Soul Device

Philanthropic blog

You’d Never Believe These Weird Football Facts

February 15th, 2017

pigsbladderFootball reigns supreme when we talk sports with the British. The United
Kingdom is one of the biggest and most fervent of fans so the subject is definitely an easy conversation starter.

But if you want to keep things more interesting than usual, the following facts will surely come in handy. Some of them may sound weird but hey, history has its fine moments of “oops” too.

  • At a time when rubber wasn’t invented yet, players used an inflated animal bladder as their ball. Oftentimes, a pig’s bladder is used for its durability, shape and availability. They were apparently the easiest to acquire and the most abundant. A few years later, leather was introduced as a protective layer or skin to make the ball more long-lasting.
  • Football had no rules up until 1848 so games often ended in mass riots. The only objective was to bring the ball to the goal by any means possible as long as the hands are excluded. This led to a number of brutal sets participated even by an entire community. They were held in public places and roads. It became so popular and so out of hand that some people would be caught and detained for causing such a disturbance.
  • During the 1300s, King Edward banned the sport from all the land in preparation for the war with Scotland. He feared that people would opt to play the game instead of practice archery.
  • Speaking of royalty, reigning and oldest English monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, was a huge fan of the sport. As a teenager, she was said to repeatedly sneak out of the Buckingham Palace disguised just so she could watch and play matches with populace.
  • During the first manned Moon landing mission in July 1969 famously dubbed as the Apollo 11, commander and the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, wanted to bring a football. NASA, however, deemed it a little too un-American and not representative of their home country. Armstrong brought an American flag instead.
  • In the United States and Canada, the sport is known and called as soccer. However, the British were first to coin the term during 19th century England as a shortened and slang version of “Association Football”.

Care to add more weird and interesting facts to the list? Bring out your smarts and together let’s fill our heads with fascinating information.

 

Things You May or May Not Know About Tony Bloom

January 4th, 2017

tony-bloomTony Bloom is no doubt an overachiever. This is probably why his name rings a bell. He’s been everywhere from sports to business to charities. The man’s made quite a name for himself and so much more. But just in case, we have the following list of things that you may or may not know about the man.

His birth name is Anthony Grant. – Tony is just a nickname. Born to the family of Blooms in 1970, he grew up in the English seaside resort town of Brighton which is about an hour south of London by train.

He came to love football early. – Much of this is attributed to the fact that the Bloom family loved the sport so much. They were ardent fans who supported their town’s club both emotionally and financially. Tony would often recall watching matches at the Goldstone Ground as a kid together with his relatives. He would even ride the train with them to watch away games.

He attended elite institutions. – For his initial years, Tony attended Lancing College, a co-educational English independent school in the British public school tradition founded back in 1848. He then took up and finished a degree in mathematics at Manchester University, one of UK’s best and ranks 33 in the world.

He worked at an accountancy firm. – Right after graduation, he got a job as an options trader at accountancy firm Ernst & Young in 1993. He left a little later on to pursue his personal business ventures which al proved to be very successful and lucrative up to this day.

He became a football club chairman. – In 2009, he bought out majority share and became Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club’s chairman, a post he holds up to this very day. He succeeded then chairman Harry Dick Knight.

He spearheaded two major infrastructures. – Tony Bloom was beloved by not only the club but also by its fans after he ended the 12 year stint of the Albions without a home. He helped financially secure the construction of the American Express Community Stadium or the “Amex” and previously Falmer Stadium. It now serves as the current base and home of the club which can seat 30,750 people and is valued at £93 million. Furthermore, he was responsible for the construction of the fully equipped American Express Elite Football Performance Centre. It was for these contributions that he was voted and awarded as “Brightonian of the Year”.

Tony Bloom and His Family’s Football Heritage

September 14th, 2016

tony-bloom-brighton-hove-albionTony Bloom, born as Anthony Grant, did not simply become Brighton and Hove Albion F. C.’s chairman out of sheer passion. It happens to run in his very veins. It’s somehow written in his blood and as destiny would have it, he became beloved among fans of the sport and the team for all the contributions he has put in even before he succeeded the post.

His football legacy stems deep and it runs in the family. Let’s take a little trip down memory lane shall we?

In 1970, Tony was born in Brighton, a seaside resort town in England nicknamed as “London by the Sea” for its brassy beach front and beautiful piers. At the time, the Blooms were already known to be massive supporters of the club, investing not only time and emotions but also finances.

In the same decade, Harry Bloom, Tony’s grandfather and a well-known hotelier and motor trader, was vice chairman to Mike Bamber. He held the post for seven years. It was during his time when the Brighton and Hove Football Club aka the Seagulls rose from the old Third to the First Division.

According to former English football player and manager, Alan Mullery, Harry served as a great arbiter to him and flamboyant chairman Mike Bamber, ensuring that everything is kept professional and within bounds. He was the best buffer that held things in place and kept the friction out. Moreover, he helped bring Brian Clough and Peter Taylor to the club from Derby.

In October of 1980 while on the way to a game at Stoke, Harry suffered from a heart attack on the team coach. It was surely a shock for the entire team and club but the family noted that it was perhaps not a bad way to go considering that he was still doing something he so passionately loved.

The youngest of Harry Bloom’s four sons, Ray was the second generation to fill a significant post in the Brighton and Hove Albion F.C. He sat as one of the board of directors in the 1984 and held a minority share for the past 24 years. After finishing his nine year stint at Worthing as managing director, he resigned the post to join the Seagull’s club.

Tony Bloom was the son of Ray’s older brother Ronnie. He is the third generation in the family who has been with the Seagulls. To say that his achievements as its chairman since 2009 are magnanimous would be pretty understated. He certainly did his family proud.

The Charitable Foundations Built by Business Magnate Tony Bloom

August 23rd, 2016

Business owner and infamous investor Anthony Grant ‘Tony’ Bloom has set up quite a name for himself with his numerous achievements and contributions. But apart from being a well-known business magnate and the chairman to the Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club, the man has set up and help founded two charitable organizations namely the Bloom Foundation and the Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.

BLOOM FOUNDATION

Known previously as the Tony Bloom Charitable Trust, the charity offers and makes grants to certain organizations and causes with similar purposes and objectives. It aims for “the prevention or relief of poverty in developing countries by providing or assisting in the provision of education, training, healthcare projects and all the necessary support designed to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-sufficient; to promote and protect the physical and mental health of disabled and terminally ill children and soldiers disabled or made ill by conflict” as mentioned in its charitable objects.

Together with Tony, the remaining trustees include his wife Linda, Adam Franks, Marc Sugarman and Marcelle Lester.

As mentioned, the charity’s chief objective is the relief and prevention of poverty, specifically in the United Kingdom, in other parts of Europe and the developing countries in Africa and Asia.

OVERCOMING MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS FOUNDATION

Linda Bloom, Tony’s wife founded the OMS foundation with him after having been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It was fifteen years ago when she suffered from immobility and limb numbness due to the degenerative condition that affects the flow of information between the central nervous system and the body. She could not sit up on her own nor lift a pen. Tony recalls it as an agony. It was hard for him to see his wife suffer so much but thanks to proper diet, adequate exercise, self hypnosis, meditation yoga and an evidence based diet and lifestyle approach developed by Professor George Jelinek, she got her condition under control.

Multiple Sclerosis is unfortunately a disease that has no known absolute cause and cure. Most patients never really get cured from it rather they learn how to live with it without having to severely disturb their usual lifestyle. The foundation aims to spread awareness and guidance to other patients and help them make guided decisions to better their conditions.

In 2011 and 2015, Tony Bloom ran the Brighton marathon to spread awareness and funds for the cause.