29 October 2012

The Past Is Dead...And It's Not Coming Back

It's with a heavy heart and sore head that I write this post for I had an epiphany at the weekend, realised through the fug of a low level migraine, made worse by the spectacle that unfolded before me.

The Football Attic is a nostalgia blog, therefore it would kind of follow logically that we both view olden days football as better than the modern game, but that's not neccessarily true. I can't speak for Chris, but I am a rather optimistic person - I have tickets to watch Coventry play Arlesey Town in the 1st round of the FA Cup on Saturday. This is the first time since 1963 that CCFC will have played in 2 different FA Cup competitions in the same calendar year (I'm ignoring that time in the early 2000s when the whole 3rd round got moved to December as it's an exception and it also ruins my point), but I'm looking forward to it. It could be another Sutton United, we could score a hatful or we could scrape through unconvincingly. Either way, I will be there and start the game with positivity and optimism. That optimism has been stretched to breaking point at the weekend.



A week or so ago, Ian from A United View posted on twitter that he is just not feeling the love for the game anymore, despite Sheffield United doing well. A general dislike of the game as it is was cited. I replied that I understood, but never thought that I would be in the same place just a week later. Furthermore, this excellent piece from @Sofalife on why modern football is rubbish crystallised some thoughts floating around in my head. Similarly to Ian, however, it has nothing to do with my own club. Following Coventry, one gets used to disappointment and failure so the success rate of them has very little effect on my view of football in general.

So what has caused this sudden change of heart?  Well, for a start it's not sudden, it's been coming for a while. Some might say since 1992, but that would be far too simplistic and personally I think it's naive to blame the inception of the EPL for all that's unpleasant about today's game. Yes it's played its part, but other seeds were already sown by then.

The final straw for me was the several controversial issues in yesterdays matches between Chelsea & Man U and Everton & Liverpool. Suarez was not offside and Hernandez was. 2 mistakes that changed the result of the games they occurred in. The key word there is mistake, for that is what they were. Costly mistakes for sure, especially in the Chelsea game where both teams are contenders for the title. But mistakes are what they were. No more, no less. No conspiracy, no cover up, but a mistake. And do you know what the thing about mistakes is? They happen. sorry to disappoint the baying masses, but it doesn't matter how much you pay someone, they will still make mistakes because they are humans and football tends to happen at a very fast pace. I challenge anyone who has moaned about an offside, penalty claim etc etc etc to put themselves in that position and look anyone in the eye and swear they will get every call absolutely spot on. Well you can't expect EVERY call to be correct can you?  No, obviously not, but this is where we are. A ref / linesman makes a mistake and his head is called for. Forget the countless times they do get something right. Now, I'm not naive here, I know that it matters more that the important decisions are correct, but again, this misses the nature of a mistake. No ref intentionally gets calls wrong or decides that they're going to get 95% of calls right, but allow themselves one big call to go astray.

So this is where the technology debate kicks in. My personal feelings on this whole issue are mixed. Replays have been adapted into other sports such as Tennis and Rugby with no real problems, but the arguments go that they are stop start sports unlike the flowing nature of football. Playing Devil's advocate here I'd counter that football is not as flowing as we like to pretend. How many times does time tick by as decisions are disputed etc?  Could that time not be spent consulting a 4th official with video replays? I don't have the answer, but what depresses me is that we have to have this debate every single week. Maybe instead of going down the 'we must achieve perfection!!!' route, why don't we all just grow up and accept that mistakes happen and just move on? Or is that too rational to counter the hysteria that surrounds the game these days?

So that was the straw, but what else has been burdening my metaphorical tolerance camel?

Safe Standing Campaign - woah there, I hear many of you cry...what the hell? Right, let me get this straight right from the off.  I think the Safe Standing campaign is a great thing and back it completely. What makes me sad however is that I can't help thinking it's already too late. I don't mean that no MP would ever back it due to the fear of being the person responsible should another disaster ever occur.  What I mean is I can't help but feel that the powers that run football don't want it and not for safety reasons, but just because they don't want 'that sort of fan' attending their precious, sanitised game anymore.  Football nowadays is all nicely controlled, they know where everyone is, how much they've spent and on what. The last thing they want is a bunch of annonymous people in a general space making noise and generally sounding a bit uncouth and not at all like the good sheeple we all should be.

I also think it won't achieve its ultimate aims of bringing back an atmosphere only those campaigning can remember. Things have gone too far and those days are gone. The new generation attending football now have only ever known the Premier League and Champions League and will never understand the way things were. It's like trying to get the iPod generation to understand the impact of rave culture. To some of us, it's like yesterday, but to those who weren't around it's a world away.

I do hope Safe Standing is given the respect and time it thoroughly deserves, but I also hope that if it comes to pass, it proves my theory drastically wrong and thrives.

What else?  I mentioned earlier that I don't think the EPL is to blame for everything and I stand by that. To me, what has done more damage to football is the Champions League. Did the EPL reduce the importance of the FA & League Cups? A little, but why is the EPL so important? Why is finishing in 4th place regarded as more important than actually winning a trophy?  The answer is the CL. The day they extended the places available was the day football started to die.  So far the all conquering Champions League has claimed the life of the European Cup Winners Cup (Man U's first European trophy since the 60s remember), the Uefa Cup, which used to mean something when it was for the runners up) and is slowly killing off the remaining domestic cup competitions. The FA Cup lost its shine when the ECWC went and now the top 4 places in the league are so coveted, any other competition is jettisoned in favour of that CL entry.

Of course this is all done in the name of my next bugbear...Money.

I'm not going to bang on about Sky TV etc here...that's been done by others in much greater detail and with far better analysis than I could hope to elsewhere. My sole question regarding money is this: Since when did every single club need a buy out from a millionnaire just to survive? Sure, clubs used to get a sugar daddy and achieve things beyond their wildest dreams (looking at you Blackburn, Wigan and Reading), but nowadays, it seems you need a new one every week just to stop the club going out of business.  You know, that's not a healthy place to be. I know clubs have always gone bankrupt (Aldershot & Middlesbrough being 2 prominent cases of yesteryear), but there seems to be a permanent list of clubs that could die at any given moment and the list just gets longer.

This money fixation also seems to have taken the fun out of the game. I asked on twitter the other day about the TV show Fantasy Football and the response was positive, yet also tinged with a sense it was 'of its time', a sentiment I agree with. The EPL was a mere baby when it first broadcast and it still seemed acceptable to laugh at the game and its idiosyncrasies. Someone mentioned it being a forerunner for Soccer AM and in a way that's true, only I can't help but feel the latter is coming from a different place. FF's sense of laddish banter was borne out of genuine laddish banter, whereas one gets the distinct impression Soccer AM's humour has all been focus grouped and is referred to by producers as 'bantz'.

So, having got all this off my chest, what are my ideas to fix the mess, to right the wrongs?  The simple answer is, I don't have any answers and I sadly believe there are none. It may well just be my disenchantment with the game talking, but I think football as we knew and loved it is dead and all the magic sponges in the world are not going to bring it back.

I apologise...well I'll issue a statement through my solicitor later...for such a solemn post and please, prove me wrong...I'd welcome it, for right now, all I can say is:

RIP Football...you were great once.


p.s.

One more thing...Being Liverpool.



The Past Is Dead...And It's Not Coming Back

It's with a heavy heart and sore head that I write this post for I had an epiphany at the weekend, realised through the fug of a low level migraine, made worse by the spectacle that unfolded before me.

The Football Attic is a nostalgia blog, therefore it would kind of follow logically that we both view olden days football as better than the modern game, but that's not neccessarily true. I can't speak for Chris, but I am a rather optimistic person - I have tickets to watch Coventry play Arlesey Town in the 1st round of the FA Cup on Saturday. This is the first time since 1963 that CCFC will have played in 2 different FA Cup competitions in the same calendar year (I'm ignoring that time in the early 2000s when the whole 3rd round got moved to December as it's an exception and it also ruins my point), but I'm looking forward to it. It could be another Sutton United, we could score a hatful or we could scrape through unconvincingly. Either way, I will be there and start the game with positivity and optimism. That optimism has been stretched to breaking point at the weekend.

28 October 2012

Charlie George for Christmas No.1!

It's at this time of year that someone launches a half-cocked campaign to get an utterly redundant song to number 1 in the UK charts for Christmas. Pathetic, futile behaviour and the sort of thing that fools no-one as they attempt to find some sort of spiritual meaning from the festive season.

But that's not going to stop us launching our own campaign - good god, no!  Yes, it all starts here, folks - it's time to put Charlie George at the top of the Christmas charts!

Our vision is to release a '45 (do they still make those?) featuring two songs that take the former lank-haired Arsenal legend as its subject.

On the A-side, 'I Wish I Could Play Like Charlie George', a song that begins with the plaintive ponderings of a small child building slowly to a tumult of ragtime exuberance leaving no-one in any doubt as to the virtues of the great man.



On the B-side, we propose 'The Charlie George Calypso', a Caribbean melody sung by what sounds like half a dozen North London types you saw down the pub on your last visit. Don't be fooled, however. With lyrics like "Have I seen Jesus Christ back on Earth? / No it's Charlie lying flat on the Wembley turf" this is a sure-fire hit backup to our main A-side gambit.



So let's get the message out there, people. Tell the world that Charlie George is the only true message we need this Christmas. Spread the word by getting on Facebook and use the hashtag #charlieatxmas.

And if that doesn't put paid to any plans Simon Cowell's got inside his head, nothing will.

Charlie George for Christmas No.1!

It's at this time of year that someone launches a half-cocked campaign to get an utterly redundant song to number 1 in the UK charts for Christmas. Pathetic, futile behaviour and the sort of thing that fools no-one as they attempt to find some sort of spiritual meaning from the festive season.

But that's not going to stop us launching our own campaign - good god, no!  Yes, it all starts here, folks - it's time to put Charlie George at the top of the Christmas charts!

Our vision is to release a '45 (do they still make those?) featuring two songs that take the former lank-haired Arsenal legend as its subject.

On the A-side, 'I Wish I Could Play Like Charlie George', a song that begins with the plaintive ponderings of a small child building slowly to a tumult of ragtime exuberance leaving no-one in any doubt as to the virtues of the great man.



On the B-side, we propose 'The Charlie George Calypso', a Caribbean melody sung by what sounds like half a dozen North London types you saw down the pub on your last visit. Don't be fooled, however. With lyrics like "Have I seen Jesus Christ back on Earth? / No it's Charlie lying flat on the Wembley turf" this is a sure-fire hit backup to our main A-side gambit.



So let's get the message out there, people. Tell the world that Charlie George is the only true message we need this Christmas. Spread the word by getting on Facebook and use the hashtag #charlieatxmas.

And if that doesn't put paid to any plans Simon Cowell's got inside his head, nothing will.

27 October 2012

Rebadge the badge

You might be surprised to hear this from us, but the world of football nostalgia isn’t as perfect as it might seem. Oh sure, we’ve allowed entire months to pass us by while thumbing through our pile of old Panini albums, but that’s not to say everything in this Elysian netherworld is as cracked up as it ought to be.

Take football badges, for instance. At first sight, nothing could be finer than a vast array of club insignias displayed in collective formality, each using colours and motifs to represent a team you probably don’t support and could care much less for. Yet each one has been crafted and honed by skilled artists and designers to symbolise the hopes, ambitions and dreams of an ever-changing army of players and fans alike.

At least that’s what you’d think. Unfortunately some club badges, historic and long-standing though they might be, are far from perfect and... well there’s no easy way to say this... are in need of an update.

Normally such talk of modernisation is an afront to our very nature, but here at The Football Attic we believe perfection is achievable if you wish hard enough for it. So let’s see if we can identify those club badges that are long overdue a refresh and work out how to make them better.

Southampton

On the plus side, there aren’t many English football club badges that have a football scarf on them. Come to think of it, there aren’t many that have a halo on them either, but the inclusion of both here somehow add too much quirkyness and informality to the Saints motif. At least there’s some sort of Southampton coat of arms on display, but even then it’s possible to argue that it’s not the most evocative example of local heraldry.

So what can we replace it with?  Well perhaps a saint of some sort... the patron saint of sailors, given that Southampton is one of England’s major sea ports. A picture of St. Brendan, then, framed in a circular ribbon featuring the words ‘Southampton Football Club’ with small anchor motifs dotted in the sky behind our newly-chosen saint. What more could you ask for - it’s got history, reverence, local history and not a single scarf in sight.

Birmingham City

You’ve got to hand it to the St Andrews club - they had international ambitions, but they came to nought. Their current badge, implemented in 1976, features a ribbon and a globe atop an old-fashioned football the like of which one associates with Bobby Charlton and 6-3 defeats to the Hungarians. Original, distinctive, but starting to look a bit tired now. Let’s see what we can change it for...

How about a football featuring a stylised swirly-whirly pattern in blue designed to look vaguely like Spaghetti Junction, the famous motorway interchange resident in England’s second city since the mid-1960’s? Below it in a suitably serifed font could be the name of the club and either side of the ball could be ‘18’ and ‘75’ to show the year in which the club was formed. A modern logo-style badge, admittedly, but one that would see it through another decade or two before the inevitable next redesign.

Norwich City

English club badges featuring birds of one sort or another come ten-a-penny, but not many feature a sweet domestic caged bird constantly fearing its inevitable destiny in the jaws of the humble family cat. Yet that very creature, bright yellow upon a green shield and perched on a ball, has survived well since its inception as part of Norwich’s club badge in 1972. The canary. that is - not the cat.

The problem is, it’s a bit boring, frankly. Canaries by their very nature have little to offer beyond tweeting incessantly until someone tells them to shut up. (Any comparison with Stephen Fry, incidentally, is entirely inappropriate.) Far better, perhaps to have the magnificent spire of Norwich Cathedral on display within a similar shield, flanked on either side by lions (given that there’s one on the Norwich coat of arms). The finishing touch?  The name of the club written in full below it in a modern, bold, sans-serif font. Piece of cake.

Blackburn Rovers

Ah, that trusty old red rose. How very redolent of natural beauty, how very English, how very... badly drawn. Time to get rid of it, methinks. I mean how you can you have a team known far and wide for wearing white and blue halved shirts and not have that incorporated into the badge, for heaven’s sake?

Here’s how you do it. First, you take a circle, slightly stretched top to bottom to make it an oval of sorts. Across the bottom, you have some black wavy lines to depict the ‘burn’ bit of ‘Blackburn’ (it means ‘river’, you know). Above it, the oval is split in two vertically so that the left half is white, the other is blue. In the white half, you have a picture of a mill to reflect Blackburn’s heritage as a wool-weaving town, and on the other you have a sheep - the provide of the wool. As ever, the name can go below somewhere, preferably in a font such as Times New Roman. Heritage, colours and relative imagery, all present and correct.

So there you have it - my own masterclass in how to freshen up those tired old club badges. Nothing could be simpler, and if you wish to prove that by suggesting redesigns of other club badges, drop us a line to admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com or leave us a comment on this post. We look forward to hearing from you.

Rebadge the badge

You might be surprised to hear this from us, but the world of football nostalgia isn’t as perfect as it might seem. Oh sure, we’ve allowed entire months to pass us by while thumbing through our pile of old Panini albums, but that’s not to say everything in this Elysian netherworld is as cracked up as it ought to be.

Take football badges, for instance. At first sight, nothing could be finer than a vast array of club insignias displayed in collective formality, each using colours and motifs to represent a team you probably don’t support and could care much less for. Yet each one has been crafted and honed by skilled artists and designers to symbolise the hopes, ambitions and dreams of an ever-changing army of players and fans alike.

26 October 2012

Great Tracksuits of Our Time: No.3

Leeds United (1974):


Seen here in the Wembley tunnel just before the ill-fated 1974 Charity Shield match, Leeds United's Billy Bremner and David Harvey shift nervously from one foot to another in their resplendent white tracksuit tops. They needn't have been so nervous for Leeds United were in the vanguard of football fashion in 1974. Thanks to Don Revie (who had just left his managerial post to become England team boss), the Elland Road club could now rely upon a full range of kit supplied by Admiral, and that included these lovely white tracksuit tops with yellow collars and waist bands.

And what's that, we hear you cry - 'isn't that lettering a bit bold and an afront to my personal attitude on the way commercialism is influencing the modern game of football'?  Well yes, and that's kind of the point really. A new age of football was dawning and Admiral were taking it by the scruff of the neck with their eye-catching designs and modern approach.

And if you're still feeling aggrieved, may we also advise you don't check out the names of the players on their backs either. It's probably for the best.

Great Tracksuits of Our Time: No.3

Leeds United (1974):


Seen here in the Wembley tunnel just before the ill-fated 1974 Charity Shield match, Leeds United's Billy Bremner and David Harvey shift nervously from one foot to another in their resplendent white tracksuit tops. They needn't have been so nervous for Leeds United were in the vanguard of football fashion in 1974. Thanks to Don Revie (who had just left his managerial post to become England team boss), the Elland Road club could now rely upon a full range of kit supplied by Admiral, and that included these lovely white tracksuit tops with yellow collars and waist bands.

25 October 2012

Corinthian ProStars, 1995

The Football Attic today welcomes Simon Craft from Virile Games to the guest-writing roster as he takes us back to a time when footballers were frequently big-headed. Wait a minute - wasn't this supposed to be a blog site about football nostalgia?

I was born too late for Subbuteo. As a child of the Nineties, raised on an instant-thrill diet of American cartoons and Um Bongo, I was reluctant to undertake such chores as ironing the pitch and learning the rules, so my set was doomed to remain under the bed, unloved.

What my generation needed was something a little less dowdy, a little more attention-grabbing. Something individually sculpted with a name-engraved base. Something, in other words, a lot like Corinthians Headliners.

Instantly recognisable due to their oversized craniums, these figurines were first released in late 1995. With Euro 96 approaching and patriotism briefly in vogue, the initial range was comprised of sixteen England players. I set about building a team.

Though the figures were available in packs of four or twelve, these were priced too highly to interest a football-sceptic mother, and were in any case absent from the local newsagents. My only avenue for acquiring them, therefore, was in the form of the ‘secret sachets’, which contained a single figure wrapped in a foil bag so as to conceal his identity until after purchase.



The unveiling procedure that my eight-year-old self undertook once out of the shop contained not excitement, but dread: what if it’s another Warren Barton? Of course, the playground presented an opportunity to exchange doubles, but the pickings were on the whole slim. I’d retrieved the goalposts and balls from my discarded Subbuteo set to act as props for my Headliners’ games, but the low numbers meant that for some time the scene resembled a casual game of headers-and-volleys rather than the exhilarating matches I had envisioned.

Thankfully, on the eve of Euro 96 a further twenty-four England players were immortalised in big-head form, and by the time the tournament kicked off I had managed to assemble a starting eleven. Its spine was recognisable, and strong: Seaman in goal, Adams at the back, Ince calling the shots in midfield and Shearer (clad, unlike his team-mates, in the grey away strip) leading the line.

Elsewhere, I had been forced to improvise. This meant starting berths for some lesser-known fringe players: Adams was joined in a three-man defence (back when they were fashionable the first time round) by Steve Howey and John Scales, while Barton and John Salako ran the channels. It also meant that some were forced to learn new roles: unaware of Barry Venison’s playing past, I was fooled by his flowing locks into believing him a flamboyant Batistuta-type striker, so he was press-ganged into partnering Shearer up front. The most striking tactical innovation, though, was undoubtedly Tim Flowers’ deployment as a holding midfielder – a role he adapted to surprisingly well.

Against a backdrop of ‘Three Lions’ and dentist’s chair celebrations, then, my rabble toiled against imaginary international foes, attempting to succeed where their real-life counterparts would ultimately fail, and emerge victorious from a major competition. The likes of Bulgaria, Turkey and Denmark were crushed without remorse in group-stage triumphs with improbable scorelines: 9-1 wins, accompanied by Nick Barmby hat-tricks, were not unheard of.

Yet somehow my team would always fall short at the final hurdle. Dropped into difficult scenarios – 2-0 down to France with ten minutes remaining, perhaps – these men would choke, blazing a stoppage-time penalty over the bar or heading wide from an inch-perfect Salako delivery. There was nothing holding them back except my own imagination; indeed, the opponents were physically absent apart from a goalkeeper (chosen from a rotating cast of my few non-England figures, none of whom were in fact keepers). But there was some unseen hand operating to ensure that their dreams of glory remained unfulfilled.

It was as though, even prior to the semi-final defeat at the hands of Germany, I had already internalised the law: England never win anything.

In the years that followed, the figurines – later known as ProStars – grew to span dozens of sets and thousands of players. Meanwhile, I quickly outgrew them as I abandoned imaginary play: by France 98, my mind was occupied instead by accumulating all twenty-three of the Sainsbury’s official England squad medal collection. There’ll always be a brief period of my childhood, though, which can be encapsulated best by a single image: a plastic Barry Venison with a gargantuan head, rising to meet a cross, and missing by millimetres.

Our thanks go out to Simon Craft for his fine recollection of Corinthian ProStars, and as ever we urge anyone else with a desire to write for us to get in touch. Email admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com with all the details, and we could soon be publishing your article!

Corinthian ProStars, 1995

The Football Attic today welcomes Simon Craft from Virile Games to the guest-writing roster as he takes us back to a time when footballers were frequently big-headed. Wait a minute - wasn't this supposed to be a blog site about football nostalgia?

I was born too late for Subbuteo. As a child of the Nineties, raised on an instant-thrill diet of American cartoons and Um Bongo, I was reluctant to undertake such chores as ironing the pitch and learning the rules, so my set was doomed to remain under the bed, unloved.

What my generation needed was something a little less dowdy, a little more attention-grabbing. Something individually sculpted with a name-engraved base. Something, in other words, a lot like Corinthians Headliners.

Instantly recognisable due to their oversized craniums, these figurines were first released in late 1995. With Euro 96 approaching and patriotism briefly in vogue, the initial range was comprised of sixteen England players. I set about building a team.

Though the figures were available in packs of four or twelve, these were priced too highly to interest a football-sceptic mother, and were in any case absent from the local newsagents. My only avenue for acquiring them, therefore, was in the form of the ‘secret sachets’, which contained a single figure wrapped in a foil bag so as to conceal his identity until after purchase.

19 October 2012

Top 5 Worst Tournament Mascots Ever

The 1966 World Cup is remembered for many things, from stroppy Argentinians being heckled by grannies to raising England's expectations to unrealistic levels for the best part of half a century. It is also a landmark tournament for one other reason.

World Cup Willy. The first ever FIFA endorsed marital aid... ha ha ha ha ha! But seriously, the first ever tournament mascot came into being, thus starting a tradition that has taken us from the very depths of corporate blandness to the edge of insanity.

I was initially going to concentrate on the World Cup and Euros, but after researching the Copa America, Africa CON and the Asia Cup, it's clear those tournaments are pure gold for strangeness!

Mascots are rarely well received, trying as they are to both appeal on a fun level while also trying to be culturally significant. The mostly negative reaction to Wenlock and Mandeville for the 2012 Olympics might explain why both England's mascots have taken the safer and rather predictable lion angle.

And so, I hereby present what I consider the five worst tournament mascots ever.

Guaso - Copa America 1991 (Chile)

The Official Line: ?

Seriously, that's all I could find by way of explanation. Apparently it's supposed to be some dude in a poncho and a hat. To me however it looks like the sort of thing you'd see sketched in a therapy session in a psychiatric ward full of serial killers... perversely, it would also be quite at home in a therapy session for the victim that got away.

"I tell ya, Doc. Every time I close my eyes I see him... clear as... ok not very clear... kind of blurry in fact. As if he'd been scribbled by a five-year-old child, but y'know... frightening and all that..."

Speaking of nightmares...

Pinoccio - Euro 1980 (Italy)

The Official Line: It's Pinoccio... what more do you need? Other than a good lawyer if Disney sees him!

This one may seem all very nice. Pinoccio, the little wooden boy. Lovely stuff. But wait... is it really so innocent?  Look at little Pinoccio there, all cute in his little paper hat. His paper hat. For the love of god, he's wearing a hat made of his own by-products! He's the Ed Gein of the mascot world.

Tell us Pinoccio, where's Gepetto? Asleep you say? Judging by his nose, that's clearly not true. And look at that smile and vacant stare. Now just picture that head turning ever so slowly towards you... that feeling? That's your blood running cold. Not long before it runs thick through his mahogany hands as that smile grows as fast his nose...

Agro-Hene - Africa Cup of Nations 2008 (Ghana)

The Official Line: Agro-Hene (King of the Game) the Eagle

There are a few explanations I can come up with for this one.

The CON organisers had just had Microsoft Word 1995 installed on their PCs and someone had found the clip art folder.

Someone posed the question "What would Nelson Mandela look like if he had an eagle's head, was playing football and had been drawn by a four-year-old?"

One point to note here... this was 2008. That's only four years ago. Was this really the best they could do? Mind you, if we're talking about not putting much effort in...

Rabbit - Euro 1992 (Sweden)

The Official Line: A football playing rabbit

Euro 88's mascot was called Berni and despite early suggestions he would be based on the then popular chain of steak restaurants, he was actually a footballing German grey rabbit... with a headband.

Four years later, Sweden, land of functional design, decided that the previous mascot was actually just fine and with typical minimalism, decided to change the bunny's shirt and... no, that was it.

The best part? His name was 'Rabbit'. Yes, from a land where even a shelf is called something elaborate like Ryksendokelporp, this thing got called Rabbit.

Just done some more research and it turns out, "Rabbit" is apparently Swedish for '3-door wardrobe with mirrored doors.'

Ato, Kaz & Nik - World Cup 2002 (Japan / South Korea)

The Official Line:  "Orange, purple and blue (respectively) futuristic, computer-generated creatures. Collectively members of a team of "Atmoball" (a fictional football-like sport), Ato is the coach while Kaz and Nik are players. The three individual names were selected from shortlists by users on the Internet and at McDonald's outlets in the host countries."

There are those who say crowd sourcing is the future, that it yields truly democratic answers, that one day it will replace search engines. To those people, I say this. If the answer that crowd sourcing gives you is 'Ato, Kaz and Nik', then you have asked the wrong fucking question.

Top 5 Worst Tournament Mascots Ever

The 1966 World Cup is remembered for many things, from stroppy Argentinians being heckled by grannies to raising England's expectations to unrealistic levels for the best part of half a century. It is also a landmark tournament for one other reason.

World Cup Willy. The first ever FIFA endorsed marital aid... ha ha ha ha ha! But seriously, the first ever tournament mascot came into being, thus starting a tradition that has taken us from the very depths of corporate blandness to the edge of insanity.

I was initially going to concentrate on the World Cup and Euros, but after researching the Copa America, Africa CON and the Asia Cup, it's clear those tournaments are pure gold for strangeness!

18 October 2012

JVC 'Goal Makers' ad, 1981

We've featured adverts before on our blog site, adverts like this one for JVC taken from the back cover of National Geographic magazine in 1981.

Usually the main image is something football-related (else we wouldn't bother bringing it to your attention) and here we have an actual match in action, or so it seems. Chances are it's not really an actual match at all - more likely a staged scene at a US stadium (this was a US-syndicated magazine, after all) that made use of the resources before an NASL match.



By way of additional material, we also hear about JVC's wonderful range of audio and video equipment, including the 'revolutionary VHD video disc system' which, in hindsight, beautifully pricked the bubble of self-importance JVC were putting themselves in.

Yet that isn't really the most interesting part of this advert. For me, the best bit comes right at the bottom where we see a series of six logos printed in black and white.


The first one's very familiar as it's the official logo for the 1982 FIFA World Cup. Granted it loses something with the lack of red and yellow to illustrate the Spanish flag, but so be it.

The next logo, however, is very unfamiliar. It appears to be a map of Europe, stylised in such a way as to look loosely like a football. I'm guessing that's the case on account of a few hexagonal patches I can see, but others are anything but hexagonal (yes Italy, I'm looking at you). The inclusion of the UEFA acronym below suggests this is a little known logo for the Swiss-based governing body, but can any of you claim to have seen this ever before? Thought not...

Next up we have the lovely flower-inspired logo for the 1980 European Championships, a familiar sight for collectors of Panini's Europa 80 stickers and the great uncle of the logo created for Euro 2012. After that we have the traditional old logo for the US Soccer Federation, a logo that wouldn't look out of place on the jacket of an American military leader. It was crying out for a modern replacement and sure enough one duly came a decade later.

Speaking of logos that have since been replaced, we next have one for the Australian Soccer Federation - a pleasing if rooted-in-the-70s symbol that'd look good on any football shirt, in my humble opinion.

The last one, however, is a real beaut. Not so much a logo as a trophy shown in silhouette, we see the 'Gold Cup' or La Copa de Oro de Campeones Mundiales, to give it its full title. It was the prize for a little-known tournament with the nickname of Mundialito ('little World Cup') played once and once only between December 1980 and January 1981. Hosted by Uruguay, It's purpose was to celebrate 50 years of  World Cup history by bringing together all five former champions for a one-off winner-takes-all 'battle royale' (if that's not too many exuberant phrases to cram into once sentence).

With guest team Holland completing the two groups of three, the tournament played out before a conclusion that saw the host country beat Brazil 2-1 in a dream final for the locals. But what about that trophy, though? And what about those logos? Surely no advert for a Japanese home electronics company has ever seen such splendour.

JVC 'Goal Makers' ad, 1981

We've featured adverts before on our blog site, adverts like this one for JVC taken from the back cover of National Geographic magazine in 1981.

Usually the main image is something football-related (else we wouldn't bother bringing it to your attention) and here we have an actual match in action, or so it seems. Chances are it's not really an actual match at all - more likely a staged scene at a US stadium (this was a US-syndicated magazine, after all) that made use of the resources before an NASL match.

17 October 2012

The Scoreboard: A display of practicality

I’m embarrassed to say it, but I used to have a bit of a thing about scoreboards when I was younger. Stadium scoreboards, game show scoreboards, cricket scoreboards… you name it, I loved it.

There was something about those static signs  with changeable numbers that had me transfixed as a kid. If someone scored a point in a football match or on a TV quiz show, I’d wait with eager anticipation to see the scoreboard update the total, be it manually or digitally. It’s ridiculous, I know, but I loved the magisterial sense of purpose that a scoreboard possessed.

This blog doesn’t take TV nostalgia as its subject, else you’d be spending the next 15 minutes reading about It’s a Knockout or Family Fortunes. Instead I shall turn my attention towards the humble football scoreboard, and they don’t come much humbler than the one installed at Wembley Stadium around the time of the 1966 World Cup.

Essentially this was a single-line display showing the two competing teams and the score. Being very much old-tech, the scoreboard was literally just a printed  or painted sign with white characters on a black background along with those all important changeable numbers. And those numbers needed some effort to change as the full set were available as individual tiles that had to be lugged around and slotted into place by a couple of men in white coats whenever anyone scored. It was simple, but it worked.

After a while, Wembley put in place an electronic scoreboard which, compared to its predecessor must have seemed like it had arrived from another planet. Using a vast array of light bulbs switched on and off in distinct configurations, rudimentary characters could shine out from the inky black background to tell the crowd what the score was and also who had scored. Such electrical wizardry can't have been lost on a generation eager to see technological advancements improving their game-viewing experience.

Around the UK, scoreboards of all kinds had appeared at football grounds right from the very early days but they never really had the 'wow' factor, nor did they become a universal feature. Scoreboards (old-fashioned or new) were high-maintenance and often expensive so only the most committed clubs went out of their way to get one.

Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough ground got an electronic one around the time of the 1966 World Cup, but like so many of their day, it had its faults. Blown bulbs and faulty mechanisms meant text was displayed with letters missing or even shown on a different area of the scoreboard. After a while, fans got used to the garbled messages and even grew to like them as a distraction from the action taking place on the pitch.

Fully digital scoreboards like Wednesday's were slow to make an impact and venues hesitantly looked for a compromise. Despite the 1970's beginning on the crest of a scientific NASA wave, the greatest tournament on the planet was still relying on name cards and a handful of bulbs to tell people what they needed to know. If it wasn't for the opportunity to raise some money from the advertising space it provided, many scoreboards probably wouldn't have even seen the light of day.

In the end, our first sight of a new-age scoreboard didn't arrive in England or South America, but from the one place most people least expected it. Over in the United States, the occasional blown bulb wasn't going to stop NASL clubs making a song and dance about the new-found sport they were purveying.

With players like Franz Beckenbauer, George Best and Pele in town, fans needed to be reminded about the razzmatazz they were witnessing, or at least reminded who it was they were watching.

In addition to the basic electronic scoreboards already resident at some NFL and baseball stadia, bigger, more advanced displays cropped up at a small selection clubs across the country. Many of them not only displayed the score and scorers but also entertained the fans with animated imagery and messages.

With such extravagance creeping into the world game, it was hardly surprising that Subbuteo updated their own scoreboard accessory to a more modern version in 1978. The World Cup that year reinforced the notion (at Buenos Aires at least) that a new technological age had dawned, yet actually the rate of progress was still painfully slow. Even in Spain four years later, the old hand-painted name plates and tiles were still being used.

It would ultimately be up to the major stadia of the world to lead the way where modern scoreboards were concerned. At seemingly every major Cup Final on every continent of the world, scores and scorers were illuminated for ticket-paying supporters with great efficiency and clarity. Huge matrices arrived to give displays better clarity and definition, to say nothing of bigger text. Yet just as soon as they'd reached the peak they were always destined for, traditional scoreboards were starting to see the writing on the wall. (Or should that be 'board'?)

By the mid-1990's, Sony's Jumbrotron system was appearing at some of the world's major musical and sporting events, affording spectators the chance to see real-time video on enormous screens. The ability to provide people not just with text-based information but moving pictures and action replays left the traditional scoreboard looking rather old-fashioned and redundant all of a sudden. Even down-at-heel football clubs across the UK saw the potential to attract fans, even if it meant snapping up cruder, cheaper versions of Sony's big screen.

And so we find ourselves in 2012, an age where virtually every Premier League ground seems to have a big video screen tucked away in at least one corner of the ground. For all that, however, some clubs have remained true to the old virtues, believing that a simple scoreboard should not be a big distraction to the things happening on the pitch. Therein lies hope for the future - a reminder that sometimes we can learn a lot from the things we learned in the past. Video screens are all well and good, but the scoreboards of days gone by told us exactly what we needed to know in a beautifully simple way.

The Scoreboard: A display of practicality

I’m embarrassed to say it, but I used to have a bit of a thing about scoreboards when I was younger. Stadium scoreboards, game show scoreboards, cricket scoreboards… you name it, I loved it.

There was something about those static signs  with changeable numbers that had me transfixed as a kid. If someone scored a point in a football match or on a TV quiz show, I’d wait with eager anticipation to see the scoreboard update the total, be it manually or digitally. It’s ridiculous, I know, but I loved the magisterial sense of purpose that a scoreboard possessed.

15 October 2012

Matthew Wassell's Top 5 International 'Do you remember when?' Moments of the 1990's

The Football Attic welcomes aboard Matthew Wassell to the guest-writing fraternity as he carefully picks out his favourite monumental football moments from two decades ago... 

Last week my boss mentioned that he’d been telling his two young children about “that Colombian keeper who did the scorpion kick” and played them the YouTube footage on his iPhone. “Ah Rene Higuita! I remember that!” I exclaimed a bit too loudly. He went on unabashed. “Remember when Gazza scored that goal against Scotland in Euro '96? I was showing them that too.”  I did, and of course since that day, I've been trying to think of my top five international “do you remember when…?” moments which will hopefully be of use to anyone intent on educating their own children!



1. Rene Higuita v Cameroon (of course), World Cup 1990
Higuita had come into the tournament with something of a reputation as a 'sweeper keeper.' Not content with simply kicking long upfield or an underarm throw to the full back, he wanted to be more, to play a greater role and to show off some fancy footwork at the same time. Extra time in the second round of the World Cup against opponents who had already beaten the current world champions may not have been the most judicious time to try this out however. Receiving the ball some 20 yards outside of his area, Higuita attempted to trick his way past the onrushing Roger Milla but was robbed by the forward who simply ran on and stuck the ball into the empty net. Colombia went on to lose 2-1 and once again failed to get as far in the tournament as many expected.



2. Martin Palermo v Columbia, Copa America 1999
To take one penalty in a match and miss is common. Two less so. Three? Unheard of! That is until Martin Palermo stepped up and saw his final effort saved to his left by the Colombian goalkeeper Miguel Calero (who was somewhat off his line it must be said). Palermo’s first had crashed into the crossbar and his second had gone into orbit over the top, so he was certainly improving as he managed to get the third on target.  Nevertheless the damage had been done, a world record had been broken and now wherever you see the name 'Martin Palermo' on the internet, it is usually quickly followed by the words 'three penalty misses.'



3. Ronald Koeman v England, World Cup qualifier, 1993
Do I not like that?! Whether Koeman should even been on the pitch at the point when he floated a delightful free kick into Seaman’s top right hand corner is still a matter of debate. Although the professional foul hadn't been in existence long, if it was ever going to be applied it surely should have been a few moments earlier when Koeman brought down Platt just outside the area, but he was only booked. What happens next is ingrained in the memory forever… England lose 2-0, fail to qualify for USA '94 and Graham Taylor’s reign as manager comes to an inglorious end… almost…



4. David Gualtieri v England, World Cup qualifier, 1993
Can we have two moments from one qualifying campaign? Well it seems only right to mention this one! The match after Koeman effectively knocked England out in Rotterdam, they travelled to Bologna to face San Marino and expected an easy ride. San Marino kicked off and precisely 8.3 seconds later, had scored their first and indeed only goal of the group. Although England came back to win 7-1, it’s Gualtieri’s goal that sticks in the memory. Some intricate passing from the centre circle ends up with Stuart Pearce leaving a back pass hopelessly short and the forward nips in and slides the ball past Seaman. In all honesty, that one moment pretty much summed up England in this period between Italia '90 and Euro '96.



5. Dennis Bergkamp v Argentina, World Cup 1998
The 1980's had Van Basten’s legendary volley in the Euro ‘88 Final against the Soviet Union but the Dutch history-making moment of the 1990's belongs to Dennis Bergkamp. In the 90th minute of Holland’s quarter final against Argentina in France '98, Bergkamp magnificently brought down Frank de Boer’s 60-yard pass just outside the box, turned inside the defender and with the outside of his right foot, curved the ball into the roof of the net past the helpless Carlos Roa. Cue wild celebrations as Holland win 2-1 in Marseille! When watched live, it felt like history being written before your eyes and even now it is surely one of the World Cup’s most memorable moments: sublime skill and a perfect finish.



Our sincere thanks go to Matthew Wassell for writing this guest post, and if you'd like to write one too, do as he did - drop us a line to admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com - and who knows... maybe we'll be featuring your post soon!

Matthew Wassell's Top 5 International 'Do you remember when?' Moments of the 1990's

The Football Attic welcomes aboard Matthew Wassell to the guest-writing fraternity as he carefully picks out his favourite monumental football moments from two decades ago... 

Last week my boss mentioned that he’d been telling his two young children about “that Colombian keeper who did the scorpion kick” and played them the YouTube footage on his iPhone. “Ah Rene Higuita! I remember that!” I exclaimed a bit too loudly. He went on unabashed. “Remember when Gazza scored that goal against Scotland in Euro '96? I was showing them that too.”  I did, and of course since that day, I've been trying to think of my top five international “do you remember when…?” moments which will hopefully be of use to anyone intent on educating their own children!

12 October 2012

Great Tracksuits of Our Time: No. 2

Liverpool (1977):



Once again we witness the seamster's art in all its glory as Bob Paisley's FA Cup finalists of 1977 wear their name proudly on the back of their tracksuit tops. The garment itself is beautifully styled by Umbro with a striped collar, cuffs and waist band, a style that Umbro resurrected for England's 2012/13 anthem jackets [retch]. On the front (see Emlyn Hughes above), we see a big Umbro diamond opposite a Liverpool FC badge with commemorative 'FA Cup Final 1977' stitching below. On the reverse... well it has to be some shouty letters spelling out your club name, doesn't it? It was never any other way back in the 70's, and so much the better for it.

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

Great Tracksuits of Our Time: No. 2

Liverpool (1977):



Once again we witness the seamster's art in all its glory as Bob Paisley's FA Cup finalists of 1977 wear their name proudly on the back of their tracksuit tops. The garment itself is beautifully styled by Umbro with a striped collar, cuffs and waist band, a style that Umbro resurrected for England's 2012/13 anthem jackets [retch]. On the front (see Emlyn Hughes above), we see a big Umbro diamond opposite a Liverpool FC badge with commemorative 'FA Cup Final 1977' stitching below. On the reverse... well it has to be some shouty letters spelling out your club name, doesn't it? It was never any other way back in the 70's, and so much the better for it.

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

9 October 2012

Al Gordon's Five Subbuteo Items They Never Made

Following on from our Top 5 Subbuteo Items articles, regular Football Attic contributor Al Gordon of God, Charlton & Punk Rock has come up with a novel twist on the idea...his top 5 Subbuteo accessories they never made...


Subbuteo had pretty much every angle of the beautiful game covered didn't they? From ambulance men to TV commentators, from floodlights to dugouts, every fixture and every fitting was scaled down and turned into plastic so that we could recreate the whole mesmerising experience in our living rooms when it was far too miserable outside to kick a real football about.

Have you ever noticed gaps in the catalogue though? Have you seen something on a Saturday afternoon and wished you had the miniature version back at home. Streakers were never an official accessory but a table football shop in Wales saw the need and created their own.

Here are five items I’d add given half the chance, not everybody’s cup of tea I’ll admit so please feel free to comment and tell me what you’d have added to Subbuteo to give it even more charisma.



1. The Invacar

A little blue three wheeled car often gracing the screen during The Big Match, parked at the side of the pitch in front of the scarf twirling horde. A car for invalids, even the name is perfectly politically incorrect!

An NHS initiative, these government subsidised cars sold by the thousand and were guaranteed to give you a perfect view of the match. In 2003 it became illegal to drive one on British roads and those still going were scrapped. Stamford Bridge was always a favourite haunt for them with its big area between pitch and terraces, there was almost enough room to have a half time demolition derby!

The likes of Matchbox never made one, I don’t believe they even made a three wheeled Reliant Robin so as a child it was impossible to park one by my green Subbuteo fencing. A small plastic car would have been an ideal addition and just to give it a totally lifelike feel, any wayward shots could make the tiny car rock in the same way that it did occasionally at League grounds up and down the country.

Nowadays wheelchairs quite often line up in front of the stands. Plastic men in plastic wheelchairs, I think it would be even less PC to flick giant footballs at them in the hope of knocking them over!

2. Flags and Banners

In truth, the tiny supporters had enough trouble holding their own body weight up, especially when things got a little heated and the stands started rocking. Expecting them to hold aloft a flag when replaying the cup final was asking an awful lot of them.

The idea of flags draped over the edge of the stands and the more modern idea of huge flags being moved along the length of the stadium above head height are, I suppose, the kind of accessories we could make at home to personalize our collections. This is after all a game aimed at our imaginations and kids of all ages have the best colouring skills don’t they?

My mum would have positively encouraged me to cut little rectangles out of my pillowcase and my school shirt to recreate banners at a European cup match as Charlton entertained a top Italian side and their supporters. Can you imagine Subbuteo ‘ultras’ ?

Firecrackers and smoke in the plastic grandstand! It wouldn’t be seats torn up and thrown that annoyed the stadium staff but stands melted instead. Ideas of how to mix your chemistry homework and table football spring to mind in a bid to find the perfect coloured smoke…

Those rather stiff looking English ‘bobbies’ would have had their work cut out keeping all twenty-five of my spectators under control. Especially ‘arms aloft’ man, he looked rowdy.

3. The Merchandise Stall

Every league ground has a club shop, every league ground also has some kind of unofficial stall selling cheap merchandise as well. You know the kind, the ones who sell shoddy tat items of desire, the proceeds of which go nowhere near the club.

Again, not so popular in Subbuteo’s heyday but in this resurgence the game is having now, let’s bring the accessories up to date.

Available in a range of colours this item doesn’t need to be much bigger than the original TV gantry and would certainly add a splash of colour to the proceedings, especially if you’re using early 80’s kit and everything else is green and brown.

If you want to recreate The Kop behind one of your goals, those supporters would have to buy their scarves somewhere wouldn’t they? And if you’re collection was more akin to a Conference or League Two ground you could always go the Fleetwood Town route and buy ‘supermarket trolley man’.

4. The Tea Hut

I don’t know about you, but I may have had a grandstand, a corner terrace, two open terraces and floodlights at best and none of my friends had enough to fill all four sides of the ground either. As much as we wanted our own little Wembley, we all had at least one side of the pitch that looked bare at best.

What better way to fill it than the good old fashioned tea hut or burger van then? I was happily having half time lemonade whilst stretching my flicking finger during the interval, yet those photographers/managers/supporters/giant corner kickers all stood there motionless whilst the teams changed ends.

If they are going to stand in one place for far too long why not make it more realistic and let them stand motionless in a queue for a meat pie? To give the game an even more realistic twist you could always restart the match with twenty hungry souls still lining up awaiting their turn at the counter.

Again in keeping with a unique and personal feel, the little white caravan or brown wooden hut could be painted in your favourite clubs colours, perhaps your little Italian ultras could even set fire to it when you’ve thumped them 12-5?

5. The Rock Band

Wembley has seen it, Maine Road has seen it, and even The Valley has seen it. Rightly or wrongly football grounds are used for outdoor music concerts. Why should your cloth pitch be any different.

A little stage in the penalty area with a tiny plastic four piece strumming away to your favourite LP. The ground full of festival goers getting into the groove, the chemistry set back out to recreate the funny odour of their strange cigarettes……

OK, I see a problem.

Did any of us have enough supporters to carry out a mild pitch invasion? Did any of them stand on their own two feet? If all mine laid down head to toe they wouldn’t fill the centre circle, let alone recreate Live Aid! ‘Arms aloft’ man would certainly look like he was singing along to every word though.

This ‘stadium tour’ for some millionaire rock band would soon take on the appearance of a rather poorly attended pub band, so popular with their audience that the majority were laying down except of course for the press photographers and the St john’s ambulance man.

Charles Stadden is a gentleman who created many wonderful items for a selection of toy manufacturers including Scalextrix and Subbuteo. He did once produce a small number of miniatures of The Beatles, not a Subbuteo accessory as such but he obviously saw the same hole in the market as me.

Once again, our thanks go to Al for this great post. If you'd like to write an article for The Football Attic, contact us at admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com or catch us on Twitter or Facebook.

Al Gordon's Five Subbuteo Items They Never Made

Following on from our Top 5 Subbuteo Items articles, regular Football Attic contributor Al Gordon of God, Charlton & Punk Rock has come up with a novel twist on the idea...his top 5 Subbuteo accessories they never made...


Subbuteo had pretty much every angle of the beautiful game covered didn't they? From ambulance men to TV commentators, from floodlights to dugouts, every fixture and every fitting was scaled down and turned into plastic so that we could recreate the whole mesmerising experience in our living rooms when it was far too miserable outside to kick a real football about.

Have you ever noticed gaps in the catalogue though? Have you seen something on a Saturday afternoon and wished you had the miniature version back at home. Streakers were never an official accessory but a table football shop in Wales saw the need and created their own.

Here are five items I’d add given half the chance, not everybody’s cup of tea I’ll admit so please feel free to comment and tell me what you’d have added to Subbuteo to give it even more charisma.

7 October 2012

Goal magazine, 10 August 1968

There is, I suspect, a number of people for whom the phrase ‘incorporating Goal magazine’ is the source of much confusion. Appearing below the main title of Shoot! back in the mid-1970s, those three simple words rattled around inside my own mind until recently. What was Goal magazine and why was its existence being compromised? As ever, the trail of nostalgia generated by decades of football fanaticism was there to provide all the answers.



‘The World’s Greatest Soccer Weekly’ was how Goal proudly announced itself on 10 August 1968. With its bright red cover, circular picture of Emlyn Hughes and George Best battling for a muddy ball and the potential to ‘win £2,000 free,’ the first issue must have stood out a mile on the shelves of newsagents up and down the UK.

Goal wasn’t short of a swagger when it hit the newsstands. Following a high-profile launch at London’s Savoy Hotel (complete with dolly birds, no less), readers found the first edition proclaiming its self-assuredness at every opportunity. The first two pages proved this with several warm wishes from football notables including Sir Stanley Rous and Bobby Moore, plus the first of many articles from star writer Bobby Charlton.

Charlton’s Manchester United side were European Cup champions, but they’d lost their league title to Man City at the end of the 1967/68 season. It was therefore ironic that United faced City in the first eight days of the new season, not to mention West Brom and Everton, both of whom had featured in the 1968 FA Cup Final. The England international midfielder accepted this as an anomaly of the fixture computer but wondered if Don Revie and Bill Shankly could have come up with a worse start for United. Remember, this was an era when fixture computers were (a) new technology, and (b) beyond the realms of suspicious human manipulation. Innocent times.

Bobby Charlton was quick to pick out Everton as a rising force in the English game, as was reporter Alan Hughes. Fulham, however, seemed braced for the departure of Johnny Haynes, their mercurial forward who, at 32, was nearing the end of his career. Goal speculated that QPR were preparing a bid for Haynes after their young striker Rodney Marsh had suffered an injury. As things turned out, Haynes received his testimonial at Fulham and stayed until 1970, while Marsh remained at QPR until 1972 when Man City came calling.

The sinister threat of football hooliganism was also reported in the first issue of Goal. A recent friendly between Arsenal and Rangers had resulted in thousands of teenagers invading the pitch where running battles ensued. The game was abandoned as 24 people were treated for injuries and a further 26 were arrested. A similarly violent coming together of fans in Buenos Aires resulted in over 70 people being killed during June of 1968, and reporter Peter Barnard was quick to suggest that those involved in football thuggery be heavily fined or even banned from grounds for life.

It wasn’t just the external threats to football that made the Goal headlines. Internally, the laws of the game itself appeared to be restricting fans’ enjoyment too, according to Eric Nicholls. He argued that the tackle from behind needed to be punished more severely and that the rule-makers should concentrate on that rather than the goalkeeper’s ‘four-step’ law which seemed ‘potty’ and unfairly restricted the men between the posts. Nicholls (and many others) would have to wait decades before a straight red card could be awarded for a dangerous tackle from behind.

Elsewhere in Goal, there were numerous snippets of news that highlighted the careers of well-known players before they were famous. In ‘On The Ball’, we heard that Bruce Rioch (future star of Everton and Scotland) was “not likely to leave [Fourth Division] Luton yet awhile” but added that “the club are turning down offers for him weekly.” Within a year, Rioch had moved to Aston Villa in a £100,000 transfer that broke the record for a Second Division club. Colin Todd, meanwhile, was staying put at Sunderland after the Roker Park club named him vice-captain. An England under-23 international at the time, Todd eventually signed for Derby County in 1971 and was also a record-breaker – his £150,000 signing-on fee being the highest for a British defender at the time.

Like Shoot! (the magazine that eventually swallowed up Goal), there was a two-page colour centre-spread, in this issue featuring a Liverpool team that could have been sponsored by Adidas if the players’ boots were anything to go by. In another full-page colour picture featuring Trevor Brooking, his fellow West Ham team mates were referring to him as being potentially “the greatest discovery we've ever made.” Whatever happened to him, I wonder?

As is often the case, however, the nicest part of an old football magazine like this is the back section where adverts and small features catch the eye. Here in issue 1 of Goal we find all manner of different ads offering everything from baldness remedies to  home studies helping you play the guitar in three weeks. There’s even an advert for Maserati Air Horns – “the famous Italian horns noted for their penetrating blast!”  Next time you watch old footage from a World Cup match in the 1970’s or early 80’s, you’ll know what’s causing all the noise…

Finally (and somewhat surprisingly for a football magazine aimed mainly at young fans), may column inches were dedicated to the art of winning the Football Pools including a weekly guide by Jack Potts, second only to Andy Capp in the Silliest Names of 1968 contest. If you wanted to win over £43,000 like four lucky Lymington dustmen, it was vital to know where to mark your X’s and luckily Goal was on hand to provide copious amounts of help.

Sadly it was a similar generation of revenue that ultimately proved Goal’s undoing. Having reached a peak circulation of 220,000 in 1971, sales of the magazine started to drop steadily and in June 1974 the decision was made to merge the title into Shoot!  With it, a well-known title virtually disappeared from our newsagents, but its concerted efforts to provide some decent weekly football reporting for us all to read fortunately remain to this day.