It seems I largely missed out on the petrol/football tie-ins that were so prominent in the early-70's. Everyone always thinks of Esso as being the masters of marketing where that's concerned (and rightly so), yet one little-known company had a go at cashing in on football fervour too - and made a decent job of it.
I say 'little-known company' - in fact it was a regional petrol company that was owned by Esso, not that anyone was really aware of that at the time. Cleveland Petrol had started out in the 1930's selling ethanol fuel in the north-east of England, but just before their forecourts were fully rebranded to Esso, they had the chance to embark on one or two football-related trade campaigns.
If you lived in London or the South East back in 1972, you'd know that Golden Goals was The Big Match's answer to Match of the Day's 'Goal of the Month' competition on the BBC. Luckily for fans of 'Shoot' (the ITV football show in the north-east of England), they got to see The Big Match often during the 1971-72 season. That's because the Tyne Tees cameras were often sent away to cover horse racing at Redcar or Newcastle, so to fill in, they'd broadcast The Big Match instead.
Specific teams were also given special treatment. Manchester United's 'goal power' looked at the awesome strike partnership of Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and George Best, while Arsenal's route to double-winning glory was also brought into sharp focus. There was even room to look at local rivalries within British football and the great teams of international football - neither of which had anything directly to do with great goals, but were beautifully illustrated all the same.
This 'less is more' approach showed how Panini might have developed their collections in later years, and may even have avoided their demise of the early 1990's had they done so. By producing a hardback book packed with lots of information and far fewer stickers, Cleveland showed cleverness in creating something more substantial than a basic sticker album yet still had the allure of building a collection within it.
And while everyone was waiting for the video recorder to be invented, what better way to remember great goals than to study them in illustrated form, page by page? This book had them by the dozen and celebrated them with real flare and integrity. Oh, and the petrol came in quite handy too.