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An Inside Look into the UK’s Top Sports

footnall ukThe United Kingdom is rich in culture. Their lavish and winding history is perhaps one of the most interesting and one that is popularly studied all over the globe. In fact, it continues to prosper to this very day thanks to its strong tourism and economy. But if there’s one more thing that the Brits are well known for, that would be their love for sports.

The UK and its people love a good game. It’s no secret that some of the oldest sports clubs and associations sprang from here. But have you ever wondered what their most popular ones are? That’s what we’re here for today.

And as you may have guessed by now, football or soccer to the Americans and Canadians is its most beloved. The UK is actually the biggest and most fervent of the football nations from around the globe.

This full-contact sport is played by two opposing teams with eleven players each (10 field players and 1 goalkeeper) on a rectangular field. The goal is to bring an inflated leather ball across the opponent’s goal line and into their goalposts. The team with the most score wins the game. Football also originated in England some years ago. It even got so popular that a number of ruling monarchs had it banned for fear that it would distract citizens from practicing archery and thus endanger their chances at war.

Where rackets are concerned, the Brits love badminton the most. It has overshadowed tennis unlike some of the nations in Europe. It uses rackets to strike a shuttlecock, a cork ball fitted with stabilizing feathers, back and forth across a high net and is played either by single or double players per team.

The UK’s most popular bat sport would have to be cricket. It’s also its national sport, contrary to what most people would assume to be football. This high-scoring outdoor game using a flat bat, a small hard ball, and wickets is played between teams of 11 players has been in existence for over 5 centuries now. A player scores by batting the ball and running, while the defenders can get a player out by bowling and hitting the wicket, catching a hit ball, or running the player out.

Rugby is another. In the UK, it is run by the Rugby Football League. But unlike the first two, Rugby is more popular in some areas than some. It is also one of the oldest in existence and was popular among elites back in the day. This team sport is played by running an oval ball, passing it laterally from hand to hand, and kicking it to score.

The Tale of Football and Tony Bloom

tony bloom seagullsWhen legacies come together, what do we get? A spectacle, that is. Such was the case when the Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club met the infamous businessman Anthony Grant “Tony” Bloom.

Back in the 1970s, Tony was born to the Bloom family who were avid football aficionados and who has served quite some time with the club as well. Harry, his grandfather who was a well-known motor trader and hotelier, was vice-chairman to Mike Bamber. Ray, his uncle, was a director too.

As a child, he would often be brought alongside his brother to the Goldstone Ground to watch the matches. Not only was his interest piqued as he grew up, he was actually born into it. Believe it or not, the Blooms have already 40 years and 3 generations of history with it.

This is why it came as no surprise that he eventually got appointed as the Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club’s newest chairman succeeding Harry Dick Knight back in May of 2009.

The club being founded on the 24th of June in 1901 is currently 114 years old. Chris Hughton, a retired Irish professional footballer stands as its current manager. The team is composed of goalkeepers Niki Mäenpää, David Stockdale and Casper Ankergren; defenders Bruno Saltor Grau, Uwe Hünemeier, Lewis Dunk, Gaëtan Bong, Connor Goldson and Liam Rosenior; midfielders Dale Stephens, Beram Kayal, Jamie Murphy, Jake Forster-Caskey, Solly March, Danny Holla, Rohan Ince, Anthony Knockaert and Richie Towell as well as forwards Sam Baldock, Tomer Hemed and Chris O’Grady.

But even before succeeding the post in 9 years ago, Tony’s contributions to the Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. is nowhere near grand. They’re magnanimous and beyond words.

In the year 2000, he became one of its benefactors by being one of its stockholders and investors. Two major constructions were under his belt, the 30,750 seater £93 million American Express Community “Amex” Stadium and the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre which opened in 2011 and 2014 respectively. The Amex was previously the Falmer Stadium and is currently the home of the Brighton & Hove Albion F.C.

Helping financially fund the two major structures, Tony Bloom’s work hasn’t gone unnoticed. Despite being a man of small words with his speeches, the city and its citizens have voted and awarded him as its Most Outstanding Brightonian for 2009. Something, not everybody gets in their lifetime for sure.