Monday, 13 January 2014

Retro Random Video: ITV World Cup 78

So having read our previous article about ITV's World Cup 78 magazine (you *did read* our previous article, didn't you?), it's possible you might be wondering what ITV's coverage of the 1978 World Cup might have been like.

Wonder no more. Here for your viewing pleasure is a nine-minute collection of clips showing exactly that. It's all a far cry from the TV presentation we know today, but there's still plenty to enjoy, so sit back and enjoy the video along with our guide to the best bits you should be looking out for.

ITV Sport's short-lived blue caption board gets us underway along with a bold, jaunty theme tune by the name of 'Argentina Action.' We can't help thinking that the music seems rather dated for 1978, but then again it is virtually a reworking of ITV's 1974 theme, 'Lap of Honour.' But we digress.

What about this, BBC?!! It's a studio set designed in the shape of the ITV Sport logo, for heaven's sake!!! You can keep your Frank Bough, thank you very much - THIS is what it's all about...

Yes we know it looks a bit odd, but you should see what it looks like from above. And they've even got the official Argentina '78 logo on the wall! Let's see your licence fee pay for that...

A quick look at the Scotland side due to face Iran in the second of three Group 4 matches. Ally McLeod's side had lost 3-1 in their opening fixture, so this was a crucial match for all concerned. Now if only there was someone on hand that knew what it was like to play for Scotland...

Oh look - there's Andy Gray! But why was he sitting in a TV studio in London rather than playing cards with Kenny Dalglish in a Cordoba hotel room? You'll have to ask Ally McLeod that.

Gray had been scoring goals by the dozen since his 1975 transfer from Dundee United to Aston Villa, but for reasons best known to himself, McLeod saw fit to leave him out of the 1978 World Cup squad. Ah, but this Scotland team would score bags of goals without him, surely? Anyone?

Somebody call Denis Norden! A bit of a cock-up here from Mooro as he talks about Austria's Walter Schachner who we scoo-saw-score against Spain in the opening title sequence. Stop giggling at the back, Gray...

They don't make captions like this anymore...

Note Brian Moore's easy-going style of conversation here. So laid back, so casual... his calm but knowledgeable manner is all that's needed to prompt Gray and Keegan into making some interesting comments about the game. Somehow other presenters come across as being a bit too deliberate by comparison.

Moore points out to Keegan that Sweden could throw on the talented Ralf Edstrom for the second half. Keegan responds by saying he's currently playing in the Swedish Third Division, although he's not entirely sure. No matter - no-one's probably all that bothered about minor details like that...

"Football's got a funny habit of making you look stupid" says Keegan. Hmmm...

Brian Moore admits that the vast majority of Swedes living in the UK on June 7th 1978 contacted ITV Sport to point out that Ralf Edstrom was in fact playing First Division football for IFK Gothenburg. No need to apologise though, Brian - it was Kevin Keegan that made the mistake! "It's not very often we're wrong, but we're wrong again this time" says the SV Hamburg man, correcting himself immediately.

Time to wrap up, but not before a quick preview of the Scotland v Iran match being shown later that same day on ITV. Not only could you look forward to the return of Gray and Keegan, but also Pat Crerand too.

Who could possibly ask for more?

The Football Attic would like to thank Geoff Downs for allowing us to bring you this ITV World Cup 78 video.


  1. No need for Wikipedia when you have an audience willing to phone in, how did they get the Studio telephone number? I guess they Googled it?

    Andrew Rockall

    1. *Possibly, Andrew...* :) More like 'good old Yellow Pages', I shouldn't wonder... :)

  2. Good piece of trickery with the Studio logo set....they must have superimposed some of that. where are the cameras?

    1. Maybe they had a REALLY zoom lens and were out of shot... :-)