Hungary Vintage 1960-68

HungaryHungary is the latest nation to feature in our Vintage series as we share a varied selection of retro images featuring some of their stars of the 1960s.

This was the second great generation of Hungarian footballers. While not touched with the same genius as the Mighty Magyars from the 1950s; with players like Bene and Albert the nation still could boast players of truly world-class talent.

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The Lost Art Of Vasas Budapest

HungaryThis story is a tribute to a quite wonderful example of footballer fecklessness, a trait that you’ll see is in no way the exclusive preserve of the modern player. Back in 1961 Vasas, the club of Budapest’s iron and steelworkers, travelled to France to play a series of tour matches and capitalise financially on their status as new Hungarian champions.

Vasas SCPlaying football for hard cash and the enrichment of western imperialists should have been a practice that was at odds with the tenets of Communism, but such tours were tacitly tolerated as a way of earning much-needed negotiable western currency. Acceptance of the necessity of tours didn’t mean that officials were going to sit back and allow players unfettered exposure to Capitalist temptation in the west, however. To give an ideological counterpoint during such trips, officials would typically arrange a variety of sterile activities for the players when they weren’t playing or training: think farms, factories and collectives rather than beaches, shopping and sightseeing.

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Derby Country Vintage 1973

EnglandOur second Derby County Vintage post assembles another collection of retro player and team images starring the East Midlands club.

It’s all about 1973 here, a year that did not bring silverware but was significant all the same. Derby enjoyed its best-ever European campaign before exiting the European Cup at the semi-final stage, controversially, to Juventus. More telling for the club were the departures of the architects of the club’s successes, Clough and Taylor, who resigned their management roles after a falling out with the board.

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Derby County’s Less Than Champion Choreography

EnglandIt’s December 1974 and two of England’s top teams decide to thank their fans for their support by offering season’s greetings on the pitch before the start of a home game. The players of both Leeds United and Derby Country follow the same approach; a choreographed message spelled out in letters with each player responsible for holding up a board with one of the letters on it.

The Leeds United players show exemplary teamwork to execute the exercise perfectly: the letter order is spot on, the space between Merry and Xmas is in the right place and there’s even a creative flourish with sprigs of holly at the beginning and end to earn extra style points. It’s as unthreatening as you have ever seen Billy Bremner too.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Compare and contrast with the shambolic attempt by Derby County to bid a Happy New Year to their fans. The order of the letters is correct but they’re reading back to front – these top professionals haven’t worked out that if you display a message to one side of the ground, you can’t just turn round and do the same to the opposite side without the message being displayed in reverse. Confusion reigns and there’s no leadership to try to sort out this untidy rabble. Their manager, Dave McKay, famous as a player for leading by example would have been furious.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

You really wouldn’t have thought it but one of these teams showed the teamwork, discipline, character and intelligence to go on and be crowned English champions that season – and it wasn’t Leeds United.

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Subbuteo 1974-76

A Word From Our SponsorsWith sales soaring and every young boy in the land seemingly hunched over that distinctive green baize in some cramped attic, the mid 1970s period we’re covering in this second Subbuteo retro marketing collection was probably table soccer’s golden age. Advertising in these years became more family-centric to try to sell the idea that all the family – not just boys – could participate and enjoy Subbuteo. Personally, I never knew a parent who took the remotest interest.

Always keen to promote the idea that Subbuteo was as close to real football as any simulation could be, we have included an example of their clever marketing tie-ins like the time that the captains of Southampton and Manchester United played out their 1976 FA Cup Final meeting on a Subbuteo pitch as a forerunner to the actual match.

Another spin-off game advertised in this gallery was called Targetman and was aimed at a younger audience (or a cack-handed one like me.) It featured huge players who could kick in any direction and gameplay dispensed with most conventional stoppages like throw-ins and corners.

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.

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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.

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