Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Soccer Mad Boffins at Wembley Stadium

As we have previously reported, here at Soccer Mad Boffins we were very pleased to have contributed to the National Football Museum's flagship World Cup 1966 commemorative exhibition which runs until 23rd April 2017.

Conveniently for footy fans in the South of England, the exhibition is replicated at London's famous Wembley Stadium until 31st December 2016.

Whilst slightly scaled-down, many of the features of the Manchester exhibition are included, as we discovered when we visited.  For example, you can see information about the public sector's involvement in planning and organising the tournament, as featured in our book 'Foundations of Managing Sporting Events':

We also got to see many other interesting exhibits and artefacts:

It was exciting to see the name of the exhibition that we had contributed to being advertised in huge writing on the front of the stadium in front of the iconic statue of World Cup winner Sir Bobby Moore:

We caught this photo from long distance just as the board message was changing, but it gives a sense of size and perspective:

More luck with this one and the good news is that the exhibition is FREE to visit:

The view from Wembley Way (aka Olympic Way):

We were also pleased to see our names on the acknowledgements list inside, at the end of the exhibition, although is somewhat smaller print than the advertising outside of the stadium!:

After a long day of travel and looking around Wembley Stadium and the World Cup '66 exhibition it was time to visit the hotel bar to rehydrate and debrief the day's work, with a great view of Wembley Stadium as our inspiriting backdrop:

The exhibition can be visited for FREE at Wembley Stadium, London and also at the National Football Museum in Manchester. More info here.

Our book 'Foundations of Managing Sporting Events' which helped to inform the exhibition is available now in hardback and e-book formats from all good book stores and libraries.

Soccer Mad Boffins Summer Conference Activity: British Academy of Management Conference 2016, Newcastle

Having spent recent weeks/months being busy launching our new book, we realised it is now already November and that we've been a bit quiet on the blog lately.

So, better late than never, we thought now might be as good a time as any to provide a quick summary of our conference activities over the previous few months.

Following July's previously reported successful jaunt to the Management History Research Group's workshop in Sheffield (and the tie-in article that we wrote for Sheffield Star newspaper about that cities hosting of World Cup 1966 fixtures) in September we headed North, to the British Academy of Management's 2016 Annual Conference - this year hosted by Newcastle University Business School.

Our paper had received positive comments during the peer review process leading up to the conference and so we looked forward to presenting our work and discussing with other peers our research.

This year the business and management history track was particularly attended and there was a real buzz about the occasion - in attendance were a number of leading academics.  We had some really productive discussions afterwards, and also outside of the seminar room.  Thanks to all who were there and who we spoke to.   It is very encouraging to see our work garnering interest from such esteemed colleagues!

We also had a space on the 'Meet the Authors' desk where our book had a display. This was a really fun thing to do and we hope to participate in more of these at conferences in future. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and spoke to us, picked up a flyer, or had a look at the sample copy of the book.

All in all a really outstanding conference. We'll be back!

Information about next years BAM conference, which will be held at Warwick, is here.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Foundations of Managing Sporting Events: Organizing the 1966 FIFA World Cup

Our book 'Foundations of Managing Sporting Events: Organizing the 1966 FIFA World Cup' was recently published by Routledge, as part of their International Studies in Business History series.

The book has been read by academics and non-academics, including individuals from the world of sport. Feedback has so far been excellent, across the board.

More information can be found at the publisher's website here.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Rio 2016 kicks off!

Great Britain's Gold Winning side of 1912
August is upon us, and the next Summer Olympic games, in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, officially starts on Friday 5th August with the Opening Ceremony.  The Summer Olympiad now contains 28 sports, with numerous sub-disciplines contained within, but an often overlooked yet historically important part of the games is the soccer tournament, held simultaneously for both men and women.  The soccer tournament will start on Wednesday 3rd August with Women's first round games between Sweden and South Africa, and Canada and Australia.

The men's tournament, officially first held at White City Stadium at the London 1908 Games is historically important because it was the first truly international soccer tournament to take place between teams representing individual nations, except for the British Home Championship, which had been contested since 1884. The 1908 tournament saw Great Britain beat Denmark 2-0 to claim the gold medal - the Netherlands, Sweden and France also took part in the competition, France even entering a 'B' team in an era before participation rules were sharpened up.  The tournament became the de-facto World Championship until the establishment of the FIFA World Cup in 1930.  Soccer missed the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics but still remained a presence at later Games despite the IOC and FIFA not seeing eye-to-eye for many years about the detail of soccer's participation, soccer being a professional sport in most countries yet Olympic athletes being strictly amateurs.  A compromise was eventually reached for the men's event that each team was limited to only three players per team with an age of more than 23, disqualifying most 'star' players from taking part.  As a result the women's tournament, which was only established as late as 1996, now in reality takes precedence, with current World Cup holders and five times gold medal winners the USA favourites to maintain their grip on the event.

Given the England women's good performance in the 2015 tournament in Canada, the non-inclusion of a Great Britain side at Rio 2016 due to the four British Football Association's inability to compromise on an Olympic team due to the fear of compromising their separate FIFA memberships seems particularly unfortunate. Despite being the inaugural gold winners and wining gold again in Stockholm in 1912, Great Britain has generally not taken part in the Olympic tournament or only sent strictly amateur teams for much of the tournament's existence. The main notable exceptions have been when London has hosted the games, in 1948 and 2012; in 1948 Great Britain, managed by Matt Busby, reached the semi-finals. In 2012 the men predictably plunged out in the quarter-finals on penalties to South Korea, the women suffering a similar fate being beaten 0-2 by Canada also in the quarter-finals.  Mexico and the USA would be respective champions.

The 2016 tournament promises to be an exciting one, especially in terms of the USA's grip on the women's game - we look forward to it!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Book Launch: Brewing, Beer and Pubs: A Global Perspective

We have previously mentioned in this blog the chapter we have written ('Beer and the Boro: A Perfect Match') included in the book Brewing, Beer and Pubs: A Global Perspective.

The book was officially launched last Friday evening with a reception and panel debate, at York Brewery (York, UK). Academic experts present included the editors Prof Ignazio Cabras (University of Northumbria), Prof David Higgins (Newcastle University), Prof Emeritus David Preece, and Prof Charles Bamforth (UC Davis, California). There were also many experts and industry representatives present which made the event so much more than a purely academic or purely 'practical' event.

The book, which is published in hardback and e-book by Palgrave and available to buy here, includes contributions from academics and experts from around, covering the history of beer and brewing, Britain's controversial tied pub system, alcohol tax, the importance of village pubs, and a host of other issues.

Our chapter ('Beer and the Boro: A Perfect Match' by Dr Alex Gillett, Dr Kevin Tennent, and Mr Fred Hutchinson) focuses on the relationship between Middlesbrough FC and two breweries (Camerons, and Scottish & Newcastle) in the 1980s, when Middlesbrough faced financial difficulties:

"The sport of Association Football (or ‘soccer’) was professionalised in the 19th century and for many years has enjoyed a close relationship with beer, since brewers, hoteliers and landlords noticed the financial opportunities brought about by clubs and their supporters.  Soccer has itself received much attention within mainstream media, although only minimal attention from academic business historians.  This paper presents a case study of Middlesbrough Football and Athletic Company Limited (MFAC), from its formation in 1876 until its eventual liquidation and rebirth in the summer of 1986.  We report on the important relationships that existed throughout that time between MFAC, breweries, and hostelries, and also discuss subsequent developments. In particular, we focus on the relationships between MFAC, and the brewers Camerons, and Scottish & Newcastle."

Middlesbrough FC wearing shirts sponsored by Camerons

The York Brewery produces a fantastic array of cask and bottled beers, including the ever-popular 'Guzzler' (a refreshing session beer, 3.6%).  They also offer a range of keg beers (although the kegging takes place  at Camerons 'Lion Brewery' in Hartlepool, which coincidently features prominently in our chapter.)  

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Celebrating Sheffield's Part in The FIFA World Cup 1966

On Wednesday 12th July 1966, West Germany beat Switzerland by a whopping 5-0 at Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield in the inaugural Group 2 fixture of that year's World Cup Finals.

Now, fast forward fifty years and one day to Wednesday 13th July 2016. For that was the day on which The Soccer Mad Boffins commemorated Sheffield's contribution to the tournament by making a presentation about WC'66 at a museum in the city.

The occasion was The Management History Research Group's annual workshop, which was held this year at Sheffield's Kelham Island Museum.

Our presentation was well-received and generated interesting discussion amongst the audience, which included leading business and management history academics from around the world.

To coincide with the event and the anniversary we also contributed a short feature to the 'Retro' section of top newspaper The Sheffield Star, which can be read here.

Friday, 8 July 2016

A Day at the NFM's 1966 World Cup Exhibition

Following our previous blog post about the launch of the National Football Museum’s 1966 World Cup Exhibition, which the Soccer Mad Boffins have contributed to, we decided to make a visit and take a few photos to show our readers what is on display.  

As well as enjoying reading the wealth of information and marvelling at the museum's exclusive artefacts, we also found time to have our picture taken with the England squad.....

.......and as the mascot, World Cup Willie!

The exhibition is fun as well as informative, and there is something for everyone, young and old alike. If you have not yet been to the National Football Museum then now is the time to go.  The exhibition runs until 23rd April 2017 (St George’s Day!) and entry is FREE. In addition to the World Cup exhibition you will also discover many other treasures in the permanent displays.

Our book about the World Cup is out soon, published by Routledge as part of their International Studies in Business History series.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Launch of the 1966 World Cup Exhibition

A recent and exciting project for The Soccer Mad Boffins team has been to collaborate with our friends at the National Football Museum (NFM) in Manchester, England, on an exhibition celebrating the 1966 FIFA World Cup which was hosted and won by England.

"With stories from the people who made the games, played the games and watched the games that made the 1966 World Cup such an iconic tournament, the 1966 World Cup Exhibition celebrates England’s success and looks at the legacy of that win."

On Friday 24th June, Dr Alex Gillett attended the launch event which was also the launch for the new International Football Walk of Fame, and included speeches and Q&A from the NFM, Greg Dyke (English Football Association and former Chancellor of University of York), former England stars Sir Bobby Charlton, Roger Hunt, Jimmy Armfield, Mike Summerbee, and the families of others such as Nobby Stiles.  Also in attendance were the Head of the German Football Association (Deutsche Fussball Bund, or DFB), 'You are the Ref' artist Paul Trevillion who gave an impromptu and passionate speech, David Courtney (songwriter, producer and President/CEO of the Football Walk of Fame) and referee Keith Hackett, amongst others.

In particular, Alex was very fortunate for a photo opportunity and conversation with two stars from Women's Football, Lesley Lloyd (ex-captain of the great Southampton Ladies team which dominated the women's FA Cup through the 1970s and early 1980s) and Sue Lopez (former star of England, Southampton, and Italian 'Serie A' team Roma).

Sue Lopez, Lesley Lloyd, Dr Alex Gillett

An inteteresting factiod for us here Soccer Mad Boffins is that Sue Lopez played for the England Ladies team during the time that it was coached by the great Martin Reagan, who during his own playing career enjoyed a spell at Middlesbrough FC at the same time as Alex's Grandad Giles Gillett.

All in all the event was a great success and we highly recommend that you visit the exhibition whilst it runs (25th June 2016 - 23 April 2017). There will be another version of the exhibition held at Wembley Stadium, London launching in July 2016 and we'll report back on that too when we've had chance to visit it.

Monday, 13 June 2016

EURO 2016: The luck of the Irish?

The UEFA EURO 2016 tournament has now kicked off in France.  Unusually, three UK home nations (and members of the International Football Association Board) have qualified for the finals this time - England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.  Even more unusually, perhaps, both teams from Ireland have qualified, as the Republic of Ireland are also in the finals, starting their campaign later on today against Sweden.  The issue of split football associations interests us here at soccer-mad-boffins, as it represents exceptions to usual the FIFA rule that one 'nation' must only be represented by one FA.  Apart from Ireland, splits were most common when nations were partitioned during the Cold War - North and South Korea, and China and Taiwan being prominent examples, along with East and West Germany, who famously met in Hamburg during the 1974 World Cup.  In the only finals appearance to date of two teams from partitioned countries, the East won 1-0, but the West would go on to win the competition.

Ireland's split was intriguing because the Northern Irish FA still calls itself the Irish Football Association, and both it and the Football Association of Ireland, formed just before partition in 1921 both fielded teams under the name 'Ireland' until the late 1940s.  Both teams still play in green, can call up players from both sides of the border (though they often play in English football), and are managed by an M. O' Neil; indeed both might legitimately represent Irish hopes of tournament success.  Any sense of animosity now seems to have subsided as both sets of fans were pictured partying together in Paris.  There is the possibility of Northern Ireland and the Republic meeting later in the tournament, perhaps in the Quarter Finals if both teams win their groups and the following second round matches although this now looks unlikely as Northern Ireland lost their opening match to Poland 1-0.  Any such meeting would only be the second between two partitioned nations in a major finals to our knowledge.  Helpfully, BBC Northern Ireland have produced a short video to encourage further confusion between the two teams, which is probably best viewed after a pint or two of McGrath's Irish Black Stout!

Monday, 6 June 2016

Senate House Symposium: Some Highlights

The 'More than Just a Game: The legacy of the 1966 Football World Cup' symposium, held at Senate House on Friday 3rd June proved an enjoyable day with many interesting new insights into the 1966 tournament and its longer term impacts emerging.  The day was well attended by sports historians and other interested parties, and organised by Leslie Crang, a student on the MSc Sport Management & the Business of Football programme at Birkbeck College, London, together with Emily Stidston, Senate House's Engagement Support Officer.

Before Kevin's presentation the day was kicked off by Prof John Hughson from UCLAN, in Preston, who showcased the research from his new book7 on the cultural aspects of the 1966 World Cup.  In an intriguing talk Hughson commented on portrayals of the competition on film, from an episode of the Rank Organization's Look at Life documentary series, to FIFA's official film of the tournament, Goal!, and also Alf Garnett and his son in law Mike attending the 1966 Final in the film version of the BBC sitcom Til Death us do Part.  In the afternoon Dr Christoph Wagner of De Montfort University presented his research on the impact of the World Cup on Anglo-German relations, with particular interest in German reactions to 'Das Wembley-Tor' and how the 1966 final was seen as something of a moral victory for both sides.  This was followed by Dr Stacey Pope of Durham University who has studied memories of the 1966 tournament of female football fans of Leicester, some of whom were already seasoned followers of Leicester City FC, but
for others the tournament, which reached record TV audiences, was their first experience of soccer.  Not surprisingly England's victory remained an important memory for many.  The final session saw Kevin join a panel discussion with the football historian and Guardian writer David Goldblatt, and Prof Kath Woodward of the Open University, in which the long term implications of the tournament for English identity were discussed; a major contention being that the English have lacked any real outlet for their patriotism apart from football, as perceptions of Englishness have drifted away from Britishness in the years following 1966.  After all, the Union Jack would never be seen as a representative emblem of the England football team today, as it is on the front cover of the Radio Times prior to the 1966 tournament as seen in our picture.

The symposium was very enjoyable and useful for us and we thank the organizers as well as the other speakers and the attendees for their feedback on our book, Foundations of Managing Sporting Events: Organizing the 1966 FIFA World Cup and contributions to the discussion.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Kevin to Appear at Senate House Symposium!

Kevin will be representing us at an academic symposium at the University of London's central library, Senate House, which is said to have inspired George Orwell's Ministry of Truth in the novel 1984, on Friday June 3rd.  The symposium focuses on the political, social, economic and cultural impact and legacy of the 1966 FIFA World Cup. Kevin will be talking about the financial and organisational findings from our forthcoming book; in particular how government support for the tournament had been crucial for the provincial venues, but also how the hoped for boost for Britain's tourist industries did not materialise as envisaged.

The symposium is free to attend and open to the public, starting at 9.30am.  Other attractions during the day will include a keynote by Professor John Ewing Hudson, Professor of Sport and Cultural Studies and Director of the International Football Institute at the University of Central Lancashire, a discussion on the impact of England's victory on Anglo-German relations by Dr Christoph Wagner of De Montfort University, a paper on women's experiences of the 1966 Finals by Dr Stacey Pope of Durham University, and a roundtable discussion with Dr Kath Woodward from the Open University and the football historian and Guardian journalist David Goldblatt, who will also be making the closing remarks.

It should be a very engaging and thought provoking day - further details and registration is here!

Friday, 20 May 2016

Beer and the Boro - A Perfect Match!

 middlesbrough 1985-86

If your university of library has access to Springerlink, you can easily download the digital edition of our new book chapter 'Beer and the Boro - A Perfect Match!'

"Although football clubs (FCs) as firms are relatively unsustainable from a purely financial perspective, the club brands appear highly sustainable in comparison with many other industries (Kuper and Szymanski, 2012). While the ownership and the companies running the clubs may change, the club brands themselves appear to be more stable than in other industries where firms and brands go out of business, relocate or diversify to a far greater extent (e.g. Hannah, 1997). This may be because they are less vulnerable to competition — FCs have historically been geographic, and while their catchment area may shrink during less successful periods, it will not disappear entirely. Furthermore, rival foreign clubs do not enter and supply soccer at lower prices (although foreign investors may bid to take over the ownership) and although English clubs as a whole could fall behind foreign competitors and lose their best players, foreign clubs have their own problems of finance and management (Kuper and Szymanski, 2012). Put succinctly, society can keep unprofitable clubs going cheaply: bank managers and tax collectors have historically appeared reluctant to close century-old clubs -and so society swallowed the losses. Perhaps clubs were and still are too small to fail. At the same time, the brand loyalty of supporters means that no matter how lousy the product, a hard core of customers will continue to purchase: “Soccer is more than just a business. No one has their ashes scattered down the aisle at Tesco” (Taylor, 1998, cited by Kuper and Szymanski, 2012, p.82)."

In the chapter, we discuss the relationship between the beer and brewing industry and football in the 1980s, through the case of Middlesbrough FC, a club which experienced severe financial challenges during the 1980s.

So what are you waiting for - have a read, put it on your reading lists, cite it in your research. You know what to do!