Premier League Trophy Presentation

23 year old Chelsea fan Rachel Key has been given the honour of presenting the Premier League trophy to Chelsea captain John Terry after their final match against Sunderland on Sunday.  This is part of an initiative by Barclays and the Premier League, to recognise people who convey the true ‘Spirit of the Game’ for the work they do for the club and the community.

To prepare Rachel for Sunday’s presentation, she went with Marcel Desailly to present the Surrey Youth League’s Under 13 League Winners trophy, to the surprised members of Kingstonian Youth Eagles after their final match against Ashtead Colts.  Take a look at the footage of the presentation:

Challenge Trophies are proud to say that we supplied one of the cups that was presented, unfortunately it’s not the one that John Terry will lift on Sunday!!  Challenge Trophies did supply over 1500 trophies and medals for the League and Cup Winners across all the age groups of the Surrey Youth League and Surrey County Women & Girls League.  The company is proud of its ongoing association with these two progressive youth football leagues, that provide football for thousands of children across the County.


See Your Face On The Champions League Trophy

Mastercard have just launched their UEFA Champions League Trophy Booth.  What does this do?  It enables you to create and personalise your own Champions League Trophy photo!


See yourself on the UEFA Champions League Trophy

It’s very simple to use, particularly on your smartphone. Take a picture on your phone, and then edit it and position it, so that it’s shown on the surface of the cup.  Then it’s yours to share with your friends!

Mastercard UEFA Champions League Photo Booth


Trophy Tours All The Rage

In recent years I’ve noticed a fairly new phenomenon, and that is the trophy tour. It seems that every major trophy spends it’s life between tournaments being dragged around schools, bars, hospitals, village halls and anywhere else they can think of taking it. Whilst it’s very commendable, letting the trophy engage with it’s public, it’s also slightly diluted by the practice of using ‘stunt doubles’. I had my picture taken with the Premier League trophy last may, but whether it’s the same one this years victors will get their hands on is hugely questionable.

So, the last week has seen the FIFA World Cup pitch up in Belfast for a film premiere, the Europa League Trophy is winging it’s way across Europe preparing for an official handover and the Stanley Cup in the US seems like it would attend the opening of an envelope!!

Cup Trophy

The FA Cup gets taken for a roller coaster ride at Alton Towers

So, what’s next? Being FA Cup Semi Final weekend, that esteemed old trophy couldn’t miss out on the action. The FA have allowed supporters of Arsenal and Reading to take it on a roller coaster ride at Alton Towers. Presumably the relevance is that the journey to the FA Cup Final is a roller coaster ride? Let’s hope the Semi Final isn’t a cliffhanger, because if it is we’ll be faced with the prospect of the Cup dangling over some cliff edge in Dover at the beginning of May!

United Set For Second Season Without A Trophy

Arsenal’s 2-1 win in the FA Cup Quarter Final at Old Trafford last night meant that Manchester United will endure a second season without getting their hands on a trophy.  For most teams that’s no big deal, and even Louis Van Gaal’s opposite number last night Arsene Wenger, has suffered a far longer and more painful barren spell of trophy-less years at Arsenal.  But for Manchester United and their army of fans this is an unusual situation.  In fact the last time they experienced two years without a title was in a 4 year spell stretching from season 1985-86 to 1988-89.  They will all be hoping that this one doesn’t last 4 years.

A lot was made of Louis Van Gaal’s record at previous clubs where he won a trophy in his first season at Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, which given they’re the top clubs in their respective leagues probably wasn’t that remarkable.  However, he won’t achieve that with Manchester United and some interesting stats in the Daily Mail show us that he has won 19 trophies in 831 matches giving him a ‘trophy per match’ average of 43.73 matches for each trophy.  The guys at the Daily Mail gave us the stats for other high profile managers past and present which makes for fascinating reading.


Happier times for Louis Van Gaal lifting the Bundesliga trophy with Bayern

The full list is headed by Pep Guardiola with a hugely impressive 19 trophies achieved at an average of only 19.9 matches for each one.  Having said that, many of the other managers would have loved to have managed the Barcelona and Bayern Munich sides that he’s presided over.  Bob Paisley’s great era at Liverpool saw him amass 20 trophies in an average of 26.8 games.  Maybe more impressive is the late Jock Stein’s haul of 27 trophies at an average of 37.2 games.  Sir Alex Ferguson boasts the biggest number of trophies at 44, even though he needed over 48 games for each one.  The great Sir Bobby Robson has the worst record in the list, of only 13 trophies at an average of 111 games for each one.  However, if his England side in Italia 90 had lifted the World Cup, his legend as the greatest manager from these shores would have been secured!

Here’s the full list from the Daily Mail:

1)  Pep Guardiola – 378 matches, 21 trophies, 19.9 games per trophy

2)  Bob Paisley – 535 matches, 20 trophies, 26.8 games per trophy

3)  Jose Mourinho – 727 matches, 21 trophies, 34.6 games per trophy

4)  Walter Smith – 766 matches, 21 trophies, 36.5 games per trophy

5)  Jock Stein – 1005 matches,  27 trophies, 37.2 games per trophy

6)  Ottmar Hitzfeld – 1039 matches, 26 trophies, 40.0 games per trophy

7)  Louis Van Gaal – 831 matches, 19 trophies, 43.7 games per trophy

8)  Vincente Del Bosque – 472 matches, 10 trophies, 47.2 games per trophy

9)  Fabio Capello – 625 matches, 13 trophies, 48.1 games per trophy

10)  Roberto Mancini – 627 matches, 13 trophies, 48.2 games per trophy

11)  Sir Alex Ferguson – 2131 matches, 44 trophies, 48.4 games per trophy

12)  Marcello Lippi – 958 matches, 19 trophies, 50.4 games per trophy

13)  Carlo Ancelotti – 952 matches, 16 trophies, 59.5 games per trophy

14)  Rafael Benitez – 912 matches, 12 trophies, 76.0 games per trophy

15)  Arsene Wenger – 1487 matches, 17 trophies, 87.5 games per trophy

16)  Brian Clough – 1319 matches, 13 trophies, 101.5 games per trophy

17)  Bill Shankly – 1160 matches, 11 trophies, 105.5 games per trophy

18)  Sir Bobby Robson – 1446 matches, 13 trophies, 111.2 games per trophy


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.


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?