Why is Crystal Palace FC nicknamed ‘The Eagles’?

Crystal Palace Football Club (FC) was formally founded, as a professional team, at what is now Crystal Palace Park, in the London Borough of Bromley, in 1905. At the time, the site was home to the Crystal Palace, a giant plate glass and cast iron structure, originally built in Hyde Park to house the Great Exhibition of 1851, but dismantled and re-erected on Sydenham Hill, South East London three years later. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the football club was originally known as ‘The Crystals’, before becoming known by a more familiar nickname, ‘The Glaziers’, circa 1910.

At the start of World War I, in July, 1914, the Crystal Palace and its grounds were commandeered by the Admiralty and, the following March, Crystal Palace FC was forced to leave its original stadium on the site of what is now the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre. Thereafter, the club played its football at Herne Hill Velodrome and Croydon Common Athletic Ground, a.k.a. ‘The Nest’, before moving to its current home, Selhurst Park, in 1924.

‘The Eagles’ nickname was a much, much later development and was, in fact, ‘borrowed’ from perennial Portuguese champions Benfica by Malcolm ‘Big Mal’ Allison, who succeeded Bert Head as manager at Selhurst Park on March 31, 1973. A flamboyant, outspoken and often controversial manager, Allison sought to revolutionise the club, as he had done previously, alongside Joe Mercer, at Manchester City.

However, despite his rebranding efforts, Crystal Palace FC was relegated to the Second Division in 1972/73 and relegated again, to the Third Division, in 1973/74. By the time the club was promoted back to the Second Division in 1976/77, Allison had been replaced by Terry Venables, who had worked as his coach the previous season.

Which footballer, or footballers, received the fastest red card ever?

In association football, a.k.a. soccer, a straight red card – which, of course, results in instant dismissal from the field of play – may be issued by a referee for various reasons including, but not limited to, serious foul play, violent conduct and deliberately denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. Indeed, the history of the game is awash with accounts of players who received the proverbial ‘early bath’ almost before their feet had touched the ground, or the pitch in this case.

As recently as September 18, 2022, for example, Nice centre-back Jean-Clair Todibo hit the headlines when dismissed after just nine seconds of the Ligue 1 clash with Angers at the Allianz Riviera. The visitors went on the attack straight from the kick-off and when Todibo, adjudged to be the last man, tripped rival striker Abdallah Sima referee Bastien Dechepy had no choice to issue the fastest red card card in Ligue 1 history. For the record, Angers won 1-0, despite having Sofiane Boufal dismissed for a second yellow card just after the hour mark.

Nine seconds is roughly the time it takes to tie a shoelace, but still seems like an eternity when compared with the fastest red cards ever. Two players have the dubious distinction of being sent off after being on the pitch for no time at all, at least not officially. The first of them was Jamaican international striker Walter Boyd, who enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame when playing for Swansea City against Darlington in Division Three of the English Football League at Vetch Field on November 23, 1999. Following the award of a free-kick, Boyd came on as a late substitute, but immediately elbowed an opponent and was dismissed, for violent conduct, before play had restarted.

The second ‘instant’ red card was issued, under similar circumstances, in an explosive Premier League match between Reading and Sheffield United at the Madejski Stadium on January 20, 2007. The recipient was Sheffield United midfielder Keith Gillespie who, like Boyd, came on as a substitute and, like Boyd, elbowed an opponent before play had restarted, earning him his marching orders after precisely zero seconds, officially.

Who was the first female gymnast to score a perfect 10 at the Olympic Games?

As far as women are concerned, gymnastics officially became an Olympic sport at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, albeit that, unlike their male counterparts, female gymnasts just participated in a team competition, without individual classification. Indeed, it was not until 1958 that the Women’s Technical Committee of the body governing competition in gymnastics, the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG), published its first official scoring system, or ‘Code of Points’.

The Code of Points was based on a ‘theoretical’ maximum score of 10.00 points but, prior to 1976, a ‘perfect 10’ was considered impossible in any discipline of gymnastics, especially at the Olympic Games. Readers of a certain age may recall that even Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut, who became the darling of 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, only achieved scores of 9.90 on her way to individual gold medals in the balance beam and floor competitions.

In fact, such was the belief in the implausibility of a ‘perfect’ score that the Olympic scoreboards of the day were programmed to display just one digit before the decimal point, so could only display scores up to and including 9.99. However, at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, 14-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci made history when she was award 10.00 – confusingly, displayed as ‘1.00’ on the scoreboard – in the team compulsory round of the uneven bars competition. It was no fluke, either; all told, she would receive seven scores of 10.00, three more on the uneven bars and three on the balance bar, winning gold medals in both those disciplines and the all-around competition.

Where, and what, was White City Stadium?

Not many stadia have songs written to commemorate their demolition but, in August, 1989, Anglo-Irish Celtic punk band The Pogues released the single ‘White City’, in which they lamented,’Oh, sweet city of my dreams, of speed and skill and schemes. Like Atlantis you just disappeared from view.’ Speed, skill and schemes, of course, refers to the use of White City Stadium for greyhound racing, which it was between June 20, 1927 and September 22, 1984, shortly before demolition work began.

Officially opened by King Edward VII on April 27, 1908, White City Stadium, or the Great Stadium, as it was originally known, was situated in the north-western part of Shepherd’s Bush, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. The White City, or Great White City, from which the district takes its name was a 200-acre complex of exhibition buildings constructed, uniformly white, according to the creative vision of Hungarian émigré, Imre Kiralfy, for the

Franco-British Exhibition in 1908. The 150,000-capacity White City Stadium was only added as an afterthought, once London, rather than Rome, was confirmed as the host city for the 1908 Summer Olympics.

White City Stadium continued to be used for athletics until the start of World War I and, again, from 1931 onwards, following the installation of a 440-yard running track. However, the stadium was purchased by the Greyhound Racing Association (GRA) in 1927 and thereafter became the pre-eminent venue for greyhound racing in the country, hosting the English Greyhound Derby every year until its closure. Demolition work was completed in 1985 to make way for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) White City building, but original plans for the building to replace Broadcasting House as the home of BBC Radio were scrapped, the Corporation vacated the premises in 2013 and sold them to property developers.