Tuesday 29 July 2014

Podcast 20 - We Want Your Memories!

No it's not a new podcast...yet... Also, no, it's not some kind of mid-80s Twilight Zone episode!

We'll soon be recording the 20th Football Attic podcast and, as that's some kind of important number (ish) and we're almost 3 years old, we thought we'd get all self indulgent and do an Attic retrospective.

This actually stemmed from a conversation between Chris and myself about what we've really enjoyed about putting this whole thing together...so we decided to spend an hour engaging in hearty slapping of backs and warm hugs all round, though court orders may inhibit the latter ;-)

We'll be talking about our general memories of the last 3 years from our first, virtually unnoticed posts, to the heights of getting a mention on the Guardian website, making several other proper blog sites' lists of top blogs and generally getting to know a whole bunch of decent people :)

And hey, if we're being all self indulgent, why not get you to join the love in?  Because that's sickening you say? Shame I can't hear you la la la!!!

To that end, we'd like to hear about your own memories & thoughts on the Attic - what you've liked, what you haven't, what we could do better, what you'd like to see more / less of etc etc etc

So, please leave your comments below, tweet us or leave a message on Facebook and we'll do our usual and try to read them all out...except the horrible ones of course, we're not mental!!! ;-)

Sunday 27 July 2014

Chris O's Favourite 5... Commentators

It's been a long while since we've had a 'Favourite 5' on the Football Attic website, but it struck me the other day that there's been a glaring omission from the series that's covered everything from World Cup Shirts to Subbuteo Accessories That Never Were. So far we've overlooked the great TV commentators from the golden era of British football, but that's all about to change. Here, in no particular order, are my Favourite 5...

1. Barry Davies

Surely every TV football commentator has a responsibility to deliver on various promises. He needs to be well-informed, entertaining and capable of knowing when to let the pictures do the talking rather than himself. Barry Davies did exactly that, but his patter was also interesting... VERY interesting.

Not only could he fill you in on the background information relating to a team's recent form or a player's goalscoring record, but he could also lend his opinion to a refereeing decision, the condition of the playing surface or even the suitability of a team's kit. His views weren't always guaranteed to tally up with your own, but they were always delivered in such a way as to make you think beyond the images you were seeing on your screen.

Saturday 19 July 2014

Review: 'Admiral: Kit Man' by Bert Patrick

These days it seems perfectly acceptable to discuss football kit design without having any knowledge of its bounteous history. The trouble is, few people can speak with any authority about the production of football kits in Britain, which is why the release of Bert Patrick's new book has caused such a ripple of excitement.

'Admiral: Kit man' is a rare chance to find out how one of the great football brands rose to prominence in the 1970's and disappeared almost completely thereafter, as described by its figurehead and managing director. What you'll gain from reading the title depends largely on your prior knowledge of football kit design, but even a self-imposed expert will find something of note to take away from this pleasant paperback.

The story of Admiral, the Leicester-based football kit makers, begins in the 1960's when Patrick became the owner of a local underwear manufacturer, Cook & Hurst. Sensing a need to diversify in order to generate greater profits, the company rightly gauged an increase in football fanaticism after the 1966 World Cup and began making plans to produce and supply kit independently for teams far and wide.

What follows is a remarkable story of success forged through the amiable nature and astute dealings of the author. Starting off with the securing of a kit contract to supply Don Revie's Leeds United team in the early 70's, we learn of Patrick's impressive ability to gain further business with many other clubs thereafter. National team contracts also followed as England and Wales jumped on the Admiral bandwagon.

Two of the many photos seen in 'Admiral: Kit Man'
As Bert Patrick added more and more domestic signings to his portfolio, he started looking further afield and soon teams in Europe, the Middle East and the USA were adopting the Admiral brand. Yet just as business was truly booming for Patrick and his company, the growing market for cheap foreign imported merchandise started to impact greatly on Admiral's once bulging revenues. Within a few short years, Patrick was forced to sell Admiral to a Dutch Oil company and by the early 1980's, their name had become a virtual non-entity in British football.

The tale is an interesting one and well worth telling. We hear of Patrick's many meetings with important figures from British football history and his occasional dealings with the BBC and the Football Association, to say nothing of the many business trips he made around the world. All very fascinating, but after reading the book I was still left with a hunger to get a bit more detail. What of the kit designs that were never adopted or the fine details of some of the contracts he helped to rubber-stamp? What were Bert Patrick's favourite kit designs and what did he think of the work of Admiral's competitors?

Unfortunately these are watered down by the copious colour photographs showing off all too many Admiral kits. On average, there's a photo on every third pages of this book, and that's too much given that most readers will already know what the great Admiral kits looked like. John Devlin's excellent kit illustrations also make an appearance to expand on the imagery further still, but I'd have kept those and cut the photographs by at least half in return for more of Bert Patrick's dialogue.

John Devlin's kit illustrations, as featured in the book
Though the text is fine, in and of itself, it's sadly let down by the obvious misspelling of the names of players and managers. With references to Keith Bircumshaw, John Lyle and Franz Bechenbauer, the book loses a little of its credibility - something that could have been easily avoided if someone had bothered to double-check the details. The flow of the narrative is also vague at times, not always following a chronological order and liable to diversion at odd tangents.

For all that, though, it's still a very nice book, and it leaves you feeling an undeniable admiration for the author and the way he brought so much colour and interest to British soccer throughout the 1970's. Many happy memories of Admiral's fine kit designs are brought to mind as you turn every page, and you can't help wishing the company was still as prominent today as it was all those years ago. Perhaps one day it will be, but for now it's nice to know that Bert Patrick's achievements have been proudly recorded for future generations to read.

'Admiral: Kit Man' by Bert Patrick is available via Amazon UK, Waterstones and all good book stores. RRP: £10.99

Thursday 10 July 2014

The Football Attic Podcast World Cup Extra No.1

There's a World Cup on don't ya know! To that end, Rich teamed up with Jay from DesignFootball.com to discuss the competition so far.

The original plan was to record one a week, but as you may well know with Attic podcasts, that sort of regularity just ain't gonna happen!

As it goes, this one was recorded just before the last lot of group games started, so it's kinda way out of date, but hey... we'll put it out there anyway... Unjoy!

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

See also:
The Football Attic Podcast archive

The Football Attic Podcast 19 - World Cup Films

What better way to celebrate the spectacle that is a World Cup Finals than by distilling all the excitement and drama of four weeks of football into a 90 minute film... with all that excitement and drama removed?  Yes folks, welcome to the world of the Official FIFA Films of the World Cup!

Chris and Rich dissect all the existing films in what some might call a reductive manner... we'd say it's a fitting tribute... ;-)

Warning - contains gross stereotypes and regional accents!

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

See also:
The Football Attic Podcast archive

Friday 4 July 2014

Retro Random Video: ITV World Cup 78 (again)

Way back at the start of the year, we brought you a wonderful video clip (courtesy of our good friend Geoff Downs) that showed just what ITV's coverage of the 1978 World Cup was like. In short, it had Brian Moore and a two dubious hair styles worn no doubt for a bet by Andy Gray and Kevin Keegan.

Needless to say that must have whet your appetite for the rarely seen delights of ITV Sport's logo-shaped studio and everything else besides, so here's another clip for you. This time, we go back to the start of the tournament and a chance to see part of the opening ceremony, again presided over by Brian Moore and Kevin Keegan.