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…

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Badge of the Day #5 (Lokomotiva Praha)

Today’s badge from the growing collection represents the previously-unknown (until the recent activity of badge-acquiring began) Lokomotiva Praha, a club no longer in existence as such but instead currently going under the name of Loko Vltavin, who, under whichever brand, appear to have operated somewhat below the highest echelons of Czech football, which relative obscurity only adds to the(ir) appeal.

Whatever the changes in nomenclature, this particular Lokomotiva Praha pin badge, however, endures, an historic object no less (as, indeed, a number of the badges are, names &, sometimes, crests having moved on with the passage of time), & is an exquisite little thing, its cream (presumably once white) & green colour scheme certainly imbuing it with a vintage, nostalgic quality, perhaps rather like the livery of an old-fashioned bus, to be sported on the lapel with quiet pride in the face of the modern world.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Badge of the Day #4 (Sporting Lisbon)

Today’s exhibit from the European football club lapel badge collection features another of the not inconsiderable number sporting our favoured green & white livery, the colours of the mighty & beloved Sporting Clube de Portugal, Sporting Lisbon.
I can’t recall exactly when the attraction & devotion to Sporting dates from, but they did happen to win what has thus far proved to be their only European club trophy, the late & much-missed (at least at TOoT) Cup-Winners’ Cup, in 1964 (beating the also-favoured MTK Budapest 1 – 0 in the replayed Final following an initial 3 – 3 draw which must have been a fabulous end-to-ender: it obviously enthused at least some of the Belgian public, with 19,000 turning out to witness the second match after a tragically paltry but very lucky 3,000 had attended the first), but a few months before my birth: whatever, the club’s green & white hooped shirts with black shorts combo exerts a powerful aesthetic appeal.

This particular badge relates to yesterday’s entry in that it arrived by post all the way from Dnepropetrovsk, of all places, as its addressing & stamping bears witness &, within, wrapped in a Cyrillic-printed sheet for added exoticism & continental kudos. Needless to say, Sporting v Dnepr would make a most desirable European club competition fixture, any day of the week.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Badge of the Day #3 (Dnepr Dnepropetrovsk)

And so the exhibition of items from the collection continues, today featuring the badge & mighty name indeed of Dnepr Dnepropetrovsk, which must have come to attention in 1984-85 when the club’s European profile was at its highest – they reached that season’s European Cup quarter-final stage, only to be eliminated on penalties by Bordeaux following two 1 – 1 draws - during the period of the club’s zenith of domestic success in the Soviet Union during the 1980s (twice champions & twice runners-up in the league).

Again, 'Ostalgie' features here, at least in terms of nomenclature, with the Russian/Soviet-era ‘Dnepr’ enduring in preference to the subsequent Ukrainianization into ‘Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk’.
Of course, a cyrillic-scripted badge is going to be attractive for its ‘difference’ in a Western context, so this feature, in addition to the fabulous name, makes the object one very much of desire.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Badge of the Day #2 (Velež Mostar)

Presenting the second in the series of recently-acquired European football lapel badges, on this occasion featuring another of the clubs encountered during that initiatory-revelatory season of 1974-75, Velež Mostar, then of Yugoslavia (for which we, here at TOoT, inevitably suffer pangs of 'Ostalgie') but latterly & now more locally of Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Velež obviously registered on the radar courtesy of their UEFA Cup Third Round clash with Derby County, from which they emerged triumphant on an aggregate of 5 - 4, overturning a 1 - 3 first, away, leg deficit in the process, which one assumes would have been a stirring comeback, albeit in apparently controversial circumstances, having reached that stage of the competition after eliminating two other favourite-to-be European teams in the form of Spartak Moscow & Rapid Vienna before succumbing in the Quarter Finals to eventual losing finalists Twente Enschede.
Subsequent seasons have failed to replicate a similar level of European club football success, & Velež have thus far not been able to achieve a level of eminence in Bosnian domestic soccer that they, for a period during the 1970s - 80s, managed in Yugoslavia, but still the very name exerts a powerful attraction.

In terms of the details of badge itself, the logo is a rather groovy one & the legend 'Fudbalski Klub' is another obvious attraction, adding that touch of East European exoticism, with 'fudbalski' being rather more poetic than mere 'football'.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Badge of the Day #1 (Ferencváros)

Premiering a device to at least get us blogging regularly here again, slight though it might be, & creatively productive as it isn't even remotely, today we present, individually, the first of the European football club badges featured in collected form yesterday.

Given the beginnings of this train of thought, it seems most appropriate to begin with the recently-acquired lapel pin badge representing the crest of the very wonderful Ferencváros, or, rather, to give them their full native due, Ferencvárosi Torna Club, of Budapest, the object being of a suitable vintage to inspire a nostalgia for when the mighty 'Fradi' featured amongst the higher echelons of not only Hungarian domestic soccer but also regularly at the business end of European club tournaments, winning the 1964-65 Fairs Cup & subsequently losing another final to Leeds United, a period that concluded, alas, just as I was developing an interest in the game, with the team's swansong appearance in the 1974-75 Cup-Winners' Cup Final, a 0 - 3 losing cause to Dynamo Kiev.
This defeat, however, occurred not before Ferencváros had eliminated not only Cardiff City & Liverpool from the competition but also the similarly glamorous Red Star Belgrade at the semi-final stage, a tie that constitutes, here at TOoT, one of the truly great match-ups across the map of European football, an aesthetically-delightful meeting of green & white against red & white.

Since, the years might have passed with varying degrees of domestic success, & ups & downs (to which the Budapest clubs in particular seem subject in the apparently ever-volatile environment of Hungarian domestic football), also including an appearance in the group stages of one of the earlier editions of the Champions' League (indeed, when that brave new world was the preserve only of champion clubs) that yielded the return of a fine 3 - 0 victory at Grasshoppers Zurich (another of the favoured clubs), a couple of draws & three good old-fashioned drubbings, including a pair of four-goal reverses at the hands of Ajax Amsterdam (& another of the particular favourites) on their way out of the tournament, yet the attraction & devotion to Ferencváros endures.

Coming right up to date, it was rather disappointing to discover that Ferencváros' latest fixture last Sunday resulted in a 0 - 3 defeat at home to Haladas Szombathely, this offset only slightly by the victors being amongst the collection of other but lesser favourites, but still the season is relatively young & there remains the opportunity to make up lost ground.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Still Life With Badges

objects on canvas

OK, this all sort of started as a consequence of the recent 'Teenage Armchair Ferencvaros Fan' post, when searching for images of some of the Hungarian teams mentioned to illustrate the text happened to return one such picturing a Raba ETO Gyor lapel pin badge, the like of which instantly became a must-have object of desire. Two months on, we appear to have something of a collection, still slowly burgeoning, here exhibited on canvas, with the addition of a few already-owned music-related badges (one indeed - the New Order one - that must be of a vintage of over 30 years), that, informed by Peter Blake's utilization of such iconography & representations of such objects, could also, perhaps, be considered a partial 'Self Portrait With Badges'.

Peter Blake 'Self Portrait With Badges' 1961 (detail)

Peter Blake 'Drum Majorette' 1957

In the manner that, via his self portrait, as a fan sporting the insignia of his passions, Blake pledges his allegiance, literally pinning his colours, to American culture (popular, political) rather than his native English one (although he is also flying a representation of the Union flag on his jacket, & Blake's 'Drum Majorette' does feature at least a couple of European footballers amongst the 'medals' she sports on her represented tunic), the above canvas serves to illustrate the previously-stated romantically-inclined personal devotion to (the names of) European club football, one that captivated from the very beginnings of an interest in the game.