We recently got us thinking back to a running feature we had in the printed issues of AFTN back in the 90’s, and later on online at aftn.co.uk.
It was a childhood memory trip of days gone by, or more particularly, the items and people that we associated with football from growing up in the 70’s and 80’s. Definitely much simpler times, which the modern kid probably looks back on with disdain and incredulity.
“Leather Boots” let us recall those football-related ‘bits and pieces’ which we felt merited one more mention, one more thought, before they passed into the swirling cesspit of oblivion known as history. Borne or prized, desired or despised, these are the oddities which made our game personally beautiful.
So I thought we’d dust some of those off today and share a few of them with you, avoiding the most obvious things like subbuteo (which I still regret selling all those years ago and I’m slowly rebuilding my collection), although we do indirectly touch on that.
Now, they’re obviously going to be of a UK nature, and won’t mean much to many of you, so I’m looking for you to share your own footballing memories of your childhoods here in Canada or the US (or for ex pats, share your own UK ones).
Let me know what it was like growing up as a football mad kid here. What did I miss out on? What are the things you think of when you look back? What did you collect? Do you still have them? And are they so fantastic that I should be scouring ebay for them?!
As an avid collector of all such things, my interest is likely to be so piqued that no doubt I will delve into them a little deeper and have a North American part two version of this piece.
Fondly relive and rekindle your childhood and opinion forming days and share them in the comments section below or just sit back in a comfy chair and allow those distant memories from a past life to keep dragging you back….
SHOOT! LEAGUE LADDERS:
The most important single thing to happen in football since 1938 (look that one up!).
Little tabs in your team’s colours that slotted into bits of card with slits cut into it. Each week you shifted the tabs around to reflect the latest League standings.
Brilliant. No internet, no apps, no xbox or playstations. This was our entertainment and by such things is the history of the world punctuated.
THAT ZAIRE BLOKE:
There’s Only One Mwepu Ilunga.
You all know the one.
The one in the 1974 World Cup who, whilst standing in a Zaire defensive wall at a free kick, suddenly sprinted out and hoofed the ball up the park, earning himself a yellow card and leaving the rest of us looking on in delighted disbelief.
Admit it, every time you’re watching a free kick, there’s always that little bit of you that wishes that someone would just do it again. Just that one more time.
But there will only ever be one Mwepu Ilunga.
“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS A DUKLA PRAGUE AWAY KIT”:
80’s song by AFTN faves Half Man, Half Biscuit.
Don’t know who they are? Oh boy, are you missing out on all sorts of quirky football related lyrics. By the time we have our new podcast up and running, you’ll be sick of hearing about them!
The song’s lyrics aptly sum up every normal UK kid’s childhood years from back then.
From the frustrations of setting up and playing subbuteo and scalextric to the frustrations of growing up jobless in Thatcher’s Britain. The song had it all.
As well as possibly the best song title ever.
Want to get a Dukla Prague away kit after reading this? Well you can, at Toffs.com. You know you want one now!
Scoop Magazine was a weekly football and sports magazine that I got religiously and still remember fondly. So much so, I bought a pile of them on ebay a couple of years ago.
They had comic strips, interviews, features and their very own “Computer League”.
The UK was split into twelve areas and Eastern Town covered the East of Scotland.
They were my local team and got gubbed every week, so pretty much just like watching East Fife.
Mostly made up of ‘New Firm’ and Edinburgh players, I think an East Fife player did get on the bench once, but I can’t remember who it was.
TOPPS BUBBLE GUM CARDS CHECKLISTS:
You’d wait all week for your pocket money, rush out to the ‘van’ on a Friday night, wondering what players you’d get in your football cards and you’d end up with one of those stupid checklists.
Okay, you needed them to get a complete set, but you always ended up with about a dozen of the damn things.
Which is ironic, because now, I’m needing them for my collection and they cost an arm and a leg on ebay.
Panini sticker albums. I never ever finished them. Always a couple short, with the best intentions of sending off for the ones I needed, but never ever got round to it.
My mum would bring me home a couple of packets with her shopping. Such excitement opening them and if you saw foil, well wow!
You’d carry your doublers around everywhere with you, in the vain hope of getting the obscure card you needed from some other obscure kid that you randomly bumped in to.
Nowadays, you’re more likely to have your iphone nicked from that kid.
Great to see Panini stickers still around today, of course. But it’s not the same. Kids don’t cherish them as gold. And you can even buy full boxes of ebay. That’s what I did for the 2006 World Cup!
Was still some short though. And still never got round to sending off for them.
So for 2010, I just bought an album and complete set of loose stickers. Not the same. Probably explains why I still haven’t stuck them in the album yet.
So that’s some of my childhood memories. Tell me yours….