Saturday 28 December 2013

Retro Random Video: Rod Argent plays Top of The Pops

Imagine, if you will, a time in Britain when the theme to a World Cup programme on TV could be written and performed by someone you've never heard of. Certainly that used to be the case before the BBC and ITV went all out for ratings supremacy by enlisting the help of top acts like Jean Michel Jarre and Luciano Pavarotti.

Knowing which musicians could conjure up a tuneful melody to enhance the viewer's pleasure of some far-flung tournament was a skill in itself. Luckily one man was often on hand during the 1970's and 80's that could envisage the Latin passion of a World Cup in Argentina or the searing heat of Mexico. That man was Rod Argent - a man who would enter a Football Attic Hall of Fame if one existed - and his first association with football TV themes came in 1978.

Argent, under the name of Rodriguez Argentina (Rod Argent - geddit?) was part of the group San Jose that performed 'Argentine Melody (Cancion de Argentina)', the BBCs World Cup theme that year. The piece of music was released as a single on the back of positive viewer feedback and it reached number 14 in the UK charts.

Few World Cup themes from British TV can claim to have been so successful, but Argent had success eight years later with another top tune, ITV's 'Aztec Gold', which got to number 48 in the UK singles chart.

Anyway, if you're still unsure who Rod Argent is (let alone what he looks like), here's a rare chance to see him perform on Top of the Pops back in 1978 - the master at work, albeit in a silly hat.

Monday 23 December 2013

The Greatest France Home Kit 1964-2014

In May 2013, The Football Attic spoke to you, the football nostalgia experts of the world, to ask what you thought was the greatest England home kit that's been worn since 1965. Your response was fantastic and left us in no doubt that your favourite was the Admiral kit worn during the 1982 World Cup.

Now it's time to praise and assess the first-choice outfits of France, the country that gave us Raymond Kopa, Michel Platini and Thierry Henry. Over the last 50 years, the French national team have worn 30 different home kits all varying in complexity and style, so we'd like you to tell us which ones you like best, which ones are an affront to human decency, and above all, which is your favourite by voting via the form at the foot of this page.

Click for larger version

The graphic above shows all of the 30 kits mentioned (clicking on it brings up a larger version - right-click and 'Save As' while it's on the screen to keep a full-size version). We've tried to get as much detail correct as possible using the information sources available, but if you do spot any inaccuracies, please let us know.

As you peruse the different designs shown, you'll probably spot an anomaly (by British standards, at least). Where the French national team is concerned, it was common for two or more home kits to be worn at any given time during any 12-month period up to Euro 84.

Whereas in Britain we're used to a system of 'Kit A' being replaced by 'Kit B' and then 'Kit C', in France 'Kit A' might be worn for a few games only to be replaced by 'Kit B', but after a few more games 'Kit A' would be worn again before 'Kit C' appeared a few months later, then back to 'Kit B' and so on. Why this is the case, we're not sure, but if anyone out there has any details, please let us know.

In addition to this seemingly random flip-flopping between kits, it's also worth mentioning the diverse number of times each kit was worn. Some, like Kit 8, were worn at various times over a 7-year period while Kit 10, for instance, was only worn twice - and that was with a one-year gap between the two outings.

As far as manufacturers are concerned, there are three that we're aware of: Le Coq Sportif (1970-72), Adidas (1972-2010) and Nike (2011 onwards). Adidas enjoyed the benefits of a 33-year association with the French team that undoubtedly covered it's greatest era, but Le Coq Sportif are responsible for dragging the French kit out of the old-fashioned 1960's just as Nike are designing some new styles at the present time.

But enough of all this technical information. We want you to pin your bleu-blanc-rouge to the mast and tell us which is your favourite France home kit...

The winner of our Greatest France Home Kit vote has now been announced. Did your favourite kit win?

Further information:
To see all the above France home kits, plus many change kits and variations, head on over to Chris O's Kitbliss website.

Friday 20 December 2013

A Sort Of Christmas Message

Bill Shankly's famous quote about football being more important than life or death has been repeated ad-infinitum so I'm not going to do it here...apart from mentioning it just then...

The line was clearly intended to not be taken too seriously, but one can't help feeling far too many people have taken this as a mantra and can't quite see the folly in it.

Just over a year ago I wrote about my growing dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the modern game. After that, I had a slight change of heart. My home team almost got to the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, which may be laughable to some, but to a club that's been through what we have recently, it meant a huge amount. The record attendance for a non final match in the history of that competition is something that will probably stand for a long time. Alas it was that crowd that witnessed us demolished and dumped out of the tournament. It also showed the level of disunity between sets of fans with so called 'plastics' having verbal abuse hurled at them purely because they dared to want to see a match when their team is doing well.

The subsequent move to Northampton has further divided us at a time we ideally ought to put the overall long term future of the club at the forefront of thought and action. I can see both sides of the boycotting home games issue, but fundamentally it's created deep divisions which may never heal. To use a poor analogy, albeit one which does demonstrate the difference between football and actual life quite well, there are families who still don't talk to each other due to their chosen paths in the miners' strike in the mid 80s. The sentiments, arguments and reasoning behind the split is the same, but in this case, it truly was people's livelihoods that were at stake and families were torn apart and remain so to this day, such were the deep feelings involved. Whether Coventry return to the Ricoh or end up in a new stadium, the rifts have been formed and will remain long after we depart Sixfields. The damage has been done and in some cases will never be repaired.

While I don't wish to trivialise people's love for their clubs, it's the level of unreal importance that seems to have invaded the football followers' mindset that disturbs me. I'm not saying that people shouldn't care or that it's "just a game" as it's not, it is indeed a huge part of people's lives...but that's my's a part of life, it's not life itself, yet the sense of hysteria and entitlement that seems to go alongside everything football seems to be at ludicrous levels.

The following tweet from @wearethetwins sums up what I'm talking about.

"#Chelsea considering a change of strategy to salvage their season?!Last 16 of CL + 2 points off 1st in PL. Someone explain how this is bad?"
Someone please do!!! Seriously, how can this be regarded as anything approaching a situation requiring salvage?

What frustrates me most is that, while this hype has been generated for years by media with a product to sell, the sheer volume of fans who have swallowed it whole and spit it back out again verbatim is truly disheartening. The wailing and gnashing over Moyes at Man U after a few months, AVB booted out after a 'run' of poor results etc etc etc.

I'm not for one minute suggesting that managers have always been given time or indeed that some of the sackings haven't been right, what I'm trying to illustrate is the sheer level of noise about it all. Naturally, social media and the availability and anonymity of channels to  vent such spleen is a contributing factor, but again, it's the fact that fans feel this way in the first place, that it's somehow rational to be so outraged and disgusted that your team isn't top of the league and that your worthless piece of shit manager hasn't won every single game he's ever taken charge of! People regularly lose it completely with such unhealthy levels of anger it's sometimes quite shocking, literally shaking with rage that some refereeing decision wasn't 100% spot on or that their star player didn't score with every shot. This sense of indignation that everything isn't perfect is simply staggering: such a misplaced sense of entitlement so grossly out of proportion with events back in the real world.

Again, I'm not saying we shouldn't invest emotionally in football; that would be to completely misunderstand the nature of being involved in competitive sport, but when every single 'injustice' (oh and the use of the word injustice?...c'mon!) leaves you in a state of heart attack inducing apoplexy, it's maybe time to take a step back and consider what it does mean to you. Don't stop loving, just maybe turn down the noise a little.

For those wondering why I'm ranting about the modern game on a nostalgia site, while not simultaneously taking the tack of 'it was all perfect in the old days', the thought train that led me here was this...

I was pondering writing a piece to publish on Christmas day, just a nice little message of thanks and all that usual stuff. I then pondered writing something about the famous Christmas day game of football between the soldiers on the front line in World War I and the tragic slaughter that resumed days later. That led me back to Shankly's quote.

Football is a game. It's also more than a game, but it isn't life or death.

Maybe next time you're lining up your sights on your current target of anger, for a second imagine that instead of there being a phone in your hand, there's an actual rifle; that instead of sitting on your comfy sofa, you're in a mud filled trench and the person you're taking aim at is the same guy you shook hands and swapped gifts with the day before. Consider these two situations for a second, consider your lot in life and how much that refereeing decision, that missed shot, that sending off truly affects you and see if it actually means quite so much anymore.

All that said, we at the Attic hope you do all have a great Christmas and that the New Year brings at least one lot of 3 points and for some of you lucky ones, some actual silverware! Enjoy the highs and roll with the lows. Life is not that bad :)

Til Christmas Day, Merry Christmas!

Sunday 8 December 2013

Shoot! Soccer Quiz Book 1980

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.

There is just the one crossword; it’s not that kind of quiz book. This is more akin to the pub quiz format, a book full of football questions with the answers given upside down at the bottom of the page. How many questions there are in total I do not know, and I'm sure as not going to count them for you, but I’d edge my bets at around four hundred. Thirty years ago one magazine employee must have spent a month every year compiling these; it’s easy to tell which he conjured up first as they require a little knowledge –

‘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.

Page 32 is entitled ‘We put you on the spot’. Here there are four referees, Clive Thomas, Roger Kirkpatrick, Jack Taylor and Tom Reynolds. The question was to identify them; I obviously am far too young to remember any, but how I wish Kilpatrick still officiated matches today. Nicknamed Mr Pickwick on account of his astonishing sideburns, the quality of abuse Charlton’s covered end could shout in his general direction is somewhat staggering. Clive Thomas however looks like Mr Bean’s father. Scary stuff.

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.

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Fantasy Nostalgia: The Football Attic Does The FIFA World Rankings

Let's face it, whenever FIFA releases its latest monthly World Rankings list, the international football community collectively thinks "yeah whatever" and carries on with its normal activities.

We at The Football Attic, however, think it could be made more exciting. Not only that, but we think we could present the World Rankings in a way that keeps all you nostalgia freaks happy as well as the international football fan in general.

Here's how it should be done...

Monday 2 December 2013

Got Not Got Book Spectacular

With Christmas just around the corner, we take a look at the latest books from the Got, Not Got authors, Derek Hammond & Gary Silke.

What could possibly be said about Got, Not Got that hasn't already been?  Not much if the glowing praise inside the latest incarnation is to be seen. There's even a quote from some 2 bit blog about Attics ;-)

Anyone who hasn't read a copy of the original Got, Not Got book is seriously missing out on a treat of nostalgia. OK, it's not a patch on The Football Attic Annual (what could be?), but it's nevertheless rammed full of sweet, sweet memories.

And so we come to its sequel...and we all know how tough it can be to produce a decent follow up - just look at Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen...hang on, the original was crap as well...this analogy isn't working. What I'm saying is, the original GNG was a masterpiece, so the pressure was really on to come up with the goods yet again. The problem with the past is, it's a finite resource...anything that was going to exist already has done and given the sheer weight of stuff already covered, would there possibly be enough to fill another book?

The answer is of course, yes. Not just a small yes, but a rather large one, as this time out, as well as coming up with another look at The Lost World Of Football (that's the title you see), there's also a bunch of club specific volumes and a further gem in the guise of 'What a Shot - Your Snaps of the Lost World of Football', which is a collection of readers' photos of football from years gone by. More of that later...for now we'll concentrate on the main course.

The LOST WORLD of Football

Following the same format as the original, which was billed as the A-Z of lost football, this runs through yet another alphabet of nostalgia, running from Airfix Footballers to Zetters.

Naturally with a book like this, it's impossible to cover everything in a review so I'll instead choose some of my favourite highlights.

Memories :)
Keeper Klobber - a whole page devoted to all things goalie, from Peter Bonetti gloves to some rather fetching ads for Sukan Sports. Right on the side of the page are two kit illustrations from the Reusch advert I gazed longingly at in the weeks leading up to Christmas in 1987. I never could decide which kit to get (silver and blue looked awesome, but yellow and black looked so much more the real deal) and so I never got one...

Filbert Street Revisited - a two page spread detailing a ridiculously accurate model of Leicester's ground circa 1979 courtesy of model maker Micky Bates.

Star Turns - the top 5 Player or Club 7" singles, featuring possibly the most terrifying artwork ever, courtesy of St. Etienne fan & pop star, 'Jacques Monty'.

Pocket Money Endorsements - "When it's the Best Patio Door v. The Rest, Trevor Brooking is on Therm-A-Stor's side" - nuff said!

Part of the joy of a book like this is the little gems one might usually overlook. One of these is entirely non-football related, but still evokes that warm sense of nostalgia perfectly. Lurking at the bottom of one page is an image of a set of Ever Ready batteries (now more well known as Energisers). This may not mean much to a lot of people, but to me it captures that Christmas morning feel and takes me back to that first time I tried out my new Subbuteo floodlights.

There's a lovely pic of Highfield Road in there too...albeit covering casuals and hooligans, but hey, us Cov fans will take what we can these days ;-)

The item called "Football Unfunnies" takes the same tack that we did in our Backpass article on Shoot! magazine, that the majority of football cartoons just weren't funny.

For many readers, a real delight awaits in the "Posing in Your Kit" section, a couple of pages of readers' pics of themselves posing, as the title suggests, in their childhood kits. Quite how they failed to use this gorgeous pic of yours truly in full CCFC outfit I'm not sure, but there are plenty quality kits and matching hairstyles to go around. My personal favourite is of brothers David & Mark Jameson in Newcastle's classy 85-86 home and away outfits.

For me, it's not just the coverage of ephemera that make the LWOF a great read, but the reminiscences of the authors with titles such as 'In the Garage' and 'Long Hot Summer' providing a real personal touch which is sure to have readers nodding and smiling as their own memories come back.

Finally, there's a truly heartwarming section near the end under the banner 'You could send letters', which showcases a series of replies to letters from author Gary Silke to various clubs. Each one has clearly been typed by hand and though some of them do have a distinct air of the standard 'don't call us, we'll call you' response, the fact that someone somewhere had taken the time to reply is, in this age of computer generated responses, a truly beautiful thing, a phrase which neatly sums up the Lost World of Football

Got, Not Got - The Lost World of Manchester United

Alongside its bigger brother, the GNG team have released a series of club specific GNG books. These are naturally smaller affairs and have a slimmed down price tag of only £12.99. Very often with this sort of thing, the slimmed down tomes often just repeat what's already in the bigger book and leave you with a sense of disappointment. Not so here as these have a wealth of material all related to the relevant club. This one covers Manchester United and has 144 pages of Old Trafford related memorabilia. Again there's a vast amount on offer, with very little crossover from the main book.

I can't wait to get stuck into the Coventry one...what? There isn't one? This is just like my childhood all over again! ;-)

While there may not be a CCFC version, there are books available for Leeds and West Ham and I've no doubt there'll be others to follow.

What A Shot!

When this book landed in my lap, I thought I'd gone to retro heaven. While the above two may be choc full of facts and pics, this is pure photo based gold. The book is a compilation of photos from the authors alongside a host of those sent in from Mr. J. Public. The end result is a raft of over-exposed, grainy, often blurred and badly angled photos from days gone by and by god if it isn't one of the best collection of football photos known to man, then I don't know what is!

Its amateurish nature is what gives it its undeniable charm as we all recognise the sort of photos on show. Alas, I neglected to send any shots of my own in and so don't have the pleasure of seeing my own handiwork displayed, though there is a great shot of our very own Chris next to the vampiric looking Ray Reardon, the then famous snooker player.

Highlights include the previously mentioned David Jameson's shot of Mirandinha's first appearance at Newcastle; photos of the Baseball Ground both in its heyday and also after its demise; several other long since abandoned grounds in various states of decay and some serious floodlight porn.

A bad photo of...a bad photo!
As I say though, the real pleasure in this is the wealth of grainy shots only a 110 or 35mm Minolta from Dixons could produce and the sort of photo Boots would affix a sticker to, advising of how to not use the flash in close up or something about overexposure. If you have only ever lived in a world of digital cameras where any bad shot can be deleted in a heartbeat, this is not for you. If, like me, you waited with baited breath outside Snappy Snaps (or for them to arrive in the post from Truprint), then you will fall in love with the photos in What a Shot!

If you're in any doubt as to whether this book is worth it, I can only urge you to get it. For £12.99, it'd seriously be insane not to.

Still not convinced? (seriously?) You can take a sneak peek inside all 3 books by clicking on the sample chapters below.

Lost World of Football

Lost World of Man United

What a Shot!

Coming soon...we take a look at "Six Stickers", Adam Caroll-Smith's attempt to track down the players from the missing six stickers in his Permier League 96 album...and we have 5 copies to win!

Friday 29 November 2013

Holy Grail No.2 - Argentina 86 Home Shirt

The first ever article that appeared on the Attic was billed as “Holy Grail No.1”. The numbering would clearly suggest that this was perhaps the first in a series and to that, I would say that yes, it was…I just never quite got round to writing about no.2. Until now!

So sit back and wallow in what will turn out to be yet another tale of obsession and ultimate futility!

It’s 1986 (really? What a surprise!) and the 11 year old me is standing in Devlins’ newsagents, unsure as to whether he should spend 42p of his 50p pocket money on what would be his first ever copy of Shoot! In the end, he / me / I buy / buys it, drawn by the World Cup Review inside, the cover of which features Maradona cradling the inspiration for Holy Grail No.1.

It’s possible that my obsession with football kits in general was started by my love of Maradona’s shirt, but whether that’s true or not, it certainly captivated me at the time. It’s hard to say what exactly I loved about it, but I distinctly remember being impressed that the middle stripe was white and not the usual blue. Moreover I loved the holes! This wasn't just an aertex thing, t-shirts at the time were made from what was known as ‘tea bag’ material – I had a lovely camouflage one…and later some fetching Y fronts with tea bag (settle down) inserts…

I was aware of course that replica shirts were available, but such was my naivety and newness to football, I had no idea that my local Intersport wouldn't stock such an item. Never mind the fact the Falklands war and the Hand of God made the possibility of seeing an albiceletse shirt in ANY sports shop in England virtually nil!  Having confirmed the unavailability of said artefact and this being pre-internet days, I scoured the ads in the now purchased Shoot! and once again drew a blank.

In the coming years, I would religiously check every available sports shop or ad I could find and always got nowhere. I seemed destined to never obtain any of my holy grails. As time wore on, I realised that Argentina would surely be changing their kits for the World Cup due in 1990 and sure enough, when Maradona et al stepped out at the San Siro against Cameroon, they had indeed changed their outfits…and what an abomination they were! The blue stripe was now firmly back in the middle of the road and above it some kind of comedy V neck from the late 70s! With heavy heart I accepted the beauty of that Le Coq Sportif shirt was gone forever.  Looking back at old magazines of the time, it seems you could buy a version of this shirt, but I just didn't care for it.

Sorted! Respect Due!
By USA 94, a decent design once again adorned the AFA squad, but also, once more I could find nowhere that sold one! I’m sure it may have been available from a mail order outlet somewhere, but I never managed to find one and so it fell to Score Draw to provide me with my first ever Argentina shirt the following year. OK so it was an unofficial one and it had wide stripes (with the blue one in the middle), but it was only £19.99 and by now I just wanted something!

My first proper AFA shirt would be in my possession a mere 12 months later with the beautiful 96-97 design. I’d seen a slightly different version at the Atlanta Olympics earlier in the year and had loved it on sight! And now, finally, I had my very own Argentina shirt!!! I still didn't have a 1986 one though…
By the time eBay was a part of my life, I’d trebled my collection by purchasing both the home and away World Cup 98 shirts. I would have had even more but the AFA selected Reebok as their supplier for some godforsaken reason and the designs they produced were possibly the worst ever seen - the WC06 one gives them a run for their money!

1990...sort of...
It’s now 2003 and the 28 year old me has discovered the joys of eBay! What a great way to spend money!!! The first obvious search is for Argentina shirts and straight away there was a whole load of 86 shirts available wasn't there? Of course not!!! There was a whole load of Reebok crap, a bunch of 2002 shirts and some 1990 ones (the ones with the plain neck) available, but nothing of any real…oh hang on, what’s this???  A 1990 shirt, but this one has the 2 blue lines in the neck just like the actual shirts at the time did!!! My first taste of eBay last second bidding success and £57.50 later and I was a happier man. Yeah I know the badge isn't right and it too should have holes...that's for another time...

Still, there was that emptiness inside, a holey-shirt shaped hole. Surely eBay was my best bet? Over the next 12 months I saw a few gems, all way out of my price range of course. I even saw a shirt from the Eng V Arg Mexico 86 ¼ Final, but I think the list price was around the 5K mark. Around this time, I began to realise that it was almost certain that proper replicas were never produced, meaning ultimately that if I was ever to obtain one, it would have to be player worn and given I had a child and a mortgage by now, that was obviously not going to happen.

This left me CRESTfallen
So…where did that leave me?  Pretty much without hope…until suddenly there started to appear newer retro shirts…proper looking ones too! Well, almost…3 different versions appeared. One had a sort of tea bag material, but the badge just had ‘86’ on it instead of a proper AFA one. Another had a proper badge, but was bereft of holes. The third was the worst of both of those…86 badge and no holes! Nevertheless, they were better than nothing and I promptly ordered one each of the former two. There were also some away shorts appearing as well with again, several different versions, none of which quite got it exactly right!

Would someone PLEASE make one with a decent badge and some holes??? Was it too much to ask??? Would I ever get my Holey Grail??? HA!

The answer would come only a few weeks later. On a cold November day (I assume it was cold, it was November), I chanced upon yet another 86 retro shirt, which were by now, quite common. It looked slightly different though. I checked it out and…OMG, HOLES!!!! And a proper badge!!!! Not only that, but the material was decent quality and the holes were…well, proper holes!!! Not like the other one I had which just had…the wrong holes (oh come on!). The one slight issue was the price. I think there were 2 available, a medium and a large and both were on for 140 euros…approx £100 (the seller was in Switzerland).  I contacted him and managed to agree a price of 99 euros, which made it a total of £83.46. It was the most I’d ever spent on any shirt by a long way (well, by £25.96), but it was entirely worth it!

A week or so later and it was mine! Oh happy day!!! I had found peace at last…weeeeelllll. You should know me better than that. While it was as near perfect as I could possibly hope to get without hunting down an original squad member, it wasn't quite right…yes it had holes, but they weren't as large as the actual shirts. And the neck wasn't perfect…and the badge etc etc…

The "right" holes
As such, I still continue my hunt, which led me to purchase this 1989 beauty earlier this year. Yeah the badge is a bit high and it’s not an 86 one, but look at the holes…


I need help…

Saturday 23 November 2013

Focus On... Giles Metcalfe

A familiar face to football nostalgia fans on Twitter, Giles Metcalfe becomes the latest person to step into the spotlight as The Football Attic finds out just what makes football fans tick...

Full Name:
Giles Metcalfe

Current blog/podcast(s):
No Standing

Northallerton, North Yorkshire

17 February

6 ft 3 in

Giles Metcalfe
Engaged to Ailsa

Step-children James and Abbey

2004 Ford Ka

Favourite blogs/podcasts:
Football Attic; Got, Not Got, The Goldstone Wrap, Two Unfortunates, No Clash of Colour, A United View on Football

Team(s) supported:
Bolton Wanderers, England, Bradford Park Avenue, Brighouse Juniors

Favourite football player ever:

Biggest thrill while blogging/podcasting:
First time Football Attic and GNG published my stuff

Biggest disappointment while blogging/podcasting:
Scammers and rip-off merchants promising the moon on a stick

Best countries visited:

Favourite food:
Roast Beef dinner

Miscelleaneous likes:
Football, coats and jackets, trainers, shoes and boots, vintage and retro stuff, the 60s and 70s, Italian scooters, Mod, watches

Miscellaneous dislikes:
Ignorance, prejudice, football hooliganism, liars and cheats, DIY

Favourite TV shows:
MOTD, The Football League Show (if Bolton have won), TOTP 78 (if post-punk bands on)

Favourite actors/actresses:
Michael Caine, Julie Christie, Clint Eastwood, Liam Neeson, Bruce Willis, Phil Daniels

Favourite musicians:
Doves, The Jam/Weller, Small Faces, The Who, Neil Young, The Byrds, Love, Shack, Jake Bugg

Best friend:
My partner, Ailsa

The Byrds (1970)
The Byrds
Biggest drag in blogging/podcasting:
Not getting published (hence set up my own blog)

Personal ambition:
To be discovered as a writer/blogger, play for BWFC

If not in your current career, which job would you do?
Football writer/journalist/astronaut

Which person in the world would you most like to meet?

Favourite activity on a day off:
Sleeping, jacket or trainer shopping, blogging

Our grateful thanks go to Giles Metcalfe for contributing to our Focus On feature, and don't forget, if you've got a football blog, podcast or other project, you can take part too. Just visit our info page and fill in all your details - we look forward to hearing from you!

Previously in Focus On:

(Image of Pelé by Ricardo Stuckert/PR [CC-BY-3.0-br (], via Wikimedia Commons. Image of The Byrds by Joost Evers / Anefo (Nationaal Archief) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Football and Comedy: The Fast Show (1994)

People often say 'Art imitates life', but it's just as true to say that comedy imitates football. A perfect example can be found among the three series of The Fast Show, a BBC TV series that contained more than its fair share of football references.

Here we see a short sequence from one episode that features Chanel 9 Neus, a pseudo-Latin American TV programme that doesn't allow paltry production values to get in the way of some truly awful broadcasting.

On this occasion we're treated not only to the usual shambolic news bulletin one would expect from Chanel 9 but also a sports report containing the latest football results from the land of El Presidente.

Here are a few things to look out for...

The opening titles for Chanel 9 Neus. For some reason, I always found it deeply amusing to see a piece of meat being hacked with a cleaver alongside more generic current affairs imagery. Perhaps it was just me...

Poutremos Poutra-Poutros (played by Paul Whitehouse) bids us a warm 'Bono estente' and the usual job of trying to identify as many random English cultural references in the dialogue begins.

Co-presenter Kolothos Apollonia (Paul Shearer) joins in with the brilliant line: "Aknopo dopra filla Whiskas - fullameatygoodness."

Apollonia: "Obrigado TIP I say Foghorn Leghorn."
Poutra-Poutros: "I say I say I say BOY!"

First football reference: the oft-mentioned Chris Waddle.

A short 'Presentation Commerciale' for the very reasonably priced 'Cielyn Gizmo'.

Sporto! (mia specifica Foota...)  Time to go across the studio to visit Antonios Gubba (Simon Day) who has all the final scores from Section Una.

I love the fact that all the matches finished 0-0 with the exception of one that was abandoned due to 'violencia'. As for the team names, each one is a joy to behold, my favourite being Bombo Chipolata. Strangely a Liverpool-supporting schoolfriend of mine could never pronounce 'Borussia Mönchengladbach' when he was very young and always said 'Munchen Brunchen Gladback' as an alternative. Perhaps that's where The Fast Show got it from...

"Antonios... Mentale!"

No visit to the Chanel 9 Neus studio would be complete without a bit of 'Heth-eth-eth, eth-eth-eth-eth-eth...'

The bulletin ends with Poula Fisch giving us one of her customary weather report. Who'da thought... SCORCHIO!

As Antonios Gubba blows his whistle for the final time, we say Boutros Boutros-Ghali to Chanel 9 Neus, but this won't be the last visit to The Fast Show for our 'Football and Comedy' series, of that you can be certain....

Previously in 'Football and Comedy':

Friday 15 November 2013

Panini 2002 World Cup Album

We at the Attic don't just write about our own experiences of football nostalgia, we also like to be a conduit for Victor M Rey shares his memories of his first ever Sticker Album...

The 2002 World Cup is the first football championship I remember, but if there is something that I remember better than the World Cup itself it is the Panini Sticker Album.

I was 7 and I was living in Venezuela. Despite Venezuela has never played a World Cup, the people followed the football, specially their parents/grandparents' country football team, like Spain (this is my case), Italy, Portugal... And most of the children had the Sticker Album.

Everybody in my class had the album, we changed between us our repeated stickers in order to have the maximum number of stickers possible.

Regarding the album, the first pages talk about old World Cups, the countries who have won it and stickers with the photos of the stadiums in Korea and Japan... and some pictures of the 2002 WC pets!

The rest of the pages were, as usual, dedicated to the participant countries. Each page has the country's logo, name in some languages (English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German...) and a photo of their main line-up. It has something curious, it is that some countries, instead of a line-up, their had a picture with the head of the players (I used to joke with my friends saying they hadn't enough money to pay for the photo). The rest of the page has the photos of the players, with their city of birth, age, weight and height.

The pages that belong to the countries of the last group (like Russia) has fewer stickers, because each sticker has the photo of two players, a really interesting thing.

I remember I spent all my summer trying to get all the stickers. I had around 10 stickers left, so my father helped me calling Panini in order to complete the album.

It was the first football sticker album I completed by myself, and I remember it with great emotion.

Thanks to The Football Attic for letting me share my experience.

Huge thanks to Victor for sharing his sticker album memories there...if you'd like to share anything from your past (preferably football nostalgia related, we're not licensed therapists!), drop us a line and let us know to admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com...

1994: Football of the Future

The year is 1984. Charlie Nicholas is the poster boy of British football, Bryan Robson and Ray Wilkins share the British transfer record and players everywhere are earning more money than they've ever done. Where would it all end, or more specifically, what would football be like ten years hence in 1994?

That was the question Shoot! magazine asked 29 years ago, and to find the answer, it assessed the state of the British game at ten-year intervals leading up to 1984.

"Stanley Matthews was on £15 a week in the winter and £12 a week in the summer in 1954" said Shoot! as if to reinforce the stereotypical view of post-war austerity in Britain. "Blackpool, then in the First Division, carried a staff of 39 full-time professionals and their weekly wage bill for players was not more than £650... The terrace admission price was 1s 9d (8.40p). Match programmes cost twopence (0.75p)."

It all sounds like chicken feed by today's standards. The biggest British transfer back then was the £30,000 Tottenham paid Aston Villa for Danny Blanchflower, and even that was exceptional given that most players were still going to training sessions either by bus or bicycle because they couldn't afford a car.

Ten years on and Jimmy Greaves was the star of the day, earning £60 a week, while Tottenham had a wage bill of £2,500 for its staff of 35 people. Match day programmes would have set you back one shilling while five shillings would have got you a place on the terraces to see the match. As for the biggest transfer deals, the bar had been raised to £116,000 following Denis Law's move from Manchester United to Torino in 1962.

And so it went on with monetary comparisons made for 1974 and 1984, the year when this Shoot! article was published. All very interesting too, but one has to wonder how all these values equated when inflation was taken into account. What could Stanley Matthews have bought with his weekly wage of £15 and how much is it worth in real terms from a modern-day perspective?

As ever, The Football Attic intended to find out, so what follows is a series of graphs that show the changes in value for each of Shoot's main criteria based on their 2013 worth. Also shown on the graphs are the predictions made by the magazine as to what values they expected to see in 1994 (more of which later), plus the real values for 1994 and the years that followed.

Weekly Wage For a Top Footballer

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Having heard that Stanley Matthews earned £5 per week during 1954 and Jimmy Greaves earned £60 per week in 1964, Shoot! went on to explain that West Ham's Bobby Moore picked up the equivalent of around £230 per week during 1974 - the equivalent of £2,038 per week in today's money. "He drove a Jaguar and his wife had a sports car and they lived in luxury in a magnificent house called Morelands," Shoot! went on to say.

As for Charlie Nicholas, he was raking in £2,400 per week in 1984 while at Arsenal - over £6,500 per week by today's standards. "If football earnings continue to increase at the same rate as in the last 20 years" said Shoot back then, "a top First Division star in ten years time can look forward to netting around £30,000 a week!" As it is, that figure turned out to be nearer £10,000 per week in 1994, but that was nothing compared to the £50,000 per week that Javier Hernandez was earning at Manchester United in 2012. Using the Mexican as a randomly chosen top player of the era, his weekly earnings were far greater than even Shoot! could have predicted.

Top-flight Football Match Ticket

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Paying one shilling and ninepence for a ticket to see Stanley Matthews in 1954 was the equivalent of paying just over £2 in today's money - a bargain whichever way you look at it. A decade later you'd have been paying double that, and in 1974 you'd have been paying the equivalent of £6.62. Curiously the real cost of a ticket for Highbury in 1984 was slightly less than the 1974 equivalent.

In 1984, Shoot! magazine was predicting that a ticket for a match in 1994 would cost as much as £25 - that's £68 in current terms. This turned out to be a big over-estimate as the real value was just under half-that, but it's true that ticket prices have continued to rise dramatically. The cheapest ticket for a match at White Hart Lane this season currently stands at £37.

Match-day programme

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It can be argued that today's match-day programmes offer much more content and higher production values than the offerings of 1954. Even so, the tuppence you'd have paid for one back then - 15p in today's money - still seems paltry.

The cost of a programme was up considerably come 1964, although the cost remained relatively constant right up to 1984 when it was worth just over £1 in 2013 terms. That, however, didn't stop Shoot! predicting that in 1994 "match programmes will cost £5." You'd have actually paid around £1.50 back in 1994 (£2.53 today), whereas a guide to the match at Stamford Bridge in 2013 will still only set you back £3.

Highest British Transfer Fee Involving a British Player

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You hardly need us to provide a graph to tell you how much transfer fees have sky-rocketed over the last few years. Gareth Bale's £88.5 million transfer from Tottenham to Real Madrid in 2013 dwarfs any previous transfer involving a British player, even taking inflation into account.

Just for once, Shoot! was almost spot on with its prediction that in 1994 the record transfer fee would be £5 million. In 1992, Paul Gascoigne moved from Tottenham to Lazio for £5.5 million - the equivalent of £9.6 million in today's money. Ten years further on, Rio Ferdinand's move from Leeds to Manchester United resulted in £29.1 million changing hands (2013: £40.1 million).

Shoot! Magazine

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Looking ahead ten years on from 1984, Shoot! predicted that it would cost £3 in 1994 "and it would continue to be the best read in football." Modesty aside, the magazine actually costed 70p in 1994 (£1.18 by today's values) and was still only £1.80 when its final issue was published in 2008 (2013: £2.03).

Shoot! cost just one shilling when it was launched in 1969 and its value in modern terms barely changed over the next 15 years, costing 8p in 1974 and 33p in 1984.

Poking fun at the past

If you're not now reeling from the statistical tidal wave that's just hit you, we end with a little light relief.

As anyone that used to watch Tomorrow's World will tell you, long-range forecasts can sometimes prove hilarious with hindsight. Such is the case as we look at Shoot! magazine's predictions for what football would be like in 1994.

"We at Shoot have been looking into our crystal ball and forecast that in 1994 there will be a British Super League with Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen joining nine elite clubs from England." So far, so wide of the mark. "Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Spurs are the English clubs likely to lead the revolution, with many of the smaller clubs either going to the wall or surviving with staffs of part-time professionals." Now we're getting somewhere...

"Synthetic pitches - with the infamous bounce controlled - will be commonplace," it proclaimed, "...and most major clubs will carry a sponsors name in their title, for instance GUINNESS RANGERS at Shepherd's Bush [QPR]." If only - the thought of seeing CARDIFF MALAYSIA would surely have been a sight to see...

It continued: "Matches will be played on summer Sunday evenings, and there will be one televised match every Saturday... There will be no standing on the terraces at British Super League matches because the grounds will be all-seaters." A virtual bullseye there, although Shoot! may not have predicted the reason for the changes in the first place.

With a final glimpse to the future, we see the illustration of two players on what we assume is a synthetic football pitch wearing sponsored shirts, elbow pads and full length gridiron-style pants instead of shorts. Though most of Shoot's predictions turned out to be hopelessly wrong, we're glad to see that this one wasn't any different.

(Inflation calculations courtesy of This Is Money)

Thursday 14 November 2013

We Are 2!

Two years ago today, the Football Attic cranked open its dust ridden hatch and let down the ladder of nostalgia for you all to climb up and sample our aged goodness... this analogy really isn't working is it?

Never mind that, it's our birthday!!! To celebrate, let's get all meta and be nostalgic about nostalgia! So come with us as we take a journey through our short lifespan...

14th Nov 2011 - We are born and the world instantly becomes a better place!

18th Nov 2011 - Our first proper post...Rich bangs on about a shiny piece of plastic

15th Dec 2011 - Chris writes something about Ceefax and the Attic explodes!

6th Feb 2012 - The Football Attic graces Twitter with its presence - the world is never the same again!

14th Mar 2012 - The Football Attic Confessional is launched.... and quickly forgotten ;-)

30th Mar 2012 - The League of Blogs is founded

23rd May 2012 - The League of Blogs Wallchart is complete!

4th July 2012 - The first Attic publication, the League of Blogs Sticker Albums are created!!!

10th Aug 2012 - The first Football Attic Podcast is recorded, covering the subject of Panini

30th Aug 2012 - Nearly a year after we came into being, Rich finally accepts Facebook exists and we join.

7th Sept 2012 - Rich's 5 Worst Subbuteo Items finds itself on the Guardian's 'five things they liked that week.'

28th Sept 2012 - The first Great Tracksuit Of Our Time makes its debut.

14th Nov 2012 - Our 1st Birthday!

16th Nov 2012 - The Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever tournament begins!

1st Jan 2013 - WANG!

5th Jan 2013 - Our 2nd book, the Football Attic Annual sells out and goes worldwide! ;-)

22nd Feb 2013 - Re-e-brand!

10th Mar 2013 - Chris creates a Subbuteo wallchart as it would have been in 1900

31st Mar 2013 - The League of Blogs returns!

5th Apr 2013 - We make our first appearance in Backpass Magazine

30th Apr 2013 - The vote for the Worst of Modern Football begins - won by "Greed in general"

21st May 2013 - What was England's Greatest Ever Kit? 'England 82', apparently...

7th Aug 2013 - We take a look at the trends in kit manufacturing

4th Nov 2013 - Numbers on the back of shirts is so passe...

14th Nov 2013 - We are 2! Oh yeah... we covered that...

So what's set to grace the Football Attic pages over the next two years? Well we've got a podcast coming up very soon and before you know it it'll be time for the League of Blogs 2014!

Of course we couldn't have made it this far if it wasn't for you lovely people who bother to read our ramblings or engage with us on Twitter, etc, so a huge thank you to all who've dropped by and liked what you've seen and of course an even bigger thanks to all those who have contributed articles to the Attic.


Rich & Chris