Disappearing World: #4 The Football Rattle

Disappearing World: #4 The Football Rattle

Some fan accessories can be written off as fads but some have had an amazing longevity. With certain items their disappearances are welcome of course, whereas some others are missed and I’m not too sure into which category you would place football rattles.

Football rattles were around for many decades then just stopped being seen at grounds. bar the odd retro fan.

Was it like a football chant where everyone just seems to unconsciously know when to stop? Did everyone know when to stop bringing them to matches or did they have a “not to be used after” sticker on the bottom of each one?

It could just have been that everyone got fed up of the noisy buggers at the same time. They were loud. They were annoying. They were great fun though! Good if you were a kid with one, bad if you were standing next to a kid with one!

I did a little research for this article to see when the first football rattles appeared and was shocked to discover one dating back to around 1880, making football rattles one of the first must have fan accessories as the game grew.

They were also originally used as bird scarers. That’s what you want. A multi-tasker! Use them to cheer on your side with Corinthian spirit whilst keeping those pesky crows away from nabbing your Bayview pie (there is no verification that they were once banned from old Bayview as a method of reducing the pigeon population).

Some of our younger readers of course will have no idea what a football rattle is.

No, it’s not something to give to Cristiano Ronaldo when he’s spat his dummy out of the pram once again.

These were masters of engineering design. Simple, effective, a pain on the ears (we’re back to Ronaldo again), and originally made of wood, with ash being the one of choice in the early days. Just twirl them around and around and around ,and the cacophony of that wood on wood clicking noise would strike fear in the opposing team resulting in their goalkeeper having a howler.

You can still buy them but of course they’re nothing like the originals and are usually made of cheap plastic now (tsk). Lots of online retailers stock them, but who buys them? Have you seen one recently at a game?

In the late 90’s my girlfriend at the time bought me one for Christmas. She was very excited as I opened it. Sadly I wish I could have said the same. Still it came in handy in scaring her away a few months later.

They even made it on to the big screen, seen in the excellent French horror film “Them”, when they were used by the evil lurking in the woods to scare the living daylights out of the film’s terrified protagonists.

Now if we could only utilise them like that to get the fear back for the opposition at Bayview. The club shop could do a roaring trade. Wood ones only though please.

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Authored by: GoF

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