Brutalist Football Vintage

Brutalist FootballThose who follow our @BeyondTLM Twitter account will probably have noticed our enduring fascination for the magnificent ugly-beauty of 20th century post-war football stadiums. It’s a childhood thing really: when you grow up near the hulking, monolithic edifice that was old Hampden Park, there’s two ways your tastes can develop.

You can detest with Prince Charles levels of passion the concrete carbuncles that were typical of Hampden and the many stadiums constructed or redeveloped in a Modernist or Brutalist style; or you can, like me, harbour an enduring fascination for the harsh angles, monochromatic palette and daunting sense of scale such places convey.

The fine Brutalist Football (@brut_football) Twitter account was started in 2013 by Mathew Britton (@pigeonpost) to cater for those with similar tastes. It’s not been so active over the past 6 months and we’re pleased to announce that we’re taking over it’s running. So do join us there for a celebration of 20th century modern football imagery. Let us whet your appetite in the meantime with this latest Vintage post featuring a selection of stands and stadiums typical of the sort of images you’ll see on Brutalist Football.

Arsenal Vintage 1964-71

EnglandThe second in our Arsenal Vintage series brings you more retro player and team images from the second half of the sixties through to the club’s glorious double year of 1971. Click any of the images to open the gallery.

The appointment of the club physiotherapist Bertie Mee as manager in 1966 would dramatically turn around Arsenal’s dwindling fortunes. Two League Cup Finals were reached and lost, but at least Arsenal were competing for trophies again and their long 18 year wait for silverware ended with Fairs Cup success in 1970. That win was a mere precursor to the main event just 12 months later as Arsenal became only the second club in modern English football history to win the League and FA Cup double.


Retro Shinguards 1968-91

A Word From Our SponsorsThrow some money at a popular star player of the day and selling replica football shirts or boots becomes an easy job for a marketing manager. It’s sales by association and aspiration: the simple art of selling to customers who want to replicate as closely as possible the lifestyles of their footballing heroes in the fanciful hope that some of that magic will wear off on them.

It’s certainly a much easier job than that of the marketing person tasked with selling the shin guard to a nonplussed public. These are worthy and important products for everyone who plays the game of course, but they are the least exciting of football accessories. Does anyone know nor care which brand even the greatest players like Ronaldo or Messi wear?

We have assembled a small gallery of retro adverts showing how shinguard manufacturers did market their products. The physiotherapist rather than the star player is generally king here to emphasise all the clever science that appears to go on in shinguard construction. The most literal of exceptions comes with Sondico’s early 90s advert featuring Ian Rush, Gary Lineker and Bryan Robson as 1920’s era gangsters – protection, do you get it? Give us more hinge and rib-based science instead you boffins!

One Miserable Afternoon in December – The 1973 Scottish League Cup Final

Scotland flagDavid overcomes Goliath in a Cup Final, deservedly, with a late and well-taken winning goal. In the autumn of his career, the captain of the underdogs climbs the steps to lift the trophy having played a significant role in the defeat of the very club with whom he had been a much-decorated legend earlier in his playing days.

While such a compelling narrative is typically the hallmark of a classic Cup Final, appearances can sometimes be very deceptive: this is, good God, the Scottish League Cup Final of 1973 we’re talking about here. This particular occasion was nothing less than a 90 minute compendium of misery; an unholy coming together of all the worst elements the Scottish Football Experience had to offer.

1973 Scottish League Cup Final programmeAn unfancied Dundee led by ex-Lisbon Lion Tommy Gemmell defeating mighty Celtic 1-0 was almost superfluous detail. This was a terrible game at the climax of a moribund tournament, played in appalling weather at a derelict stadium during a national fuel crisis in front of a paltry and apathetic crowd. It’s no surprise the attendance for this game was by some distance the smallest Hampden had ever seen for a major Final.

The reason these two teams wearily trudged to Hampden Park on that foul December day in 1973 depends upon which perspective you prefer: to decide that season’s League Cup competition and win the first major silverware of the season, or just to get that infernal tournament out the way for another year. By 1973 the League Cup was a bloated dog’s dinner of a competition stumbling blindly towards utter irrelevance. With group stages, knock-out matches, one-off games, replays and random supplementary rounds; the format was a perplexingly complex and long-winded attempt to brazenly extract as much gate money from gullible punters as possible .

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Nottingham Forest Vintage 1963-72

EnglandBefore Brian Clough’s reign as manager, Nottingham Forest had long been a club in search of a consistent identity – whether at the forefront or on the fringes of the English game. Their fortunes during the years we feature here swung typically wildly: in 1967 they finished as runners-up in Division One to Manchester United and reached the FA Cup semi-finals; by 1972 they were suffering another of their periodic relegations.

We collect up retro images of some of the players starring for the club during these years in this second Forest Vintage post.


Deceased Eleven 2014

2014It’s a growing BTLM tradition to dedicate the last post of the year to a Deceased Eleven line-up; our recognition of some of the wonderful footballing talent that sadly passed away over the past twelve months combined with an exercise in fantasy team building.

It’s an ominously strong team for this year with the attacking half looking especially potent. The sheer pace and directness of Eusebio, the movement, flexibility and trickery of Finney and the all-round brilliance and leadership of Di Stefano would drive any defence in the world, from their time or from ours, to distraction.

The eleven players selected won nine European Cups between them and appeared for their respective countries 536 times in total. We’ve elected to play our side in a loose 4-2-3-1 formation, though as the late Jock Stein once said, with players of this quality you wouldn’t worry too much about the finer detail – you’d just tell them to go out and play. Click More below to read about our selections.

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Christmas Vintage

Sandro Mazzola, Rino Gattuso, Franz Beckenbauer, Tony Adams, Jimmy Greaves, Peter Shilton and Tommy Docherty would all like to join BTLM in wishing you a very merry Christmas. All these illustrious retro football names and more feature in this Xmas Vintage post.


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