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  2. Are there any statistics in regard to the effects of a flu outbreak on team performances ? If so, I suspect that we may be everybody's bogey team recently.
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  4. Click to view slideshow. As Henley the Scrounger said to the poorly sighted Colin the Forger, “twenty minutes over this ridge, next stop Switzerland” !! Buckle up, we are off to the land of clocks, chocolate, cheese and Calcio Swiss style! I am sure when readers are planning a trip there is always a desire to collect information on all available fixtures within a given travel distance of your chosen base ahead of making the finalised plan. It is always a little more of an allure if that plan includes a cross-border game! That was exactly my situation when contemplating the options for an early November last year with my trip to North Italy, where thankfully TV schedules seemed secured earlier than normal. I had booked flights Friday to Monday but when the Europa League group fixtures became known I contemplated flying out a day earlier as Lugano were scheduled to play Malmo, a city reasonably close to Milan. It had the look of an entertaining joust, but something made me hold off making the flight alteration, which transpired to be a good idea as Lugano’s Cornaredo Stadium isn’t up to UEFA standards apparently and they are having to travel some distance to St Gallen to host games in front of considerably lower crowds than had they been able to play in front of at home. I am sure these circumstances were of great disappointment to the good people of Lugano as it is 250 kilometres to St Gallen! All was not lost on the notion of catching a game in Ticino, the Italian speaking region of Switzerland. Europa League duty guaranteed a Sunday fixture, and a home one at that with Lugano hosting big boys FC Basel! The lakeside beauty of Lugano for a day, or pitch up in the commuter town of Busto Arsizio solely for the game?! The feisty rivalry between Aurora Pro Patria and Alessandria in Italy’s Serie C would have to wait another season! It was a no brainer, Switzerland won hands down! I had been there a few times but not since 1986 or so, and never for a game, but arranging this adventure, Switzerland became the 30th country I have watched a game! I bought my ticket online via the Lugano website (Swiss Francs, 24 for the terracing at the side of the main stand), but even with Basel in town the early purchase had been unnecessary as the ground was nowhere near full. As the train snakes around the hillsides and through tunnels from Como, via Chiasso the Swiss border town, the height of the Lugano Prealps, as the mountains in this region are known, seem to get higher and higher with the snow caps showing more frequently. It is an awe inspiring view as the train edges around the lake ahead of Lugano coming into sight. The railway station sits high above the majority of the city and from just outside it affords wonderful views across Lugano rooftops, spires and out across the lake, as well as allowing the football fan to get a first glimpse of the Cornaredo floodlight pylons off in the distance! It’s a good old hike from here to the stadium, but the game wasn’t until 4pm and arriving at just after 10,30 in the morning following the 90 minute train from Milan, with the sun shining I was relishing plunder the city ahead of the football. Lugano is beautiful, it’s crescent shaped coast affords wonderful lakeside walks with cafe stops aplenty, piers for lake tour boats to whisk you off out to sea, or merely a pedalo for hire for more sedate recreational inshore fun! With a population of 63,185 Lugano is the ninth city of Switzerland, but it is the largest Italian speaking place in the world outside Italy, but it isn’t the capital of Ticino, that honour falls to Bellinzona further north in the region. A funicular railway will take you from the station down into the city, or you can just walk, albeit a zig zag route, steps and all, but it is relatively easy. As you’d expect of a well to do Swiss lakeside city, the streets, the houses and the gardens are immaculate indeed the whole place is pristine and clean, and the shops are largely designer! There are bars and restaurants to accommodate all tastes, and a MacDonald’s that must have one of the most glorious views of any in its franchise portfolio! We might scoff at such a venue for lunch, but if you are on a tight budget it’s an option as nothing is cheap, indeed the local shops etc will happily take your Euros but on a 1:1 basis to the Swiss Franc with change given in the local currency. The Cornaredo Stadium is 3 kilometres from the centre of the city and its shoreline. I was there on a Sunday, a day when some of the bus routes aren’t running, but the walk to the stadium is flat, leisurely and leafy, as well as being as straight as an arrow following a small river that acts as a tributary of the lake. Eventually the buildings dissipate and fenced off practise pitches act as a forerunner to the stadium coming into view. Don’t bank on following the black and white scarves or flags to guide you towards the stadium as I only ever saw a handful of club colours and even then, only in the immediate vicinity of the stadium! With a capacity of just 6,330 the Cornaredo is a relatively small venue, but given it was maybe just over half full for the visit of the big boys from Basel, the stadium perhaps rarely gets close to a sell out these days. It is a municipal facility with one of those pesky running tracks around the pitch. It is also sadly surrounded by unnecessary fencing which doesn’t unduly impinge on your viewing if you are on the top steps of the relatively low terracing, but a seat in either stand will alleviate any viewing issues completely. Next to the main stand is an unusual glass house stand with a lot of soft seating acting as the hospitality zone, and with the visit of Basel this area was certainly full. FC Lugano are in their eighth passage of Swiss club football history in the top flight. Having been founded in 1908 the club made its First Division debut 14 years later in 1922. In 1931 they won their first honour, the Swiss Cup, a trophy that has headed to Lugano on two more occasions in 1968 and 1993, with both wins seeing the club qualify for Europe, with lofty league position also adding to the clubs eight Euro campaigns. The last two Euro outings were relatively fruitless attempts at getting out of Europa League groups in very recent years where they qualified directly, doubtlessly aided by the efforts of FC Basel and Young Boys Bern on the Swiss co-efficiency table! Amongst the first six ever European games Lugano ever played were against three of the giants of the continent, starting with a European debut in the Cup Winners Cup of 1968/69 against Barcelona, losing 4-0 on aggregate. Twenty five years later, having got by Belorussian outfit Neman Grodno 6-2 on aggregate to give Lugano a first ever Euro progression, Real Madrid were next in Ticino, with the Spanish winning 3-1 en route to a 6-1 aggregate success. Two years later, having seen off Jeunesse Esch, Lugano claimed their most famous scalp beating Inter Milan 1-0 at home and holding on for a 1-1 draw at the San Siro! It was the last time the club progressed in Europe as Slavia Prague saw them off with home and away wins in the next round. Lugano also have three Swiss league titles on the clubs roll of honour; 1938, 1941 and 1948 all long before the European Cup came along, so they have never had the opportunity to play in the top competition thus far, not that actually winning the title is paramount for an invite these days! The darkest period in the clubs history came in 2003 after relegation from the top flight, when the club was declared bankrupt. Only in 2004 following that familiar quirk in Italy where the club “merged” with an unassuming backwater side Malcantone Agno, and moving it to Lugano, changing the badge and club colours back to the original black and white kit, essentially a usurping, albeit temporarily becoming AC Lugano. They set about working there way through the Swiss leagues returning to the Super League in 2015 where they have settled ever since, qualifying twice for the Europa League via a high league placing. It was both interesting and sad to read in the excellent little free programme that a Ticino super club is being muted, where Bellinzona, Chiasso and Lugano would all pull resources to compete with the more powerful clubs in the German and French regions. Bellinzona in particular have been struggling to get back to an acceptable level, but if this was going to happen it would be another sad essay on the modern game. I for one hope these three famous Ticino clubs retain their independence. From a home perspective the first half of the Basel game was a shocker. Perhaps the legs were tired after the effort put in during the 0-0 draw on Thursday versus Malmo, coupled with being sent out in a containing formation rather than getting the sleeves rolled up and getting stuck into their more illustrious visitors. It got me thinking that Basel doubtlessly face this tactic in a number of games just as the big duo in Scotland seem to command similar subservience! Leading 2-0 and having rarely broken sweat, it was a good thing the visiting fans were in fine voice otherwise the atmosphere which was already sedate would have edged toward the point of comatose! When I was watching Sassuolo in Reggio Emilia a couple of days before Lugano, the small band of Ultras was positively miniscule by Serie A standards, but they had way more than the thirty or so who gathered on the terrace behind the goal at the Cornaredo and tried to give a little home spin to the atmosphere, but they were badly out sung by the visiting end. Indeed, an attempt by the Basel fans to sing in Italian to insult the Luganese didn’t draw any form of vociferous riposte, merely brought a bout of tutting and head shaking from those around me! We are in the realm of the mature, adult attitudes toward football! The second half saw Lugano a bit more energised as Basel, who also had a Europa League game on the Thursday, resorted to stifling tactics, but the home side did create moments of mayhem, crashing one against the bar and forcing the keeper to show agility. Had they pulled one back it would have seen a cracking conclusion, but as it was, with the last kick of the game Basel scored a third, almost apologetically, a job well done for them. Lugano’s season has started in a spluttering fashion, perhaps hampered by the extra distraction of six Europa League games, all technically away encounters, but I hope they will stay clear of relegation and keep the flag of Ticino flying proudly in the Swiss Super League. View the full article
  5. Unforgivable - sincere apologies to you and calayjag. I've issue myself a All corrected above. Thanks for flagging it up.
  6. Whew! Really don't know where the blame should be levelled with so many conflicting opinions. Letting a manager go in midstream could, however, be the final straw against getting promoted . Looks as if Robbo should be allowed to stay until season's end and then the club could take time in selecting the new Manager if thought to be needed.
  7. Aye, but 7 teams below us have Rangers and Celtic putting 6 past them every week.. Our defence is the problem without a doubt. Think back to our glory years, ok 2015, we had a central defensive partnership that we could depend on 100%. The way we are just now opposition look like scoring every time they get in our box. Also means Ridgers has to do more thinking, second guessing the numpties in front of him, and getting out of position himself. Donaldson having a rotten season, only good thing is McKay was injured or it could have been much worse.
  8. You've missed Caleyjag's points for this round I had to quickly check I had actually typed them while in fear of a hiding when I got home from work but I can go home safely now 😃
  9. RiG

    Preference.

    He wants to talk to Falkirk he's not going back (yet). Of course recently he wanted to talk to Hibs and was completely ignored by them so it will be interesting to see what happens with Falkirk.
  10. I seeour finest ever managers going back to Falkirk expect them to win the league and be challenging us nxt season for the play offs if not winning the league stick a £10 on that successive league titles for Falkirk of Yogi goes back obvs
  11. HT: 0 - 1 FT: 1 - 2  1st ICT: White 1st Opp: Trouten Crowd: 1298
  12. In recent times longest I can see is 2013-14 season. 4 games without scoring in March 2014. 1 FACQF: 1 LC Final: 2 in the league.
  13. He would probably get a feckin game at the moment.
  14. What a slide, need the brakes on soon, and to think we were 10 minutes from top spot not that long ago.
  15. Having been a critic of the displays this season hats off to the boy's who made it yesterday not easy its okay for us we can call in a sicky Rest and get fit for the next big game Saturday is a must win.
  16. Ridgers was mom for me which is really concerning. McCart is a shadow of the player since Robbo had a go after the Partick game. A big concern, he seems to have stopped talking and I think Coll needs someone to keep him right. Missed Rooney's attacking runs, McKay was happy staying in his position and generally looked disinterested. Tremarco didn't get forward much but at least looked interested. Trafford needs about 3/4 touches before passing. Slows us down every time. Storey, runs fast to the outside. Never cuts in. No variety, seems disinterested. Curry played central but struggled a bit to find space. White held ball up well. Doran, surprised he was sponsors mom. Offered very little apart from a 10 min spell in the first half. Really concerning. Didn't see any speed of passing (1 touch, 1-2s). No guile to take a man out of his position and create space for others. We played slowly, rigidly, no confidence or belief. We really struggled to break down Clyde. Was disappointed with the line up. We started with a strong line up but these are the players who performed so poorly the week before. If this was their chance to right the wrong, they failed badly. Was desperate to see Machado to offer some spark or guile. Really concerned for next week. Penalties were good. Ridgers is good. Free wafer was good. Everything else was awful
  17. Buster

    new directors

    Grassa looking very cosy with the CEO in the Boardroom and Directors Seats yesterday. Wonder if his appointment will be announced this week?
  18. The way Coll is playing just now they'd be welcome to him.
  19. Checking out Coll Donaldson for a move in January. 🤔
  20. Probably thought they were at the pantomime, because that just about sums the game up
  21. So what was Mr's Kettlewell & Ferguson doing there yesterday ? Who are they watching ? it certainly wasnt the quality football on display to avoid shopping with their other half's
  22. Are you telepathic as well as clairvoyant? The reason I say that is that I was just wondering what's the longest period of time we've gone without scoring. (Sudden death penalties don't count.) Just over three games now.
  23. Well that is an illusion shattered! I thought you were our no 1 fan, there through thick and thin (like me), hence your criticism of our “fans”. Bait?? Lol!!
  24. That sums it up nicely. As an aside, good that the club is playing the song that was discussed on a post on here recently. Just need the team to get motivated by it too.
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