Friday, December 06, 2013
Following yesterday’s stop-off in Le Havre, today we take the opportunity to linger in Normandy & thus feature the badge from the European football collection representing SM Caen, who also register on the favourite teams radar due to fond experiences & memories of the place & also, typically, the blue & red colour combination of the team’s kit, which always exerts a strong aesthetic attraction.
The club also bears a rather fabulous name, too, of course – 'Stade Malherbe': how could one fail to be seduced by a team’s association with the suggestion of a stadium of sick/bad grass? Surely, the club should have established twinning links back in the day with Derby County & the legendary mudbath that was their former home of the Baseball Ground (a ‘Stade Malherbe’ if ever there was)?
The modern design of the club crest is rather striking too, with the suggested football/’S’ emerging from the red & blue horizontal stripes, a nice touch of minimalist economy of communication.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
This badge from the European club collection features the rather modern crest representing the (or, rather, ‘Le’) Havre AC, the following of whose fortunes is not a little to do with having good friends resident in the city, with whom & where quality time has been spent. Add to this the fact that Le Harve was the place where our artistically-heroic Georges Braque grew up & studied & has a Rue named in his honour &, aesthetically, the rather groovy combination of sky & marine blue club colours & the affection goes a little deeper, even as fortunes on the pitch yo-yo between the top & second divisions of French domestic football (as ever, a mere, inconsequential detail).
Congratulations to the mighty Westerlo, already going well this season, but a point off the top of the Tweede Klasse & hopefully on course for a return to the top division, knocking Anderlecht out of the Belgian Cup on penalties last night, as just discovered in The Guardian's Results page: back of the net (& there's another badge we require).
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Today’s example from the football club badge collection features Panathinaikos of Athens, whose wonderfully exotic name & green kit rendered it impossible for them not to be favoured amongst the teams of Greece & indeed Europe: precisely which date they might have appeared on the radar cannot be recalled, but, as a keen student of the history of the European Cup, & given the club’s presence in the 1971 final of that competition, it must have been quite early doors in my football-following career.
Historically, in terms of trophy success, the second team in Greece, Panathinaikos feature most seasons in the continental club competitions, always a welcome addition although it would perhaps be good to see them at the business end of proceedings more often than in recent years, allowing for a pedigree that includes a further pair of European Cup/Champions League semi-finals. Whatever, they retain the affections of TOoT, where success on the pitch is always hoped-for but never a deciding factor in inspiring devotion.
In terms of the badge itself, the presence of the letter forms of the Greek alphabet obviously add to both its aesthetic appeal & exoticism.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
The origins of yesterday’s club badge found us in the Czech Republic & today we head east over the border into Slovakia, & the recently-acquired exhibit from the collection representing Spartak Trnava, to whom the attraction clearly began with the name - the fascination with the absence of vowels where one might be expected somewhere in the first half of ‘Trnava’ &, of course, the prefixing ‘Spartak’, which was (& remains) considerably more exotic than the domestic glut of prosaic Towns, Cities & Uniteds, for all that it is a fairly common occurrence amongst East European club names.
The geographical location in the then-Czechoslovakia (one of the very best country names, & one for which we experience pangs of ‘Ostalgie’) would have only added to the appeal to an impressionable youth, as I was at the time of discovery, which would have been early on in my Euro football-following days but just as Trnava had, alas, passed the peak of their run of domestic success (five times Czechoslovakian champions between 1968 – 1973, only missing out in 1970) & the height of their European profile (European Cup semi-finalists in 1969 & twice quarter-finals in 1973 & ’74), although the club have been regular participants in the UEFA Cup & subsequent Europa League over the course of this millennium to date, & the name still resonates, as the red & black striped shirts attract aesthetically.
Monday, December 02, 2013
This prized object from the collection represents the original Bohemians Praha, who folded in 2005, only to be soon resurrected (the successors being one of two current Czech clubs to be known, contentiously, under the name) & currently operating once again in the top division of domestic football.
As the club was known as Bohemians CKD Praha from 1965 – 93 (amongst many a name change over its lifespan), the pin badge’s vintage dates from this period, as historical artefact, with the object itself, & its lovely green, cream (aged from white) & gold colour scheme (like that, coincidentally, of the Lokomotiva Praha badge), being another of those tiny (particularly in this case), exquisite examples that cannot but help dandify a lapel.
The curiosity of the kangaroo emblem, in a Czech context, is, apparently, the result of a pair of the animals being presented to the club during a 1920s tour of Australia, which were subsequently donated to Prague zoo upon their return home.
Bohemians Prague would have appeared on the radar of continental football during the early 1980s, when the club reached the semi-finals of the 1982 – 83 UEFA Cup & won its solitary Czechoslovakian league championship during the same season.
The name itself has an obvious appeal, although being a more of a geographical-cultural fact than a signifier of arty unconventionality (for all that Antonin Panenka, the moustachioed king of the coolly chipped penalty to which he has given his name was a Bohemians player back in his day), & the green & white colours of the team’s strip ensured they would be ripe for a bit of favouritism, which, through various travails, prevails.
Sunday, December 01, 2013
Today’s exhibit from the football club badge collection features that object displaying the crest of Atlético Madrid, the original attraction to whom probably had a great deal to do with their kit of red & white striped shirts with blue shorts constituting one of THE great footy colour combinations: if it hadn’t registered before, perhaps pictured in Shoot!, the sight of this strip being sported by the team on a Panini Euro Football 1976-77 sticker must surely have clinched the deal & inspired a devotion to the cause of underdogs to the traditional Big Two of Spanish soccer that has endured to this day.
Following the club’s fortunes since has been the very epitome of a roller-coaster ride, the occasional peak of success being balanced by plenty of troughs & chaos, but recent years have seen a something of a golden period, with Atléti winning the Europa League in both 2010 & 2012, beating Internazionale in the European Super Cup play-off in 2010 (a classic win-win situation in terms of favourite continental teams) & triumphing in the Spanish Cup last season, gloriously overcoming their Madrid rivals in the final.
This season to date has continued in similar vein, with an unbeaten run in the Champions’ League & a storming start to the La Liga campaign (including another win the Madrid derby), with Saturday’s 2 – 0 victory at Elche allowing the team to draw level with Barcelona at the top of the table courtesy of the latter’s subsequent defeat to Bilbao, which is all rather exciting.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
The latest example from the collection is that representing the Grasshopper Club of Zurich, whose name & classy blue & white halved shirts have appealed since first encounter back in the late 1970s, when the club faced Nottingham Forest in the European Cup.
The pin badge itself is another of the particularly miniature examples of the kind, that suggest a certain vintage (yet the graphic logo appears timelessly contemporary), to be subtly sported when the fancy takes.