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Old 15-03-2021, 02:13 PM
Bipe Bipe is offline
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I have started recording these so I can skim through during the odd quiet moment.

Yesterday I settled down to watch an edition from November 1979, the games were as follows:

Luton vs QPR (featured match, 1st vs 2nd in the old Div 2)
Southampton vs Forest
Everton vs Middlesbrough
And the goals from Sheffield Wednesday vs Barnsley (also Div 2)

First observation - imagine if the BBC or ITV tried to pull off a stunt like the above schedule these days. No 'big six', they would be barred from bidding for the rights for the next 20 years. That was the thing about football back then, if you were a Palace fan (or for that matter a Liverpool fan), then generally speaking you were also a football fan more broadly. Since you didn't have the saturation coverage and very few live games, the highlights packages were taken for what they were without complaint. If your own team was on that was a rare treat, but if not then you were quite happy to sit back and watch other teams in action. As such your knowledge of the leagues and the players gradually expanded over time. These days everything is so much more tribal and football seems dominated by followers (not fans) of one of the big clubs who could not give a shit about the rest of the league.

The Luton-QPR highlights (about 20 minutes) were skilfully edited to create the impression of a pulsating game. 19,000 crammed into Kenilworth Road, up close to the pitch, and the atmosphere was fantastic. Really noticeable how back in those days there was so much less emphasis on trying to retain possession. Teams had much more direct attacking intent and the proportion of forward passes was much greater - sometimes long ball but not always, there were also some fairly intricate passing moves. And the forwards were absolute workhorses who would chase everything. So every time the ball went forward you would get this expectant roar from the crowd in anticipation of something about to happen. The defenders - less skilful than these days and on poor pitches - struggled to cope under the pressure from these attacking nutters snapping at their heels. Quite a refreshing change from watching Benteke amble around.

The game ended 1-1, QPR somehow getting away with a very imbalanced quasi 4-2-4 formation which accommodated the maverick talents of Bowles and Currie alongside Goddard and 18 year old Clive Allen up top. The little shit scored with a great finish, and was presciently picked out by the great Brian Moore afterwards as one to keep an eye on. At one point Luton thought they had scored when the QPR goalie saved a header while standing behind the line. We saw one inconclusive replay and then swiftly moved on, the moment was forgotten about. Seemed better than VAR somehow.

Southampton gubbed European Cup holders Forest 4-1. Saints had an experienced side with Alan Ball pulling the strings and Mick Channon up front. Their fourth goal, finished off by Phil Boyer, was a wonderful sweeping passing move from one end of the pitch to the other.

Thoroughly entertaining fayre anyway, you got a feeling of real earthiness about proceedings compared to today's somewhat sterile and over-marketed product. Having all the matches being played at the same time on a Saturday afternoon also helped, it just felt like everyone was in it together and afterwards the league table would shine a true light on things. You didn't have to wait for all the other bloody games to catch up over the following few days.

Last edited by Bipe; 15-03-2021 at 02:13 PM. Reason: Typo
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