Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The olden days

It was so much better in the old days.

Take football for example.

In 1986, football was a much simpler game. It was beautiful, men were men, and ref's were raised on a diet of carrots and hawk meat.

How nice to get a reminder of these times from our mate Dr Hock who, whilst cleaning his surgery, found amongst the usual stack of two decade old Reader's Digest and Wedding magazines, this beauty from 1986:

It's a 1986 World Cup special from every young lad's favourite magazine, Shoot!

Leaving aside the stunning revelation the cover gives us that Maradonna might well have easily been able to get that high for that goal, there is this interesting piece:

The opening game was surrounded in controversy when Spain's Míchel rifled a shot past Brazil's bouffant, hedgehog headed stopper, Carlos. This cannoned off the underneath of the crossbar, over the goal line and back into play. None of the officials saw it properly though and did not give the goal. Ooo, eerie.

Brazil went on to win 1-0.

In his 'The Editor' page, still smarting from a slap in the face from the hand of God, the editor starts a debate on the state of referees and calls for video technology to be used. This is all getting very familiar now.

The main issues that are covered;
"TV and communications were chaotic... some countries had foreign, or no commentaries coming through with their pictures"
It seems a big difference between the finals in 1986 and the finals this year is that now we get to see it in crystal clear high definition. Actually, now I come to think of it, thanks to ITV, sometimes we don't even get a picture.
"Pitches were awful, especially the Azteca and Mexico City."
Thankfully due to the millions of pounds invested in football, FIFA know how to guarantee a good pitch. Or not in the case of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and, for anyone who saw South Korea vs Uruguay the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
"Referees were abysmal, naive and inconsistent. Several were a disgrace." 
If there's one thing we've managed to perfect over the years it's abysmal naive and inconsistent referees.
 "If there is a controversial incident during the game... the ref could dash to a monitor on the sideline, watch the instant replay and change his decision if necessary... It would only take seconds and stop vital games being won or lost with goals that weren't!" Peter Stewart, Shoot!, 19/07/1986

It also becomes apparent that, even in 1986, football had it's fair share of gamesmanship, cheaters and divers. Or as we call them now, the Spanish:

"It was sickening to see players writhing around in an attempt to get opponents booked or just waste time." 
But I thought Fernado Torres invented diving?

The article also complains about the lack of decent free-kicks around the penalty-area. Uncanny really. In fact, if they had a rambling, monotone Geordie pundit with all the charisma of a squashed frog, we would probably be hard pressed to tell the difference at all.

Which all in all is a bit of a shame really. It has always been comforting being in the knowledge that when I was a lad football was played in the right spirit, the way it was intended to be played and all the players I worshipped were fine upstanding gentleman.

In reality, it looks like it's the same now as it ever was and, hopefully, ever will be. Football will always contain controversy, refereeing mistakes and players trying to win at all costs. It's what we talk about down the pub. If someone puts a stop to it all, it will deny us the pleasure of telling the youth of tomorrow about how glorious the game was in our day.


  1. Christ. look at maradona's thighs in that pic. he looks like a fucking t-rex

  2. Love what you've done here. Keep up the good work.