It’s pre-Christmas guest blog time and the return of a regular voice, Alex Bain, who takes us back to football in the 1950s and 1960s. He compares then to now and, I should warn you… it’s not pretty.
Having watched football since the late 1950s up to the present time, so much has changed and it’s not all for the good or the better.
I was once told rugby was played by gentlemen and football was played by hooligans. Just now I would change the footballing description to that of self-serving, money-dominated cheats rather than hooligans.
In today’s game, players get the best medical treatment, play on snooker table smooth pitches and get paid a King’s ransom. Even in the lower leagues, they are on a basic £30k a year so it’s not a bad life for them in so many ways.
A player recently couldn’t find a stylist in Manchester to do his hair so he paid for a limousine to collect the chosen one in London to be taken to his home for the haircut. That really is a case of having too much money. I cannot envisage the top players of the 1950s and 1960s doing that.
Today we are flooded on TV and other media with managers telling us what is wrong with the game and that it needs fixing, it’s simple. Stop being on TV and do the job you are paid to do, as in manage your team. Fix your own problems.
After every game managers moan about the referee’s bad decisions and why VAR isn’t being used enough then complain that the same system is ruining goal celebrations, taking the fun out of the game and only backing up a referee’s bad decisions.
Sky TV have a tame retired referee who reviews all controversial weekend decisions but at no time has he proved a decision has been wrong but simply tells us why the referee came to that adjudication. BT and other media outlets have followed in this and on occasions their refereeing pundits will call out wrong decisions made, so is it that hard to be honest instead of toeing the referees’ union line and protecting your old friends?
It has been announced that neither the FA or the EPL will take action regarding a manager that inferred a referee had possibly only got one out of three key decisions right. Said manager appeared to confront the referee on the touchline during the game and got carded, then again at both half time and full time on the pitch and lastly in the tunnel. In any other job this would be called harassment and his last complaint was that the home club hadn’t supplied enough sanitiser for his hands for when he touched chairs or doors during the visit.
I always carry a small bottle of hand gel with me. It’s no problem to leave it in your matchday bag or even pop it in your pocket as I do.
Do referees have it hard or do they make it hard for themselves? That will be hard to fathom, as supporters we all think and have questioned their parenthood at times and like most people, they interpret the rules as they see them. No two referees will give exactly the same response to any given incident.
So are they hung out to dry by their appointed management, who possibly know which refs get abused more at one club than another, so why give them those particular games? Also if an official declares support for a hometown team then don’t give them a game against a local rival in which to officiate.
Schedules in the ’50s and ’60s were drawn up by a small team in Lytham St Anne’s [the old FA HQ] and common sense was applied wherever possible to the deployment of referees.
Evening games were allocated as locally as possible so no ref was forced to travel from one end of the country to the other,
Derby games were at Christmas or Bank Holidays, which also saved travel time and congestion both on roads and public transport.
We now have complete chaos looming for Norwich City fans with a recent midweek game in Newcastle and many more surely to follow.
With today’s technology, a computer can be programmed to make sure that the greater the distance, the more those games are for a Saturday or Sunday. Even the TV companies can’t moan at that, surely?
And for all those planning to attend a game in the near future, my take on conspiracy theories and covid is that I have a passport for all the vaccinations I have been given over the years due to working overseas with dates, times and expiry dates
As children there was no option at school muster: sleeve up, jab, sleeve down, back to class. Make no fuss.
We were told it was to help stop the spread of many life-threatening germs that can migrate either by touch, cough or sneezing in close proximity to others and that we are all responsible for our own and others’ health and safety.
Keep well and stay safe, everybody.
How true sadly since sky became involved its become more and more about the money and they play all week . Football really was football back in the day . Now its a joke in comparison .
Reply further down Jim thanks for the reply
Andrew Delf says
Enough of your shenanigans and home truths Alex Bain. Common sense, honesty, sporting integrity it will never catch on. What the hell was the footballer thinking when he signed on the dotted line, surely he considered the inconvenience to his hair stylist by moving away from the epicentre of the coiffure universe.
I thought you where hard on the refs, only 97% of them are completely star struck and utterly useless. Although the remaining 3% don’t immediately spring to mind.
Surely you couldn’t have been referring to that well known German scouse manager as the complainant in your article. That doesn’t seem at all likely.
The best part that makes me laught is that Paul Tierney has been select to run the VAR for the Liverpool V Chelsea game so Klopp can have another shot at him
Herr Cutz says
Alex, I guess you and I are a similar age, football in the good old days. Leather studs in football boots with massive toecaps that were needed to welly a leather and bladder ball. Pitches that were generally mud or iron hard scrub. The magic bucket of water and sponge, no subs. Shoulder charges, sliding tackles, brain rattling headers,, full backs, midfielders and forwards with tricker wingers. Crowds with individual loud voices giving advice, rattles, and you could stand in different ends each half to watch your team kick in, if there were room to move. A beer crate to stand on as a kid. Players who were fit enough to train for half a day and never strayed far from their part of the pitch. I loved every minute of it.
Yeah 71 last October and with the life I have lived that a miracle
I can remember turning up at Carrow Rd given a shovel and asked to help clear the pitch for a game against Leicester highlighted by Frank Worthington wearing tights during the game and last week the Burnley V Spurs game gets called of as the ball wouldn’t bounce on the snow.
Thanks for the reply but the footballers of today don’t appreciate what they have that’s for sure
Tim BALL says
My memories of referee’s of the seventies were that they seemed better than now, but maybe that’s time playing tricks on me.
I remember Roger Kirkpatrick, or Mr Pickwick as we youngsters called him, was an excellent referee.
And I do think they were perhaps not so blinded by the light that is the EPL and therefore a bit fairer.
I love the story that after Terry Bly scored twice against Manchester United at Carrow Road in the FA Cup 3rd round in 1959 he then went on to the bus station to get his bus back to Aylsham.
No limousine for Terry in those days.
As regards the player who went from Manchester to London I think we can all guess who that was.
Players today are on so much money they can basically just stop trying, many do and we may have one here now.
Paul Merson wasn’t too happy with a Arsenal player this week who returned to training a day or two late. The said player is on a reported £ 350,000 a WEEK ! As Merson said had he needed his wages to cover his rent like in the old days you can bet he wouldn’t have been late back reporting to training.
Micah Richards has admitted too much too soon, along with injury to be fair, affected his career immensely.
But we live in a world now that top footballers are more like movie stars, and there is a notion which I do agree with that the players of the 50’s and 60’s were vastly underpaid by greedy owners/chairman and it is they who entertain us so therefore deserve the most financial reward.
The trouble is certain players abuse this, flying off here there and everywhere but not being available for matchday, we see it at Arsenal now and a few years ago, we see it at Manchester United now and a few years ago a Chelsea player sat on his backside for the duration of his four year contract.
It is all about balance.
There were a couple of referees from the Yarmouth area when I was about 17yrs old – can’t remember them ever doing the job at Carrow Road even when they were about town people gave them stick but mostly with great humour.
I suppose as we get older we like to think our time was better just as those before us, I just wonder how Greaves, Law, Best and many more would have played on the pitches today, let alone get paid such high sums.
1953 the FA Cup was won by Blackpool and the team travelled home on the same train as the supporters with the cup being paraded through the train.
Beer has improved. If nothing else the youth of today do not have Watney Red Barrel to endure. To call it grim would be praise!
That was good at cleaning toilets. Red Barrell wasn’t a beer. To think Bullards and S&P disappeared for that crap
What about Whitbreads Trophy like Red Barrel brewed so they say for local taste as it never tasted the same in 2 counties.
Merry Christmas and have a good one
Jim Davies says
Red Barrel was so weak it could have been legally sold in the States during prohibition!
martin penney says
You’re certainly right about the school jabs. I will never forget my BCG in I think 1971 when we were all herded in by the PE teacher to prevent any attempt at escape.
After we had faced the multi-pronged monster the nurse asked us to run out holding our left arms and screaming in mock agony to *reassure* those next in line.
I had that tiny scar for years before one of my several tattoos covered it up. Fair play to the school though, they tried to mix a bit of fear and fun together to make it a little less traumatic.
In this era we would be offered counselling.
I went to the old General hospital in Great Yarmouth for a tetanus and was asked left, right arm or backside I chose the arm 😅
Today the club Captains have had a conference call led by Henderson of Loserpool and they have announced that the players want more say in when games can or will be played during these unprecedented times, good for bit if a number of the squad have just been to the stylist and it’s raining no games will be played bloody Prima Donna’s
Thanks for the reply
good read. I remember being told by Kenny Brown, back in the day a player wanted a pay rise, Bondy went to the powers that be and was refused. So Bond set up a deal with a Ford dealer getting the player a brand new Ford Cortina or Anglia, almost for nothing.
As much as I enjoy watching the game on TV, Sky especially has too much sway, they can dictate when and how to change a kick Off time. Remember Sunderland a few seasons back changing the KO, making terrible for City supporters to get there. Good old Match of the Week (remember that) just turned at whatever KO and recorded the match.
Todays efforts is cruel and critical by the way they judge almost every kick of the match makes me fume, especially when these so-called experts clearly take no time to know the City players (sure other clubs have this too) Referees are belittled on a regular basis by VAR and commentators, Coaches try and influence the game from the tech box. Players crowd a ref to get a booking or sending off. All by overpaid spoilt brats, sometimes I wonder why I bother to watch it.
Ron Saunders and his jollies up St James hill, his railway sleeper box at Trowse, I was on Mousehold one day when the players were running up the sandy hill, Saunders leading the way, shirt off and cajoling the players, David Cross got near me, went to the side and was throwing up, along came Saunders shouting get up ya lazy Bar Steward and run, looked at me as said bloody well join in. Buggar you, I replied. Good Gawd, players would point blank refuse today as he found out at Man City . What good days. football more enjoyable
Soon as soon as Sky involved , the bosses at Premiership got bigger wallets, players from overs seas came to ride the gravy train
I rely on TV as not got a season ticket, I use it but really don’t like it. whenever City are on, it always more about who they are playing. I do tend to listen to Chris Goreham at least he is a fan.
Jim Davies says
Lad, you’re very brave, telling Ron Saunders to bugger off, it’s a wonder you’re still here to tell the tale!
Having lived in so many places since I was 18 and now retired I had to rely on the world service or getting an imported paper that hadn’t been butchered by the local customs.
Many a time I purchased a paper and because of an advert, picture or a few unsavoury words a full page would be missing or a bottle of ink poured on the added area so both sides were unreadable.
Sky has it good points but I miss the the sports passport that you paid a subscription for and it showed other football media like Satanta under the same one off fee now it’s a completely separate fee for BT so too expensive for a retired old fogey like me
I wonder if the refereeing in those days was any better or is it the case that nowadays cameras cover every inch of the pitch in greater detail? As I remember when coverage was the highlights broadcast by Anglia on a Sunday not much was made of the Ref’s decisions.
With regard fixtures I’m sure that in the past City and Ipswich home fixtures never clashed so that fans could watch both teams. I can remember being told that fans would go to watch both teams.
It’s all about nostalgia really and I agree was Referee’s better in the 50’s or 60’s it just seems that they went about their job without a fuss and before the card system got less hassle from players.
Players mostly didn’t try and con them, try to get another player sent off and worst of all roll around the pitch when fouled then looking to see if the Ref is looking in his direction if not jumping up and tearing after him to complain.
One comment said by Klopp was that his team didn’t get the penalties they deserve and ManU get too many that sums up the game from his perspective
Thanks for the reply have a great festive season of good will to all mankind especially football managers
The record fee £100m paid for a player. Who does not make the team each week. Then misbehaved and him and another England player dropped.
Then at the other end of the scale, it seems the Hull City are up for sales for £30m.
So how does a player, who will be a declining asset, be 3 times more that a complete football club.
I love football, but simply hate what it has become. The cheating, diving, money grabbing by players, clubs and , TV companies , enough is enough for me.
Like Alex I’ve been going to Carrow Rd since 1960. But I have given my season ticket for a relative to use for the rest of the season. (As it’s already paid for) then that’s it for me.
I made a comment some time back about clubs going out of business along the lines that a pundit that owns a football club should keep his big mouth shut.
He was blaming the FA for allowing his families club go to the wall and saying that the government should step in and help save these community assets.
Neville boasted that his Mother and Father had worked for decades trying to keep Bury a founding member of the Football League afloat but finally died yet the FA gave other teams longer to find financial help.
If this club was so close to his family why didn’t he and his brother ride to their rescue, yes a club is a community asset but owner by a private concern and no the government shouldn’t ride to it’s rescue just to save it’s owner from bad management
Thanks for the reply have a great festive season
Alex B says
A simple game for the masses banned by a king as it would deter the Archer’s from practice it’s been around along time and too many people especially Le Frogs trying to reinvent it, bring back the good old days
“Midfield Mike” says
I personally would have enjoyed a different era of football and living in different times, no doubt about it. Thanks for the article.
My last article actually contained “theatrical prick” Ronaldo for so many of the reasons you’ve just described!
Thanks MM too many Prima Donna’s have a great festive season
Richard Hutson says
The referees from Great Yarmouth mentioned in an earlier post would likely be Alf Gray and Norman Burtenshaw. Obviously from the good old days when referees wore black kit. Thanks for giving us all chance to have a bit of a moan!
My pleasure and yeah those are the two Referee’s didn’t Norman B do the FA Cup final as his last game before retiring and had a shop near the Bradwell.
Thanks for the reply have a great festive season
Richard Hutson says
Hi Alex, he did referee the 1971 cup final and 1972 League Cup Final before retiring at the end of 1972/73: It was though a common occurrence to give a referee the cup final honour in his last season. I know he did own a newsagent shop afterwards but am not sure of it’s location. He also famously sent off George Best in a game against Chelsea. Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
Alex B says
If you remember a pub called the Archer’s in Bradwellby the side of it was a few shops a Bakers and Butchers and a newsagents I think it was that one