Sunday 30 March 2014

Football Special 79

Somewhere between the lunacy of FKS and the gold standard of Figurine Panini, you’ll find AVA Americana and their sticker collection, Football Special 79.

In an age where several manufacturers where vying for supremacy in the football sticker market, Panini were already the yardstick by which their competitors were being judged. To beat the best, sticker collections like Football Special 79 had to offer something a bit different - something… well, ‘special.’

AVA Americana were a Munich-based company that had dipped their toes into the UK sticker market twice previously during the 1970’s. On this, their third and last tilt at greatness, they created a set of 384 stickers to be housed in a 60-page album. Quite whether you’d call the collection ‘special’ is a matter for personal judgement, but it was certainly different from the equivalent being sold by Panini.

Sunday 23 March 2014

The Football Attic Podcast 17 - Things You Don't See At Football Anymore

Thanks to Brian Brown for the suggestion - Things You Don't See At Football Anymore!

Prepare for an hour of heavy nostalgia as we look back at things from a bygone era that you no longer see and probably never will again.

It's all muddy pitches, long laces and crackly commentary from far off lands!

It's not always a bad thing though...does anyone really want the back pass law repealed?

Featuring a guest appearance from Rich's cat...

Subscribe on iTunes or download here. Alternatively, catch The Football Attic Podcast on Square One Football Radio.

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Waddington's Quiz Card Games - Football (1979)

When it comes to football card games, you’re nobody unless you have the words ‘Top’ and ‘Trumps’ on your packet. Yet if the passing of time tells us nothing, it shows that every once in a while, a new title would come along in an attempt to win the hearts and minds of young football-loving children everywhere.

One such title was made by Waddingtons, the iconic name linked with all-time classic board games such as Monopoly, Risk and er… Wheel of Fortune. In 1979, Waddingtons hit upon the idea of producing sets of cards featuring quiz questions on various subjects, one of which was Football. Others included Cricket, Pop Music and, bewilderingly, the Highway Code, but whatever the subject they all had the same basic gameplay.

Saturday 15 March 2014

FC Football Graphics (1998)

Sometimes it seems that modern football is a purely visual experience. TV commentaries, tasteless hot dogs and noisy supporters aside, the game as we know it today really is a feast for the eyes. What we don’t realise is how much of this imagery we all take for granted, or how much work goes into creating the visual stimuli we see. For that reason, Jeremy Leslie and Patrick Burgoyne’s book, FC Football Graphics, is a worthwhile attempt to make us re-evaluate the things that we see.

Given the subject matter, it’s only natural that the book is comprised mainly of pictures, gloriously and tantalisingly presented with an invitation to dwell slowly on each one. Where text is concerned, most of it appears in the lengthy introduction where we’re reminded that the worlds of fashion, literature and music have all exchanged influences with the beautiful game. After that, however, it’s largely pictures all the way, save for a few descriptive sentences on each pair of pages.

To begin with, there’s a selection of English club badges - the motifs that appear everywhere from Sky Sports to the Daily Mirror. Then comes the MLS equivalent (as it was when the book was published in 1998), notable by its inclusion of several club badges that are no longer in use some 16 years later.

Later we see examples of World Cup mascots and logos, but fascinatingly we’re reminded of the everyday bits of ephemera that circle the world of football like the rings around Saturn. National Lottery scratchcards, betting coupons, food and drink packaging… these are the things that blend into the background of our everyday lives, but which we never stop to appreciate.

When it comes to the match-day experience, however, one cannot look much beyond football shirts and strips as the ultimate embodiment of design, style and colour. The book shows us fans wearing their team shirts outside the ground, various shirt designs of all types - even the sponsor logos and manufacturer logos that dominate the shirt itself. All of them contribute to the tidal wave of imagery that constantly washes over us, but here we’re reminded to stop and actually look - to willingly appreciate the detail and complexities that lie within.

If you throw in football websites, magazines, video games, TV presentation, advertising and everything in between, you soon realise that the very essence of being a football supporter and all the experiences and memories we've had are based on the graphics that this book highlights. Take all of it away, and our football world suddenly becomes very uninteresting and dull.

And just think: this is less than 100 pages of content that was put together over a decade ago. Now imagine how many more visuals could be included in a 2014 version. If nothing else, FC Football Graphics makes the mind boggle and trains the eye to see football visuals as art rather than the wallpaper we take for granted every day.

FC Football Graphics
by Jeremy Leslie & Patrick Burgoyne
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Publish date: 1998

Sunday 9 March 2014

The Football Attic Podcast 16 - BALLS!

30 years (probably) on from Podcast 15, an aged Rich & Chris talk balls for an hour! What's new you say? A ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaa... you're a funny guy!

Anyway, the old boys are discussing FOOTballs!

Which is the best all time football? The Tango or the Telstar?

Which is the worst? Easy... the Fevernova!

Ball ball ball!

Footy footy footy!

Subscribe on iTunes or download here. Alternatively, catch The Football Attic Podcast on Square One Football Radio.

Saturday 8 March 2014

Up For The Cup 1987

As it’s FA Cup quarter final weekend, I thought I’d turn the clock back 28 years to a time when you’d have been able to buy this superb piece of football memorabilia - the Up For The Cup 1987 wallchart.

From what I’ve been able to make out, this was the third annual edition of the wallchart (the first being published for the 1984-85 season). I remember discovering my first one in a local newsagents sometime around the mid-1980’s. When folded up, it looked like an ordinary football magazine when sat on a shelf alongside other publications, but further investigation uncovered the extra dimensions that lay within. Once unpacked and unfolded, a huge, colourful, wallchart lay before you along with sheets and sheets of thumbnail-sized stickers, each one featuring club badges for every team imaginable.

The wallchart was an invitation to indulge in and engage with the world’s oldest football competition. As each round of matches were played, your job was to adhere the appropriate stickers to the spaces provided and fill in the score and scorers with a pen. The Third Round results ran around the outside of the wallchart while subsequent rounds appeared in the middle ‘pitch’ section.

And let it be said right here and now - the ability to hold sheets and sheets of mini club badge stickers in your hand was the sort of thing that was liable to create a strange tingling sensation in your nether regions as a football-loving young teenager in the mid-1980s. Individual club badge stickers were not uncommon to Panini collectors, but owning so many in such great quantities - small though they were - was almost obscene. With an apparent surplus at your fingertips, it’s hardly surprising that thoughts would turn towards other places where they could be stuck. School exercise books, bedroom walls, the frame of your bicycle… why wait until the FA Cup Final when there were so many places to stick them?

With a potential five rounds to feature in, it’s understandable that each team had five stickers each. Even some non-league teams were lucky enough to have a few, although in this 1986-87 edition, there were plenty of blanks provided that you could scribble your own names on. As you can see on this wallchart I purchased on eBay a few years ago, you can see one child’s attempts to ensure that the mighty Caernarfon wasn’t going to be left out.

To liven the whole thing up, lots of colour photographs decorated the piece featuring the star players of the day. On this edition, we get to see a snowbound Nigel Clough playing with an orange Tango ball, Arsenal’s “new wonder boy” David Rocastle and Southampton’s Colin Clarke, who was on his way to scoring 20 league goals in his first season for The Saints.

The reverse side of the wallchart contained mostly statistical and narrative information split up into individual pages. There was a list of previous FA Cup Final results, the overall performance of different teams in previous competitions and the results from the previous FA Cup competition in 1986/87. For those seeking an insight into the life of a top player, Alan Hansen provided a potted history of his career heretofore, and an Editorial by someone at manufacturers Statmill spoke of the growing number of top players like Gary Lineker and Ian Rush leaving the English game.

Stealing the show, perhaps, was a competition to win two tickets to the 1986 Charity Shield match at Wembley. By answering three tricky questions, “you and your Dad or other adult” could go and see Liverpool and Everton battle it out again in the traditional season curtain-raiser. Call me fickle if you like, but I think I’d have been happier with the runner-up prize of a Subbuteo Club Edition set with two additional Cup Final teams and FA Cup trophy. Hell, I’d have even lived abroad temporarily to win the Overseas Prize of a Subbuteo World Cup set ‘with Cup Final teams and trophy’.

As mentioned before, this was one of several FA-approved Statmill wallcharts to be made. All of them followed the same basic format and repeated a lot of the material included, but at 87 centimetres by 62, this was a monster of a wallchart that offered fun galore thanks to all those wonderful stickers. There was even an Up For the World Cup edition released in time for the 1986 tournament that I also owned at the time, but I’ll get to that in a future article.

For now, just salute the majesty of this wallchart and accept the fact that if you saw something like this in the shops tomorrow, no matter what your age, you’d buy it like a shot. Don’t feel ashamed. It’s purely natural.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

5 Memorable Moments from South American World Cups

Once again we are proud to to say that Matthew Wassell is back in the Attic, and this time, with the World Cup in Brazil only 99 days away, he takes a look back at five memorable moments from previous tournaments hosted by South American countries.

1. The inaugural tournament (Uruguay 1930)

The first ever FIFA World cup was held in 1930 in the small country of Uruguay, partly due to their having retained their Olympic football title two years earlier. Only 13 teams made the journey, including just four from Europe (France, Belgium, Romania and Yugoslavia) competing against nine from the Americas. With all games being played in Montevideo, travelling within the country was at least kept to a minimum. Famously, the hosts would go on to win 4-2 in the Final against close rivals Argentina and become the first team to lift the trophy. Sadly though, they would lose their title four years later when refusing to participate in Italy in protest against the small number of European teams who had travelled to Uruguay in 1930.

2. The Battle of Santiago (Chile 1962)

In 1962, a particularly famous moment in British football TV history occurred when David Coleman introduced highlights of the first round match between the hosts Chile and challengers Italy with this description of what was to come:

“The most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football, possibly in the history of the game.”

He wasn’t wrong. Chile won 2-0 (the goals coming late in the second half) but Italy had two players sent off, the first after just 12 minutes for a kick to the head, and there were punches thrown and policy intervention on a semi regular basis throughout the match. It’s fair to say that the English referee, Ken Aston, had a tricky time of it! Chile would go on to finish third whilst Italy couldn’t get out of their first round group.

3. The World Cup without a Final (Brazil 1950)

In 1950, FIFA altered the tournament’s format replacing the traditional knock-out phase with that of a final round robin group stage. This meant that there was no final per se but Uruguay’s 2-1 victory over the hosts Brazil in the last match of the tournament, although a coincidence that the top two in the group would play each other last of all, can be seen as such. It was Uruguay’s second World Cup victory but the first time that the trophy was named the Jules Rimet Cup after the former president of FIFA.

4. Mario Kempes wins the Golden Boot (Argentina 1978)

The only foreign based member of the Argentinean squad (he was playing for Valencia at the time), Kempes won the Golden Boot award with two goals in the final against the Netherlands as Argentina lifted the trophy for the first time. After thirty eight minutes, Kempes scored his first, sliding the ball under the Dutch goalkeeper after bustling through the defence. The tickertape rained down and Argentina were in front. After the Netherlands equalised with just eight minutes to go, it would be down to Mario to win the game in extra time. Picking up the ball outside of the area, Kempes glided past two defenders and the goalkeeper before finally, via a couple of deflections, putting the ball in the net. The stadium went wild once more and shortly afterwards, Argentina had their coveted home victory.

5. Amarildo scores a goal for the ages (Brazil 1962)

Brazil were 1-0 down to Czechoslovakia in the 1962 Final when Amarildo took matters into his own hands and scored a classic goal that would be repeated in its black and white glory for years to come. Receiving the ball from a throw in, he jinked past two defenders to the left hand byline before firing a shot past the bemused Czech goalkeeper from a seemingly impossible angle. Brazil would go on to deservedly win 3-1 and capture their second world title.

I, for one, am looking forward to seeing a modern era South American World Cup. Can Messi lead Argentina to glory? Will Brazil win their sixth tournament? Will England get out of their group? There’s all to play for. Ultimately though, let’s hope that more magical moments are created for posterity and thus for the Football Attic to reflect upon in the years ahead…!

Huge thanks to Matthew for sharing his World Cup memories! 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...

Other posts by Matthew Wassell:

Sunday 2 March 2014

Subbuteo Accessories - The Grandest of Stands!

Subbuteo was expensive, we all know that. To own a complete stadium, one either had to be very rich or work for Subbuteo and have the old five finger discount applied. It's not surprising therefore, to find that quite a few of us out there took to making our own accessories. Having complained bitterly about the poor quality of the official floodlights, I recently dug out my old grandstand and added some modern LED lighting (left). Others went much further than this, some creating true masterpieces. Here, Peter Briers of the92dotnet shares not only his memories, but also his truly awesome home made creations...

Unfortunately I missed the golden Subbuteo generation as I grew up in the Nineties, but was introduced to the game by my old man who loved it. He worked on the sports desk at the Southampton Echo and every so often they used to have tournaments. I vividly remember he brought home an old briefcase full of different teams, nets, balls and a pitch and I was bitten by the bug.

None of my friends really liked it so I mainly played on my own or with my dad. By this time the Playstation was about and the Mega drive had been, Fifa was the football game of choice. It got to the stage where you couldn’t really get Subbuteo, so I was left to the early days of eBay or Yahoo auctions to try and grab pieces when I could. Similarly to you guys, I probably spent more time creating the scene than playing the game. When the game was re-released, the player's bases were different – they were wider and flatter on the bottom – not as good as the older ones in my opinion, but as I wanted the Premier League teams with sponsors etc, I had to accept them.

I was an only child in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere in deepest Dorset and largely had to amuse myself. I ran a league of about 10 teams at times – but I couldn’t include my team (Southampton) as I know I would have been bias. I was very into collecting things like stickers and football figures as well as making things like Airfix kits and model railways buildings and scenes. Since the range of accessories wasn’t available in the shops and with my like of making things, I set about making, customising and creating my own accessories. I have shown these pictures to friends since but don’t think anyone has properly appreciated the effort and time that went into what I made. Here are some stills I took and descriptions below:

Pic 1
Pic 1: My TV tower and tunnel! Created with a box and some loo rolls. If you look carefully, there is a window half up the tower in which sits two commentators which are retired Airfix pilots. Above them is a small bulb and battery that sits in the tube above them that lights up their ‘studio’. Above the studio is the action replay screen, in which is inserted a plastic item I got in my Shreddies during Euro 96 – it’s one of those things where the action picture changes when you move it. The tower is adorned with sponsor logos cut out from my old Merlin Premier League sticker swaps. The tunnel has a piece of card at an angle painted with layer upon layer of PVA glue so the players could slide out onto the pitch. Next to the tunnel is a door with a green cross on, in which are two old players painted red with white crosses on, holding a stretcher fashioned from a cocktail stick and paper (can’t find of pic of them in action unfortunately!).

Pic 2
Pic 2: As a I mentioned before, I was a child of the Nineties and the accessories had somewhat changed. The stands I was able to get my hands on were the newer kind and looked pretty good. They were expensive so I had to try and make them go further, so I turned it into terracing sticking the upper and lower tier side by side. It also helped operate the goalkeeper better with a lower stand. In the middle is some segregation in the form of a cut up tangerine net and a Boots logo cut out from a carrier bag to cover up some of the empty space – as you said crowds were expensive! To the top right is an extra advertising board and behind, the classic scoreboard.

Pic 3
Pic 3: Over the years I managed to get four grandstands – the other three went along the side of the pitch that backed onto my chest of drawers – the height on that side wasn’t an issue. Some sponsors came in the box, but not enough, so I spent a long time trailing through magazines cutting out logos that were the right size to fit. You’ll also more tangerine segregation netting and a second scoreboard (I had a second from a box set I'd got later in my collecting).

Pic 4
Pics 4, 5, 6: With out a doubt my finest creation – a grandstand I built entirely from scratch. It took weeks but I was so proud of it. Inspired by the clock end at Highbury, yes the clock at the top is a working clock, with the mechanism coming from a Year 9 school woodwork project. At the back of the roof the stanctions are painted Scalectrics parts, and at the top you have the executive boxes. The seats and stairs took ages! The seats are record cards, A6 size I think, that I spent ages scoring with a Stanley knife and folding then sticking down.

The stairs in between the isles were painted sample stripes from B&Q, again scored and folded. It took hours as I’m sure you can imagine! I painted the whole thing with tester pots from B&Q. In pic 6 you can see the stewards along the front – players from an old team (too many of which were broken to be able to form a team anymore) painted with orange coats on. Finally there’s the camera stand on the side. Just noticed half-way up on the left side of pic 5 you can see the stretcher bearers! The stand had to be moved when I played against my old man as it was impractical, but when I was by myself it was ok.

Pic 5

Pic 6

Pic 7
Pic 7: I tried to recreate the more modern goal nets from my old style ones – more of a struggle than it seems!

Huge thanks to Peter for sharing his Subbuteo memories and creations! 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...

Saturday 1 March 2014

The Greatest France Home Kit 1964-2014: The Result

It was way back on December 23rd 2013 that we began our search to find the Greatest France Home Kit Ever. Thirty different kits were presented, and nearly 650 of you voted for your favourite from the last 50 years.

At midnight on February 28th 2014, the deadline for voting finally passed, at which point we were finally able to calculate the overall winner.

Having totalled up all the entries we received, we can now proudly announce that The Greatest France Home Kit since 1964 - according to visitors to The Football Attic's website - was Kit 13, made by Adidas and worn by the French national team between 1982 and 1983.

The kit, seen by millions during the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain, received over 21% of the 646 votes we received, and was a particular favourite among the many people visiting our website via and in France.

With 137 votes, Kit 13 was a comfortable winner ahead of Kit 14 in second place, which received 108 votes. Kit 14, made by Adidas and worn during France's first major tournament win at Euro 84, was the more preferential choice of voters in the UK.

In third place, you voted for Kit 30, a kit which hasn't even been worn yet. Nike's third outfit for the French team (and one that's set to make its d├ębut in the next few weeks) has obviously caught the imagination of many of you already with its dark blue shirt and restyled cockerel badge.

Kit 30 finished just one vote ahead of Kit 20, the Adidas kit worn during France's successful World Cup campaign of 1998 and one that stylistically takes its inspiration from Kit 14 (which finished second in our online vote).

At the other end of the scale were two kits that received only a single vote each. One of them, Kit 2, was the v-neck variant of France's plainly-styled outfit of the late 1960's while the other, Kit 7, was the first Adidas kit to be worn by the French team back in 1972.

Click for larger version

So there it is - the Greatest France Home Kit is now known, and at this point we at The Football Attic would like to give our huge thanks to the hundreds of you that voted over the last nine weeks or so. We'd also like to send our special thanks to Andrew Gibney from French Football Weekly for helping us promote our online poll, without whom it would have been far less popular!

We hope your favourite France home kit fared well in our vote-off, and we'd be interested to hear your views on the final result, so please do leave us a comment below and give us your thoughts.

In the meantime, thanks once again for your participation - we really appreciate it!