“Growing up as a boy football supporter in the 1960s, I don’t remember ever coming across the term striker. Can anyone identify when and where this description of a goalie was first used? asks Simon Warner.
With Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez set to join the Premier League this summer, it’s a good time to ask. Let’s start with the relevant part of the definition in the Collins online dictionary
An attacking player, especially one who positions himself close to the opponent’s goal in the hope of scoring a goal
The position has been around since the beginning of football, but it appears – both anecdotally and from trawling through newspaper archives – that it didn’t become commonplace until the 1970s.
David Warriston writes: The term “striker” was used until 1972. “Jimmy Bone, a man at many clubs such as Norwich and Sheffield United, was plying his trade at Partick Thistle at the time, while also working as a coal miner at his local pit. During the 1972 miners’ strike, a news article referred to him as “The Striker on Strike”.
There is another example from a similar era of Sam Gee, a man who epitomized the striker. “In my dog-eared copy of Matt Busby’s 1973 memoir Soccer at the Top, he writes of Denis Lowe and his hesitation before signing him: ‘We didn’t need a ‘striker’ urgently. -it expression) …’ quotes around ‘striker’ are in the text. The use of ‘with-it’ also indicates that it is a relatively recent usage.
Sam, Gus Cooper and Justin Hopkins all mentioned a different type of Striker: a slightly naive alternative to Subbuteo. This tribute to the striker suggests that the first set was produced in the early 1970s, although Justin Hopkins is thought to have played it. in 1970.
Either way, it ties in with the sense that the term was popularized in that decade. Popularized but not invented. The first relevant reference we can find anywhere is in a Times report of England 2-3 Sweden in October 1959, which included the observation that Bobby Charlton’s “real forte was as a forward”.
Most early uses of the word “striker” are ambiguous – it can be read as referring to a player who scores a goal or a striker who touches the ball; who literally shot. A few weeks after the Sweden game, he was described in the Charlton Times as a “striker and goalscorer in forward areas”.
The first example in the Guardian archive comes from Eric Todd’s November 1961 Leyton Orient v Leeds match report. “The goals just didn’t come. The magnificent Leyton defense was as much responsible for this as the pathetic over-eagerness of the Leeds forwards. [Don] Revie himself distributes the ball with care, as he did when he was the king of Manchester City’s attack a few years ago, but he is not the answer to the main problem. The side needs a striker, not a batsman, and until one is available, big potential like Bremner and Hawksby will be exhausted.”
The meaning quickly evolved and by 1963 Todd had made a clear distinction between a forward and a striker. He described Manchester United’s Law as “most effective as a striker, more dangerous as a destroyer than a creator”.
The term was used occasionally in the 1960s before becoming a definite part of the lexicon in the following decades. In 1970, David Lacey praised Leeds striker Mick Jones, saying he was “perfectly shaped like a modern striker, moving deftly in the tightest of spaces and turning in a killer finish at the slightest opportunity close to goal”.
Scoring at Wembley old and new
“Are there goalscorers at Wembley Stadium, old and new?” If so, who was the first?” Masai Graham asks.
Let’s start with the legend of Love Island. “A certain Michael Owen scored in the third last international at the old Wembley (a 1-1 draw with Brazil in 2000) and again in his second international at the new Wembley (a 3-0 win against Israel in the Euros). 2008 elections),” writes Alec Cochrane.
Owen’s goal against Israel was scored on September 8, 2007, but there are at least two players who could beat it. “Ryan Giggs scores for Manchester United against Chelsea at the new Wembley Stadium in the 2007 Community Shield,” 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 August 5, 2007 still doesn’t make Giggs the number one. “Mark Bright scored Sheffield Wednesday’s winner in the 1993 Steel City derby FA Cup semi-final,” writes Jamie Woods. “He then scored the opening goal playing for the Geoff Thomas Foundation charity XI against Wembley Sponsors Allstars to raise money for leukemia research in the first match with the fans at the new stadium.”
That match took place on March 17, which means he is 141 days ahead of Giggs.
Note the giant gap (2)
Last week we looked at the biggest difference between top and bottom in the 1997-98 Welsh League with a 95 point difference between Barry Town and Cemaes Ynys Mon.
This week, the gaps are getting bigger. “Darlington won the Northern League in 2013 with a triple ton – 100+ goals (145), 100+ GD (+110) and 100+ points (122 points),” writes Michael St John-McAlister. “Norton and Stockton Ancients finished last on 25 points with 97 points adrift.”
A few of you wrote to point out the 2018-19 Scottish Highland League where underdogs Fort William managed to finish -7 points behind 93 champions Cove Rangers on 100 points.
But James Bolton leads the way with his 2003-04 Combined Nations League bid: “Founded in 2002 but failed to get promoted in 2002-03, AFC Wimbledon had no chance in 2003/04, winning 42 and drawing four made a draw. league comfortable. Cove was 104 points behind.
“Focusing on the Stephen Shepherd story last week, are there any other infamous cases of half the Gillingham team missing an East game due to traffic, sides not turning up on time?” Kevin Meadowcroft asked in October 2011.
A reply from Rob Davies: “This story is not about a team, but more about Ismail Demontagnac, who was bedridden for Walsall’s visit to Bristol City on 2nd January 2006 during the 2005-06 holiday programme. team bus. Apparently, he thought that there was no game that day and that it was his day off. Walsall lost 3-0.
Can you help?
“Is Sarina Wiegman the first manager to win consecutive major tournaments with different international teams?” George Jones asks.
“I noted that the England Women’s starting line-up wore an almost perfect set of shirt numbers 1-11, with only Fran Kirby wearing 14 in a row. When was the last time a team went 1 to 11 in a grand final? Ben asks.
“I find it interesting that England, the starting XI in the finals of Euro 2022, combined for the fewest syllables scored by a team in a major international final. There seems to be an unusually high number of one-syllable surnames, and I wonder if their surnames have converged to the lowest sum of syllables ever,” muses Daniel Craig.
“Bodø/Glimt beat Linfield 8-0 in the second leg of their Champions League qualifier last week after losing 1-0 in Belfast. Is this the biggest win in European competition for a team that has lost a leg?” asks Carl Reilly.