Monday 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.

Sunday 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.

Saturday 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.

Friday 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.

Thursday 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.

Friday 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!

Thursday 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.

Wednesday 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.

Monday 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!

Friday 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.

Tuesday 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.

Sunday 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.

Monday 1 October 2012

Panini Look-a-Likes

Following on from my article on some of Panini's more bizarre stickers, I decided to delve further and see what other horrors or delights it might throw up.

Having gone through all the albums from 1970-1982, I can tell you there are some absolute gems in there and I'll deal with some of the strangest ones another time. This article will deal with the sheer number of look-a-likes that can be found in the hallowed pages.

Starting in 1970 and it's a little known fact that both comedy legend Barry Chuckle and serial killer Fred West were in the starting 11 for Sweden.

To me...etc...