Norwich City Vintage 1959-72

EnglandOur first of two Norwich City Vintage posts collects up some striking player and team imagery spanning the period from the late 1950s through to the early 1970s. This fascinating era in the club’s history corresponds with the sharp upswing in fortunes that brought memorable moments for fans each season between 1959 and 1962. In 1959 there was an FA Cup semi-final appearance as a Third Division club; 1960 saw promotion to Division Two; 1961 brought an impressive fourth-placed League finish and in 1962 the club’s first major trophy was claimed with victory in the Final of the League Cup against Rochdale.

Just to tidily bookend things, 1972 was another great year for the Canaries with Division Two championship success seeing the club ascend to the top flight for the first time in its history. And as an aesthetic aside; the Norwich City colours look just fantastic on simple, old-style shirts.

Click on any of the images to open the gallery.


Gola Boots 1963-70

A Word From Our SponsorsThe brand name of Gola is one that will resonate with the great majority of British men over the age of 30. If you owned any of their products then it’s most likely to have been trainers, tracksuits or vinyl bags, but for many years Gola was active in football boot manufacture too. This post takes a retrospective look back at some of those boots and the advertising that supported them.

We focus firstly on Gola’s 1960s advertising push to become big players in the rapidly expanding sportswear market. While football boots were never really a core segment for Gola to the same extent as a lot of their market rivals, it was one the company felt it had to be involved in. Creating the perception that this was a serious sporting company was important to help create a halo effect for the brand by association.

The strategy of using player and team endorsements to sell boots followed the industry’s marketing template to the letter. Gola lacked the budgets of Adidas or Puma to sign up the biggest names, but they still built a decent stable of player tie-ins as we see from the gallery. Gola had a long running association with Liverpool dating from the mid-60s that became increasingly valuable as the Anfield side gradually became a more dominant force in the English game.

Antonio ‘Kamikaze’ Rattín

ArgentinaThanks to that notorious sending off in the ill-tempered 1966 World Cup Quarter Final against England, Antonio Ubaldo Rattín will be forever immortalised as the public face of Argentina’s snarling and attritional late 60s style. Which is a little unfair.

Antonio RattinRattín was no rent-a-thug bully like many of the low on quality, high on intimidation defenders that emerged from Argentina during that era. The long-serving Boca Juniors mainstay was a fine player and a number five in the classic Argentinian tradition: a powerful and influential deep-lying midfielder who broke up opponents’ moves and initiated Boca’s attacks in a composed, no-nonsense manner.

His dismissal in that particular game was not for violent play, rather for continual protestations to a referee who could not understand a word he was saying. The whole unfortunate incident was more a reflection of growing cultural differences between Europe and South America with regards to what did and did not constitute acceptable player practice.

Antonio Rattin.jpgTalented footballer as he was and unfortunate as he might have been at Wembley that July afternoon, this is not to say that Rattín was totally averse to using black arts when it suited him. Some years after his retiral he spoke to El Gráfico magazine about the 1963 Copa de Libertadores Final in which the Boca Juniors team he captained was involved.

Boca could boast a strong team that year with an especially potent attack featuring the prolific José Sanfilippo playing alongside the Brazilian forward, Paulo Valentim. But their opponents would be the mighty Santos with their dazzling line-up of stars like Pelé, Lima, Coutinho, Zito, Gilmar, Pepe and Mengálvio. The Brazilians were reigning South American and World Club champions and their reputation had gravitated to a level where they superseded even Real Madrid as global icons of improbable skill and exotic glamour.

Antonio Rattin, Boca JuniorsBoca’s players and management accepted that Santos were strong favourites to win, but Rattín and coach Aristóbulo Deambrossi disagreed strongly about the approach the Argentinian side should adopt to try to negate this advantage. Deambrossi wanted to play an open game to bring his talented front pairing into play as much as possible, but his captain had something a whole lot more cynical in mind. In a statement that demonstrated a contrary mix of self-effacement, self-sacrifice for the greater good and utter shamelessness, Rattín explained how he thought Boca could prosper.

“I had the perfect tactics worked out but he refused point-blank to have anything to do with them. I was going to provoke Pelé right from the start and get us both sent off. Boca wouldn’t have missed me very much, but Santos wouldn’t have played half as well without Pelé.”

Boca gave a good account of themselves despite losing the Final as expected. José Sanfilippo scored all three of Boca’s goals over the two games justifying his coach’s positive approach to some extent, but it was Pelé’s commanding performances that decided the tie in Santos’s favour.

We’ll never know if Rattín’s drastic proposal might have turned the tie in Boca’s favour, but at the very least his weapons-grade level of cynicism deserves to be recognised. And the football kamikaze tactic where a player sacrifices himself to take out a more influential opponent must surely be overdue a modern revival.

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Motherwell Vintage 1952-66

ScotlandSome retro player and team images starring Motherwell for you today in our latest Vintage post. We join the Fir Park side during the eventful years of the early 1950s when the club developed a reputation as doughty competitors in Cup competitions.

Four Finals were reached between 1951 and 1954 with two lost and two won – the League Cup in 1951 and the Scottish Cup of 1952. To put these successes into context, these are two of the three major Cup competitions won in the Lanarkshire club’s entire history.

This otherwise successful era was bookmarked with a first-ever relegation from Division One in 1953. It would be just a single season exile but Motherwell’s inability to hold on to young emerging star players like Ian St.John over the following decade meant a forlorn struggle to remain competitive in the top flight.


World War 1 Vintage

WW1Today as part of our regular WW1 series we’re sharing another collection of powerful football images and propaganda posters spanning the years of the conflict.

Although organised football would eventually cease for the duration of the war, playing or viewing the sport remained an important leisure pursuit and a vital morale booster for the armed forces fighting on foreign fields or invalided back home to Britain.


Sheffield Wednesday Vintage 1951-60

England flagThe 1950s was a puzzling decade for older fans of Sheffield Wednesday so used to seeing their team finish in a top three place during the immediate pre-War years.

Holding down a Division One place now became an onerous and often unsuccessful aim with Wednesday suffering three relegations during this decade, offset only slightly by immediate promotion back to the top flight on each occasion.

Some of Wednesday’s 50s star players feature in this first Vintage post dedicated to the club.


Star Strip – Gordon Banks

EnglandSelecting players to feature in the Star Strip series must have been something of a quandary for the editorial team at the Charles Buchan Football Monthly. While it’s understandable that high-profile, big-name stars of the day would be obvious choices; the downside to picking players whose careers were still to peak was strips rapidly overtaken by significant new career developments.

Star StripTrying to second-guess what might happen in a player’s future is difficult of course. When Star Strip featured an ageing Ronnie Simpson of Celtic in 1966, few people could have foreseen the keeper’s late career renaissance that dramatically altered how you would have portrayed his story just 12 months later. The same can’t really be said of Gordon Banks in this particular edition. The Banks Star Strip was published just a handful of months before the 1966 World Cup, a home-based tournament that would be a huge development in the career of any England international – regardless of whether they won the thing or not.

By choosing to tell Bank’s story in cartoon form at that particular moment in time, the result is a career that feels rather small and inconsequential. It’s interesting to note all the same that Banks saved some of his best performances for games against Liverpool. The visual reproduction of Banks in cartoon form is also one of the best in the entire Star Strip series.

Click on the strip to enlarge.

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