“Growing up as a football fan in the 1960s, I don’t recall ever coming across the concept of the term striker. Can anyone identify when or where this definition of goalscorer was first used?” asks Simon Warner.
It’s a good time to ask, with Erling Haaland and Darwin Núñez joining the Premier League this summer. Let’s start with the relevant part of the definition in Collins online dictionary
An attacking player, i.e. one who usually positions himself near the opponent’s goal in the hope of scoring a goal.
The stance has been around since the dawn of football, but it seems — both anecdotally and through browsing newspaper archives — that it wasn’t really common until the 1970s.
“The term ‘game’ was certainly used in 1972,” writes David Warriston. “Jimmy Bone, a man of many clubs including spells at Norwich and Sheffield United, was plying his trade at Partick Thistle at the time and also working as a coal miner in his local pit. In a news release during the strike miners in 1972 said: “The striker is on strike.”
Sam Gee has another example from a similar period, in which a man was marked as a verb. “In my dog-eared copy of Matt Busby’s memoir Soccer at the Top, published in 1973, he writes of Denis Law, and his hesitation before signing him: ‘We urgently need a ‘player’ did not see (for use with -it expression) …’ The words around ‘striker’ are in the text. The use of ‘with-it’ also indicates that it was a new usage.”
Sam, Gus Cooper and Justin Hopkins all recalled one type of Striker: a smaller alternative to Subbuteo. This tribute to Striker suggests that the first set was produced in the early 1970s, although Justin Hopkins thinks he was playing it. at the 1970
In any case, it depends on the feeling that the term became popular in that decade. Popularized, but not invented. The first relevant reference we can find anywhere is in the Times of England report 2-3 Sweden from October 1959, which observed that Bobby Charlton “is a real force in the forward areas as a striker”.
Most of the early uses of “player” are ambiguous – it can be read as a reference to a goal scorer or a forward player who puts his fingers through the ball; who really hit it off. A few weeks after the Sweden game, Charlton was described in the Times as “a player and goalscorer in forward areas”.
The first example in the Guardian archive comes from Eric Todd’s report of the Leyton Orient v Leeds match in November 1961. “The goals will not come. Leyton’s brilliant defending was as much responsible for this as Leeds’s disappointing composure. [Don] Revie himself distributed the ball as carefully as he did a few years ago when he was Manchester City’s attacking king, but that is not the answer to the main problem. “The side needs a striker, not a batsman, and unless one is acquired, great potential from the likes of Bremner and Hawksby will be wasted.”
Meaning quickly evolved, and in 1963 Todd drew a clear distinction between forward and forward. He described Manchester United’s Law as “a most effective attacker, more dangerous as a destroyer than a creator”.
The term was used occasionally in the 1960s before becoming an established part of the lexicon in the following decade. In 1970, David Lacey praised Leeds player Mick Jones, saying that he “fit perfectly into the mold of the modern player, skilful in the tightest of spaces and the tiniest opportunity close to goal. “.
They scored goals at the old and new Wembley
“Have players scored goals at the old and new Wembley stadiums? If so, who was the first?” Masai Graham asks.
Let’s start with the legend of Love Island. “Some Michael Owen in the last third international match at the old Wembley (1-1 draw with Brazil in 2000) and again in the second international match at the new Wembley (a 3-0 win against Israel in Euro 2008 qualification), writes Alec Cochrane.
Owen’s goal against Israel came on September 8, 2007, but there are at least two players who can beat it. “Ryan Giggs scored for Manchester United against Chelsea in the 2007 Community Shield at the new Wembley stadium,” writes Paul Weir. “I don’t think he scored for United at the old Wembley, but he scored a penalty for England Schoolboys against Belgium in 1989.”
That goal, on 5 August 2007, still doesn’t make Giggs his first. “Mark Bright scores winner for Sheffield Wednesday in Steel City’s FA Cup semi-final,” writes Jamie Woods. He then scored the opening goal in the first match with fans in the new stadium, playing for the Geoff Thomas Foundation XI against Wembley Sponsors Allstars to raise money for leukemia research.
That match was on March 17, which means he beat Giggs by 141 days.
Note the giant gap (2)
Last week we looked at the biggest margins between top and bottom, with the 95-point difference between Barry Town and Cemaes Ynys Mon in the League of Wales 1997-98 our best effort.
In this week, the deficits are growing. Michael St John-McAlister writes: “Darlington won the Northern League with a ton of trebles in 2013 – 100+ goals (145), 100+ GD (+110), and 100+ points (122 points). “Norton and The Stockton Ancients finished bottom by 25 points, a difference of 97 points.”
Many of you wrote to highlight the 2018-19 Scottish Highland League, where the unfortunate Fort William managed to finish with -7 points, 100 behind champions Cove Rangers in 93.
But James Bolton tops the list with his proposal, the 2003-04 Common Areas League: “Formed in 2002 but failed to gain promotion in 2002-03, the AFC Wimbledon took no chances in 2003/04, winning 42 and drawing four to win the league comfortably. Cove finished 104 points behind.”
“Until Stephen Shepherd’s story last week about half of the Gillingham sides not making the Orient game due to traffic, are there any other unknown cases of a side not making it in time?” Kevin Meadowcroft asked in October 2011.
Here’s a reply from Rob Davies: “This story concerns not a team, but rather an individual, Ismael Demontagnac, who was bedridden during the 2005-06 holiday program for Walsall’s trip to Bristol City on 2 January 2006 . the team bus. Apparently he thought there was no game that day and it was his day. Walsall lost 3-0.”
Can you help?
“Is Sarina Wiegman the first manager to win consecutive major tournaments with different international teams,” asks George Jones.
“I noticed that the England Women’s starting line-up wore an almost complete set of shirt numbers 1-11, with only Fran Kirby wearing 14 as an outfielder. When was the last time a team won a major final with 1 played to 11? Ben asks.
“I wonder if England’s starting 11 at the Euro 2022 finals are tied for the fewest caps ever by a team in a major international final. It looks like There’s a very unusual number of single-letter last names and I wonder if their last names combine for the smallest combination ever,” muses Daniel Craig.
“Bodø/Glimt beat Linfield 8-0 in the second leg of their Champions League campaign last week, losing 1-0 in Belfast. Is this the biggest ever win in European competition by a team with one of the legs lost,” Karl Reilly asks.