“Your smashing left-foot volley sends the blood to my brain. Kick me with your leather boots, kick me hard again.”
“Leather Boots” lets us recall those football-related ‘bits and pieces’ which we feel merit one more mention, one more thought, before they are allowed to pass into the swirling cesspit of oblivion known as history. Borne or prized, desired or despised, these are the oddities which make ours “The Beautiful Game”.
Here’s some of ours. Let us know yours.
SHOOT! LEAGUE LADDERS
The most important single thing to happen in football since 1938.
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 phone updates, no internet, no Xbox FIFA games. This was entertainment and by such things is the history of the world punctuated.
THAT ZAIRE BLOKE
You all know the one.
The one in the 1974 World Cup who, whilst standing in a 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.
The song’s lyrics aptly sum up every normal kid’s childhood years from back then.
From the frustrations of setting up and playing Scalextric and subbuteo 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.
Hamilton can keep their Fergie. East Stirling their Mad Bill. We had Jim.
Disappeared off the face of the earth, almost as mysteriously as he appeared.
The Fintry Fifer. Silky Soccer. The man who always wore that same yellow and black East Fife top rain, hail, sun or snow. Nothing else on top of it, but they breed them hard up Tayside way.
He was a cult figure and even had his own brilliant column in AFTN. The first time I met him, I had to show him ID to prove who I was as he didn’t believe me!
Then he vanished. Was he an angel, sent to get us through those difficult Murray years and put a smile on our faces? Who knows, but the games have never been the same without his cries of “silky soccer” and “up my end Fife”.
Britain was split into twelve areas and Eastern Town covered the East of Scotland.
They got gubbed every week.
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.
There was also such inventive names as North London, East England, and Northern Town. An interesting “futuristic” idea, but with some dreadful lack of thought going into the names. Could still be the future of football in the UK mind.
Quite simply the best film ever made.
A film you could relate to, about people like us. Football, humour and adolescent lust.
And, who by the end of it all was Gregory’s girl?
His wee sister.
Aah, the romance.
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.
Nowadays, the irony is these are a bit harder to come by on ebay and the likes.
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.
Great to see them still around today. 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’ve done the last few World Cups.
Was still some short though. And still never got round to sending off for them.
As a teenager growing up in Thatcher’s Scotland of the 1980’s, you needed as much joyous TV escapism as you could and it didn’t come much better than rushing home from school twice a week to watch MURPHY’S MOB to see their latest scrapes and escapades, which of course were always more exciting than your own!
Broadcast on ITV from 1982-1985, running to four seasons and over 50 episodes, Murphy’s Mob was set around the long suffering young fans of Third Division Football Club Dunmore United (sound a familiar setting!), as they set up their own Junior Supporters Club and their day to day lives and adventures.
Dunmore played in yellow, red and black. No surprise with the show being filmed at Watford’s Vicarage Road ground.
For me there were two real stars of the show, whose performances still stick fresh in my mind today. Ken Hutchison, a Scot, who played Dunmore’s manager Mac Murphy and Lewis Stevens, who played the oft come upon comedy genius that was Wurzel.
Long overdue a DVD release, we can only live with our vague memories of Auf Wiedersehen Pet’s Gary Holton’s theme tune – “find another place cos you can’t play here” – and the childhood wonders of why we never had such a cool clubhouse for young fans at East Fife.
Read more about Murphy’s Mob, including an interview with Wurzel from the series, HERE.
Memories are made of these. What would yours be? Relive and rekindle your childhood and opinion forming days with fondness. Share your own memories and suggestions to add to the feature or just sit back in a comfy chair and allow those distant memories from a past life to keep dragging you back.