These days, post-match press conferences mostly take place in the palatial surroundings of one of the clubs many executive suites. Even teams in the lower echelons of the English game pamper their managers and players as they await questions from local press and television crews.
We continue with Steve Mitchell’s series of contributions to the ‘Got, Not Got’ blog….
But it wasn’t always like this and supporters of a certain vintage (if you are reading this blog then that surely includes you) will no doubt remember the time when players who had played a starring role in their team’s victory where made to stand out on the pitch in sub zero temperatures to answer questions from Messrs. Motson, Davies, Gubba and Moore to name just a few.
Revenge is a dish best served cold and there was no finer sight in football than seeing the man who had single-handedly taken your team apart earlier that afternoon, standing pitch side in an ill fitting three piece suit with huge shirt collars being grilled for the Match Of The Day viewers as icicles started to form on his enormous permed bonnet (yes, that’s you Ian Wallace).
Midweek European games really did sort the men from the boys, especially if the game had gone into extra time and penalties with a possible finishing time of nearly 11.00pm. In my humble opinion, the king of the hard bastards was without doubt Nottingham Forest hot-shot Garry Birtles whose excellent form in taking his club to the 1979 European Cup Final meant a regular post-match stint on Sportsnight or Midweek Sports Special. The bearded wonder showing balls of steel to face the questions on numerous occasions after only just de-frosting himself in the changing rooms.
The all conquering Liverpool team of the late 70’s and early 80’s must also be singled out for special praise. Dalglish, Rush, Keegan and McDermott developing such a resistance to Arctic conditions that they would have been able to go to the North Pole only wearing their 100% dry knit polyester tracksuits.
Managers tended to play a little safer than their players, taking the sensible option of a sheepskin jacket and hat combo or in the case of Brian Clough, the trademark green sweatshirt over the top of a rugby shirt with an upturned collar.
Of course no post-match press conference back in the day would be complete without the solitary shouting supporter still in the stadium at least an hour after full-time. Fuelled by a pre-match Watney’s Party Seven, many a star striker’s after match comments where played out to a soundtrack of bad terrace chanting echoing around a stadium that was as cold as Ice Station Zebra.
We are now working hard on ‘Got, Not Got 2′ but you can still get last year’s model. (Cunning punk rock reference). Don’t leave it too long however, we hear that supplies are getting low… Available from branches of WH Smith and Waterstones or online here…