Regular Football Attic contributor Al Gordon of God, Charlton & Punk Rock takes us back to 1980 and Shoot! magazine's quiz book of the year ...
They say it’s the small things in life that count, well at least the less fortunate amongst us do. But a small thing for one person could be colossal for another, one man’s junk etc. And as you unwittingly stumble upon the discovery of one of these colossal moments, everything else in life fades away to a place it cannot hurt you, whilst you merrily immerse yourself with a relish (not literally you Americans) and a delight that you and only you could ever experience. I've just had one of these occurrences, totally unexpectedly, and apart from causing me to gasp loudly, it dominated my day as only football nostalgia can.
There is a lady at work, Sam, who comes from a large family with plenty of brothers. As she was rummaging through her mother’s loft for the Christmas tree and its assorted ornamentation, she discovered a box of old annuals. Look-in, Battlestar Galactica, all kinds of eighties memorabilia, but amongst these lay a little treat especially for the rose-spectacled enthusiast of the beautiful game. And there it was on her desk, unannounced yet boldly seductive, for me to enjoy. The 1980 Shoot! Soccer Quiz Book.
As far as I can tell, this hardback offspring of the magazine was a yearly affair spanning a decade, the earliest I've found being from 1973, the latest 1984 although there may well be others. This particular copy had obviously gone to a good home as the crossword was correctly completed and a couple of the colour pictures of the owners’ favourite players had been neatly cut out and re-homed in a presumably bulging scrap book.
‘During his league career in Scotland, Manchester United striker Joe Jordan scored just one goal. Was it for Morton, Motherwell or Montrose?’
Remember this was 1980 and you couldn’t just get your smart phone out your pocket. Not that you’d need to for some of the others –
‘What colour shirts do Blackburn Rovers usually play in?’
That was obviously written on a Friday afternoon returning to the Shoot! Towers after a liquid lunch.
There are sections for just about every specialised subject, defenders, midfielders, managers, Welsh internationals, Scottish internationals, the FA Cup, the Scottish Cup, stars of the past and my favourite, soccer badges from the States. As I get older and my memory a little more distant, the questions do seem much tougher on the whole than they would have done then. Asking me scores and transfer fees from thirty years ago is testing, asking me which division the San Jose Earthquakes currently play in is just plain unfair. In fact any question from three decades ago with the word ‘currently’ in is rather flawed.
Of course with most of these old publications, the foremost pleasure is in the pictures. Photos of Trevor Francis running out in his Detroit Express kit, pages of wonderful Admiral shirts and tracksuits, Just Fontaine surrounded by half a dozen Adidas clad beauties adjacent to a jubilant Partick Thistle squad celebrating with the Scottish League Cup in the year of my birth. A percentage of these are in colour, the rest in black and white or a derivative thereof.
It was common in those days to give a coloured filter to the black and white image so that it appeared blue or red or some such which looks crude now but must have been funky and cutting edge in the sixties and just plain old affordable in 1980.
Having had my mind opened to these quiz books I searched eBay only to discover how readily available and inexpensive they are. Starting at just a couple of quid this particular Shoot! spin-off has evidently still yet to reach collectable status. I may just go to a boot sale on Sunday morning, there could be boxes of them.
Oh, and by the way, it was Morton. Just in case you were wondering.
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 Twitteror Facebook.