"

Send your questions and answers to knowledge@guardian.co.uk


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April 08 2010

Drawn to the beautiful game

From Picasso's pet monkey to the innocence of dreams Premier League stars turn to self-portraiture to raise money for charity

Wayne Rooney is the Picasso of English football, or at least Picasso's pet monkey, left in the studio one afternoon with some new felt pens while the master was at the bullfight, to judge from his self-portrait. He's come up with something quite unforgettable in its fauve use of colour. That free-drawn circle of a face, those massive red lips and almond eyes with huge blue discs of pupils … well, they're unforgettable as I say.

Rooney is one of 40-odd Premier League players who have drawn their self-portraits in a leather-bound album to be auctioned in support of the music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins.

Self-portraiture is a psychological as well as an artistic challenge. You sit there staring at yourself in the mirror, you try to recognise your true nature, to set it on paper and the result is … a stick man with a grin, in many of the drawings done by Premier League footballers. There is literally no introspection in most of these doodles. If anyone did see a dark and strange self in the mirror, it stayed there. The mood is the lads having a laugh on the coach. Everyone's making it clear this is a bit of a giggle.

Except maybe Steven Gerrard, whose blood-red self-image has the harrowing gauntness of a German expressionist painting, or a Scooby Doo monster. Somewhat less intense-looking is Mark Noble, standing there in an England strip with a big grin. The face is created with three dots and a curve. And to think Hergé, the creator of Tintin, is held up as a model of graphic brevity.

I wish I could comment on how Gerrard's Kafkaesque portrait and Noble's inane smile relate to their actual personalities, but I haven't seen a football match since the Guardian sent me to Wembley several years ago. I can't even remember who was playing, just the green of the pitch. I suffer from a rare condition called soccerlepsy: just a mention of the game can send me to sleep.

Many artists admire football, however, and see serious beauty in it. Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno's film Zidane: a Twenty-First Century Portrait is a remarkably intense vision of the human drama of a football hero. It doesn't look like any of these players wish to rival Gordon as 21st-century portraitists, but Jason Roberts gets the prize for Dubuffet-style Art Brut – actually channelling a nine-year -old boy – while Paul Robinson seems to be a fan of Mad magazine. Or perhaps he actually does look like the legendary kid on its cover. John Carew's effortful portrait leaning forward, with big head, is the most conventionally competent.

Some of these artists do show an introspective side, reaching inward to confess their dreams, and what innocent dreams they are. Marcus Hahnemann has caught a fish. Salomon Kalou shows himself holding the Cup, with the motto "I have a dream". But for the most inscrutably poetic of the bunch we come back to Rooney's mad genius.

His drawing is original in a completely unpretentious, and unhinged, way. Picasso would give him a monkey nut.

The auction is in London on Monday.

Jonathan Jones writes on art for the Guardian


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January 24 2010

Urbis sent off: Manchester cultural hub to become football museum

Preston sport archive to be set up in popular exhibition centre that drew 250,000 visitors a year

It has been innovative, eclectic and that rare thing: a post-millennium project success story. But now the finishing touches are being put to the final ­popular culture show at Manchester's Urbis – for the centre is about to be booted out for football.

Redundancy notices have gone out to two-thirds of the staff at the Manchester exhibition centre and the outgoing chief executive, Vaughan Allen, says the ­process has been akin to grieving.

"The thing is we haven't failed," Allen said. "Commercially, our current year will probably be our best ever ­trading year. It's very hard to say to people you've been a great success but we're going to make you redundant, we hope there will be a job for you in 12 to 18 months' time."

Urbis, it was generally felt, had found its feet. With 250,000 visitors a year coming to see its ever-changing self-curated shows on subjects ranging from Manga to video games to urban gardening, it was a success story.

That was not always the case. Urbis (Latin for "of the city") was built in 2002 and is easily one of the most ­visually striking buildings in Manchester, ­resembling a glass ski slope with an indoor funicular.

The original idea was for Urbis to be a museum of the city but few really knew what that meant. It became, like so many post-millennium projects, something of a white elephant. Four years ago, with the arrival of Allen, a former style journalist, that changed. "We banned the word museum. The word museum does mean things in cabinets, and we didn't have any," Allen said.

The focus shifted towards representing popular culture in all its forms – fashion, music, television, gardening and so on – and having lots of ­changing shows that would be "zeitgeisty" and surprising. "We got to a point after a couple of years where we suddenly ­realised what we had created was a ­Sunday ­supplement," said Allen.

It seemed to be working: visitor numbers rose steadily and the place was popular with a young demographic group.

Then football came along. The National Museum of Football in Preston was in serious financial trouble and on the verge of closure. Its trustees approached Manchester city council, the main funders of Urbis, in the summer, and things moved quickly. After its final exhibition, the building will close to reopen as the new football museum in the summer 2011.

Urbis was working, its reputation was growing, people said, but times were tough and, in terms of public spending, would get tougher. Wouldn't football, in the long run, be more bankable?

There were arguments. Ken Hudson, leader at Preston city council, said the football museum trustees had "given two fingers" to the people of Preston and Lancashire. Artists and people working in the creative industries in Manchester also complained, setting up Facebook campaigns against it. But the lure of football won.

It will not be a case of just transplanting the Preston exhibits to Manchester in the hope more people will be interested in seeing them; lessons must "be learned", drawing on the way Urbis ­handled popular culture, said Allen.

However, he is rueful. He hopes a property developer will consider a new version of Urbis elsewhere in the city. Or even in other places in the UK.

"The real victory would be, in two or three years, eight, 10, 12 galleries in Britain looking at popular culture … it is ludicrous that there are no other ­galleries really supporting or showing it," said Allen. "We shied away from ­taking an academic approach to a ­subject and we liked doing stuff that was still alive and still happening, and I think that's an attitude that will go over to football." The new football museum will certainly have enough subjects, Preston being home to both the Fifa and  FA collections.

Meanwhile, in the centre's main ­galleries, Urbis' head of creative programmes, Pollyanna Clayton-Stamm, is leading the mad rush to prepare the final show, a display on the "best of Urbis". Downstairs the hip-hop show continues, and upstairs a nostalgic look at ­Manchester TV is busy with people lounging on sofas watching Shameless, and Coronation Street.

Clayton-Stamm and her team will be working at the football museum. "I do have mixed feelings," she said. "But I am looking ­forward to it. There is a huge potential with football and we'll be bringing an Urbis take to it. We're going out on a high. Walking in to Urbis this morning and seeing all the galleries filled with exhibitions is an immense feeling, I'm so proud of what we have achieved."

In his notes for the final exhibition Allen refers to the best popular culture being "of the moment and short". He said: "You should always end with the public wanting more. The Jesus and Mary Chain got it right, they never played for more than 30 minutes."


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