28 September 2012

Great Tracksuits of Our Time: No.1

Slovan Bratislava (1976):



Worn before a UEFA Cup tie against QPR at Loftus Road, this blue tracksuit top with white trim features the team name emblazoned across the back in a Basque-style font. Note how the printer failed to leave sufficient room to fit in the A and N - a sign of true quality befitting of a team capable of winning the Czechoslovakian First Division.

Seen any fine examples of retro tracksuit design? Tell us all about them by dropping us a line at admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com.

27 September 2012

Panini: Got, Got, AAAARGH!

Panini is great, we all know this. What we also know is that Panini, especially in the football sticker world, have produced some truly bizarre moments. I recently purchased the World Cup & Euro Sticker Collections, which bring together all the Panini albums for the World Cup and Euro tournaments since 1970. This has given me a chance to not only relive some of the albums I collected at the time, but also to have an insight into albums I'd not seen before. And oh boy, what a treasure trove of weirdness and sheer crud they be!

So come with me now on a journey into Panini's dark side... and thanks to David Hill for the inspiration for the title.

26 September 2012

Panini: Espana 82

Of all the Panini World Cup albums, this one will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first one I ever collected as a child. Chances are I got my album as a free giveaway with Shoot! magazine (so many Panini albums were back then), after which the lure of the accompanying green sticker packets became too much for me to bear. So what was Panini’s Espana 82 sticker album like?

Front cover

It was often thought that nothing could beat the image of a football player on the front of a book or magazine to truly encapsulate the exciting nature of the thing. That was certainly the case here and an artist was commissioned to paint just such a player, but to ensure neutrality the he was shown wearing a kit of yellow and red because, let’s face it, no-one in their right mind plays in yellow and red.

Dribbling across the mainland of host nation Spain like a giant, it’s pleasing to observe the English flag featuring among those of all the participating nations rather than the flag of Great Britain which was so often used in lazy fashion by graphic designers for years and years. Aside from the multitude of national identities, the logo and mascot of the 1982 World Cup flanked the left margin below the album’s title, proudly displayed in white on that vivid pine green background.

24 September 2012

Match Magazine - August 30th 1997

1997 might not seem all that distant (to some of us anyway), but as you'll see in this excellent guest article from Luke constable of the awesomely named Ruud Gullit Sitting On A Shed (@RGSOAS), going back just 15 years, football still looks very different...

p.s. I've just found out where the name comes from... 



In August 1997 I was just starting secondary school. I would spend that summer mourning the loss of my junior school life, trying on ill-fitting blazers, and buying Match magazine every week.

A recent spring-clean unearthed a copy of the magazine dated August 30, 1997, and I have since been transfixed by its pages. Littered with nostalgic references, each turned page wafted the smell of pubescent hormones as it seized me with the inverse effect of Marty McFly's Gray's Sports Almanac from Back To The Future 2.

Hundreds of pounds' worth of hard-earned pocket money was spent on this magazine by my 9-14-year-old self, but every penny was worth it. I would read each one cover to cover, even forcing my impressionable eyes through the rigours of such dull features as 'Chris Armstrong's Secret Diary'.

Share my experience as the memories dazzle my retinas and scorch my fingertips. Come sit awhile as I read to you, and laugh at pictures that have dated horribly, much like Premiership footballers have after first discovering what Rohypnol is…


Look at this cover: Ryan Giggs innocently grinning before his stunning reinvention as a pilates-fuelled sex maniac. Appreciate the irony of a caption for a ‘LEEDS UNITED MEGA POSTER' directly above 'ESCAPE FROM DIVISION 1'.  Gasp at Dennis Bergkamp correctly predicting a league title win for Arsenal.  Marvel at Gianfranco Zola’s formerly bouffant hair.

23 September 2012

Penny Football

The great thing about football is that it can be played in so many different forms. Purists will always enjoy the traditional approach of physically kicking a ball around while the more technologically-minded among us might prefer moving computerised competitors around on a TV screen. For a truly pared-down version of the game, however, nothing appeals quite like Penny Football.

I’d be lying if I said it was the most portable version of football around as, strictly speaking, you need a decent sized table to play it on. Apart from that, though, all you need are three coins (preferably of a single denomination) and two players. It’s also easy to play – you simply shuffle one coin between the other two with your finger, moving from one end of the table to the other until you score a goal.

Think of it like Subbuteo without the players. Or the floodlights. Or anything else, for that matter. Penny Football is simply a game of skill where the ability to control the slide of a coin is virtually everything. I played it a lot when I was 13-years-old or so, usually during wet break-times at school when I was holed up in a soulless classroom looking for a way to kill time. It’s fiendishly addictive and anyone can play it, so long as they have two fully functioning hands.

Like any simple game, you’ll find variations here and there offering different interpretations of the spartan rules. When I played it at school, my friends and I developed a set way to shoot at goal. This involved laying your hands flat on the table with both thumbs and index fingers touching. The ‘ball’ coin was then placed on its edge between the thumbs, at which point an upward push would propel it goalwards.

And then there’s the goalmouth itself. The Wikipedia page on Penny Football suggests the opposing goalmouth be made by splaying the index finger and little finger on the table surface. We had a different approach. We’d make the shape of a goal frame by pointing our index fingers downwards (touching the table) with our thumbs touching, and much better we thought it was too.

I will admit we were playing our own specific version of the game, but therein you have the versatility of the thing. If you’re not happy playing the rudimentary form, you can embellish it here and there with your own personal adjustments. Some people, for example, make use of a fourth coin to act as a goalkeeper when the attacking player tries to shuffle their shot in. The range of ‘improvements’ you can make are endless.



And as if to prove that there’s nothing new under the sun, a computer game version duly arrived in time for Euro 2008 thanks to JVC. As one of the corporate sponsors, they chose Euroball as their way of getting fans to play football online with a beautifully designed and executed take on the old Penny Football game.

JVC's EuroBall game: Great gameplay, nice graphics

So there it is: three coins, a table and a whole lot of fun. Penny Football – simple, but super to play.

22 September 2012

The Football Attic: Post 100

Allow us, if you will, a brief moment of joyousness, for what you are reading is the 100th post here on The Football Attic.

We wouldn't ordinarily take up your time in this way with such self-regarding nonsense, but it has to be said we're incredibly proud of the fact that we've done so much in such a short space of time.

Creating a blog about football nostalgia was an idea we had towards the end of 2011 and quite honestly we weren't really sure anyone would find it interesting. The fact that you've not only embraced the subject matter with your incredible support but also contributed greatly to the writing that appears here vindicates our belief in the project completely and totally.

So this 100th post is essentially the biggest 'thank you' we could possibly make to you, our wonderful Attic friends and followers. Without you, we wouldn't feel so much pride in what we do, nor would we have made quite so many friends that are happy to talk about the innocent pleasures of Subbuteo, retro football kit design, Panini stickers and much, much more.

With humble gratitude for making The Football Attic our favourite place -

Chris O and Rich J.

20 September 2012

Rich J's Top 5...World Cup Posters

Following on from Chris' Favourite 5 Tournament Logos article, I was going to do my usual thing and follow it up with my own top five, but then I decided to go off at a slight tangent and instead go for my Top 5 Official World Cup Posters.

I've often found with World Cups that the official posters tend to disappear into the background and usually ones featuring the mascot or variations on the logo tend to take prominence. An example of this would be Italia 90. We all remember the blocky stick man logo and he was all over the posters, but does anyone remember this?

Well I didn't...
If you want to see the full range of posters, you can view them here where you can marvel at just how crappy they've become in recent years. Seriously, anything since 1990 is watered down, focus grouped, corporate bilge.

So, for the first time in any article I've written about the World Cup, I'll not be including anything from any tournaments I actually watched at the time... yep, not even Mexico 86 gets a look in.

Al Gordon's Top 5 Patrick Kits

Regular Football Attic contributor Al Gordon of God, Charlton & Punk Rock has come up with another cracking article on French kit manufacturers...this time it's Patrick in the spotlight...

Those purveyors of nostalgic footballing memories, Got Not Got, posted an article recently about another French kit manufacturer from the 1980’s, Patrick. With imported French kit design still at the forefront of my mind after my Le Coq Sportif piece, I thought I’d ‘treat’ you all to my five favourite Patrick kits.

I’ve avoided one common template used by the likes of Derby County, Birmingham, Wrexham, Rotherham and Newport County although with its use of fine pinstriping it’s very elegant in its own right. Instead I’ve chosen not just from that golden period, but from designs across the years.

Chris O's Favourite 5... Football Tournament Logos

There’s nothing like a good logo to encapsulate the overwhelming excitement of a football tournament, so here’s my favourite five of all time...

1.  Argentina 78
I don’t know what it is that makes this so pleasing on the eye to me. Perhaps it’s those simple stripes in a shade of light blue so evocative of Argentina (OK, Uruguay too, if you must) or the way they curve sinuously around the ball like a pair of hands. Maybe it’s that clear depiction of the Adidas Telstar ball that had only been introduced eight years earlier but had already become a design classic. Or perhaps it’s the fact that the overall shape of the logo is unique and doesn’t really mean anything specific, added to the clear Helvetica-style font to add an air of friendly importance. All in all, I like it because it's enigmatic but somehow just looks right because all the component parts play their part perfectly.

18 September 2012

The Golden Age of World Cup Advertising Boards

Way back in 2007 while working on my first football blogsite, Some People Are On The Pitch, I created a weekly feature called ‘The Friday List of Little or No Consequence.’ It took the form of a trivia list featuring silly and irrelevant facts on a given subject you wouldn’t find in an ordinary football reference book. In order to get the Friday List off and running, I started with a list of 11 names that used to be seen on pitchside advertising boards in the late-1970’s, and therein the rather daft tone was set for the 200 or more lists that followed.

As it is, that first Friday List was probably an inspired choice because the humble advertising board, despite being largely overlooked and taken for granted over the years, has actually become an evocative way of dating the football we see on our TV screens. 

8 September 2012

STRIKER: Raging Against The Machine

Today we welcome Terry Duffelen from The Sound of Football podcast and Bundesliga Lounge who today brings us a wonderful guest post all about his favourite footy video game...

Steve Earle’s Copperhead Road, Socialist Worker, Ernest Hemmingway’s Men Without Women, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lethal Weapon Pinball, Selhurst Park, Guinness and Super Nintendo (SNES). If you were to evacuate my conscious mind in the early Nineties and reassemble its elements as some grotesque Mental Pinterest then those fragments of ephemera are what would be displayed. But if I were to place an extra large pin on one of those elements to give it extra significance it would be the Guinness. However, I’ve not been asked to write about Guinness. I’ve been asked to write about an old video game, so for the purposes of this tortured preamble, I’ll say it would be my SNES.

7 September 2012

Rich J's 5 Worst Subbuteo Items

At the recent Socrates meet up, an interesting discussion arose, inspired by our original five top Subbuteo articles (here and here). What were the worst five?

There was an almost unanimous verdict that the worst of the lot was number one on this list, but what would the other four be? Subbuteo produced a raft of accessories so it should be pretty easy to find five terrible ones surely? Well, not as easy as you'd think.

Using the wealth of info on the Peter Upton site, I trawled through them all and if I'm honest, I was hard pushed to complete a top five! While a lot of accessories were superfluous (the police set or 'players warming up' for example), at least they added to the atmosphere and they were only ever intended as diorama figures, so here I'm concentrating on things which seemed to either serve no purpose whatsoever or were just bad at what they were designed to do.

So...here are my five worst Subbuteo items.

6 September 2012

Le Coq Sportif

We love football kits here at the Attic and it's with great pleasure we present another fantastic guest post from Al Gordon of God, Charlton & Punk Rock charting the French manufacturer's assorted attire down the years. 


As each new football season starts, the topic of kit design is high up on the agenda for supporters worldwide. Every fan has, as a minimum, a passing interest in their club's attire. Many of course will be parting with, what is this day and age, a small fortune to own a replica and with most clubs now only keeping a shirt for one season, this debate raises itself more often than ever before.

My club, Charlton Athletic, have switched to Nike but as I look back I fondly remember one of my favourites being supplied by French manufacturer le coq sportif.  More of that later, it’s the designs from three decades ago that I want to concentrate on.

1 September 2012

The Esso Collection of Football Club Badges, 1972

Football club badges somehow seemed to matter more in previous decades. Pick up any book or magazine and they were everywhere, as if it was your duty as a young child to memorise and appreciate the graphic identity of every team. This was never more apparent than in The Esso Collection of Football Club Badges from 1972.

Esso had already achieved incredible success with the now-famous England World Cup Coin Collection of 1970 but were keen to reinforce their position as the favoured petrol supplier for English fans everywhere.