IAN Mc­FAR­LANE re­veals all about his se­cret ob­ses­sion…

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - CONTENTS - Ian Mc­Far­lane is the Peter­bor­ough United cor­re­spon­dent for D3D4­Foot­

Ian Mc­Far­lane’s se­cret ob­ses­sion

THROUGH a pas­sion for foot­ball since 1992, there have been many things that have en­vig­o­rated and en­cap­su­lated my love for the game. The strangest, how­ever, has to be goal nets.

They are a for­got­ten but vastly im­por­tant part of the game, not just scenery.

For one thing, they help to stop the de­bate of whether a goal has been scored or not. They also, in my opin­ion, can make a good goal look even more spec­tac­u­lar.

Think back to your favourite goals of all time, then just re­flect on how the net it­self in one way or an­other played its part in mak­ing them look even bet­ter.

The first goal nets started to be man­u­fac­tured in 1891 to help de­ci­pher whether a goal had been scored or not, min­imis­ing con­tro­versy.

Through the decades, the pop­u­lar model was the di­ag­o­nal (stan­dard) goal net fash­ion. This was the cheaper al­ter­na­tive, un­til the boxed net trend started and to­day nearly ev­ery top league side around the world sport this de­sign.

The square de­sign is held back by two or three pole-like de­vices known as stan­chions.

I feel, and many be­lieve, that this net al­ter­na­tive came to global promi­nence from the World Cup in Mex­ico 1986, where they were housed at most venues.

Now they are com­mon-place through­out the world. This takes me back to the mid-90s when I would drive my late Grand­mother mad by re­lay­ing the most re­cent sides to be sport­ing boxed goal nets!

There is also a part of me that loves the more ob­scure goal net de­signs we have seen through­out the years.

For in­stance, through the 80s and most of the 90s, Crys­tal Palace’s Sel­hurst Park sported a bold mix­ture of both the stan­dard and boxed de­signs.

Lof­tus Road, home of QPR, had goal nets which many be­lieve were the pro­to­type on which Sub­bu­teo based theirs.

How­ever, come the 1995/96 sea­son, they had re­sorted back to stan­dard di­ag­o­nal nets.Yet they then went back to the sub­bu­teo style again in the 2000s.

The Dell, the for­mer ground of Southamp­ton, had, for want of a bet­ter term, 'hockey style goals'. They had them for as far back as I can re­mem­ber up un­til the clo­sure of the his­toric ground in 2001.

I feel they had to have this style based upon a lack of room, the fans were so close to the pitch so it's all they could use.

I feel a lit­tle bad for Matt Le Tissier, as The Dell nets didn't do jus­tice to a lot of his beau­ti­ful goals.

The old Wem­b­ley was a treat through the years with its very own semi-oval net de­signs, all the goals scored dur­ing the pe­riod of use given even more of a pro­file within its unique de­mo­graphic.

This was scrapped in 1997 for the boxed con­cept. The new Wem­b­ley has con­tin­ued the same trend, only with fur­ther dis­tance be­tween goal-line and back of net.

I still have two mi­nor grum­bles on the sub­ject of nets to­day. We now pre­dom­i­nantly see boxed nets ev­ery­where, mak­ing goals look even bet­ter.

Yet clubs add an­other di­men­sion to un­in­ten­tion­ally make goals look less spec­tac­u­lar, this be­ing coloured goal nets.

Ok, it's al­ways been used, I can even un­der­stand why to a de­gree. Clubs want to show their colours in as many ar­eas as pos­si­ble.

How­ever, why oh why did Manch­ester City use black nets for a pe­riod. The colour black, to my knowl­edge, has no rel­e­vance to City. Also, think how much bet­ter Ser­gio Aguero's his­toric goal against QPR in May 2012 would have been if you could have seen it hit the back of the net bet­ter.

My other gripe is nets not be­ing pinned down prop­erly – they shouldn’t rise when the ball hits the back of the net.

I ex­pect this to not be ad­hered to as rig­or­ously in the am­a­teur game, how­ever the big­gest of­fend­ers for not pin­ning down goal nets are 'the mighty' Manch­ester United and Sun­der­land.

Sort it out, guys, you play at too high a level to let this hap­pen. It looks shabby and tacky.

I had to share my ob­scure lit­tle ob­ses­sion, so thanks for read­ing.

I hope some of you may, after read­ing this, look at the part the net plays in a scorcher or a 'net­buster'.

Of course, the scorer is the one to be ac­claimed, though the net­ting is the inan­i­mate as­sis­tant, in my opin­ion.

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