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The Almost Random A-Z of Dubious Football Knowledge: B



B is for...

Balls

Spherical basis for the entire sport that can change its molecular structure to become lighter than air itself, usually around the time of a World Cup. Well-known models include the classic Adidas Telsar (used in the 1970 World Cup), Adidas Tango (used in the 1978 edition) and the Mitre Pro Max (used for the first few years of the Premier League).

Individual examples are occasionally stolen by members of the crowd, members of losing World Cup Final teams and people loitering in the vicinity of Wigan Athletic’s training ground. Nowadays traditionally coloured white, they’ve at times been brown, silver, gold and in adverse weather and natural daylight conditions, luminous yellow or orange.

Can also be represented in miniature form for the purposes of conducting competition draws, although this can complicate matters unnecessarily.

Brazil

Gold-shirted giants of the game since the late-1950's and the most successful football playing country in history. First game (improbably) was against Exeter City in 1914 which Brazil won (only) 2-0 (improbably). Famously won the Jules Rimet trophy outright after winning three World Cup tournaments but failed to get their hands on the replacement trophy for 24 years thanks to the advancement of Total Football, Claudio Gentile and Argentina, in that order. References to The Greatest Team That Ever Played ® (i.e. that which competed in the 1970 World Cup) are frequent and though the 2002 equivalent side had undoubted quality, no modern-day Brazilian side has yet emerged from the shadow of that which featured Jairzinho, Rivelino and of course, Pele.

Bremner, Billy

Legend of Leeds United and, in diminishing terms, Scotland, Hull City and Doncaster Rovers. Famous aggravator of Dave Mackay in 1966 and Kevin Keegan in the 1974 Charity Shield match. Denied an almost certain goal from close range in the 1975 European Cup Final by Bayern keeper Sepp Maier. Shortly after was flagged offside, thereby ruling out a goal for Peter Lorimer in what was ultimately a 2-0 win for the German side. Immortalised by a statue outside Leeds United’s Elland Road ground and regularly voted amongst the best players ever to pull on the club shirt.

Bundesliga

Germany's 'Federal League' and officially the top two flights of football in Deutschland since 1963. The first 1.Bundesliga season contained such giants as Meidericher, Preussen Munster and Saarbrücken but was eventually won by 1FC Köln. Darkest hour came during the 1970-71 season when it was found that 18 matches had been rigged towards the end of the campaign. Arminia Bielefeld and Offenbach Kickers lost their playing licenses temporarily and over 50 people connected with the game were banned or suspended for their involvement. Despite this, Bayern Munich have set a record of 21 league titles, closely followed by Borussia Mönchengladbach with five. The record for most appearances in the Bundesliga is held by Karl-Heinz Körbel who played 602 times for one club, Eintracht Frankfurt, between 1972 and 1991.

Bury

League One team based in the Greater Manchester area of England. Known as The Shakers from the moment former club chairman JT Ingham announced before a Lancashire Senior Cup game against Everton in the late-1800's "We'll give 'em a shaking. In fact, we are the Shakers!"  Just as well he didn't promise to murder them, one would have to suppose. Honours include the Second Division championship of 1895, the Third Division championship in 1961 and 1997 and FA Cup winners in 1900 and 1903. Former coaches include Bob Stokoe (1961-65) and Neil Warnock (1998-99). Former players include Colin Bell, Neville Southall and Danny Wilson.

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