Monday, 31 December 2012

The Football Attic Podcast Episode 3 - Retro Football Kit Design

What do you get if you cross someone with chronic insomnia, a bloke on the other side of the world and a geektastic level of enthusiasm for football kits?

The answer lies within the next 50 minutes of your listening time, good friends, for we at The Attic have produced (at loooooong last) another episode of The Football Attic podcast!

We still haven't managed to get iTunes working (curse you Apple!!!) so to download it, it's the rather retro method of 'Right-click and Save As' from the link below:

Football Attic Podcast Episode 3

Have a listen, enjoy, and as usual please do let us know what you think... :)

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Panini: Football 80

I’m a big fan of the ‘white album’. Some say it epitomised the peak of popular culture around the time of its release but I have a more balanced point of view. For me, It was experimental in certain areas but also rested heavily on its obvious strengths to provide a combination that’s rarely been bettered. Perhaps we’ll talk about The Beatles later, but for now, let’s stick with Panini.

Football 80 was their third domestic sticker album for the UK and was the first one I ever owned. It had many familiar aspects retained from previous collections, but you could sense a notable intent to try out the occasional new idea and tweak a few things here and there too.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Puma ads (Manchester United), circa 1978

What do Joe Jordan, Gordon McQueen, Allan Simonsen, Jimmy Greenhoff, Brian Greenhoff, Andy Gray, Johan Cruyff, Chelsea FC, the Austrian national team and the Argentinian national team have in common?

No, they haven't all been signed by Roman Abramovich at one time or another. The correct answer is they all wore Puma football boots in the late 1970's, and to prove the point, here are a couple of ads showing the first two on the list doing just that.

"Puma make fourteen different soccer boots. One of them will help you play better" said the ads. Had you taken the plunge and bought two, however, you'd have really seen your overall standard improve...

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever - The Final

Newcastle Brown & Wang! 

No, not a night out on Tyneside... well, maybe it is for some, but no, not here my fellows, for this is the Final of the Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever!!!

After starting out with 96 sponsors from the annals of English and Scottish football, we're down to the final two. And what a journey... Stone cold classics such as Crown Paints, Sharp, JVC and Granada Bingo (shut up!) have all fallen by the wayside and it's the mid-80s stars of Oxford United (remember them?) with Wang Computers against the north east stalwarts Newcastle Brown Ale... for Newcastle United, obviously.

Once again, our thanks and gratitude go out to John Devlin for kindly allowing us to use his fantastic illustrations. John's work can be found at the True Colours site and he is also on Twitter so pay him a visit and give him a follow.


Ah sod the rules, it's the Final!

Voting closes at 23:59 GMT on Monday 31st December - so we will all get to start 2013 safe in the knowledge that the Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever will have been decided!

Right... Off you go!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Pelé's Soccer, 1980

At what point does the human brain reject the hopelessly inadequate images of our youth and demand something with more detail and clarity?

This question is most apposite when discussing classic video games. Take Pelé's Soccer, for example. Here was an arcade football game created for the Atari 2600 which should have proved that technology had moved on from the days of ‘pong football’. The reality, however, saw you moving players around on your screen that looked like pixelated blobs. Quite honestly, they could have been anything.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever - Semi Finals

So we're down to the final four, and despite it looking like the Final was to be a re-run of the 1986 Milk Cup Final between Oxford and QPR, fate has intervened and made it a semi final encounter instead.

In the other semi, that there London meets Oop North so expect bare-chested barrel-shaped supporters and plenty of apples and pears... or something...

So, will it be an all-London final? Or will you all go for some full on Wang action (honestly, this stuff writes itself)? Or will we all be gannin' doon tha' toon for a bottle o' Newky Broon?  Ant n Dec... Spuggy...

Monday, 17 December 2012

Great Tracksuits of Our Time: No.6

The sixth installment in our 'Great Tracksuits' series comes courtesy of Sam Swaffield, co-editor of The Seagull Love Review. A devout Brighton fan, Sam's keen to draw our attention to the apparel worn by his team during one of the high points of their history...

"As a kid growing up in the 90's, all I'd known was Albion kits manufactured by highly suspicious brands. The likes of Ribiero, Super League and Sports Express all had a shot at the stripes, and none of them are in business today.

The 80's though, as we all know, was a golden era. Our Adidas days, between '79 and '86, are viewed by my generation as some sort of kit utopia, where the historic stripes were dropped for an all royal blue dream, the West Germans no doubt unequivical over the phone to Hove; "For you Brighton und Hove Albion, ze stripes are over".

Pictures of the kits are easy to find. The British Caledonian emblazoned sheen of the '80 shirt is a classic, and the red Nobo away shirt of '86 is definitely worth a look. For what I like to call 'Leisure Wear' though, it is a different story.

Official team snaps from '82 show a classic Adidas 2-piece tracky; coaching staff in royal blue trousers and body with white sleeves and customary box fresh Copa Mundials.

For the FA Cup Final in '83 however, Adidas went into overdrive. First a new kit just for the Final (a cotton number with red and white pinstripes, danke schön), and then a new tracksuit for the journey to the team hotel and subsequent round of golf. This classic Albion apparel, a set of which I've never seen apart from in the video below, scrapped the white sleeves for dashing white and red go-faster stripes across the chest and embroidered FA Cup Finallist detail under the badge.

As Albion kit goes, this is the pinnacle. If I had one, I, too, would wear it with royal blue suede Sambas, and saunter around Brighton, king of sports casual, seagull savant, pride of Sussex.

It's worth noting in the video Chris Ramsey looking like Marvin Gaye, Jimmy Case rejecting Adidias and dressing like a crap Scouse Bruce Springsteen, and David Icke, dodging the lizard people, to actually present the piece. Happy days indeed."

Our grateful thanks go to Sam Swaffield for telling us about his 'Great Tracksuit', and don't forget, we'd love you to do the same by dropping us a line. Email us at admin [at] thefootballadmin [dot] com with all your details, and you, too, could see your words appearing in a future 'Great Tracksuits of Our Time' article!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Subbuteo poster, 1983

Nothing could be more guaranteed to brighten up a young child’s bedroom wall than a Subbuteo poster. It’s been proven scientifically, probably. By the time this masterpiece came out in 1983, the masters of the flick-to-kick revolution had been annually publishing posters and catalogues for decades, each with its own distinctive graphics and identity.

The premise, as ever, was a simple one: to show off the myriad teams and accessories available to buy for the avid collector. Here, those same teams could be seen surrounding the big football motif; row upon row of colourful sporting soldiers, marching (as best they could when their feet were glued to a hemisphere) across this parade of printed perfection.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever - Quarter Finals

From the 96 came just 8 - It's The Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever Quarter Finals!

Round 4 ended last night and there were several more shock exits.  Both of Liverpool's remaining entries took a bow, falling to the mighty Wang (fnarrr) and a concerted campaign by Ipswich fans to keep Pioneer in.

And so we come to the final 8 and what a line up it is! But enough of this...I mean, seriously, I know no-one's reading it...I could just say what I want here...I could call Frankie Boyle a racist...he'd never know! As it is, I'm not going to say that as it's patently not true...or was I?

Once again, our thanks and gratitude go out to John Devlin for kindly allowing us to use his fantastic illustrations. John's work can be found at the True Colours site and he is also on Twitter so pay him a visit and give him a follow.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Matthew Wassell's Top 5... Pogs

We're pleased to welcome back Matthew Wassell to The Football Attic with another Top 5 list - this time on a popular collectable game from a couple of decades ago...

For a craze that lasted roughly one summer in the middle of the 1990’s, I still have a soft spot for the game of Pogs.  To be truthful though, these days I am more entertained by looking through my varied collection of multicoloured cardboard and plastic discs rather than actually playing the game itself (which wasn’t all that exciting back then, come to think of it).  As this is a blog about football curios, I thought I’d look out five Premier League and La Liga pogs to photograph and share.

(Whilst looking through the collection, I came across a few disturbing non-football pogs such as one displaying a photo of a baby’s body with a tiger’s head.  This didn’t make it into the Top 5 you’ll be glad to read…)

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Kevin Keegan's Soccer Annual 1977

By the time this annual had been published in 1976, the pastey-looking footballer on the front cover was well on his way to 100 top flight goals in England. Kevin Keegan was already something of a poster boy for young fans as a hot-shot striker for both Liverpool and his country, and this first of three eponymous annuals aimed to provide an insight into a blossoming football career.

Beyond the inviting full-colour cover were 96 pages, all printed in black and white. Quite how inviting that would have been to a young child unwrapping this book on Christmas morning one can only wonder, but the seemingly dull pages were surprisingly interesting to read - in fact quite the opposite of what you’d expect from a lightweight title.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever - Round 4

Yes it's Round 4 - The Round of 16 - of The Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever!

Round 3 finished yesterday (Thursday) and as usual the results can be viewed here. Coventry finally bowed out to frankly more deserving sponsors, but the greatest shock of the round was Sharp, stalwart of Man U for 12 years, being ousted by QPR's Guinness. Honestly, is this the point we've reached? ;-)

Anyway, this is where it gets really interesting with the final 16 sponsors battling it out. Hitachi may have gone, but Crown Paints and Candy still fly the red flag, but the legendary CP faces seriously stiff competition in the form of anybody actually reading this anyway?

Once again, our thanks and gratitude go out to John Devlin for kindly allowing us to use his fantastic illustrations. John's work can be found at the True Colours site and he is also on Twitter so pay him a visit and give him a follow.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Great Tracksuits of Our Time: No.5

Our good friend Rich Nelson from the always excellent 'Escape To Suomi') provides us with this contribution to our 'Great Tracksuits' series:

Arsenal (1989/90):

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever - Round 3

We've reached Round 3 - The Round of 16 - of The Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever!

Round 2 ended on Friday and the results can be viewed here. And what a set of results they are! Hitachi defeated by Avco, Panasonic losing out to TDK and the biggest travesty of all, Granada Bingo losing to Blackburn's McEwans!!! ;-)

So with the first lot of seeded casualties, the remaining 32 sponsors now fight it out amongst themselves.

Once again, our thanks and gratitude go out to John Devlin for kindly allowing us to use his fantastic illustrations. John's work can be found at the True Colours site and he is also on Twitter so pay him a visit and give him a follow.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Videoblog 2: Kick-Off (MB Games)

Chris O returns with the second Football Attic Videoblog, this time taking MB's Kick-Off as its subject.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Official Programme of the 1970 World Cup

A cheery red cover invites you to thumb through the 66 pages of this souvenir programme created as a guide to the 1970 World Cup. Priced at just six shillings (or 30p for any Brits harbouring decimal thoughts a year ahead of their time), this was the official handbook guaranteed to help you get the most out of the FIFA’s ninth global tournament.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever - Round 2

It's time for Round 2 of The Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever!

Round 1 ended on Friday and the results can be viewed here.

But now it's time for the big guns to enter the fray as the 32 seeded sponsors join the tournament!  At last, Crown Paints, Wang, Sharp, etc, get to flex their sponsorship muscles!

Not only that, but as you'll see, the sponsors themselves have been granted a makeover courtesy of John Devlin, author of football kit bible True Colours.

Our sincere thanks and gratitude go out to John for not only kindly allowing us to use his fantastic illustrations, but also for working so quickly to get the images to us. John's work can be found at the True Colours site and he is also on Twitter so pay him a visit and give him a follow.


1) You are voting for the SPONSOR, not the team that it adorned.

2) Voting for Round 2 closes at midnight on Friday 30th November

3) This is a bit of fun... if you don't like the results, take a deep breath, smile and accept that democracy is flawed... ;-)

Let battle commence!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Match of the Day - Episode 1 (1964)

The first edition of the BBC’s Match of the Day programme was aired on 22 August 1964. Shown on BBC2, it was the first time people in the UK (albeit only in London at first) were able to watch football highlights on their own TV screens.

Despite initial fears that it might lead to fewer people going along to watch matches in person, it went on to become an institution of British broadcasting and a go-to programme for British football fans everywhere.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever - Round 1 (Matches 17-32)

It's finally here! The Vote for the Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever!

Matches 1-16 kicked off yesterday and now it's time for the Sunday fixtures to take their place.

Just to repeat the Rules:

1) You are voting for the SPONSOR, not the team that it adorned.

2) Voting for Round 1 closes at midnight on Friday 23rd November

3) This is a bit of fun... if you don't like the results, take a deep breath, smile and accept that democracy is flawed... ;-)

And so... let the voting commence!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever - Round 1 (Matches 1-16)

It's finally here! The Vote for the Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever!

As mentioned previously, this will be a knockout tournament comprising 96 teams. 32 of these have been seeded and will only appear in Round 2.  Therefore, Round 1 will be 32 matches between the 64 non-seeded teams.  NB, the list of seeded teams can be found in the post linked to above, so before I have to explain where Wang or Crown Paints are, take a look!  ;-)

I've split the First Round into two parts. This is so the page doesn't get ridiculously long and also because setting up the polls is taking longer than planned!

Rules - Just a few things to mention:

1) You are voting for the SPONSOR, not the team that it adorned.

2) Voting for Round 1 closes at midnight on Friday 23rd November

3) This is a bit of fun... if you don't like the results, take a deep breath, smile and accept that democracy is flawed... ;-)

And so... let the voting commence!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever - 1st Round Draw

The 1st round draw has taken place and here it is in full:

NB...Voting instructions will follow soon :)

Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever 1st Round Draw (64 non seeded sponsors)

Chang (Everton) v Poll Withey (Norwich)
NTL (Celtic & Rangers) v NOBO (Brighton)
Peugeot (Coventry) v T-Mobile (WBA)
Bukta (Hibernian) v Reg Vardy (Sunderland)
Solvite (Watford) v Oki (Portsmouth)
Candy (Liverpool) v Fly Virgin (Crystal Palace)
Ora (Barnsley) v Laver (Sheff Utd)
Philips (Man City) v Maxwell (Derby)
British Caledonian (Brighton) v O2 (Arsenal)
Panasonic (Nottm Forest) v Autoglass (Chelsea)
Coors (Chelsea) v JVC (Aberdeen)
JCT600 (Bradford) v Britannia (Stoke)
Ind Coope (Leicester) v Lewisham (Millwall)
Auto Trader (Reading) v Ericsson (QPR)
Saab (Man City) v (BT) Cellnet (Middlesbrough)
Skol (Nottm Forest) v Ian Skelly (Motherwell)
Courage (Reading) v Samsung (Chelsea)
Motorola (Motherwell) v GMB (Fulham)
Auto Windscreens (Birmingham) v Dagenham Motors (West Ham)
Greene King (Ipswich) v Ricoh (Stoke)
Unipart (Oxford Utd) v Truman (Wimbledon)
Carlsberg (Wimbledon) v Carlsberg (Liverpool)
Subaru (Coventry) v JD Sports (Oldham)
Greenalls (Newcastle) v Good Year (Wolves)
Dr Martens (West Ham) v ICI Perspex (Blackburn)
Hewlett Packard (Tottenham) v Capital One (Nottm Forest)
Elonex (Wimbledon) v Shipstones (Nottm Forest)
Bass (Derby) v Muller (Aston Villa)
Sanderson (Sheff Wed & Southampton) v Finlux (Sheff Wed)
Granada Bingo (Coventry) v Carling (Celtic & Rangers)
Vaux (Sunderland) v Wrangler (Notts County)
Fly Emirates (Arsenal) v Fisons (Ipswich)

Football Monthly (November 1983)

The perm or the straight-cut?  This was the question perplexing grown-up kids and young adults alike in February 1983 when they bought the latest issue of Football Monthly.

The subject, Bryan Robson, was seen on the front cover and on page two, the latter being an advert for New Balance boots. The Manchester United and England star claimed he’d helped the company to “shape, test and refine” their boots under every possible playing condition - “including World Cup competition.” Judging by the picture on page one, he’d had also had a similar involvement with the production of hair-straightening equipment too.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Coming Soon... The Greatest Shirt Sponsor Ever

If you follow us on Twitter, you may have seen us banging on about the Greatest Sponsor Ever tournament we've got lined up. Well, now we've finally decided on the classic sponsors that have made the cut. It's going to run as a knockout tournament, pitting classic sponsor against classic sponsor over several rounds. Think of it as the FA Cup, only ironically about sponsors, not ruined by one... ;-) To make the numbers even, we had to whittle down our initial list of over 120 classic sponsors to 96 on top of which we've seeded some so they won't have to scrap out the First Round.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Great Tracksuits of Our Time: No.4 - John Bond special

Towards the end of September 2012, John Bond, a man who possessed great talent as a player and a manager, died aged 79. Though he spent 16 years playing for West Ham United, he will perhaps be best remembered for a long managerial career that took in Manchester City and Norwich City among many other clubs.

Football Remains

That's what we were going to call this blog site. In the weeks leading up to 14 November 2011, Rich J and myself toyed with lots of different names, but eventually The Football Attic ran out the winner.

Though we remain satisfied that we made the right choice, there's no denying that Football Remains also had something going for it. It worked on different levels, making reference to the fact that 'remains' is a way of describing something that's left behind, like the memorabilia washed up on the shore from football's constant tides. It also conjures up images of a decapitated body after a particularly gruesome murder, and that's ostensibly why we didn't ultimately choose that title.

It does, however, reinforce the fact that with every passing day, month, year or decade, football continues to offer up all manner of different ways to be nostalgic. It's that very notion that inspired Rich and myself to create this blog site, and though it was based on a personal passion we shared for the sport, we weren't quite sure how many others would share it with us.

To be quite truthful with you, we probably didn't give the matter enough thought before the project got underway. For instance, how often can you write about Panini sticker books without sending your audience into an outright torpor?  At what point would the mention of Subbuteo prompt a regular visitor to engage in an irresponsible act of violent behaviour?  These things matter, you know.

As it is, we must have had an underlying belief that there was an appetite for the sort of articles we wanted to write, not least because of the growing disaffection among football fans for the modern game. Much talk has been heard from supporters over the last year or more about the various crises and controversies that abound in football these days. Whether it's racist slurs between players or greed and bankruptcy affecting clubs, it's no wonder fans are looking for something that reminds them of all that's best in The Beautiful Game.

And that's why we continue to do what we do. Though some people might think of football nostalgia as lightweight and clichéd, we believe it has more to offer than that. By looking in detail at the plentiful bounty that football has given us over the years, we can all remember why we fell in love with this glorious sport of ours in the first place.

Thanks to your support and contributions to this website over the last year, we can say without doubt that football remains and finds itself in excellent shape to entertain us for many more years to come.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Neil Cotton: Five shirts from my past

In the latest in a long line of excellent guest posts from writers far and wide, The Football Attic welcomes Neil Cotton from the blogsite Row Z. Neil's unearthed some long-forgotten football shirts from his wardrobe and here tells us how he came to own them and the memories they bring back...

The writer and philosopher Walter Benjamin once said that “Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories” and chaotic certainly seems a good word for the football shirt collection which I recently uncovered nestling in an unassuming, perfectly square cardboard box which had in turn spent the best part of a decade residing forgotten at the bottom of a wardrobe. This seemed to be a collection without a theme or any other sense of order, but as I unwrapped each shirt memories came rushing back as if each were a tiny time-capsule.

Monday, 29 October 2012

The Past Is Dead... And It's Not Coming Back

It's with a heavy heart and sore head that I write this post for I had an epiphany at the weekend, realised through the fug of a low level migraine, made worse by the spectacle that unfolded before me.

The Football Attic is a nostalgia blog, therefore it would kind of follow logically that we both view olden days football as better than the modern game, but that's not neccessarily true. I can't speak for Chris, but I am a rather optimistic person - I have tickets to watch Coventry play Arlesey Town in the 1st round of the FA Cup on Saturday. This is the first time since 1963 that CCFC will have played in 2 different FA Cup competitions in the same calendar year (I'm ignoring that time in the early 2000s when the whole 3rd round got moved to December as it's an exception and it also ruins my point), but I'm looking forward to it. It could be another Sutton United, we could score a hatful or we could scrape through unconvincingly. Either way, I will be there and start the game with positivity and optimism. That optimism has been stretched to breaking point at the weekend.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Charlie George for Christmas No.1!

It's at this time of year that someone launches a half-cocked campaign to get an utterly redundant song to number 1 in the UK charts for Christmas. Pathetic, futile behaviour and the sort of thing that fools no-one as they attempt to find some sort of spiritual meaning from the festive season.

But that's not going to stop us launching our own campaign - good god, no!  Yes, it all starts here, folks - it's time to put Charlie George at the top of the Christmas charts!

Our vision is to release a '45 (do they still make those?) featuring two songs that take the former lank-haired Arsenal legend as its subject.

On the A-side, 'I Wish I Could Play Like Charlie George', a song that begins with the plaintive ponderings of a small child building slowly to a tumult of ragtime exuberance leaving no-one in any doubt as to the virtues of the great man.

On the B-side, we propose 'The Charlie George Calypso', a Caribbean melody sung by what sounds like half a dozen North London types you saw down the pub on your last visit. Don't be fooled, however. With lyrics like "Have I seen Jesus Christ back on Earth? / No it's Charlie lying flat on the Wembley turf" this is a sure-fire hit backup to our main A-side gambit.

So let's get the message out there, people. Tell the world that Charlie George is the only true message we need this Christmas. Spread the word by getting on Facebook and use the hashtag #charlieatxmas.

And if that doesn't put paid to any plans Simon Cowell's got inside his head, nothing will.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Rebadge the badge

You might be surprised to hear this from us, but the world of football nostalgia isn’t as perfect as it might seem. Oh sure, we’ve allowed entire months to pass us by while thumbing through our pile of old Panini albums, but that’s not to say everything in this Elysian netherworld is as cracked up as it ought to be.

Take football badges, for instance. At first sight, nothing could be finer than a vast array of club insignias displayed in collective formality, each using colours and motifs to represent a team you probably don’t support and could care much less for. Yet each one has been crafted and honed by skilled artists and designers to symbolise the hopes, ambitions and dreams of an ever-changing army of players and fans alike.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Great Tracksuits of Our Time: No.3

Leeds United (1974):

Seen here in the Wembley tunnel just before the ill-fated 1974 Charity Shield match, Leeds United's Billy Bremner and David Harvey shift nervously from one foot to another in their resplendent white tracksuit tops. They needn't have been so nervous for Leeds United were in the vanguard of football fashion in 1974. Thanks to Don Revie (who had just left his managerial post to become England team boss), the Elland Road club could now rely upon a full range of kit supplied by Admiral, and that included these lovely white tracksuit tops with yellow collars and waist bands.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Corinthian ProStars, 1995

The Football Attic today welcomes Simon Craft from Virile Games to the guest-writing roster as he takes us back to a time when footballers were frequently big-headed. Wait a minute - wasn't this supposed to be a blog site about football nostalgia?

I was born too late for Subbuteo. As a child of the Nineties, raised on an instant-thrill diet of American cartoons and Um Bongo, I was reluctant to undertake such chores as ironing the pitch and learning the rules, so my set was doomed to remain under the bed, unloved.

What my generation needed was something a little less dowdy, a little more attention-grabbing. Something individually sculpted with a name-engraved base. Something, in other words, a lot like Corinthians Headliners.

Instantly recognisable due to their oversized craniums, these figurines were first released in late 1995. With Euro 96 approaching and patriotism briefly in vogue, the initial range was comprised of sixteen England players. I set about building a team.

Though the figures were available in packs of four or twelve, these were priced too highly to interest a football-sceptic mother, and were in any case absent from the local newsagents. My only avenue for acquiring them, therefore, was in the form of the ‘secret sachets’, which contained a single figure wrapped in a foil bag so as to conceal his identity until after purchase.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Top 5 Worst Tournament Mascots Ever

The 1966 World Cup is remembered for many things, from stroppy Argentinians being heckled by grannies to raising England's expectations to unrealistic levels for the best part of half a century. It is also a landmark tournament for one other reason.

World Cup Willy. The first ever FIFA endorsed marital aid... ha ha ha ha ha! But seriously, the first ever tournament mascot came into being, thus starting a tradition that has taken us from the very depths of corporate blandness to the edge of insanity.

I was initially going to concentrate on the World Cup and Euros, but after researching the Copa America, Africa CON and the Asia Cup, it's clear those tournaments are pure gold for strangeness!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

JVC 'Goal Makers' ad, 1981

We've featured adverts before on our blog site, adverts like this one for JVC taken from the back cover of National Geographic magazine in 1981.

Usually the main image is something football-related (else we wouldn't bother bringing it to your attention) and here we have an actual match in action, or so it seems. Chances are it's not really an actual match at all - more likely a staged scene at a US stadium (this was a US-syndicated magazine, after all) that made use of the resources before an NASL match.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Scoreboard: A display of practicality

I’m embarrassed to say it, but I used to have a bit of a thing about scoreboards when I was younger. Stadium scoreboards, game show scoreboards, cricket scoreboards… you name it, I loved it.

There was something about those static signs  with changeable numbers that had me transfixed as a kid. If someone scored a point in a football match or on a TV quiz show, I’d wait with eager anticipation to see the scoreboard update the total, be it manually or digitally. It’s ridiculous, I know, but I loved the magisterial sense of purpose that a scoreboard possessed.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Matthew Wassell's Top 5 International 'Do you remember when?' Moments of the 1990's

The Football Attic welcomes aboard Matthew Wassell to the guest-writing fraternity as he carefully picks out his favourite monumental football moments from two decades ago... 

Last week my boss mentioned that he’d been telling his two young children about “that Colombian keeper who did the scorpion kick” and played them the YouTube footage on his iPhone. “Ah Rene Higuita! I remember that!” I exclaimed a bit too loudly. He went on unabashed. “Remember when Gazza scored that goal against Scotland in Euro '96? I was showing them that too.”  I did, and of course since that day, I've been trying to think of my top five international “do you remember when…?” moments which will hopefully be of use to anyone intent on educating their own children!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Great Tracksuits of Our Time: No. 2

Liverpool (1977):

Once again we witness the seamster's art in all its glory as Bob Paisley's FA Cup finalists of 1977 wear their name proudly on the back of their tracksuit tops. The garment itself is beautifully styled by Umbro with a striped collar, cuffs and waist band, a style that Umbro resurrected for England's 2012/13 anthem jackets [retch]. On the front (see Emlyn Hughes above), we see a big Umbro diamond opposite a Liverpool FC badge with commemorative 'FA Cup Final 1977' stitching below. On the reverse... well it has to be some shouty letters spelling out your club name, doesn't it? It was never any other way back in the 70's, and so much the better for it.

Seen any fine examples of retro tracksuit design? Tell us all about them by dropping us a line to admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Al Gordon's Five Subbuteo Items They Never Made

Following on from our Top 5 Subbuteo Items articles, regular Football Attic contributor Al Gordon of God, Charlton & Punk Rock has come up with a novel twist on the idea...his top 5 Subbuteo accessories they never made...

Subbuteo had pretty much every angle of the beautiful game covered didn't they? From ambulance men to TV commentators, from floodlights to dugouts, every fixture and every fitting was scaled down and turned into plastic so that we could recreate the whole mesmerising experience in our living rooms when it was far too miserable outside to kick a real football about.

Have you ever noticed gaps in the catalogue though? Have you seen something on a Saturday afternoon and wished you had the miniature version back at home. Streakers were never an official accessory but a table football shop in Wales saw the need and created their own.

Here are five items I’d add given half the chance, not everybody’s cup of tea I’ll admit so please feel free to comment and tell me what you’d have added to Subbuteo to give it even more charisma.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Goal magazine, 10 August 1968

There is, I suspect, a number of people for whom the phrase ‘incorporating Goal magazine’ is the source of much confusion. Appearing below the main title of Shoot! back in the mid-1970s, those three simple words rattled around inside my own mind until recently. What was Goal magazine and why was its existence being compromised? As ever, the trail of nostalgia generated by decades of football fanaticism was there to provide all the answers.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Panini Look-a-Likes

Following on from my article on some of Panini's more bizarre stickers, I decided to delve further and see what other horrors or delights it might throw up.

Having gone through all the albums from 1970-1982, I can tell you there are some absolute gems in there and I'll deal with some of the strangest ones another time. This article will deal with the sheer number of look-a-likes that can be found in the hallowed pages.

Starting in 1970 and it's a little known fact that both comedy legend Barry Chuckle and serial killer Fred West were in the starting 11 for Sweden.

To me...etc...

Friday, 28 September 2012

Great Tracksuits of Our Time: No.1

Slovan Bratislava (1976):

Worn before a UEFA Cup tie against QPR at Loftus Road, this blue tracksuit top with white trim features the team name emblazoned across the back in a Basque-style font. Note how the printer failed to leave sufficient room to fit in the A and N - a sign of true quality befitting of a team capable of winning the Czechoslovakian First Division.

Seen any fine examples of retro tracksuit design? Tell us all about them by dropping us a line at admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Panini: Got, Got, AAAARGH!

Panini is great, we all know this. What we also know is that Panini, especially in the football sticker world, have produced some truly bizarre moments. I recently purchased the World Cup & Euro Sticker Collections, which bring together all the Panini albums for the World Cup and Euro tournaments since 1970. This has given me a chance to not only relive some of the albums I collected at the time, but also to have an insight into albums I'd not seen before. And oh boy, what a treasure trove of weirdness and sheer crud they be!

So come with me now on a journey into Panini's dark side... and thanks to David Hill for the inspiration for the title.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Panini: Espana 82

Of all the Panini World Cup albums, this one will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first one I ever collected as a child. Chances are I got my album as a free giveaway with Shoot! magazine (so many Panini albums were back then), after which the lure of the accompanying green sticker packets became too much for me to bear. So what was Panini’s Espana 82 sticker album like?

Front cover

It was often thought that nothing could beat the image of a football player on the front of a book or magazine to truly encapsulate the exciting nature of the thing. That was certainly the case here and an artist was commissioned to paint just such a player, but to ensure neutrality the he was shown wearing a kit of yellow and red because, let’s face it, no-one in their right mind plays in yellow and red.

Dribbling across the mainland of host nation Spain like a giant, it’s pleasing to observe the English flag featuring among those of all the participating nations rather than the flag of Great Britain which was so often used in lazy fashion by graphic designers for years and years. Aside from the multitude of national identities, the logo and mascot of the 1982 World Cup flanked the left margin below the album’s title, proudly displayed in white on that vivid pine green background.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Match Magazine - August 30th 1997

1997 might not seem all that distant (to some of us anyway), but as you'll see in this excellent guest article from Luke constable of the awesomely named Ruud Gullit Sitting On A Shed (@RGSOAS), going back just 15 years, football still looks very different...

p.s. I've just found out where the name comes from... 

In August 1997 I was just starting secondary school. I would spend that summer mourning the loss of my junior school life, trying on ill-fitting blazers, and buying Match magazine every week.

A recent spring-clean unearthed a copy of the magazine dated August 30, 1997, and I have since been transfixed by its pages. Littered with nostalgic references, each turned page wafted the smell of pubescent hormones as it seized me with the inverse effect of Marty McFly's Gray's Sports Almanac from Back To The Future 2.

Hundreds of pounds' worth of hard-earned pocket money was spent on this magazine by my 9-14-year-old self, but every penny was worth it. I would read each one cover to cover, even forcing my impressionable eyes through the rigours of such dull features as 'Chris Armstrong's Secret Diary'.

Share my experience as the memories dazzle my retinas and scorch my fingertips. Come sit awhile as I read to you, and laugh at pictures that have dated horribly, much like Premiership footballers have after first discovering what Rohypnol is…

Look at this cover: Ryan Giggs innocently grinning before his stunning reinvention as a pilates-fuelled sex maniac. Appreciate the irony of a caption for a ‘LEEDS UNITED MEGA POSTER' directly above 'ESCAPE FROM DIVISION 1'.  Gasp at Dennis Bergkamp correctly predicting a league title win for Arsenal.  Marvel at Gianfranco Zola’s formerly bouffant hair.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Penny Football

The great thing about football is that it can be played in so many different forms. Purists will always enjoy the traditional approach of physically kicking a ball around while the more technologically-minded among us might prefer moving computerised competitors around on a TV screen. For a truly pared-down version of the game, however, nothing appeals quite like Penny Football.

I’d be lying if I said it was the most portable version of football around as, strictly speaking, you need a decent sized table to play it on. Apart from that, though, all you need are three coins (preferably of a single denomination) and two players. It’s also easy to play – you simply shuffle one coin between the other two with your finger, moving from one end of the table to the other until you score a goal.

Think of it like Subbuteo without the players. Or the floodlights. Or anything else, for that matter. Penny Football is simply a game of skill where the ability to control the slide of a coin is virtually everything. I played it a lot when I was 13-years-old or so, usually during wet break-times at school when I was holed up in a soulless classroom looking for a way to kill time. It’s fiendishly addictive and anyone can play it, so long as they have two fully functioning hands.

Like any simple game, you’ll find variations here and there offering different interpretations of the spartan rules. When I played it at school, my friends and I developed a set way to shoot at goal. This involved laying your hands flat on the table with both thumbs and index fingers touching. The ‘ball’ coin was then placed on its edge between the thumbs, at which point an upward push would propel it goalwards.

And then there’s the goalmouth itself. The Wikipedia page on Penny Football suggests the opposing goalmouth be made by splaying the index finger and little finger on the table surface. We had a different approach. We’d make the shape of a goal frame by pointing our index fingers downwards (touching the table) with our thumbs touching, and much better we thought it was too.

I will admit we were playing our own specific version of the game, but therein you have the versatility of the thing. If you’re not happy playing the rudimentary form, you can embellish it here and there with your own personal adjustments. Some people, for example, make use of a fourth coin to act as a goalkeeper when the attacking player tries to shuffle their shot in. The range of ‘improvements’ you can make are endless.

And as if to prove that there’s nothing new under the sun, a computer game version duly arrived in time for Euro 2008 thanks to JVC. As one of the corporate sponsors, they chose Euroball as their way of getting fans to play football online with a beautifully designed and executed take on the old Penny Football game.

JVC's EuroBall game: Great gameplay, nice graphics

So there it is: three coins, a table and a whole lot of fun. Penny Football – simple, but super to play.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Football Attic: Post 100

Allow us, if you will, a brief moment of joyousness, for what you are reading is the 100th post here on The Football Attic.

We wouldn't ordinarily take up your time in this way with such self-regarding nonsense, but it has to be said we're incredibly proud of the fact that we've done so much in such a short space of time.

Creating a blog about football nostalgia was an idea we had towards the end of 2011 and quite honestly we weren't really sure anyone would find it interesting. The fact that you've not only embraced the subject matter with your incredible support but also contributed greatly to the writing that appears here vindicates our belief in the project completely and totally.

So this 100th post is essentially the biggest 'thank you' we could possibly make to you, our wonderful Attic friends and followers. Without you, we wouldn't feel so much pride in what we do, nor would we have made quite so many friends that are happy to talk about the innocent pleasures of Subbuteo, retro football kit design, Panini stickers and much, much more.

With humble gratitude for making The Football Attic our favourite place -

Chris O and Rich J.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Rich J's Top 5...World Cup Posters

Following on from Chris' Favourite 5 Tournament Logos article, I was going to do my usual thing and follow it up with my own top five, but then I decided to go off at a slight tangent and instead go for my Top 5 Official World Cup Posters.

I've often found with World Cups that the official posters tend to disappear into the background and usually ones featuring the mascot or variations on the logo tend to take prominence. An example of this would be Italia 90. We all remember the blocky stick man logo and he was all over the posters, but does anyone remember this?

Well I didn't...
If you want to see the full range of posters, you can view them here where you can marvel at just how crappy they've become in recent years. Seriously, anything since 1990 is watered down, focus grouped, corporate bilge.

So, for the first time in any article I've written about the World Cup, I'll not be including anything from any tournaments I actually watched at the time... yep, not even Mexico 86 gets a look in.

Al Gordon's Top 5 Patrick Kits

Regular Football Attic contributor Al Gordon of God, Charlton & Punk Rock has come up with another cracking article on French kit manufacturers...this time it's Patrick in the spotlight...

Those purveyors of nostalgic footballing memories, Got Not Got, posted an article recently about another French kit manufacturer from the 1980’s, Patrick. With imported French kit design still at the forefront of my mind after my Le Coq Sportif piece, I thought I’d ‘treat’ you all to my five favourite Patrick kits.

I’ve avoided one common template used by the likes of Derby County, Birmingham, Wrexham, Rotherham and Newport County although with its use of fine pinstriping it’s very elegant in its own right. Instead I’ve chosen not just from that golden period, but from designs across the years.

Chris O's Favourite 5... Football Tournament Logos

There’s nothing like a good logo to encapsulate the overwhelming excitement of a football tournament, so here’s my favourite five of all time...

1.  Argentina 78
I don’t know what it is that makes this so pleasing on the eye to me. Perhaps it’s those simple stripes in a shade of light blue so evocative of Argentina (OK, Uruguay too, if you must) or the way they curve sinuously around the ball like a pair of hands. Maybe it’s that clear depiction of the Adidas Telstar ball that had only been introduced eight years earlier but had already become a design classic. Or perhaps it’s the fact that the overall shape of the logo is unique and doesn’t really mean anything specific, added to the clear Helvetica-style font to add an air of friendly importance. All in all, I like it because it's enigmatic but somehow just looks right because all the component parts play their part perfectly.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Golden Age of World Cup Advertising Boards

Way back in 2007 while working on my first football blogsite, Some People Are On The Pitch, I created a weekly feature called ‘The Friday List of Little or No Consequence.’ It took the form of a trivia list featuring silly and irrelevant facts on a given subject you wouldn’t find in an ordinary football reference book. In order to get the Friday List off and running, I started with a list of 11 names that used to be seen on pitchside advertising boards in the late-1970’s, and therein the rather daft tone was set for the 200 or more lists that followed.

As it is, that first Friday List was probably an inspired choice because the humble advertising board, despite being largely overlooked and taken for granted over the years, has actually become an evocative way of dating the football we see on our TV screens. 

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Striker: Raging Against The Machine

Today we welcome Terry Duffelen from The Sound of Football podcast and Bundesliga Lounge who today brings us a wonderful guest post all about his favourite footy video game...

Steve Earle’s Copperhead Road, Socialist Worker, Ernest Hemmingway’s Men Without Women, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lethal Weapon Pinball, Selhurst Park, Guinness and Super Nintendo (SNES). If you were to evacuate my conscious mind in the early Nineties and reassemble its elements as some grotesque Mental Pinterest then those fragments of ephemera are what would be displayed. But if I were to place an extra large pin on one of those elements to give it extra significance it would be the Guinness. However, I’ve not been asked to write about Guinness. I’ve been asked to write about an old video game, so for the purposes of this tortured preamble, I’ll say it would be my SNES.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Rich J's 5 Worst Subbuteo Items

At the recent Socrates meet up, an interesting discussion arose, inspired by our original five top Subbuteo articles (here and here). What were the worst five?

There was an almost unanimous verdict that the worst of the lot was number one on this list, but what would the other four be? Subbuteo produced a raft of accessories so it should be pretty easy to find five terrible ones surely? Well, not as easy as you'd think.

Using the wealth of info on the Peter Upton site, I trawled through them all and if I'm honest, I was hard pushed to complete a top five! While a lot of accessories were superfluous (the police set or 'players warming up' for example), at least they added to the atmosphere and they were only ever intended as diorama figures, so here I'm concentrating on things which seemed to either serve no purpose whatsoever or were just bad at what they were designed to do. are my five worst Subbuteo items.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Le Coq Sportif

We love football kits here at the Attic and it's with great pleasure we present another fantastic guest post from Al Gordon of God, Charlton & Punk Rock charting the French manufacturer's assorted attire down the years. 

As each new football season starts, the topic of kit design is high up on the agenda for supporters worldwide. Every fan has, as a minimum, a passing interest in their club's attire. Many of course will be parting with, what is this day and age, a small fortune to own a replica and with most clubs now only keeping a shirt for one season, this debate raises itself more often than ever before.

My club, Charlton Athletic, have switched to Nike but as I look back I fondly remember one of my favourites being supplied by French manufacturer le coq sportif.  More of that later, it’s the designs from three decades ago that I want to concentrate on.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Esso Collection of Football Club Badges, 1972

Football club badges somehow seemed to matter more in previous decades. Pick up any book or magazine and they were everywhere, as if it was your duty as a young child to memorise and appreciate the graphic identity of every team. This was never more apparent than in The Esso Collection of Football Club Badges from 1972.

Esso had already achieved incredible success with the now-famous England World Cup Coin Collection of 1970 but were keen to reinforce their position as the favoured petrol supplier for English fans everywhere.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

At last - we're on Facebook!

Yes, it's true. The Football Attic finally has a page on Facebook and you're all invited to 'Like' it!

When we started out back in November 2011, we decided to ease ourselves gently into the murky world of social media. We didn't want to rush into anything, so we created our Twitter account first of all and waited to see if there was any negative fallout. With news reaching us that nearly 600 of you have since followed @FootballAttic, it's fair to say we're far from disappointed at the outcome, so thanks to all of you for that.

After Twitter, we dallied with Google+ and created a YouTube account but we always kept a Facebook page back as a last resort. We were never quite sure whether it was strictly necessary, but now we've decided to give it a go.

So what will you find on our Facebook Attic page?  For a start, lots of notices telling you about the great stuff we're providing for you on this blog site, but that's not all. We'll be spiralling off into all kinds of directions discussing the football nostalgia topics we know you love and getting you to interact with us too. We'll even tell you about great nostalgia material on other blog sites, because we're rather nice like that.

All in all, we'll hopefully provide you with a wonderful extra outlet through which we can satisfy your appetite for everything from Panini to Subbuteo. Just visit, 'Like' our page and spread the word.

Thanks very much and have fun!

Chris O and Rich J.

Steven Gabb's Top 5... World Cup Shirts

Yet more suggestions for the best World Cup Shirts now from Steven Gabb from the excellent blogsite Spirit of Mirko who has come up with his own mixed bag in more ways than one...

United States (1950, home)

Some kits are classics because they are stylish, others because they were used during a particularly successful era for a team. But to be a true classic I think the perfect storm of a wonderful performance and a great design are required. This is certainly the case for USA's 1950 kit. Not only is it smart - it's a truth universally acknowledged that the best kits feature a sash - the US recorded one of their finest ever international results wearing it, a 1-0 victory over Tom Finney's England.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

I've Got Stripes: The five most wretched striped football shirts of all time

Ed Carter returns with a fabulous guest post all about the place of the striped shirt in football history...

Listeners to the latest Football Attic podcast will now be fully aware that I have become part of the problem. The problem, specifically, is the way the world of football fans dotes on the Peru international kit. But we love sashes. Sashes on kits are brilliant things and, moreover very difficult to mess up.

Stripes, on the other hand, are a different matter. My own team are Brighton and Hove Albion, so I dote on striped shirts. Brighton of course once famously had a kit with striped shorts as well, by way of demonstrating the massive inadvisability of doing that.

There's another magical aspect to striped football shirts of a sort unrelated to sartorial concerns: teams who wear them underachieve magnificently. The last time a team who wore stripes as their first choice kit won the English football league championship was Sunderland in 1935/36 and the last FA Cup winner in stripes were the largely otherwise stripe-free Coventry City in 1987. The last team who are regular striped shirt wearers to prevail in football's oldest competition: Southampton, in 1976. And naturally, they weren't wearing their red and white striped shirts that day... the impossible glamour of the no-hoper is hard to overlook.