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



C is for...

Canada

Singular entrants to the World Cup in 1986 which began with a creditable 1-0 defeat to a French side featuring Platini, Battiston, Giresse, Papin and Tigana. Further 2-0 defeats against the Soviet Union and Hungary put paid to any fanciful notions of glory which to this day have not been repeated. Later success came in the form of a 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup win that enabled them to compete in the 2001 Confederations Cup where they held Brazil to a goalless draw. The last five years have seen The Canucks yo-yo between 51st in the FIFA Rankings and as low as 105th earlier this year, although they’re back up to 72nd in the global table. Domestically weak, they now boast two clubs in the MLS – Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps. Both are yet to make a significant impact after a very short time in the competition.

Christmas

The festive season was made for football, and vice versa. World War I even came to a brief halt on Christmas Day 1915 when the two sides called a ceasefire and played a game in No-Man’s-Land, the final result being a win for Germany on penalties, somewhat inevitably. Boxing Day games are now part of the British tradition, as was the annual ridiculing of modern-day footballers in Santa outfits in Shoot! magazine up until only a few years ago. These days, Christmas and football are most tangibly forged in holy alliance on the cheesy end-of-year Soccer Saturday reviews presented by Jeff Stelling on Sky Sports, thereby ensuring you don't go short of turkey during the festive season.

Cooke, Charlie

Classic winger of the great Chelsea side of the late-60’s and the relegation-bound Chelsea side of the mid-1970’s. Scorer of 59 goals in 512 appearances throughout a British football career that started at Aberdeen in 1960 and took in Dundee and Crystal Palace before the lure of the NASL took hold. Made a name for himself at LA Aztecs (see right with Franz Beckenbauer) and latterly Memphis Rogues where he played under manager and former Chelsea team-mate Eddie McCreadie. A great passer of the ball and capable of brilliantly accurate passes like the one that opened the scoring in this match against Arsenal in 1969.

Corners

(cf. “kawnaz” – Ray Winstone, 2009 onwards)

Temporary and occasional hiatus occurring in every match, less frequently so since the retirement of Crystal Palace’s Geoff Thomas. Corner kicks can be short, long, deep or, if you’re Charles N’Zogbia, a combination of all three. Corners used to require the ball be placed inside one of the quadrants on the pitch but later the ball only had to be in contact with the quadrant markings and nowadays doesn’t have to be anywhere near the quadrant at all. All-time master of the corner kick is undoubtedly Steven Davis who even managed to incorporate a stationery flag into his routine as part of his routine.

Coventry City

Originally known as 'The Singers' because the club was founded by a worker at the nearby cycle manufacturers of the same name, we can’t help but wonder if a club could ever be nicknamed 'The Choppers' because of a similar connection. A fully fledged member of the Football League straight after World War I, their first season saw them go without a win until Christmas Day and they went on to finish third-bottom in Division Two. After World War II, they gradually slid down the leagues to the point where they were one of the founder members of the new Division Four in 1958, but hope soon arrived in the form of Jimmy Hill. He suggested the kit be changed from all white with blue trim to all sky blue, a fact that was reflected in Coventry’s new nickname which, prior to that point, had been 'The Bantams'. In 1966-67 they clinched promotion to Division One, after which Jimmy Hill left to be Head of Sport for London Weekend Television. City initially struggled but held their place in the top flight and their hard work was rewarded with an FA Cup Final win over Tottenham in 1987. A host of well-known faces have graced the managerial, coaching and playing staff since then, but the Sky Blues now find themselves in the second tier, hoping to stave off possible relegation to League One.

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