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 Pitch Perfect
Topic Originator: sammer  
Date:   Mon 25 May 19:04



The proportions of a football pitch might not be exactly in accord with Euclid’s Golden Mean but then what did the ancient Greeks know about football? According to a Monty Python sketch not very much. What is remarkable is how the dimensions of the pitch have stood the test of time. The rules of the game are tinkered with every year; the ball is lighter to the touch; the players’ equipment has been streamlined; and the referees are now wired for sound: yet the pitch remains untouched. That familiar mixture of rectangles, curving circles and quadrants is pleasing to the eye. Even the ratio of the goal- 3x wider than high- seems exactly right. We should salute the football pioneers, for they got it right.

Yet many of the markings are now redundant, belonging to an age when football, like rugby, was based on controlling territory as much as controlling the ball.

The 10 yard centre circle was presumably to allow play to develop before a rammy broke out. Given that most teams now kick off by playing the ball backwards would it matter if we lost the centre circle?

The 6 yard box to mark bye-kicks made it possible to pin a team inside their own half by dint of the heavy ball being difficult to shift. If a goal kick was taken from anywhere inside the 18 yard box would anyone now really care? And in these days of mass encroachment at penalties, does the semi circle at the edge of the penalty area still serve any function? The modern pitch could have its appendix removed and look like this.



The problem is it looks awful. Leaving aesthetics aside, the redundant markings are not quite so redundant after all. Goalkeepers use the 6 yard box as a measurement when deciding to come for crosses, same as attackers and defenders when the ball is in the goalmouth. The centre circle acts as a guide for players when judging how far to push up the pitch whether defender or attacker, whether in possession or not. So to remove these markings would be like cutting the cat’s whiskers. The football pitch is surely a design classic.
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 Re: Pitch Perfect
Topic Originator: Buspasspar  
Date:   Mon 25 May 19:49

Sammer bring back the saw dust :)
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 Re: Pitch Perfect
Topic Originator: Grant  
Date:   Mon 25 May 20:06

The original football pitches were quite different.

Take this image from the 1896 Scottish Cup final at Logie Green in Edinburgh(the only Scottish Cup final to be held outside Glasgow)


Post Edited (Mon 25 May 20:07)
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 Re: Pitch Perfect
Topic Originator: Socks  
Date:   Mon 25 May 20:21

That second image is disgusting. Vile. Aesthetics matter in football grounds and that includes the pitch. I happened to be thinking about this quite recently and concluded that the beautiful markings are one of the simple things that helps make football great. I too am struck by the fact they have remained unchanged for so long (noting that there were bigger changes in the early days) and it's always nice to see aerial photos from back in the 50s or more modern ones on Google Maps where you can immediately pick out a football pitch either in a big ground or public park.

The 6-yard box does still have a purpose in terms of the laws of the game, aside from goal kicks, albeit one that is not often needed. It's needed for indirect free kicks where the offence took place in the 6-yard box, and the free kick is taken from the nearest spot on the line. It matters little when the keeper is taking a free kick but a different story when it's the attacking team.

One wee thing I've enjoyed in recent years is that some groundsmen have played around with the penalty spot. Having noted that many players now place the ball right at the front edge of the spot, in some places the spot has been moved back slightly so that the front edge of it is at the 12-yard point. A few have taken to marking a cross rather than a spot, but it doesn't seem widespread. I first saw that at Pittodrie but haven't seen it recently at all. The laws don't need it to be a spot, they just mention a 'penalty mark' and don't say exactly which bit of it must be 12 yards out.

On a similar theme, I wonder how many goals have been scored/kept out by the shape of the posts. One of the nice idiosyncrasies is that posts can be square or round and the more modern round ones obviously make the goal slightly bigger, particularly for near-post shots. There must be goals that have been scored with round posts that sould have bounced out with square ones.



Post Edited (Mon 25 May 21:09)
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 Re: Pitch Perfect
Topic Originator: DA-go Par Adonis  
Date:   Mon 25 May 20:45

Certainly one of the iconic images of the last decade was the thousands of Pars fans streaming into Cappielow to see us get promoted. Warm day, sunshine, blue skies and the pitch looking like a lush, bowling green.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I love it when we go sell Kevin Nisbet,
He's gonna pay for everyone this season.
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 Re: Pitch Perfect
Topic Originator: sammer  
Date:   Mon 25 May 21:54

Regarding square goal posts, St. Etienne fans believe they were denied two goals in the 1976 European Cup Final at Hampden when efforts rebounded back off the underside of the bar. Maybe Celtic’s first goal in the 1965 Scottish Final would not have happened with round goalposts since Gallagher’s shot would have clipped the top of the bar and gone behind for a bye-kick. Round posts have been an improvement I think.

I find the modern tendency to place the ball mostly out of the quadrant at corner kicks annoying- similar to the point made about penalty kicks. Surely it would not be difficult to decree that some part of the ball much be in direct contact with an area inside of the markings.

The Logie Green photo shows that the early penalty box markings were more in line with a hockey pitch. The ‘MacDonalds Arch’ as Stanza describes it must be the area where the keeper can handle the ball but it’s hard to understand why it was not just a circle. What I take to be the penalty area looks about 18 yards from goal but extends right across the pitch; maybe the early rules followed rugby markings initially.

I think it’s the circles, semi circles and quadrants which make the football pitch look so good to the eye. An aerial view of a rugby pitch or American Football pitch is all straight lines or dotted lines.
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 Re: Pitch Perfect
Topic Originator: PARrot  
Date:   Tue 26 May 11:04

I think a collision with the edge of a square post would be a lot more damaging than with a round one. Did H&S have any bearing on the change?

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 Re: Pitch Perfect
Topic Originator: parathletic  
Date:   Tue 26 May 11:08


Some of the history of goal posts

https://www.fourfourtwo.com/features/weird-and-wonderful-history-goal-posts
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