Update: This blog is on pause for the foreseeable future, and I will return to it when time allows. In the meantime, my current website is at http://michaelnugent.com.
I recently designed a 2008 calendar for Bohemian FC. It’s a pictorial record of the history of the club, spanning twelve decades from the 1890s to the 2000s.
When Bohs was founded in 1890, Frank Whitaker, who later became Brother Francis de Sales Whitaker of the Order of Saint John of Gods, proposed the name Bohemians. The vote was tied and the chairman, Dudley Hussey, who later became a senior civil servant, used his casting vote – the club would be called Bohemians instead of Rovers. Here’s the earliest report that I have found of a Bohs match, from the Irish Times on November 4, 1890: >>> (more…)
Thirty years ago today, carrying my ‘Thor-lough O’Connor: God of Goals’ banner into Dalymount, I was giddy with anticipation for the second-biggest game of the season. The crowd was not as big as it was against Newcastle, but I knew it would be at least as passionate, and at least some of those present might be as violent. Rovers fans in those days had an annoying tendency to try to ‘take the shed’ and, unlike at away games, Bohs fans were less likely to run away from the duty of defending this fiefdom. Meanwhile, on the pitch, things could hardly have been tighter between the two sides. We were in joint fourth place, level on twelve points from nine games. We had the better goal difference, but Ray Treacy was two goals ahead of Turly O’Connor in the scorers chart.
Our tenth game of the 1977-78 season was against our biggest rivals, Shamrock Rovers. Rovers were founded in 1901 in Ringsend, where Shelbourne were at the time the local club. Rovers played their first games at Ringsend Park, and in their early years were twice forced out of football for not having their own ground. They first disbanded in 1906, briefly changing their name to St Patricks, were re-formed in 1915, and again disbanded after one season. Rovers were born again for the third time in 1921, having found a new ground outside the city at Windy Arbour. (more…)
Thirty years ago today Bohs were off to Oriel Park, where Dundalk were struggling to recover from a poor start to the season. Oriel Park in the 1970s was a horrible place to visit for away fans. I say this not in any sense of judgment about the genuine supporters of Dundalk, but more as a reflection of the tendency of a minority of thugs to chase us to and from our buses under a hail of bottles, stones and assorted missiles. This Céad Míle Missiles welcome was often mirrored in the picturesque tourist attractions of Limerick, Waterford, Athlone and Milltown. And, in that era anyway, the traditional response of travelling Bohs fans could usually be summed up in the sensible tactic of ‘run away!’ (more…)
Our ninth League game of the 1977-78 season was against Dundalk, one of Ireland’s oldest clubs. The Great Northern Railway Association Football Club was founded in 1903. They joined the Leinster Senior league in 1922 under the name Dundalk GNR, and were elected to the Free State league four years later, replacing Pioneers. They changed their name to simply Dundalk when they first became league champions in 1933. They won the cup twice in the 1940s, and twice again in the 1950s. Their breakthrough second league title came in 1963, exactly 30 years after their first, under club captain John Murphy. Their forward line included Francie Callan and the one-armed Jimmy Hasty, whose favourite trick was to lean his stump on the shoulders of jumping defenders, knowing that referees would be reluctant to give a free against him. (more…)
After Bohs beat Cork Celtic, I tried to understand how the Law of Leeds and Bohs Having the Same Result Every Weekend had failed to work. I absolutely had to figure this out, or else I would have to go to Bohs matches without knowing the outcome in advance. Maybe the Law didn’t work when Leeds and Bohs were both at home? No, it wasn’t that. Maybe the Law didn’t work when Leeds had the same result two weeks in a row? No, it wasn’t that either. So something must have been unusual about this weekend. Maybe something unrelated to football. But what could it have been? Well, here are some of the events that hit the Irish news headlines during that fateful weekend: (more…)
Thirty years ago today, an immutable law of nature was changed. For the first seven weekends of this League of Ireland season, Leeds and Bohs both won, both drew, both won, both drew, both drew, both won, and both lost. So when Liverpool beat Leeds this Saturday, I was in a predictably despondent mood as I boarded the 19A bus to Dalymount the next day. Our inevitable defeat would mean that, if Drogheda or Cork Albert won today, they would go four points clear of us, which would take at least three weeks of good results to claw back. Skeptical friends told me I was just being superstitious, but having been reared on the belief system of Don Revie at Leeds, I knew how the football world worked. (more…)