Monday, 9 February 2015

Football Crazy (1977)

The school tuck shop. A place where for decades juveniles have queued up, exchanged money for substandard food and consumed the very things they acquired, purely for pleasure alone. 'Nutritional gratification' was nowhere to be seen, apart from those freaky kids that bought an apple at break time. Who the hell buys apples, for heaven's sake?

No, for the schoolchildren of the 1970s and 1980's in particular, it was common - nay, expected - that your daily food consumption consisted only of items that in no way benefited your personal health and well-being. Crisps were a great example of the genre. Though in essence derived from the perfectly decent potato, the addition of preservatives, colourings and copious amounts of hot oil transformed it into something that passed through your digestive system to no great effect. But my, did they taste fantastic. Artificially fantastic, but fantastic all the same.

Among the many varieties available was Football Crazy, a favourite among tuck shop regulars of the late 1970's. For four-and-a-half new pennies, you could have yourself a small packet of corn and potato snacks shaped like footballs (vaguely) and flavoured like smokey bacon. They were cheap, tasty and guaranteed to clog up your whole mouth with the sort of substance which, these days, you're more likely to find pumped into wall cavities as insulation material.

For the average football-loving child, however, there was more indulgence to be had thanks to the canny marketing of Smiths' Crisps. Their idea was to create the Football Crazy Club, which kids could be a member of if they sent off enough the required number of empty crisp packets. Once a member, they'd receive all many of goodies through the post such as the obligatory newsletter, stickers and anything else they could churn out for little or no expense.

Even if you weren't a member of the club, you could still send away your wrappers to pick up special items, like the 'Laws of Football' booklet advertised here. It was as if Smiths Crisps were saying "We know you like football, so allow us to give you lots of nice things in return for buying our corn/potato snacks."

How very convivial, and how very 'Seventies'. It just wouldn't happen now, though. Kids, I'm convinced, aren't interested in stickers or posters or 'Rules of the Game' booklets. Crisps must still be popular with kids though, aren't they? If so, could you persuade them to send off 15,700 empty packets in exchange for a copy of FIFA 15? Nah, thought not.

-- Chris Oakley

'F.A. Rules OK' image by kind courtesy of Football Cartophilic Info Exchange.

8 comments:

  1. Superb, throw in a United biscuit and who cared if your mum had cut your hair around a bowl?

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    1. A packet of Football Crazy and a United biscuit was pretty much the extent of my worldly consciousness back then, Rob... :)

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  2. Still got my FA Rules book! ;-)

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    1. How amazing, Anonymous! That's a fine piece of memorabilia to have! :)

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  3. I'm sure in the late 70s there was a crisp-type product, and inside, you'd get a trading card with a footballer on it. I can't for the life of me remember what they were called - All Stars maybe, or something like that? I seem to remember an above-average number of Leicester City players inside!

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    1. You remember correctly, Popper - in fact I reviewed them on this very website back in July 2012... :)

      http://www.thefootballattic.com/2012/07/golden-wonder-all-stars-1977.html

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  4. Excellent! I've seen that logo in recent times, but never realised these were the same cards I used to pull out of my crisps at lunch time, covered in particles of sticky yellow matter. I guess my Leicester City memories must mean I kept finding Frank Worthington!

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