Sign of the Times

Steve Mitchell’s latest addition to the ‘Got, Not Got’ blog…

When I watch football in today’s state of the art stadia with their huge electronic advertising around the pitch trying to sell you the latest pair of super duper football boots in three very different but still incredibly garish colours; or your team advertising their latest ‘Megastore’ promotions in every language but the one you are conversed in, I long for the days when perimeter advertising was simple and non intrusive on your match day experience.roof ads a

Rizla, Esso and Bells Scotch Whisky were just two of the staple diets around British football grounds in the 70’s and 80’s Radio Rentals always providing the backdrop at Wembley on Cup Final Day. Anyone who stood at the scoreboard end of Old Trafford will have Wonderfuel Gas etched into their memories forever from its spot on the roof of the Stretford End.  Remember when Sportsnight brought us football from around the continent?  Oh how we marvelled at such companies as Bic or Canon Copiers or the latest brand of pasta (what the hell was that!) if an Italian club was hosting Liverpool, Nottingham Forest or Aston Villa.

esso strip

Returning to the Twin Towers, I remember my first visit in 1978 was on a works trip that my old man’s firm had organised to see England schoolboys take on France (schoolboys not the full national team). As I recall, it was an absolute ripsnorter of a game with a very young Paul Rideout grabbing a couple of goals in a 3-3 draw.  But my overriding memory of the day was the advertisement behind one of the goals for the Coca-Cola Soccer Skills courses, which just 12 months later led to me getting a silver medal, certificate signed by a fully qualified FA coach and the self confidence to believe I could make it as a professional footballer…

rizla copy

So this blog is dedicated to all of the above along with Reddifusion, Long John Scotch Whiskey, Midland Bank, Younger’s Tartan Bitter, Holsten Pils, Hornby Trains, Pye, Ferguson, Hitachi and (insert local business name here) plumbing & heating services. There are many, many more I could mention and I hope that readers of this blog will fill in the blank spaces with their own favourites. Now, I wonder how Hamlet cigars would look in Korean?

Much, much more of this sort of stuff in ‘The Lost World of Football’ – available now in branches of WH Smiths and Waterstones or can be ordered online here…  

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HOW MUCH?! Questions were asked in parliament at the price of England’s new shirt…

When the little Admiral logo first appeared on the England strip in 1974, the £5 rrp for the shirts caused something of a stir…. things have got worse since then.

Nike have just revealed the new England strip for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and the price tag of £90 has rightly caused something of an outrage.
Of course, you can buy the inferior ‘stadium shirt’ without all the wonderful new scientific breakthroughs that the players will enjoy, for a mere £60.
Who, in their right mind, would pay that for an England shirt, especially now that they don’t appear to have much of a shelf life. It hardly seems a couple of months ago that we were berating the first Nike England kit for looking like West Germany circa 1966.

england admiral shirt ad

It is now 40 years since the national football shirt was first visibly branded and at that time there was something of a kerfuffle, not to say a hoo-hah at the amount of money parents were expected to pay for the new Admiral England kit (adults didn’t wear them back then, unless they were actually playing football).

umbro yy

In commercial terms, Admiral had done such a great job by 1977, they were hauled over the coals in Parliament by Newport MP Roy Hughes:

“My object is to focus attention on the undesirable practices of certain sports equipment manufacturers,” he complained. “The most unpleasant aspect is that children are being exploited. One of the principal offenders appears to be the Leicester firm of Cook & Hurst, the chairman of which is Mr. Bert Patrick and their trade name is ‘Admiral’. The attitude of that firm is arrogant… The English football team now has ‘Admiral’ emblazoned on its tracksuits. The firm of Cook & Hurst says that it has exclusive rights to use the English lion emblem on its products. It relies for that on the Copyright Act 1968 and its predecessors. That is an abuse of those Acts, which were intended for such items as jewellery and motor-car accessories… Star-struck youngsters who wish to wear the colours of their favourite teams are having to pay through the nose for the pleasure.”

The general opinion of the Commons was that it was all a jolly rotten do, but there was nothing they could do about it. Nothing could stand in the way of commerce, and when Admiral went bust in the early 80s, Umbro were more than happy to take over.

ucat eng

For almost thirty years Umbro produced a series of largely popular England strips, before they were bought up by, and replaced by Nike.
And so we come to the age of the £90 football shirt. A strange decision in the light of falling sales in recent years, doubling the price.
We can’t imagine it will be a great success.

England_home_2

Part of this article first appeared in ‘Got, Not Got’… available here

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Things you REALLY wished you’d had as a kid… Subbuteo Wallpaper.

Just imagine tucking up for the night with the Subbuteo kit chart as wallpaper…

subbuteo wallpaper copy

It should have happened.

It really should.

What are your suggestions for great products that were never made?

Much, much more of this sort of stuff in ‘The Lost World of Football’ – available now in branches of WH Smiths and Waterstones or can be ordered online here…  

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That Mitre ball with the red stripe…

These days we are used to balls tailored to individual clubs and the different seasons of the year, but this one caused a bit of a stir breaking down the barriers of plain white that we had been long used to… 

mitre ball

We have a feeling that this Football League designed ball made its debut in the 1979 League Cup final between Nottingham Forest and Southampton, but we have been wrong before.

mitre ball match

Due to its patchy red equator it looked a bit odd and wobbly in flight and wasn’t used for very long.

Do you know any more details about this ball, and what was your club’s finest hour hoofing it about?

Read more load of old balls, and approximately a million other things, in ‘The Lost World of Football’ is available now in branches of WH Smiths and Waterstones or can be ordered online here…  

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‘Got, Not Got’ blog gets a plug on ‘Fighting Talk…

Dougie Anderson, one of the panel members on Radio Five’s ‘Fighting Talk’ gave this blog a cracking plug on last Saturday’s show…

ft

You can listen to it here – starting about 24 minutes in…

We are currently putting the finishing touches to ‘Got, Not Got: The Lost World of Manchester City’ and it will be available to buy in the spring.

Our other club edition scan be bought from Waterstones, WH Smiths, or online via Amazon by clicking on the covers below…

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Your favourite programmes…

No, not ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Game of Thrones’…. them things you buy before the football. 

Or, in my case, used to.
They just take up too much shelf space these days, each one perfectly bound like a small book. A season’s worth takes up nearly a foot.

Here are some of your suggestions…

portsmouth prog

 Alan ‏@1ofthe8015mcfc on Twitter told us he liked Portsmouth circa 1967: “Info packed with HMS Victory on the front of it. It was a small format I recall… pocket sized, loads of tables and stats etc. Ahead of its time. I wrote to the Manchester Evening News about it and they replied: “How did they get the ship inside the ground?””

canary prog

gilesmetcalfe2013 says: “I grew up watching Norwich City, so mine has to be The Canary.”
You can’t go wrong with a cheery yellow and green really..

man utd 77-78

Steve Mitchell nominates: “My personal favourite was the 1977-78 Manchester United one, despite them moving away from the traditional handshake frontage.
It was basically a year long tribute to them winning the 77 FA Cup.”

Send us your suggestions…

We are currently putting the finishing touches to ‘Got, Not Got: The Lost World of Manchester City’ and it will be available to buy in the spring.

Our other club edition scan be bought from Waterstones, WH Smiths, or online via Amazon by clicking on the covers below…

wh utd thumb m utd thumb l utd thumb

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Ram, Hammer… when programmes used to have their own identity

The long and the short and the tall… 

ram hammer

Football programmes used to come in all shapes and sizes, before everything had to conform to the norm… from the large newspaper format of Derby County’s ‘RAM’, to the pocket sized West Ham ‘Hammer’.

programme collecting blog

Which was your pre-homogenous favourite?
The square Canary? The tall Brum City? The horizontal Wrexham?
Let us know.

Read about prog collecting, and approximately a million other things, in ‘The Lost World of Football’ is available now in branches of WH Smiths and Waterstones or can be ordered online here…  

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