Sport’s rich and illustrious history has given us many teams which have become true icons of their respective sport.
Much is down due to the image, history and culture that is so strongly associated sports side. Be it the red of Ferrari, the Haka of the All Blacks or the distinctive yellow and red ties of the Marylebone Cricket Club.
Other sides owe their iconic status due to the fact that it took an especially brave man to place a sports spread bet against a side so obviously superior. Los Galácticos of Real Madrid in both the late 1950’s and 1990’s or the all-conquering Dallas Cowboys or Chicago Bulls of the 1990’s could lay claim to such an honour.
Here we look at some of the most iconic teams ever to grace the world of sport – would you have bet against them?
Without doubt the most famous national team in the world. Football is in the soul of all Brazilians, whether learning the game on Copacabana beach or in the slums of Sao Paolo – wearing the yellow jersey is what all young boys dream of. They are the most successful team in World Cup history, winning no less than five times. Almost always starting as favourites on the spread betting market, they last clinched the title in 2002. The combination of the final victory against Germany and Ronaldo winning the Golden Boot saw many punters empty the bookies satchels.
Real Madrid is Spain’s best supported team and many repute them to be the biggest football club in the world. They have won the European Cup an astonishing nine times, including a remarkable run of five straight victories between 1956 and 1960. Players like Alfredo Di Stéfano, Ferenc Puskás, Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane have graced the hallowed Bernabéu turf, but recent successes have been slim on the ground. Los Blancos did however lift their 30th La Liga title in 2007 with many spread betting punters who follow David Beckham celebrating.
An iconic car and an iconic brand. Enzo Ferrari was the brains behind the operation and in 1929 Scuderia Ferrari was founded in Marinello, northern Italy. Enzo was forced to sell the company to Fiat – another giant of Italian motoring – in 1969, but remained closely associated with the company until his death in 1988. Ferrari is one of the leading teams in Formula 1 and dominated the drivers’ and construction championships’ in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, primarily due to Michael Schumacher – many people’s idea of the greatest ever driver. Spread betting punters regularly made huge sums by buying his total World Championship points which regularly exceeded 100 points. For F1 fans the world over, seeing that distinctive red flash take the chequered flag has always been a familiar sight.
Widely regarded as the most successful club in English football, Liverpool have won the European Cup five times. Their heyday in the 1970’s and 1980’s involved the reigns of two of the all-time great managers, Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley. They have won the Championship a record 18 times, but have not lifted the trophy since 1990. New manager Rafael Benitez has spent a great deal of money trying to build a Championship winning side, but his greatest achievement so far came when his side over-turned a 3-0 deficit to beat hot favourites AC Milan in the final of the Champions League in Istanbul in 2005. Online punters could have backed them at massive odds on the spread during the game before they eventually clinched the match in a penalty shoot-out.
Often thought to be the best supported football club in the world, Manchester United regularly attract sell-out crowds of over 75,000 people, with ticket waiting lists that are the envy of many clubs around the world. They are the current Premier League champions and their victory in 2006/2007 was their 16th League Championship. Sir Alex Ferguson is the current longest serving manager in England, first taking the helm at Old Trafford on 6th November 1986. He forked out over £50million in the transfer market this season and United had been installed as clear favourites for the title before a ball had been kicked.
Hailing from The Bronx area of New York City, the New York Yankees have won a total of 26 World Series trophies which makes them the most successful club of all time. The Yankees had been known as the Baltimore Orioles from their conception in 1903, but it wasn’t until 1913 when they moved to New York that they became referred to as the New York Yankees. Their most famous sons include sporting legends Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio.
The LA Lakers began life in Minneapolis as the Minneapolis Lakers before re-locating to Los Angeles in 1960. They have won 14 championships in their history and hold the record for the longest consecutive run of victories, 33. Top players including Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal have helped secure their position as the key basketball franchise in the US. However, it was Kobe Bryant who amassed an incredible 81 points in one game against the Toronto Raptors on 22nd January 2006 – the second highest score ever in league history. Spread betting companies all over the world lost huge amounts as Bryant continued scoring at an extraordinary rate.
Dallas Cowboys are one of the most famous names in American sport. They share the record with the San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers for Super Bowl wins with five victories. They hold numerous records for victories and winning streaks, but it was their three Super Bowl wins in four years (1992-1995) that really set them apart from their rivals. The Super Bowl is one of the biggest betting events in world sport and Dallas have cost spread betting bookmakers fortunes over the years.
Rugby wasn’t introduced to New Zealand until 1860, but it has since become the national sport of the country and the ‘All Blacks’ are the national team of New Zealand. The All Blacks wear black shirts, shorts and socks, and always perform a traditional Mâori dance known as the ‘Haka’ before any international game. This is designed to scare the opposition before going into battle. New Zealand are the clear favourites for the 2008 World Cup and are many punters ideas of a banker.
Also known as the ‘Baa-Baas’, the Barbarians are the only international rugby team with which players are invited to play for them. Formed iat a meeting in Bradford in 1890, they have no club house, have never played a home game and don’t even have their own socks. The uniform is traditionally black and white hoops with players allowed to wear the socks from their own clubs. The Baa-Baas have always played with an open, fluid style that often leads to high scores and dramatic matches. Gareth Edwards’ try against the All Blacks in 1973 is widely regarded as one of the best of all time.
The most famous member’s club in the world of cricket is the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) based at Lords. It is widely believed that a gentleman called Thomas Wood founded the club in the late 18th Century which then became the governing body of cricket both in England and around the world. Members, of which there are over 20,000, have to wear the traditional red and yellow blazer and tie when in attendance at the home of cricket. However, those wanting to join the club will probably have to wait over 18 years before they are accepted.