Sunday 31 March 2013

The League Of Blogs 2013 Is Here!

League of Blogs, League of Blogs, riding through the glen!
League of Blogs, League of Blogs, here we go again!
Loathed by the bored, loved by the awesome!
League of Blogs, League of Blogs, League of Blogs!

Aaaaaand relax!

Yes all, it's that time again! It's League of Blogs 2013! Wooooooooooh!!!!

For those of you who were involved last time, the League of Blogs will need no introduction. For those who weren't, this little lot here should give you some background.

In short, what started as an attempt to create a Subbuteo-style wallchart for bloggers soon developed into a much larger project... and now it's back!

England v Scotland programme, 1969

The final crucial game in the 1969 Home International Championship saw the holders and world champions England facing the only team that could top the table in their stead - Scotland.

The match was played at Wembley and for the first time in decades the Home International competition was played at the end of the season. Rather than having all matches scattered from October to February, the Home Internationals were now played over the course of one week in early May. It was physically more demanding for all the players involved and also less significant than the previous tournament that had acted as a qualifying contest for the 1968 European Championships.

Friday 29 March 2013

Great Tracksuits of Our Time: No.12

Wales (1976):

It's May 1976, the United Kingdom is just weeks away from its hottest summer since records began and the Welsh national football team are battling for a place in the semi-finals of the European Championships. These are bizarre, surreal days.

Despite being 2-0 down from the first leg, Wales were determined to beat Yugoslavia at Ninian Park to reach the finals in... Yugoslavia, of all places. The task was tough, but their preparations were nothing short of perfect due to the tracksuits they were wearing for the big occasion.

Thursday 28 March 2013

Videoblog 3: European Football Yearbook 95/96

Chris O plucks another item from his personal football memorabilia collection. This time it's the European Football Yearbook 95/96, a thick, chunky book full of stats, information and most importantly, football kit illustrations...

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Match of the Day Soccer Annual 1979

Mike Channon’s favourite edition of Match of the Day was the one shown on the evening after the 1976 FA Cup Final. He was busy celebrating with his Southampton team-mates but, said Channon, “I cheated a bit and asked a friend to record both the match and the programme in the evening on a video tape recording machine I had just acquired.”

This, friends, was 1978, an era when VCRs were as rare as the hairs on Bruce Forsythe’s head, yet Mick Channon wasn't the only player to watch his favourite MOTD on tape. Colin Lee did likewise in 1977 after Tottenham’s 9-0 win over Bristol Rovers - a match in which Lee scored four:

“I can’t remember a great deal about the game itself, although a supporter taped Match of the Day and gave it me as a souvenir. I don’t have a recording machine myself, but I have a friend who has one and we've watched it a couple of times. It’s unbelievable.”

Ah, did we ever live in a world where VCRs were considered ‘new-fangled technology’...?

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Highfield Road's Last Day

Given what's happening with my club, Coventry City, today, I thought I'd post some pics from a happier time,   when we used to actually own our own ground.

So here are some of my collection from the day we said goodbye to our beloved old home, Highfield Road.

Sunday 24 March 2013

Attic Podcast 6 - Football on TV

Hey y'all!

It's podcast time again! That means we're up to no.6 now... awwwww we're getting all growed up!

This time, we discuss the way that football on TV has changed over the years.

(Warning: contains heavy use of the word "Lawro.")

Also, apologies for the slightly lower quality audio than usual. We've dropped the bit rate down to get the files below 50MB :)


Subscribe on iTunes or download here

Friday 22 March 2013

Retro Round Up - March 22nd

Continuing the weekly look at the best of the net, both Chris and I have been rather busy this week meaning we've hardly had chance to read anything :(

Here are the few things we've managed to spot this week...

After They Were Famous: The Secret Lives of the World Cup Mascots

World Cups come and go, some leaving behind a raft of fond memories and a lasting legacy for the host nation...others merely leave behind white elephant stadia and an increased national debt!

But what becomes of the World Cup Mascots? Their moment in the spotlight burns brightly, but is over quicker than a Girls Aloud reunion tour.

Chris & Rich asked this question and after some exhaustive research, invite you to take a look at the fates of some of those forgotten icons...and find that life after a World Cup rarely fits in with FIFA's family vision...

World Cup Willie (1966, England)

William Lion, as he was known before joining Equity, took on his first major acting role as the logo that appeared on UK-farmed eggs in the 1950’s. Annoyed by the continual battering of thousands of spoons across the country, Willie searched the small ads for a new job and eventually replied to an advert placed by the FA for a new football tournament mascot. With his only opposition being a humanised sparrow holding a football and a bulldog with a limp, Willie easily won the public vote.

After the triumph of a home victory for England at the 1966 World Cup, the excitement and interest in football slowly started to diminish, as did their hunger for World Cup Willie. The lion that had carried the hopes and earned the affection of the English fans was now yesterday’s man and there no longer seemed to be a part for him to play.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Panini: Got, Got, AAAARGH! 2

Last year we took a look at Panini's stranger offerings and if there's one thing we've learned in life, it's that a sequel is always a good let's take another journey into Panini's dark side with Panini - Got, Got, AAAARGH! 2

Speaking of the dark side, ever wondered what Darth Vader looks like on a day off? Wonder no more for here we see the Sith lord, just about to embark on a  morning run...I'm guessing this was just before the Emperor came to check on the progress of the 2nd Death Star as he does look somewhat tense...

Sticking with the theme of film references, imagine Brad Pitt is rehearsing for the final scenes of the film Se7en, where the cardboard box is delivered to that remote location and Morgan Freeman's character opens it, recoils in disgust and urges his colleague not to look.

Anyone who's seen that film , knows full well that he does indeed take a sneaky peek at the contents. It's rumoured that to prepare for that moment, to truly capture the sickening horror of what his eyes would fall upon, Mr Pitt used this image as inspiration...this is a face that has seen things...horrible things...worse than Mrs. Brown's Boys!

Monday 18 March 2013

The Great Football Attic Easter Egg Badge Hunt

Q: What do kids love about Easter?

If you answered "Celebrating the death and subsequent rebirth of Father Christmas" then it's likely you need either re-educating or intensive therapy!

If you answered "Easter Eggs", then hurrah, welcome home friend!

And what do kids love most about easter eggs? Aside from eating them... Yes, it's hunting them! I mean hunting for them!

And what could be better than an easter egg hunt?  Why, an easter egg hunt that results in you owning a Football Attic logo badge of course!!!

Saturday 16 March 2013

Great Tracksuits of Our Time: No.11

Borussia Mönchengladbach (circa 1976):

Just when you thought Puma weren't capable of producing a decent retro tracksuit, think again. Here's Charlton's very own Allan Simonsen sporting a very tasty tracksuit top during his time at Borussia Mönchengladbach.

But wait a minute... doesn't this look a wee bit familiar?

That's right. This could almost be an inverse representation of Northern Ireland's away shirt (designed by Umbro) in 2011. (And if Puma's lawyers are thinking of suing, remember who tipped you off, OK?)

Yes, this is the double-chevron that was worn by the West German league champions in the mid- to late-70's. As you can see, it's a vivid green colour with a two-tone flappy collar and black waist band, but a nice touch here is the placement of the Puma logo (a little lower than you'd normally see on a football top) and the inclusion of the name 'A.Simonsen') just below it.

England v Spain programme, 1968

You can tell how old this match-day programme is because on page 2 there’s an explanation of what the European Championships is all about and how it came to be formed. Your average English football fan actually had to be told what the competition was all about.

This somewhat thin pamphlet commemorating the occasion of England’s quarter-final against Spain in April 1968 may not contain much, but it gently informs and educates the reader about a tournament that was still only eight years old at the time. Of the two previous occasions when it was held, England hadn't taken part in the first and had been eliminated in the Preliminary Round during the second.

Friday 15 March 2013

Football Attic Retro Roundup

There's a whole host of retro loveliness out there on that world wide web and while we will often retweet / share these articles, we thought it'd be nice to collate all the excellent stuff we've been reading each week.

To that end, we present the 1st of our (hopefully) weekly Retro Roundups

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Tried and failed: The Case of the Missing Ribbons

Sometimes, if you look hard enough throughout its long and illustrious history, you can find evidence of a failed attempt to make football better.

Here's an example from the 1976 League Cup Final where we see Man City captain Mike Doyle proudly lifting the trophy. But where are the coloured ribbons of the winning team?

The answer? There weren't any, because in 1976 some bright spark thought it would be a great idea to do away with tradition and replace the ribbons with a rosette instead.

This neatly explains the reason why we still see ribbons attached to the FA Cup and League Cup today: because tradition is good and new-fangled forward thinking rarely, if ever, works. Here endeth the lesson.

Seen any other backfiring attempts to make football even better than it already is?  If so, drop us a line - we're at admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com.

Sunday 10 March 2013

Fantasy Nostalgia: Subbuteo 1900

While writing our recent article about football cigarette cards from 1938, it occurred to me that the game of soccer in the UK back then must have been a very colourful one indeed. Like many of you, I've occasionally seen pictures of footballers from the early twentieth century and marvelled at the garish colours and antiquated styles of the uniforms worn in that long-forgotten era.

But the thought quickly came to mind that if football really was so colourful back then, what would a Subbuteo poster from that era have looked like if the game had existed?  It was at this moment that I hatched a plan to create the image you see below:

Click for larger version
To be specific, I tried to create the image of a Subbuteo poster as it may have looked back at the start of 1900. The teams that are featured are from the Football Leagues of England and Scotland during the 1899-1900 season as well as international teams. Not that there were many of the latter; only England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales were playing football at international level until 1902.

Where the kits are concerned, I've used artistic license from time to time where specific details were unavailable for the start of 1900. In those cases, I've used an approximate image based on the nearest kit recorded to that date. In short, this is a very generalised depiction of the kits being worn back in the day.

As for the poster itself, I've kept the styling fairly simple to maximise overall clarity because if the Victorians liked one thing, it was ornate decoration. Don't get me wrong - I like a curlicue as much as the next man, but one can have too much of a good thing.

Anyway, you're invited to click on the image for a closer look at the teams playing at the start of the last century (apologies for small index text, by the way), and if you can't find your favourite club, they either hadn't been formed, hadn't joined the league or were operating under a different name back then. No prizes for identifying any teams in the last category!

(To view the image at full size, left-click on the image above, then when the image appears on your screen, right-click on it and save it to your computer. Once there, you can view it in a graphics package or Windows.)

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Panini: Football 81

You could hardly miss Panini’s Football 81 sticker album as it rested on the newsagent’s shelf alongside the Angling Times and the latest instalment of Carrier’s Kitchen. The bright yellow cover and dynamic picture of Ray Wilkins taking on Gerry Francis shouted ‘come and get me’ to any passing 10-year-olds, and I'm proud to admit that I was one.

By now, a strong format had become the foundation of the annual Panini sticker album. First Division teams had a double-page spread upon which were printed rows of stickers showing head-and-shoulder pics of the manager and various players. A team picture and foil badge headed it all up with mini player biographies and a club profile thrown in for good measure.

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Top 5 Subbuteo World Cup Accessories That Never Were

Subbuteo, as we all know, created many many accessories to enhance the realism of the beautiful tabletop game. Some were great and their existence was without question... Others made you wonder who exactly came up with the idea (ball throwing goalies on sticks?!?!).

To that end, I hereby present some more Subbuteo accessories that, for all we know, may have been one step away from production... assuming the decision makers were tripping balls of course...

Triggs - Roy Keane's Dog

Forget host country South Korea's extraordinary journey to the semi final. The true star of the 2002 World Cup was a bit more hairy though probably covered just as much ground.

Meet Triggs, the lovable labrador who shot to fame after Roy's early exit (I'd say hissy fit, but I value my legs too much) from the Republic of Ireland's base camp.

Combine him with any Roy Subbuteo figure and the TV Tower and you too can recreate those hazy days 11 years ago when the world media chased a bloke and his pooch round the streets while the rest of the world wanted to watch some football... at 9 o'clock in the bloody morning...

Saturday 2 March 2013

WA & AC Churchman's 'Association Footballers' Cigarette Cards, 1938

There’s is the forgotten era, a vacuum in which football survived purely for the people playing it professionally and the ordinary masses that paid at the turnstiles every Saturday afternoon to watch.

We have no lasting conscience of them now. They played in baggy clothes and heavy boots, thrilling thousands upon thousands every week with their artistry and tenacity. Their captivating style and humble grace made them champions in the eyes of the fans that idolised them unfalteringly. In observing their easy way with the ball, reputations based on strength, speed and accuracy were nurtured and augmented in the minds of those that watched their stiff-collared heroes from the terraces.

Friday 1 March 2013

Subbuteo Team Collections - Andrew Rockall

We received an email from Andrew Rockall (Statto_74) yesterday, showing us his recently discovered collection of Subbuteo teams. We're very happy to showcase them here as it's damn impressive! Over to Andrew for the background...

Twenty years ago I made a conscious decision to save my Subbuteo things for any future children I might have. I came across the box of goodies last week and thought it was time to dust it down and take a nostalgic look.

I was amazed to find I still have 33 teams. As you can see from the kit designs, I made almost all of my purchases during the 80's. What surprised me were several teams I know I had but have somehow mislaid.