Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Badge of the Day #55 (MSV Duisburg)

To end the year, today’s badge from the collection returns us to European football clubs & a suitably vintage object representing Germany’s MSV Duisburg, who, only after researching a little light Bundesliga history to support the reading of ‘Tor!’, Ulrich Hesse-Lichtenberger‘s ‘story of German football’, have relatively recently been revealed as the modern nomenclature of the club formerly known as ‘Meidericher SV’, as they were at the time of their being original members of the German national league in 1963 & until 1967.
Having been refused a licence to continue operating at the second level of German domestic soccer at the end of last season, MSV currently reside in the third tier, but still they remain one of the favourite names amongst the country’s teams, particularly those of the old West.

As can be appreciated from the badge, the ‘MSV’ logo that forms the central focus of the club’s emblem is of particularly striking design, much more art than might be associated with football, rendering the object a necessary addition to the collection for such aesthetic values & the dash of dandyism it suggests when sported upon a lapel.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Badge of the Day #54 (Hendon)

Another of the favoured non-League teams, again for as long as can be recalled, once more most likely for their green-sporting aesthetic qualities, today’s desirable & rather lovely object features the impressive crest of Hendon.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Badge of the Day #53 (F(f)lint Town United)

A contemporary object from the collection representing the football club of what is, essentially, the old home town in North Wales, site of all those double black lines & ‘pop art roadkill’ photographs & drawings of previous years here at TOoT.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Badge of the Day #52 (Stalybridge Celtic)

Today’s badge from the collection features another ornate crest in the form of that representing Stalybridge Celtic, very near neighbours of recently-featured Mossley (matches between whom constitute the great ‘Manchester’ derby) & another of the truly wonderful, romantic, ‘redolent’ names of non-League football, which they have been throughout almost their entire history although they did choose to grace the Football League for two seasons in the early 1920s before taking the massively mistaken decision to resign their place.
Whatever, & at whichever level of the pyramid the club might be playing, the name Stalybridge Celtic resonates & bestrides the football globe, at least as considered from the vantage point of TOoT, as this neat little piece of physical contextualization juxtaposes their badge beside those of Ferencváros & Atlético Madrid, comfortably existing on the same plane & within the same orbit of favoured teams.

In terms of current fortunes, this season the ‘Bridge are bobbing along in the lower half of the Conference North table, which could be better, & today saw the team go down, disappointingly, to a 2 – 3 defeat at home to Colwyn Bay, although that might be considered something of an improvement on Boxing Day’s archetypal ‘too much Christmas pudding’ 0 – 5 tonking at Altrincham: let’s hope for a happier new year…

Friday, December 27, 2013

Badge of the Day #51 (Marlow)

The latest example in the badge collection features grand old Marlow, another of those for-whatever-reason irresistible names of English non-League football to whom we pin our supportive affections & have for some considerable time, whatever the ups & downs of the team’s fortunes.
When one observes the representation of the swan that forms a significant aspect of the club’s emblem, & considers the location of the town, on the Thames, artistic thoughts inevitably turn to Stanley Spencer & his depictions of ‘upping’.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Badge of the Day #50 (Mossley)

If we have a close second favourite non-League club here at TOoT, then the lovely name of Mossley is most probably it, & today’s badge represents the fine emblem of the mighty ‘Lilywhites’, one of the great northern teams, formerly Premier League champions who have slipped a way down the football pyramid since first coming to our attention but who nonetheless retain a place high in the affections.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Badge(s) of the day #48 & 49 (Gainsborough Trinity)

A Merry Christmas from TOoT to all our readers on this festive day, which features as its ‘Badge of’ not one but, with topical over-indulgence, a pair representing the mighty name of Gainsborough Trinity, the very favourite of our English Non-League clubs just because of, essentially, that wonderful, quintessentially English name, which seems redolent of an earlier, less hyperbolic & nonsensical period in football’s history, yet resonates down the years from when, during the early twentieth century, the club were members of the actual Football League (from which they were scandalously & utterly unwarrantedly excluded in 1912).

The badges themselves obviously feature two periods of design history, representing, to the right, the current club crest &, left, an earlier version, what is desirable to consider as being from the 1970s, such are the aesthetic inclinations hereabouts.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Badge of the Day #47 (Boca Juniors)

Today the opposite of tomato is Mirko Slomka

Following the badge-illustrated tour of TOoT’s favourite European football clubs, today sees a brief sojourn to South America & a celebration of an exquisite little obviously vintage object representing Boca Juniors, the name of whom would probably have come to consciousness during the summer of 1977, when England played a ‘friendly’ against Argentina at their Estadio La Bombonera.
The subsequent discovery that Boca sported a rather groovy kit of all blue with a yellow chestband, which colours are represented on the badge, along with the lighter blue & white of the Argentinian flag, obviously provided the necessary aesthetic impulse to follow their fortunes, which we do to this day.

Again, such an object, via its appearance, suggests a ‘hauntological’ quality attached to itself & imbued within.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Badge of the Day #46 (Dynamo Minsk)

Today’s featured object from the collection represents the last, for now, of the favourite European football clubs, in the form of by-no-means-least Dynamo Minsk, a city the name of which it has proved, over many years, impossible not to regard fondly, as it moved home to Belarus from its previous, originally-discovered situation within the former Soviet Union.

Dynamo would have come to attention late in 1983, courtesy of World Soccer magazine supplying evidence of their existence in rather grand style, reporting the reigning Russian champions’ plundering of a total of nine aggregate goals past our favourites Raba ETO Győr, six of which came away in Hungary (with three in reply, a fabulous scoreline), in a second round European Cup tie: evidently, despite such a disappointing result, no offence was taken & Minsk were welcomed into the fold of those to inspire affection & be supported, the eastern glamour of their name irresistible.
Subsequently, Dynamo fell at the quarter-final hurdle of that season’s European Cup, at the same stage of the following year’s UEFA Cup &, three years on, again in the quarter finals of the Cup-Winners’ Cup (to eventual winners KV Mechelen in a delightful tie), which proved to be the apogee of their profile in the continental club tournaments, despite subsequent regular forays into via their success in Belarussian domestic soccer, where their early pre-eminence has dimmed a little over the last decade but with no correlative consequences in our heart.

Regarding the badge itself, a large part of its desirable quality resides in the exoticism of the Cyrillic representation of ‘Minsk’, of course, but the physical nature of this object appeals in a particular manner, its unpolished metal ground appearing every inch the epitome of the utilitarian Soviet-era Communist product that its vintage suggests it very much is, & somewhat at variance with the flowing elegance of the ‘D’ logo, which regular visitors might recognise as being very similar in style to that of Dynamo Moscow’s emblem, suggesting something of an officially-sanctioned regularity of design applicable to or imposed upon any & all of the numerous ‘Dynamos’.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Badge of the Day #45 (Werder Bremen)

Well, one waits for ever for a diamond-format badge to turn up & then two do on consecutive days.
Today’s exhibit-on-canvas from the European club collection features the crest of Werder Bremen, represented particularly by that rather groovily-fonted ‘W’, another of those clubs originally favoured way back when primarily upon the discovery that they sported a green & white kit, but one of the very few former West German clubs to inspire any form of devotion, unlike their neighbours in the East, to whom we always seemed more kindly disposed & even now feel that 'Ostalgie' for.

Werder have somehow been regarded as being possessed of a certain raffish charm, due in no small part to the sheer amount of goals that regularly occur in their matches, scored both by & against, rather than any sustained success on the pitch, yet they have had their moments, domestically & in continental competition, maintaining a certain profile, & continue to inspire affection, even in the light of a particular recent appalling result.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Badge of the Day #44 (Dynamo Moscow)

This latest example from the European club collection displays a formal novelty in its diamond shape, simply & classily representing Dynamo Moscow, with the vintage yet timelessly elegant flourish of the ‘D’, & their home city proclaimed in always-irresistible Cyrillic lettering, giving that cachet of east European exoticism to the crest & the object of the badge itself, another to be worn upon the lapel with an air of understated cool.

Again, there’s always been something appealing about the east European penchant for those ‘Machine Age’ modernist names, to quote such Muscovite examples as ‘Dynamo’ & ‘Spartak’ & ‘Lokomotiv’, which are inherently so much more, er, dynamic than the prosaicism of the preponderance of the domestic English Uniteds, Towns & Cities, enlivened by but precious few alternatives of nomenclature – whatever the reality, the ideas seem seductively romantic, which illustrated example proves the point.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Badge of the Day #43 (Internazionale)

Today’s smart & stylish exhibit from the European football club collection represents our beloved Internazionale of Milan, perhaps TOoT’s most favourite team in the world, whose classy blue & black strip seduced from first encounter & to whom devotion was especially rewarded with their Champions’ League triumph in 2010, a glory night indeed.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Badge of the Day #42 (Ararat Yerevan)

Today the opposite of tomato is a distant, irresponsible armchair

This particular artefact from the pin badge collection features Armenia’s very own Ararat Yerevan, a name first encountered & instantly seduced by late in 1975, when, representing the USSR of which they were then a part, & as Soviet Cup holders, they played against West Ham United, alas in a losing cause, in the Cup-Winners’ Cup second round: one recalls how, during the BBC radio commentary, all the players’ names seemed to end in –ian, such as Petrosian, etc, which sounded sufficiently different to be most intriguing.

On an expansively-related point, what a fabulous line-up of entrants the dear old, much lamented CWC had that season, also including, as the field did, yesterday’s-featured Borac Banja Luka, Stal Rzeszów, Haladás Vasutas Szombathely, Spartak Trnava, Reipas Lahti, Panathinaikos, Atletico Madrid, Wrexham &, most certainly not least, East Germany’s mighty Sachsenring Zwickau amongst its great names & favourites, a veritable fantasy roll-call of the could-have-been-hand-picked.

To return to Ararat Yerevan, following the previous season’s run to the quarter finals of the European Cup, that Cup-Winners’ Cup second round appearance, to all intents & purposes, saw the zenith of Ararat’s profile in continental club football, & since the collapse of the Soviet Union, their domestic success has, an initial Armenia League championship apart, been limited to regular Cup victories through the 1990s & another in 2008, although, going into this mid-seaon winter shutdown, Ararat head the league with an 8-point advantage, which is rather good & quite a turn-around following last season’s second-bottom finish.

Whatever the vicissitudes of on-field fortunes, of course, it’s things like club names & colours that really matter in the affection stakes, & Ararat Yerevan’s is one that has endured & will undoubtedly. The badge itself, acquired from where was advertised as being Scunthorpe but actually arriving postmarked from Lithuania, is, aesthetically, a rare delight & another of those hauntologically rich Soviet-era vintage objects, displaying the Cyrillic versions of both the Russian & Armenian forms of the club’s name, in addition to a representation of the mountain after which Ararat are named, which of course is so much more imaginative than the English preference for Towns, Cities & Uniteds.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Badge of the Day #41 (Borac Banja Luka)

This latest exhibit from the European club collection features the fabulous Borac Banja Luka, another former-Yugoslavian name of such lovely exoticism that proved impossible to resist upon encounter, which would surely have been around the time the club made its inaugural appearance in continental competition in the 1975-76 Cup-Winners’ Cup, being eliminated in the second round by eventual winners Anderlecht, who went on to break the mighty Wrexham’s hearts in the quarter-finals (how, in a parallel universe, a tie against Borac would have stirred the passions & imagination).

As with the other badge-collecting-worthy clubs, Borac Banja Luka’s is a name that once lodged in the consciousness has proved to be enduring, their fortunes kept an eye on & followed whatever they may be, & another, being discovered as then-Yugoslavian, that still provides a little pang of ‘Ostalgie’ for a particular time which the object of the badge itself recalls in the vintage of its 'creamy' appearance & its aesthetic, representing as it does the Yugoslav-era club crest, with the name emblazoned across the red-starred tricolour. In this aspect, the badges of the east European teams particularly most certainly possess a distinctly ‘hauntological’ character, imbued as they are with the memory of the presence of the post-war Soviet bloc & the sheer intriguing ‘behind the Iron Curtain’ mystery, as mediated, of the football teams & players from.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Badge of the Day #40 (Sparta Praha)

With reference to yesterday’s post, & its rigorous one-club supporting philosophy as applied to the city of Istanbul, today’s example from the football pin badge collection represents Sparta Praha - &, as it were, the other side of the coin - who are one of but four teams from Prague to inspire a certain affection, albeit of subtly varying degrees (& of course, we also have the ‘Ostalgie’ for the recently-discovered former Lokomotiva Praha to factor-in now, too).

There must be something in the air of those great east-central European capitals, the romantic aspect of them or the idea(l) of them, but, again, the very name of Sparta Praha, & their dark, wine-red shirts, seduced from early encounter & has resonated since, always hoping that they will emerge victorious from a European match (unless playing against a more-favourite team, of course, when at least a thrillingly close-fought match is to be desired) & be at the forefront of the domestic competitions, which they often are & historically have been.

To the badge itself, which, as can be appreciated, is a classy little number, another object of desire, representing a certain vintage of the club’s crest, with its red star encircled within the dark blue band upon which sits the proud native name of ‘AC Sparta Praha’ in gold: nice.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Badge of the Day #39 (Galatasaray)

Today’s exhibit from the European club collection features Galatasaray, another of those exotically-named & -kitted teams (yellow & red halved shirts – like a Turkish take on Partick Thistle) that early-on in one’s personal football-following history exerted an irresistible attraction which has endured to this day.
Unlike, for instance, Budapest, Prague & Moscow, where there’s an affection felt for a number of those cities’ clubs, even if one or other is slightly favourite, there’s definitely only one team of the numerous in Istanbul, & that’s Gala.

As the most domestically successful of Turkish clubs, Galatasaray invariably appear in the European tournaments, & mostly to a certain stage of advancement, so their profile maintains a level of high visibility, but one recalls especially the night they won the UEFA Cup, in 2000, emerging victorious from a penalty shoot-out after hapless Arsenal had squandered what seemed like enough goalscoring opportunities to have won 10 matches, a triumph to savour all the more in such circumstances, somehow.

Although this particular badge doesn’t have anything of that especially desirable vintage quality to it, still it represents the stylish design of the club crest, with the swan-like ’S’ intertwining with the ‘G’ in those red & yellow colours, another object to be sported in dandy fashion.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Badge of the Day #38 (Haladás Szombathely)

Today’s object from the collection represents a moment in the history of Haladás of Szombathely, whom I recall first appearing on the radar as Haladás Vasutas, an instantly-attractive name, most probably as a result of the club’s appearance in the 1975-76 Cup-Winners’ Cup, for which tournament they’d qualified as runners-up in the previous season’s Hungarian Cup (Haladás were then & remain trophyless), their first of only two forays into European competition.
Whatever, & however feint Haladás’s stamp on continental football has been, the name has remained in mind & it was good to encounter & subsequently acquire what is a rather lovely vintage pin badge, in the form of the then-current version of the club’s crest from whenever that might have been, featuring as it does their always-enticing green & white colours: again, it’s an object obviously with a certain history that renders it intriguing in addition to its aesthetic effect, intensified by its innate ‘Hungarian-ness’.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Badge of the Day #37 (FC Barcelona)

The latest exhibit from the football club badge collection represents FC Barcelona, another of the clubs to register early on the radar, during the course of a losing 1974-75 European Cup semi final against Leeds United, not least because they were sporting a rather interesting dark blue & dark red kit, with striped shirts & hooped socks.
The following season, Barca again lost a semi-final to English opposition, this time against Liverpool in the UEFA Cup, thus establishing a pattern of bridesmaidship that obviously elicited a certain sympathy which grew into affection over the years through various successes, mostly in the Cup-Winners’ Cup, & near-misses, the latter infamously including the abject penalty-kicks defeat to Steaua Bucharest in the 1986 European Cup Final under the stewardship of ‘El Tel’.

It’s instructive to consider how football fortunes can ebb & flow, in the midst of the current delightful team’s domestic & continental pre-eminence over the last 7 or 8 years, that Barcelona won La Liga only twice between 1960 & 1991 (once each in the 70s & 80s), & didn’t actually triumph in the European Cup until 1992 & then not again until beating Arsenal in the 2006 now-Champions’ League Final: whatever, they’ve long been one of TOoT’s particular favourites of the high-profile teams, not least for that aesthetic combination of red & blue, along with the Catalan flag, as represented on the crest, upon the badge, which is a suitably colourful addition to the lapel.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Badge of the Day #36 (Stal Rzeszów)

Today’s example features Stal Rzeszów, perhaps one of the more obscure clubs to feature in the football pin badge collection.
For the past few seasons inhabiting the middle regions of the Polish second division, Stal Rzeszow came to my attention in 1975-76 as a result of being drawn to play Wrexham in the second round of that season’s Cup-Winners’ Cup, at what was in effect the zenith of their profile (the one trophy success in their history being the 1975 Polish Cup which qualified them for that one & only entry into European competition) then to disappear completely from the radar during their subsequent descent down the Polish league structure (the end of that season saw them relegated from a single-season sojourn in the top flight - where they’d also spent a more sustained period from 1962-72, having gradually risen from the lower reaches - to be followed a year later by another demotion to the third tier, & bar one term spent even further down at the fourth level, the second & third divisions are where the club’s time has been divided since).

Whatever the ups & downs of those imposters success & failure, however, the name of Stal Rzeszow remained in the memory, & the striking design of the club’s crest as represented on & shaping the form of the little badge made the latter an object of desire upon encounter with it, a necessary & welcome addition to the collection.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Badge of the Day #35 (Zenit St Petersburg)

Featured from the collection today is the badge representing Zenit St Petersburg, one of the more glamorous names of Russian soccer, &, indeed, as upwardly mobile as could be, one might say, something reflected in the club’s performance over the last 6 or 7 years, the most successful in their history.
As represented on the club’s crest, the Cyrillic-scripted form of the name has a certain modern elegance, or elegant modernism, to it, enhanced by the exoticism of the accompanying text & the sky blue & white colour combination, making the badge another ‘must-have’.

Last night Zenit hardly covered themselves in glory in losing 1 – 4 to Austria Wien (yet still managing to scrape through the group stage of the Champions’ League – exactly the sort of thing that gives a lie to such a name, riddled as the second round draw of that tournament will be with also-rans), but there was a nice coincidence in that A & I were at that very time nestled snugly in the cinema, enjoying the lovely film ‘Museum Hours’, itself set in Vienna & providing many an intriguing glimpse of the city, old & modern, in grey winter light & snow, which could be considered to be the fourth member of the cast, after the two human leads & the Kunsthistorisches Museum of the title (& its wonderful collection of art, of course – ah, the Rembrandts).

On the subject of the human cast, intriguing it was to encounter Mary Margaret O’Hara in one of her acting roles, her true identity given away on the occasions in the narrative when she sings, to herself & comatose cousin, a reminder of the wonders of her voice as experienced on her/the one & only ‘Miss America’ album, which remains within the TOoT vinyl LP collection, surely destined for a turntable spin very soon now.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Badge of the Day #34 (Artmedia Petržalka)

This latest exhibit from the football club badge collection features Artmedia Petržalka, of Slovakia, as the club now named FC Petržalka 1898 were known during the period 1993-2004 & again between 2007-09 (inbetween times, as Artmedia Bratislava, the club famously thrashed Celtic 5-0 in the first leg of a Champions’ League qualifying tie at the beginning of Gordon Strachan’s managerial reign in Glasgow, & proceeded in the tournament despite a 0 – 4 reverse in the return).

Again, sounding somewhat like the title of a creative college course (although in fact the sponsoring advertising agency brand), & thus rather unusual in a football context, the name proved impossible not to be regarded with a certain affection, &, as an historical artefact, the badge itself, proclaiming the name, is an object of desire, especially with the accented Slovak typography which communicates that irresistible eastern European exoticism.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Badge of the Day #33 (Strømsgodset)

Today’s proud exhibit from the collection represents one of the truly great, iconic names in European club football, the mighty Strømsgodset of Drammen, of whom I became aware courtesy of their 0 – 11 loss to Liverpool in a first round match in the 1974-75 Cup-Winners’ Cup & have remained devoted to, obviously, ever since, such was the resonance of that fabulous Wagnerian name, with the exotically-accented ‘o’, intensified by the club’s home town, & that scoreline, guaranteed to inspire affection, admiration & support.
A subsequent visit to England, for a UEFA Cup tie in 1998, experienced via the magic of radio, saw Strømsgodset take a thrilling early 2-goal lead at Aston Villa & hold it for an hour before 3 late ripostes resulted heartbreakingly in a 2 – 3 defeat (even from the off, I never understood the concept of supporting English clubs in Europe, or being urged to favour them by the broadcast & print media, from a purely nationalistic standpoint), but such reversals of fortune only seem to strengthen the faith, which has been rewarded this year in particular as Godset, rather wonderfully, have but a month ago won the Norwegian Tippeligaen championship, by a mere point from Rosenborg Trondheim (another fine name, & who also registered early on the radar as they coincidentally shipped an aggregate of 12 goals to Hibernian in the 1974-75 UEFA Cup first round, as Strømsgodset were succumbing similarly to Liverpool), for only the second time in their history: what a lovely warm glow one feels (& watch out Champions’ League next season! The anticipation starts here…).

The badge itself, an object of profound desire finally acquired very recently, is a thing of aesthetic grandeur indeed, with the deep red & blue of the club’s crest offsetting the gold details to perfection, to be worn upon the lapel – as it is being today - with style & great pride. Note the accessorizing 'Nordic' patterned seasonally-sported tie, too: these outfits aren't just thrown together.


A deeply dispiriting article headline in The Guardian’ sports pages today – ‘Inside Bayern: a club’s bid for world domination’. Good God forbid, & shoot us now. And shame on Werder Bremen for their part in that 0 – 7 (at home!) at the weekend: the celebration of their badge will have to wait for the ignominy to wear off a bit…

Monday, December 09, 2013

Badge of the Day #32 (Hajduk Split)

Following on from yesterday’s post, today we present the latest exhibit from the European football club collection & that handsome badge featuring the crest of Croatia's finest, Hajduk Split, the other of the two irresistible-to-love names of 1970s Yugoslavian soccer, &, in the case of Hajduk, it certainly was the sheer exoticism of the name that appealed, as it still does, more than any other factor (although in those early years, one tended to represent it erroneously as ‘hadge-uk’, as Bob Wilson once memorably did during an edition of ‘Football Focus’). If Hajduk Split hadn’t emerged on the register by the time of the coming of the 1976-77 Panini Euro Football sticker album, they certainly would have on the occasion of.

The crest itself is both the current & former one of the club, featuring the chequered red & white squares of the Croatian flag, which always has a certain dandyesque aesthetic appeal, but, during the lifetime of the unified political entity, was replaced by the Yugoslav red star, the encircling legend ‘Hajduk Split’ remaining, which in itself is another badge to be desired, both aesthetically & from the familiar ‘Ostalgie’.

Regular participants in the European club competitions, thus keeping the name alive in one’s heart & mind, the team are currently tucked in second place domestically behind the perma-dominant Dinamo Zagreb, against whom Hajduk salvaged a stoppage time equaliser in their most recent league fixture, which, in an ideal world, might be the harbinger of a shift in power, although, of course, our devotion is never dependent upon on-field success, welcome as that might be.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Badge of the Day #31 (Red Star Belgrade)

The latest example from the football club collection is a subtle little Cyrillic-scripted vintage pin representing Red Star Belgrade, or, even more exotically, Crvena Zvezda, one of the two irresistible forces, in terms of inspiring devotion, of then-Yugoslavian soccer, a favourite team since very early days, such was the Communist glamour the name suggested.
Again, the club’s kit, the colour combination featuring on the crest, would have been another attractive factor – red & white striped shirts with red shorts & socks, indisputably iconic.

Over the course of the 1970s & 80s, Red Star were one of the major names in European football, regularly featuring in the latter stages of the club competitions – often quarter-finalists, losing European Cup semi-finalists, remarkably so (considering a 4 – 1 first leg lead), to Panathinaikos in 1971, semi-finalists in the Cup-Winners’ Cup in my inaugural football-following season of 1974–75 (losing to the even more favourite Ferencvaros) & beaten finalists in the 1979 UEFA Cup – before eventually achieving the ultimate in winning the European Cup in 1991, the televised final of course a must-watch event.
That the match itself, against Olympique Marseille, was settled on penalties after an uninspiring, attritional & ultimately goalless two hours of ‘play’ mattered not – Red Star Belgrade had won the European Cup, a fabulous achievement by a favourite club.

As the artificial construct of Yugoslavia teetered, so that victorious team broke up immediately &, sadly, the subsequent years have proved a much harsher environment for Crvena Zvezda, but still the name resonates mightily, the red star burning brightly in one’s heart & the sky above TOoT Towers, not least this weekend following yesterday evening’s league win against Vojvodina, coincidentally another name to inspire a certain (but hierarchically lesser) affection, in recognition of which a badge might be acquired.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Badge(s) of the Day #29 & 30 (Karpaty Lvov/Lviv)

Today’s pair of pin badges from the still-expanding European football collection feature the same club under subtly changed, modernized identities: Karpaty Lvov, as they were Russian Soviet-style (& remain in the Ostalgic heart of TOoT), & Lviv as they are now known in their native, harsher-looking Ukrainian.

Other than a solitary Soviet Cup victory, in 1969, tangible success has eluded the club, yet, for whatever reason, a sticker bearing a team photograph of Karpaty Lvov featured in the ‘SSSR’ pages of the 76-77 Panini Euro Football album that I owned, a free gift courtesy of Shoot! magazine (an entirely random reason, it would seem, but very fortuitously, for Karpaty were only one of three teams whose sticker was included but who weren’t present in any of the three continental club competitions that particular season: fellow Russians Torpedo Moscow & Young Boys Berne of Switzerland being the other two), attempted to fill back in its day & have subsequently acquired a completed copy of, for nostalgia’s sake, &, somehow, stuck – again, the exotic difference of the name (& I’d have surely consulted the atlas to locate Lvov, nerdy as I was & remain, noticed the proximity of the Carpathian Mountains & made the connection) must have sparked an enthusiasm that became devotion, especially as it became apparent the club’s colours were green & white as featured on the sticker image, one of the very favourite aesthetic combinations.
Given this latter fact, the newer club crest as represented on the badge is a fine thing, the badge thus an object of desire, more so with its Cyrillic lettering, acquired from the good people of eurofussball.net in Germany.
The vintage Soviet-era Karpaty Lvov badge is, of course, a magnificent historical artefact, devoid of the frippery of colour, its weathered patina appearing, however fancifully or romantically, as though the object might conceivably have been disinterred from burial deep within a Carpathian forest - the pines of which feature in relief upon its form - since the fall of the Soviet Empire, although it actually came via an ebay seller in Shrewsbury.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Badge of the Day #26 (SM Caen)

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

Badge of the Day #25 (Havre AC)

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

Badge of the Day #24 (Panathinaikos)

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

Badge of the Day #23 (Spartak Trnava)

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

Badge of the Day #22 (Bohemians Praha)

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

Badge of the Day #21 (Atlético Madrid)

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

Badge of the Day #20 (Grasshoppers Zurich)

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.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Badge(s) of the Day #18 & 19 (Vasas & Raba ETO Győr)

Today the opposite of tomato is listening to 'Bap-De-La-Bap' on the walk to work

Today’s pair of related exhibits from the European football club pin badge collection again features a Hungarian club, although on this occasion moving out from concentration on Budapest to the provinces, & specifically Győr, a city whose team has undergone many a name change over the years since its formation in 1904.

Hence, these rather lovely vintage objects represent, respectively, Vasas ETO, as they were known from 1957 – 65, & then Raba ETO, from 1965 – 85, during which latter period they won, consecutively in 1982 & ‘83, two of the four Hungarian championships to the club’s name: it would have been at this time that Raba would have come to my attention, courtesy of the discovery of & a subscription to World Soccer magazine, as something of an exotic name to be admired & supported, aided by the team’s sporting of green & white colours, which invariably helps in aesthetic terms.
The internet discovery & subsequent ‘must-have’ acquisition of the Raba badge, indeed, has proved to be the catalyst for the collection itself, so it occupies a special position all of its own in this regard, as the striking Art Deco-esque design of its form & typography marks it out as something particularly fine & glamorously different.

Delving back into history, the club’s first championship was achieved in 1964, thus under the Vasas banner, who subsequently reached the semi-finals of the European Cup the following spring, unfortunately to succumb to Benfica: had Vasas prevailed, as in an ideal world they should, what a fantasy final it would have constituted, versus our beloved Internazionale.

Coming up to date, the presently &, alas, more prosaically-named Győri ETO (although they’ll always remain ‘Raba’ here at TOoT) are Hungary’s reigning champions, although currently somewhat off the pace in the defence of their title, a situation compounded by last weekend’s surprising 0 – 3 defeat at then second-bottom Mezőkövesdi (which, new to the scene, is another in the seemingly endless supply of wonderful Hungarian names), which result enabled the victors to leapfrog MTK in the league table (see Monday's #14).

Stop the Presses,
for an announcement has been made concerning the coming availability of a new Moon Wiring Club musical release, entitled 'A Fondness for Fancy Hats', in both CD & tape cassette form.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Badge of the Day #17 (Valkeakosken Haka)

This latest example from the collection features Valkeakosken Haka, one of the finest & loveliest names in Finnish football (good, attractive ones of which there have been a fair few over the years in a swiftly-changing landscape of club nomenclature), indeed perhaps second only to the late & much-lamented Kuusysi Lahti.

Again, the club logo, as represented on the badge, was a most stylish one back at the time of the particular vintage of the object’s manufacture (possibly the 1970s), although something less so appears to have superseded it as the club was rebranded ‘FC Haka', depending where one researches (the Finnish FA website, for instance, which one would assume to be informed & current, displays a Haka emblem like that on the badge): whatever, this particular badge is a handsome little object, to be sported with pride & in celebration & support of one of the more obscure corners of European football.

In common with any number of the favourite clubs scattered across the continent, Haka have been subject to the vicissitudes of football fortunes in recent seasons (literally in financial terms), from winning championships to suffering relegation from the Finnish ‘Veikkausliiga’ in 2012, this year finishing second in the 2nd level ‘Ykkönen’ & thus, alas, failing to secure an immediate return to the top flight, but devotion to the name & cause endures.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Badge of the Day #16 (Slavia Praha)

Today’s exhibit from the European football club pin badge collection is another suitably vintage object, representing Slavia Praha, our particular favourite of the Prague clubs by dint of their wonderful red & white halved shirts with the red star emblem, as reflected in the design of the pin badge: that they are one of the great, enduring names of Czech football with a proud, successful history is a mere detail, as is the fact the team currently languish second-bottom of the Gambrinus Liga following last weekend’s 0 – 3 defeat at Slovácko, although that’s obviously a situation that needs to be improved quickly, as the name of Slavia has been a welcome regular feature in the European club competitions in recent seasons.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Badge of the Day #15 (Trabzonspor)

Today’s badge from the collection features Trabzonspor of Turkey, the intriguing name of whom first appeared on the radar when beating Liverpool 1 -0 in the first leg of a Second Round tie in the 1976 – 77 European Cup, although this lead was subsequently overturned on aggregate by Liverpool on their way to winning the trophy for the first time that season. Had the Trabz prevailed, a Quarter Final meeting with Saint-Etienne would have provided an aesthetic spectacle indeed, at least in terms of the clubs’ colours, even allowing for the breathtaking nature of the football in, or the event of, the second leg of the actual, classic Liverpool – Saint-Etienne tie.

Considering the object of the badge itself, the Trabzonspor emblem is rather an elegant one, with the sinuously flowing light blue ‘TS’ on the claret ground, a little Art Nouveau perhaps, & another to be sported in dandy fashion (rather nice against the lapel of a grey suit jacket, for instance).

Monday, November 25, 2013

Badge of the Day #14 (MTK Budapest)

The origins of the latest exhibit from the football pin/badge collection finds us returning to Hungary, & the third of the favoured clubs from Budapest, the mighty MTK (Magyar Testgyakorlók Köre), of whom there has always seemed something of the grandly romantic, & stately, resplendent as the team are in their besashed blue & white shirts, as reflected in the design of the insignia & badge itself, which, in this vintage instance, is very much a small object of desire, another exquisite thing to be treasured, & on occasion dandily sported upon the lapel.

The appearance of such a badge suggests history (& of course one wonders of the life of such an object, being obviously of a certain age), & that of MTK is indeed a proud one, the club having been crowned Hungarian champions on 23 occasions (first in 1904 & twice this millennium, a tribute to their enduring profile), & being the country’s first representatives (at the time known as Vörös Lobogó) in the fledgling European Cup, although the limits of their continental success were reached in losing the replayed 1964 Cup-Winners’ Cup Final to Sporting Lisbon (& what a resonant fixture that seems).

The current season has begun slowly, shall we say, with yesterday’s 2- 2 draw (disappointingly, from 2 – 0 up) at basement club Kaposvári Rákóczi (now that's a good name) providing only the 14th point from 15 league games & dropping MTK to third-bottom in the table, but hope, of course, springs eternal (a third consecutive draw at least constitutes an unbeaten sequence, of sorts), as endures devotion.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Badge of the Day #13 (Saint-Etienne)

This latest object from the European club badge collection represents Saint-Etienne, whose green-shirted wonderfulness (& we do like our greens) seduced upon first encounter in the mid-70s (heartbreakingly defeated by the dreadful Bayern Munich – the soul of whom even Pep Guardiola will be unable to locate, let alone save - in the 1976 European Cup Final) & has endured to the extent that ‘Les Verts’ have remained by far the most-favoured French club since.

However the club’s European profile might have waned since those heady days, & domestic success largely proved elusive over recent years, still there’s a frisson when the team win, as they have today, with a 1- 0 victory in Ligue 1 at Nice: nice.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Badge of the Day #12 (KRC Genk)

Today’s badge from the expanding collection features the magical (by their own admission) KRC Genk, a name that simply appeals a great deal.
Genk are a relatively new name on the European football map, having been formed in 1988 from a merger of Winterslag & Waterschei Thor Genk, who, respectively, one recalls playing against Arsenal (beating) & Aberdeen (losing to) in continental club competitions in the early 80s, but quickly established themselves as a force to be reckoned with, not least in TOoT’s affections, where today they occupy an elevated position indeed.

Such is the nature of football devotion that it tends not to be especially shaken even in the face of an apparently testing result like this evening’s ‘what the heck?’ 0 – 4 defeat for Genk (starting the day in second place in their league) at previously-struggling Oostende, what one might term a rather bracing visit to the coast, but, still, they really must do better.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Badge of the Day #11 (Wisła Kraków)

Another object from the collection of European football club lapel pin badges, & a particularly exquisite example at that, of an apparent vintage that renders it all the more appealing.
Representing Wisła Kraków, one of the wonderful & favourite names of Polish soccer, there’s something especially aesthetically satisfying about the blue sash bisecting the red shield, the simple purity of the white star upon the deep, rich blue, & the accent through the ‘l’ of the ‘Wisła’: classy, & timeless.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Badge of the Day #10 (Ajax Amsterdam)

Today’s prized object from the collection represents the mighty Ajax of Amsterdam.
Unfortunately, I took up an interest in football just after Ajax had enjoyed their great era of European dominance in the early 70s, but that hasn’t prevented an historical appreciation of the wonder of that particular feat or a continuing fascination with & favouritism for what is, obviously, Holland’s greatest, grooviest club & also one of the most admirable in Europe, who would be welcome to contest at least a semi-final of the so-called Champions’ League in any given season.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Badge of the Day #9 (Bodø/Glimt)

The latest exhibit from the European football club collection represents the graphically striking logo & rather fabulous name of Norway’s very own Bodø/Glimt, one of those that proved seductive upon first encounter & has endured as a favourite, second only in domestic terms to the mighty Stromsgodset, since.
Although not necessarily one of the most successful powerhouses of Norwegian soccer (not that this matters a jot in the affection & supporting stakes - we're so far from being glory-hunters here at TOoT), a couple of Cup wins apart, the club's occasional forays into the continental competitions are always welcome.

Outside of the purely footballing sphere (for we are rounded individuals here), the geographical fact that the town of Bodø, with, linguistically, its cool accent bisecting the ultimate ‘o’, is located, thrillingly remotely, a little beyond the Arctic Circle (although not as far north as Tromso) only adds to the allure.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Badge of the Day #8 (Spartak Brno)

Today’s choice of European football club pin badge from the currently being-acquired collection features the rather lovely red, white & blue design (dig that diagonal) representing Spartak Brno, an historical name covering the period 1956-68 for the club that either side of those dates was & again contemporarily is known as Zbrojovka, which is rather irresistible in itself.
Again, the vintage of the badge only serves to make it more attractive.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Badge of the Day #7 (RWD Molenbeek)

This latest exhibit from the European football club badge collection features another departure from the predominantly eastern preoccupation thus far, today heading west to Belgium & the exceedingly prized object-of-desire representing the mighty RWD Molenbeek, one of the truly magnificent names of continental soccer, seductive upon first encounter all those years ago when they were included amongst the Results pages of an October 1974 edition of Shoot! magazine, in the process then of eliminating Dundee, on a 5 – 2 aggregate, from the first round of that season’s UEFA Cup competition, & enduring since as a perennial favourite.

In the notably fleeting landscape of Belgian football club formations & nomenclature, RWD Molenbeek as a club/name in itself existed from 1973 - 2002, formed from a merger of two clubs – Racing White & Daring Brussels, the former itself being a previous melding of Racing Brussels & White Star – into something eminently more Molenbeekishly glamorous.
Subsequently, a supporters’-created club bearing the name RWDM 2003 was (re)born (currently sitting at the foot of their division with 8 points from 11 games which have resulted thrice already in concessions of 5 goals & once of 6, about which there's something rather noble), but there also now exists an RWDM Brussels, previously known as FC Brussels, whose name has gradually evolved over the years since KFC Strombeek moved into the dissolved original RWDM’s stadium (which both of these clubs now call home) & then became known as FC Molenbeek Brussels Strombeek(!).
Whatever such complications & confusions, here at TOoT (which itself underwent a rebranding, of course!) it’s the original RWD Molenbeek to which we’re attached as exotic-romantic-wonderful name.

Actually, given all this, we’re seriously considering FC TOoT Molenbeek as a viable re-rebranding of the blog at this very moment of writing…

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Badge of the Day #6 (Vasas Budapest)

Today featuring Vasas SC of Budapest, one of the truly great romantic names of Hungarian & European football: pressed as to precisely why this might be the case, I wouldn’t be able to offer a more plausible explanation than simply ‘because’, but that matters not, of course.
If memory serves, I seem to recall the name of Vasas first appearing on the radar via a feature in a mid-70s Shoot! annual (or similar publication), detailing 1973 FA Cup winners Sunderland’s subsequent European adventure, that began, alas, with a victory over Vasas in Budapest & on aggregate (before ending in defeat at the next stage to the mighty Sporting Lisbon, but what a shame European football was denied the aesthetic of another Vasas – Sporting encounter, as not unattractive as the colours of the Sporting – Sunderland tie were).

Again, there’s an engaging vintage to the object itself, appropriate to the glamour of the Vasas name & the grandeur of the capital cities of Mitteleuropa, representing as it does the club’s blue & red colours with the fabulously elegant logo, a triumph of design (just take the time to admire the manner in which the large ‘S’ serves both the ‘Vasas’ & the ‘SC’, & the minimalism of the inverted ‘V’s of the ‘A’s, sheer perfection), in gold.

Drawing Material...

Today’s Gang of Four-fuelled walk in the woods (& crikey, ‘Entertainment’ endures as a fine album, supplemented by its related single releases, crackling with edgy energy) resulted in an encounter with what is, essentially, a large stick of charcoal inserted into a hole in the ground, a most attractive object, here as photographed in the round from a variety of angles, & then as smudged on the fingers…