15 April 2014

Hillsborough - A Personal Reflection

I don’t often write personal pieces on here, but I posted something on Facebook this morning and wanted to expand on it. Given football formed such a large part of my childhood, I just felt a need to put down my own thoughts on the Hillsborough tragedy and moreover how, in a single moment, life can change forever for some, while for others that moment means nothing.

They always say you can remember where you were when major world events happen. It may at first seem odd to have a picture of Bamburgh Castle in a post about a football tragedy, but 25 years ago today, on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I started my first ever oil painting.

I'd been to town that morning and purchased a few random colours from the clearance bin at the art shop in Spon End. While I was busy deciding which colours to buy, miles away, families were saying goodbye to loved ones, off to cheer on their team to Wembley.

Later that day, as I sat hunched over the dining table, brushes in hand, in the background, that afternoon's Grandstand filled the silence, covering a variety of sports I cared little for. Shortly after 3pm, there was a mention of some crowd trouble at the Liverpool v Nottingham Forest FA Cup semi-final.

12 April 2014

Heads Up (Soccer Football), Vectrex, 1983

Once upon a time, arcade games ruled the Earth. Space Invaders, PacMan, Frogger - these titles and many more cropped up everywhere from your local pub to the fish-and-chip shop at the end of your road. Bright colours, synthesised music and quirky sound effects were the alluring qualities that invited you to insert a 10p coin and immerse yourself in an alternative reality.

The explosion in the popularity of video games was extraordinary. New home consoles such as the Atari 2600 and the CBS ColecoVision quickly appeared and merely had to be hooked up to a TV to enjoy an arcade experience of sorts, but one system went even further with a portable all-in-one system that had its own TV built in.

The Vectrex console was originally launched by American company GCE in 1982, but Milton Bradley (makers of children's games such as Operation, Guess Who? and Twister) soon took over the running of GCE and consequently made the games system its own.

3 April 2014

Changing your stripes

Thumbing through an issue of Football League Review the other day, I stumbled upon an article that caught my eye. 'Inquiry: Are the club colours getting too drab?' was its title, and it surmised that the day of the 'fancy' football shirt seemed to be all but dead and buried.

Written in the first few weeks of the 1968/69 season by Bob Baldwin, it opened with the line: "Whatever happened to the Turquoise Blues, the Gold and Royal Blues and the Claret Bodies with Amber Yolks?" It went on: "These descriptive colour blends are not taken from a Paris fashion catalogue. They come from a pre-war list of official League club strips. Times have changed. Two-thirds of the clubs now use the more sober use of reds, blues or whites. Colour has gone from the game."

Intriguing. Was I to believe that the early 20th Century was a technicolor carnival of a million rainbow hues?

30 March 2014

Football Special 79

Somewhere between the lunacy of FKS and the gold standard of Figurine Panini, you’ll find AVA Americana and their sticker collection, Football Special 79.

In an age where several manufacturers where vying for supremacy in the football sticker market, Panini were already the yardstick by which their competitors were being judged. To beat the best, sticker collections like Football Special 79 had to offer something a bit different - something… well, ‘special.’

AVA Americana were a Munich-based company that had dipped their toes into the UK sticker market twice previously during the 1970’s. On this, their third and last tilt at greatness, they created a set of 384 stickers to be housed in a 60-page album. Quite whether you’d call the collection ‘special’ is a matter for personal judgement, but it was certainly different from the equivalent being sold by Panini.

23 March 2014

The Football Attic Podcast 17 - Things You Don't See At Football Anymore

Thanks to Brian Brown for the suggestion - Things You Don't See At Football Anymore!

Prepare for an hour of heavy nostalgia as we look back at things from a bygone era that you no longer see and probably never will again.

It's all muddy pitches, long laces and crackly commentary from far off lands!

It's not always a bad thing though...does anyone really want the back pass law repealed?

Featuring a guest appearance from Rich's cat...

Download:
Subscribe on iTunes or download here. Alternatively, catch The Football Attic Podcast on Square One Football Radio.

19 March 2014

Waddington's Quiz Card Games - Football (1979)

When it comes to football card games, you’re nobody unless you have the words ‘Top’ and ‘Trumps’ on your packet. Yet if the passing of time tells us nothing, it shows that every once in a while, a new title would come along in an attempt to win the hearts and minds of young football-loving children everywhere.

One such title was made by Waddingtons, the iconic name linked with all-time classic board games such as Monopoly, Risk and er… Wheel of Fortune. In 1979, Waddingtons hit upon the idea of producing sets of cards featuring quiz questions on various subjects, one of which was Football. Others included Cricket, Pop Music and, bewilderingly, the Highway Code, but whatever the subject they all had the same basic gameplay.

15 March 2014

FC Football Graphics (1998)

Sometimes it seems that modern football is a purely visual experience. TV commentaries, tasteless hot dogs and noisy supporters aside, the game as we know it today really is a feast for the eyes. What we don’t realise is how much of this imagery we all take for granted, or how much work goes into creating the visual stimuli we see. For that reason, Jeremy Leslie and Patrick Burgoyne’s book, FC Football Graphics, is a worthwhile attempt to make us re-evaluate the things that we see.

Given the subject matter, it’s only natural that the book is comprised mainly of pictures, gloriously and tantalisingly presented with an invitation to dwell slowly on each one. Where text is concerned, most of it appears in the lengthy introduction where we’re reminded that the worlds of fashion, literature and music have all exchanged influences with the beautiful game. After that, however, it’s largely pictures all the way, save for a few descriptive sentences on each pair of pages.

9 March 2014

The Football Attic Podcast 16 - BALLS!

30 years (probably) on from Podcast 15, an aged Rich & Chris talk balls for an hour! What's new you say? A ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaa... you're a funny guy!

Anyway, the old boys are discussing FOOTballs!

Which is the best all time football? The Tango or the Telstar?

Which is the worst? Easy... the Fevernova!

Ball ball ball!

Footy footy footy!

Download:
Subscribe on iTunes or download here. Alternatively, catch The Football Attic Podcast on Square One Football Radio.

8 March 2014

Up For The Cup 1987

As it’s FA Cup quarter final weekend, I thought I’d turn the clock back 28 years to a time when you’d have been able to buy this superb piece of football memorabilia - the Up For The Cup 1987 wallchart.

From what I’ve been able to make out, this was the third annual edition of the wallchart (the first being published for the 1984-85 season). I remember discovering my first one in a local newsagents sometime around the mid-1980’s. When folded up, it looked like an ordinary football magazine when sat on a shelf alongside other publications, but further investigation uncovered the extra dimensions that lay within. Once unpacked and unfolded, a huge, colourful, wallchart lay before you along with sheets and sheets of thumbnail-sized stickers, each one featuring club badges for every team imaginable.

5 March 2014

5 Memorable Moments from South American World Cups

Once again we are proud to to say that Matthew Wassell is back in the Attic, and this time, with the World Cup in Brazil only 99 days away, he takes a look back at five memorable moments from previous tournaments hosted by South American countries.

1. The inaugural tournament (Uruguay 1930)

The first ever FIFA World cup was held in 1930 in the small country of Uruguay, partly due to their having retained their Olympic football title two years earlier. Only 13 teams made the journey, including just four from Europe (France, Belgium, Romania and Yugoslavia) competing against nine from the Americas. With all games being played in Montevideo, travelling within the country was at least kept to a minimum. Famously, the hosts would go on to win 4-2 in the Final against close rivals Argentina and become the first team to lift the trophy. Sadly though, they would lose their title four years later when refusing to participate in Italy in protest against the small number of European teams who had travelled to Uruguay in 1930.