Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Goal Frames We Have Known and Loved: No.3

Empire Stadium, Gżira, Malta:


Look closely at the grainy black-and-white image above and you'll see something rather spectacular. It's a set of goalposts made entirely out of pelican crossing lights.

Actually that's not true. They couldn't get the bulb to flash on the top.

No, these are in fact proper black and white striped goal posts as seen for many years at the Empire Stadium just north-west of Valetta, Malta. The above picture is taken from the Malta v England match that took place in 1971, and as you can see, they're every bit as bizarre as they are eye-catching.


Not only are the posts an absolute delight to behold (Newcastle United fans, contain yourselves) but the back frame of the goal was also peculiar because of its three support posts. That's THREE - one at the back left of the net, one at the back right and one in the MIDDLE.


Quite why it was deemed necessary to add a third post down the middle is anyone's guess, but it's just the sort of idiosyncratic idea that added so much fun to the world of football years ago.

As if the goalframes weren't crazy enough, the pitch at the Empire Stadium in Malta was made up predominantly of white sand. Any team that played there (and many did, from England to Ipswich Town to Real Madrid) could tell you how tricky that was to play on - in fact Sir Alf's band of happy wanderers only just scrambled a 1-0 win there back in February 1971.

Then again, it's easy to be distracted by innovation and originality when it's so unavoidably in your midst. We can only imagine every visiting player must have spent hours gawping at the monochrome genius of those goal frames, so if possession of the ball was easily lost, so be it. We'd have no doubt done the same.

Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the goal posts of Gżira: true black and white brilliance.

Structure: 9.5
Net pattern: 7
Net colour: 7
Overall: 8.5

-- Chris Oakley

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