Which Premier League manager will get fired first

Friday, 30 July 2010

The Way It Used To Be

What remains in time that didn't fade away?
Sometimes I need to see the way it used to be

Another Premier League season will soon be upon us and after about 6 weeks of non-stop live football and various tantrums thrown by footballers supporters of teams who either haven’t won a trophy for 34 Years (yes you know who you are) and are unlikely to win another trophy for 34 Years (again you can guess who I mean) will start talking about how football isn’t any good anymore and how it was better in bygone days.

The question is though was it?

I mean do we want to go back to an era where Manchester City and Newcastle actually won trophies? I would say no simply because as a United supporter living in Sunderland I was brought up to despise both teams but there is a lot to be said for the merits of a time when Blackpool, Sunderland, Preston North End, Burnley, Swindon Town and Huddersfield Town could win major trophies and Rochdale could reach the League Cup Final.

But were those days really better and if so why?

Prior to the 1970s I would say they were certainly more competitive with 23 teams lifting the League title at some point in their history and the FA Cup over the years has had 41 different winners and 50 different finalists and despite being perceived to have lost some of its lustre there is still a lot of excitement about the competition.

Smaller clubs had nationally recognised stars and internationals who could identify with the ordinary man in the street the way today’s millionaire footballers never will, atmosphere’s at grounds were friendlier although rivalries were strong the hostility and violence that became associated with football did not really take hold until the 1970s and with prices within reach of everyone men and boys went to football matches weekly supporting their local team regardless of fortune. While larger clubs had fans outside their regions they were often as a second allegiance with supporters still going to watch their local teams.

So where did it all go wrong?

Certainly the abolition of the maximum wage made it easier for larger clubs to offer better financial incentives to persuade players to move and with the advent of Sky Sports that has advanced further to the point where ordinary journeymen players receive wages that many fans view as disproportionate to their skills.

Supporters are more disconnected with players and clubs with the community feel of many disappearing as commercial realities have begun to bite.

But I would say that the main cause has been what I call The Rise of the Reds.

Whatever your feelings on the 2 clubs the fact is that since 1972 Manchester United and Liverpool have dominated the English game winning 11 titles each, and United winning 8 FA Cups and Liverpool 5. Adding that to the extended reach of the game due to increased television exposure both in terms of matches broadcast and TV shows such as Superstars and A Question of Sport meant that smaller clubs fans didn’t just start watching bigger clubs on TV but stopped attending their local clubs which with increased prize money and the inception of the Premier League has meant smaller clubs have suffered over the years.

So were the old days better? In many ways yes, teams were more competitive, trophies were more evenly distributed, capacities were higher (although stadium safety is now much better), atmosphere’s were better and I bet the pies even tasted better.

But if the new football stops City, Newcastle and Liverpool from lifting the league title again then I can live with it (but it isn’t necessarily better).

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  1. ADAM!!!! quality mate, briliiant read, well thought out and as ever an absolute pleasure sir... Glad the delusions are back...

    As for old vs new... erm, i dunno, weve always been a "little club" and in my life i have never known any different (born to liverpools reign grew up in uniteds reign will be in my 30s when city dominate)...

    All i can say about the how it was is from teh nostaligic rosae tininted eyes of those who lived it, and old people always lie about the past... But i suppose you get equal tragedies in both systems, the fact that world cup winner had to sell their medal to live is a shit, but also the fact that James Milneris worth 24 million pounds is a shit.. perhaps rather than now or then we need to build a "new" way of doing shit...

    anyway hark at me prattle on and on and on and on...

    loved it mate!

  2. Very true mate, and if you want to look at it from a socio-economic point of view then we can see the inevitability of the 'Golden Era' never returning. Globalisation, both on a corporate (branding of MUFC, LFC etc...) and individual level (the influx of foreigners) has put paid to that. So until there is a total breakdown in the world economy (ecologically or the Chinese) then we shall never see the likes of little Alfie Sidebottom playing for Sheffield Wednesday after cleaning the pro's boots for thruppence ha'penny ever again.

    Sad really, and I just about remember terraces and decent pies.

  3. yep, while Liverpool started dominating, United got relegated and Bolton went to the 4th division, obviously it was all messed up then.

    Now it's all about evil empires and money, a proper reflection on today's society really.

    Whitley Bay is the answer! Well, that and the abolishment of the internet, TV, radio, air travel, tax havens and brightly colored drinks with umbrellas.

  4. I remember standing on the North Bank and East Stand at Roots Hall when it was terraces and seeing Southend beat Derby County at home in the cup while getting whalloped in the league in the 1987-88 season

    Those were the days. And the pies were nice

  5. Nice omne Adam - I agree with much of what you say there - well written mate :)

  6. It's a bit of a catch 22 I suppose, money has made the game better, quality on the pitch, stadiums etc, but at the same time the soul has been sucked out of our beloved game.

    I remember *que Hovis music* going to Highbury in the 70's, standing on the Schoolboys terrace (then climbing over a fence to get into the North Bark), it cost 75p admission, the prices these days are beyond ridiculous. Football will always be the working mans game, unfortunatly the poor guy will have to work three jobs just to be able to afford to go.

  7. Who said football was the working man's game. I don't think so! Or do you? Hell no. But anyways, as things go nowadays, it's the working man's job to create and build them stadiums knowing that he's gonna struggle to just make it. The thing is, if he has to take 3 jobs (Copyright H2H) he won't have time to go to the game because his 2nd employer will want for him to come work on Saturday afternoons, then his 3rd employer wants him to work on Sundays. So it's game over for the working man.
    This is all made sad by the fact that the Tom Cruises and the Paris Hiltons have also developed a liking for the game, therefore them owners of the stadiums, teams, etc want to have those guys in, and that comes with fucking rediculous amounts of demands, that have to somehow be paid for by the working man!!!

    Please don't read my comments, I don't even know who wrote this!!

  8. Cant help but agree with what you say Adam, The reds have tendend to dominate for too long, OK one is going into decline, and yours are not far behind, hopefully.
    Having different challengers might help the England Nat Squad in the medium to long term, not that would interest some of the Man U fans

  9. Morning guys

    This is news to me! Apparently Kanu is only 34? I used to think he is 44 or something
    Kanu stays at Pompeiiiiiiyyyyy

  10. more like 50 I think

    Tone I think extra challengers who don't wear Blue and are not wholly funded by one rich mans wallet are very welcome as long as they only challenge

  11. At least we've won the Emirates cup Adam!!!

  12. And oh, while we're on there, who do you reckon will win the EPL this season?

  13. Three more and the Woes loose top spot

  14. Three more (or is it 2) and the Woes loose top spot

  15. There, done. Happy now!!!! You owe me a beer mate. And if i don't get it, I'll remove my comments...... VirtuALE® it is. Half a pint and with a frosty head

  16. Virtual Beer provided. I feel loads better but I reckon that man RBA will somehow rack up more commenst with his demented tosh that is somehow more funny than half the stuff on telly.

    Reasoned analysis just goes out of the window sometimes

  17. Good blog Adam and I wouldnt disagree with the assumtion here, that in many ways English football is worse for the average spectator

    I couldn't really follow your actual reasoning, though Adam. I assume you were joking when you blamed River Poo and Man U - fair enough. But you were so tantalisingly close to fingering the real culprits when considering the irreparable damage to the concept of community in England:


    Big Business

    International Capitalism

    Mobility of labour (get on your bike!)

    Death to local culture (since there is "no such thing as society")

    higher prices > gentrification (on the terraces, not on the pitch of course)

    digusting wages/greed


    Guess who?????????

    (clue : horns concealed beneath buffant blonde hair-do)

  18. blogdignag said...
    Guess who?????????
    Robert Green

  19. Blog I would guess

    Tony Blair..

    After all football was still affordable during the Thatcher years. It was wen Cool Brittania started and Tone decided he liked footie & music that the cost of attending games and pop concerts went through the roof

  20. Adam, you know I'm on your side, so dont use my name in vain, better the Smiling Teeth, or twat or something similar

  21. You mean "The Grinning Jackanapes" but to be fair you do like football and pop concerts though Tone

  22. CCs blog up and running