Is this the Oddest Football Trophy?

A recent pre-season football tournament in Austin, Texas saw the Armadillo Football Trophy takes its place amongst the weirdest trophies ever created.  The tournament was hosted by Austin Aztex, who competed for the trophy with D.C. United, Columbus Crew and FC Dallas.  We’ve seen many funny trophies, but an Armadillo holding two pistols and wearing a cowboy hat ranks right up there with the best of them!!

Football Trophy

The Armadillo Football Trophy

The thinking behind it?  The organisers felt that with Austin known for a being a bit weird, they wanted a trophy that demonstrated that.  The local gift shops are full of Armadillo related gifts, so I suppose it was a natural progression to add a couple of pistols and a cowboy hat and create a trophy!!

Austin Aztex Marketing Director Jeff Burns said “Other tournaments have cups and plates, but we felt that teams would really subscribe to fighting for an armadillo.  It reeks of Texas.  When we had the opportunity to make it a pistol-wearing armadillo with a cowboy hat, there was no way we could say no to that. I mean, who doesn’t want an armadillo in their trophy case.”

Who Will Lift 2015 Cricket World Cup Trophy?

The 2015 Cricket World Cup gets underway in Christchurch, New Zealand tonight, before England enter the fray in the early hours of tomorrow morning, facing pre-tournament favourites Australia in front of 90,000 spectators at the MCG.

Cricket Trophy

India were the Winners of the last World Cup in 2011

Here’s our little preview of this years tournament:

There are 14 teams competing in the tournament, and the group stage will be played over a month and will only result in eliminating 6 teams.  In all likelihood, this will leave the 8 most established nations to compete in the Quarter Finals (Australia, South Africa, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and West Indies).

But who will get their hands on the trophy?  Most experts believe that the winner will come from one of the two hosts – Australia and New Zealand.  These two sides are in the best form right now, Australia have won the tournament more times than anyone else, and New Zealand have over-performed in previous World Cups when they were distinct underdogs.

Is there any chance of seeing a new name on the cup?  In the 10 World Cups to date, Australia have won 4, West Indies and India have won 2 each, Sri Lanka & Pakistan have 1 apiece.  That leaves the most likely new winners to be New Zealand, South Africa & England.  New Zealand have a live chance, as outlined above, and South Africa are arguably the best 50 over team in the competition.  However, over the years South Africa have developed a reputation as ‘chokers’, which seems to diminish their chances of winning the trophy.  England have been beaten finalists on three occasions (most recently in 1992), and do appear to be capable of beating anyone on their day.  But this is England, and it’s a World Cup, so that probably won’t happen!!

With the growth of Twenty 20 cricket, is this World Cup still as important?  Twenty 20 cricket has brought the sport to the masses, down to the crash, bang, wallop nature of the game, but it’s not cricket in it’s purest form.  Test matches are always viewed as the real gauge of a team’s quality by the purists, but it doesn’t lend itself to the structure of a ‘World Cup’ tournament.  So, the 50 over version still retains its place as the most illustrious cricket trophy.

Any chance for an outsider?  Scotland won the Qualification Tournament (without Ireland & Bangladesh) and did record a recent victory over Ireland.  Ireland and Bangladesh have the biggest claims for making the Quarter Finals, although Scotland could perform well.

Verdict:  Australia to lift the trophy for the 5th time

How to Make Your Trophy Presentation More Interesting!!

It’s true that some trophy presentations can drag a little.  That is totally fine for those people waiting to collect their cup or medal, as it’s all about that special moment.

It’s also true that trophy presentations in professional sport can be a little bit routine.  Take Golf for example.  Pretty much all Golf trophy presentations, involve a few ageing club or association presidents, rambling through a long-winded speech on the 18th green, before handing over the winners cup.

This wasn’t the case when Jason Day won the USPGA Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines last weekend, take a look at how his trophy arrived!!

FC United of Manchester Mount Trophy Challenge

The FA Trophy enters the Quarter Final stage today, with the pick of the ties being the ex-Football League club Torquay taking on the lowest ranked remaining team – FC United of Manchester.

The story of FC United of Manchester is one of football’s romantic tales.  It was formed in 2005 by unhappy Manchester United fans, who opposed Malcolm Glazer’s controversial takeover of the club.  Like AFC Wimbledon it is owned and managed by it’s supporters, which does appear to be a successful model for running a football club.  Their growth has been steady, they are well supported and will shortly open a fantastic new stadium at Broadhurst Park, where they will welcome the mighty Benfica for a friendly this Summer.

Trophy

FC United of Manchester’s passionate fans

Today they make their first appearance in an FA Trophy Quarter Final, with aspirations of lifting the most prestigious of non-league football trophies.  They are likely to take 1000 supporters with them on the long trip to Torquay and they’ll hope to follow that up with a trip to Wembley for the Final.  What chance that FC United of Manchester and Manchester United could end up lifting both of English Football’s Premier Cups?!!

 

 

Lots Drawn in African Cup of Nations

The African Cup of Nations used the drawing of lots to settle the final Quarter Final place in Malabo today.

The draw was needed to decide who finished second in Group D after Mali and Guinea finished level on points, goals scored and conceded.  The draw could have been even more farcical, had Cameroon equalised against Ivory Coast in their match last night.  That would have meant that they would have had to draw lots to determine all 4 positions, meaning every match in the group was fairly pointless.

Ivory Coast’s victory saved CAF from that embarrassment, but their decision to delay the draw from last night to this afternoon is even more bewildering.  Guinea pulled out the ball that granted them second place and progress into the Quarter Finals.  The reality is that it could have a big impact on the destination of the cup.  Both sides managed a draw in the group with the pre-tournament favourites Ivory Coast, who will now play the new favourites Algeria in the Quarter-Final.

Football Trophies

Guinea drew 1-1 with Mali last night

Guinea and Mali shared a 1-1 draw last night and by the time the match ended, everyone knew they couldn’t be separated in the group.  Surely the logical thing to do was to ask them to either play extra time to force a result or go straight to a penalty shoot-out.  Either way, it should have been settled by football, not a lucky dip.  The Mali FA’s president chose the first ball, and chose incorrectly.  Will that act by the moment that sees the trophy end up in Guinea’s hands?

New 6 Nations Rugby Trophy Launched

A new trophy has been created for the RBS 6 Nations tournament which is due to start next month.

The previous trophy had been in use since 1993, when the tournament was still the 5 Nations, but the new trophy has 6 sides reflecting the fact that there have been 6 Nations competing since 2000.  It is the latest in a flurry of new major Rugby trophies, following on from the European Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup which will be presented for the first time this Spring.

Rugby Trophy

The new 6 Nations Trophy

The trophy itself is 75cm tall and weighs 7kg.  It is a silver cup but has a gold plated ‘6’ in each handle.  All three of the new major rugby cups that have been launched have added an extra design dimension to reflect the competition.  they’ve strayed away from the conventional cup designs and in doing so create something that is both unique and prestigious.

New Range of Colour Printed Awards

Challenge Trophies have launched a new range of colour printed awards, following a huge demand for these items in 2014.

In the past, crystal awards were only ever sandblasted or more recently laser engraved, but the ability to add colour to the award has proved to be hugely popular.  Having the award colour printed not only enables customers to reproduce their logo more accurately, but the colour also provides a nice contrast against the clear glass award.

Challenge Trophies have introduced 8 new styles of colour printed awards for 2015 each of them coming in multiple sizes.  These new styles include:

Crystal Teardrop Award

Colour Award

Crystal Teardrop Award with Colour Print

The Crystal Teardrop Award is available in three sizes 22cm, 24.5cm and 28cm and prices range from £29.95 to £44.50

Crystal Block Award

Crsytal Block Award

Colour Printed Crystal Block Award

The Crystal Block Award is a 40mm thick premium square crystal award that measures 10cm by 10cm.  The colour print on the reverse is shown off perfectly by the depth of the crystal block.  The price for this is £35.00

Crystal Circle Award

Crystal and Metal Award

Crystal Circle Award with Colour Print

The range of Crystal Circle Awards have a colour printed crystal circle held securely in a metal holder.  They are available in three sizes 19.5cm, 21.5cm and 23cm.  Prices range from £39.95 to £49.95

The Greatest Shock in FA Cup history?

Many people go on about how the FA Cup has lost it’s magic over the years, but anybody who witnessed this weekend’s 4th round would find it hard to agree. The weekend started off with Cambridge getting a draw against Manchester United on Friday evening, before Blackburn Rovers knocked out Premier League outfit Swansea. And then it got even better. Not only did Middlesbrough beat Man City 2-0 at the Etihad but League One Bradford City knocked out Premier League leaders Chelsea, and even that doesn’t show the credit they deserve. Not only did they beat them, they came from 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to beat Jose Mourinho’s 4-2.

FA Cup

 

So where does this rank in the history of FA Cup shocks? There may have been some lower league teams in contention for this title, but does anything beat coming back from 2-0 down, away from home, at the Premier League leaders? We don’t think so, but here are some other shocks that come into contention:

1. Sutton 2 Coventry 1, 3rd round, 1989

2. Hereford 2 Newcastle 1, 3rd round, 1972

3. Sunderland 1 Leeds 0, Final,  1973

4. Wrexham 2 Arsenal 1, 3rd round, 1992

5. Bournemouth 2 Manchester United 0, 3rd Round, 1984

 

Wrexham beating the Division One champions certainly gives this tie a close run in terms of ‘The Greatest Shock in FA Cup history’ and many people may have thought this would be hard to beat.  The victories from non-league Hereford and Sutton would certainly be considered by some as the greatest cup shocks in history. However, whilst these were fantastic achievements, Bradford were not only away from home, but they came from 2-0 down against one of the best teams in the world which surely makes it more of a shock, as well as being further into the competition. And with the competition as open as it may ever be, will we see any more upsets in the next round, and will a surprise side lift the trophy come May?

Ballon d’Or 2014: The Reaction

Cristiano Ronaldo picked up his 3rd Ballon d’Or trophy this week after another extremely impressive year for Real Madrid, scoring 52 goals in 43 games. His list of footballing trophies is growing by the minute and we’ve pulled together some of the best reactions to his latest award.

Ronaldo

 

 

His manager, Carlo Ancelotti, was quick to look forward, saying:

“Individual awards motivate Cristiano a lot. Tomorrow he will start working towards winning another Ballon d’Or” 

 

Bayern Munich were quick to give their congratulations, despite Manuel Neuer coming 3rd, tweeting:

“Congratulations to @Cristiano on winning the #BallondOr!”

 

Real Madrid posted a YouTube video to show the team celebrating Ronaldo’s victory, if you can understand Spanish that is.

 

Gary Linekar backed the decision for the former Manchester United player to win the trophy, tweeting:

“Ronaldo and Messi are far and away the best players on the planet, how could they both possibly not be in your top 3?”

 

And finally Mario Balotelli did his own impression of the Porugese star’s reaction to winning the Ballon d’Or, which can be seen on his instagram page here

 

Balotelli

2014: Challenge Trophies Premier League Awards

2014 has come to a close, and it’s safe to say it hasn’t been a quiet one for the Premier League. We’ve picked a few awards to give out for the calendar year.

 

Goal of the Year

There has been a fair few special goals this year, and it’s a tough one to call, depending on whether you prefer slick passing movements or a thunderbolt from 40 yards out. However, after much deliberation we have awarded the trophy to Wayne Rooney for his finish against West Ham earlier in the year. Replicating that of former United captain, David Beckham, Wayne Rooney took the ball down, turned and beat the keeper from the halfway line with a superb finish.

Wayne Rooney

 

Manager of the Year

This is another tough one to call due to the changings of fortunes in the second half of the year. Had this been decided in May, it would have been hard to look past Tony Pulis or Brendan Rogers. However, both have been in much controversy since then, with Pulis leaving Palace on the eve of the season, and Rodgers having a less than average start to this season. Koeman deserves a mention for an impressive start to life at Southampton after many had tipped them to be relegation candidates. Overall, for 2014 we have given the award to Jose Mourinho for his overall consistency. They had a strong finish to last season and have progressed further to look unstoppable in terms of winning the Premier League this season.

Game of the Year

A slightly easier award, that I’m sure fans from 19 out of the 20 Premier League clubs would find it hard to disagree with. For the result, as well as the way it came about, it has to go to the end-of-season thriller between Crystal Palace and Liverpool. Two teams who had excelled in the season met in the penultimate game of the season and Liverpool took a comfortable 3-0 lead as they looked to pip Manchester City to the title. However, Palace were not to be outdone, and they played their part in the title race by scoring 3 goals in 10 minutes to ruin Liverpool’s chances and to cause Luis Suarez to break down in tears at the end of the game.

Most Prolific Goalscorer

An award that is decided by stats rather than opinion, the most prolific goalscorer in 2014 has actually only been playing in the Premier League since August. Diego Costa was fairly unknown just a year ago, but he has turned out to be a brilliant signing for Chelsea with a ratio of 0.8 goals per game which is impressive to say the least.

Controversial Moment of the Year

There’s been plenty of bad tackles and controversial offside decisions, but it’s hard to look past the Alan Pardew incident with this award. Managers lose their temper regularly but he took it slightly too far in head butting a player, and it certainly caused uproar amongst the media. I’m sure he’ll be doing his best not to repeat that action in the near future.

 

Have you got any other awards of the year you think deserve a mention? Tweet them to us at @SportsTrophies.