Winter Weather Vintage 1910-50

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! We thought it an appropriate time of year to publish a winter-themed Vintage post featuring those most awkward of bedfellows – football and snow.

Before the days of fancy undersoil heating snow was a greater nemesis of the game than it is now. Pitches had to be cleared by hand and players were expected to slither about in treacherous, rock-hard conditions without a murmur of complaint. On the upside, football blighted by winter weather did inspire some wonderful black & white photography as this gallery ably demonstrates.

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Diego Maradona at Napoli in Five Easy Steps

ArgentinaFive of the Argentinian maestro’s seminal Napoli performances. These clips are fascinating for showing both Maradona’s bewildering ball skills and the often brutal methods opponents would use to stop him displaying them.

Napoli 4 Lazio 0 February 1985
Midway through his debut season, this comprehensive 4-0 home win over Lazio was the game when Maradona came of age in Serie A. The Argentinian scored a fine hat-trick including a wonderful 30 yard lob from the most unlikely of positions.

Napoli 5 Verona 0, November 1985
The visitors were reigning Italian champions but had no answer for Maradona’s dominant performance. He was at the centre of everything good his team did and served up a stunning pièce de résistance with a brilliantly opportunist 35-yard-lob.

Juventus 1 Napoli 3, November 1986
Maradona failed to score in this game only thanks to the brilliance of Juve keeper Stefano Tacconi, but his overall performance – especially in the second half – was perhaps his best in a Napoli shirt. This was the visitors’ first win in Turin for 30 years and the performance still inspires the fondest of memories among supporters to this day.

Bayern Munich 2 Napoli 2, April 1989. UEFA Cup semi-final, second leg
Maradona’s best form during the 1988-89 season came in Napoli’s successful UEFA Cup campaign with Bayern Munich the latest of many sides who just couldn’t contain him. His fine performance in the Olympiastadion featured two assists for Careca,

Stuttgart 3 Napoli 3, May 1989 UEFA Cup Final Second Leg
A pivotal UEFA Cup winning performance by Napoli’s number 10 in the Neckarstadion. He provided two key assists: a headed one for Ciro Ferrara then another for Careca following a brilliant run from the half-way line.

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Blackburn Rovers Vintage 1951-83

EnglandToday’s post in our ongoing Vintage series features retro images of some of post-war Blackburn’s leading lights. The period we’re covering spans the 1950s through to the early 1980s, three somewhat unremarkable decades for a club with such a distinguished early history.

In the immediate post war years Rovers was a second division club that felt its natural place should be in the top flight. Fast forward a couple of decades and by the late 1970s the Ewood Park club had fallen away to become a Division 3 club with aspirations to be in the second tier.

In 1983 the start of the Jack Walker revolution was still a decade away and, with no trophy success since the FA Cup win of 1928, the notion that Rovers would win anything of note again would have been thought of as outlandish by the club’s long-suffering fans.


Will’s Cigarette Cards 1939

EnglandA second post featuring another selection of the great old cigarette card images published by Keith via his cigcardpix id on Flickr. This set highlights a number of English and Scottish League players who starred on cards given away with Will’s cigarettes in 1939.

ScotlandLook out for the images of some very famous players when they were young including Stan Mathews, Stan Cullis of Wolves and Sunderland’s Raich Carter. You can check out these and many other fascinating old cigarette card images on Flickr here.

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Review – All The Way With Celtic by Bobby Murdoch

For more years than we care to remember, second-hand book shops up and down this land have proven to be an irresistible lure for BTLM. We’re always up for a furtive rummage around for old football book bargains and, over the years, we’ve duly acquired a sizeable collection of the classic, the mundane, the obscure and the just plain weird.

We thought we would revisit and review some of our collection here on BTLM, curious as we were to see whether such books offer much to the contemporary reader when read out of their original context. We’ll start this series with a 1970 autobiography by Lisbon Lion and Celtic legend, Bobby Murdoch.

All The Way with Celtic by Bobby Murdoch

(originally published by Souvenir Press in 1970) 128 pages with 12 pages of photos.

Few players epitomised the dyed-in-the-wool Celtic fan turned player better than Bobby Murdoch. From an early age, he knew that Celtic was the only club he wanted to play for and was willing to turn down better terms at Motherwell to sign for his boyhood club on a part-time basis. This was back in a time when it was not necessarily the obvious move you might have thought – Celtic were very much a second-rate club in the late 50s and early 60s.

Murdoch’s early Celtic career soon stagnated and his true talent only really flowered when Jock Stein arrived as manager in 1965. Stein immediately appreciated his ability and cleverly moved him deeper from inside-forward to wing-half. Stein felt this would take better advantage of his excellent passing range and vision, while still allowing him scope to make late runs into scoring positions in the penalty box.

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Power Boots 1966-76

A Word From Our SponsorsWe can imagine the brainstorming session that went on at the British Bata Shoe Company one afternoon when the marketing department was trying to think up a brand name for its new football boot range.

“Let’s try word-association. What word do you associate with thumping a ball hard into a goal net?”
“Umm, how about power?”
“Yeah that’ll do. Right, let’s go to the pub.”

And so the Power Boots brand was born and would spend roughly a decade trying to find a visual identity that didn’t look like an awkwardly plagiarised mix of Gola and Puma’s brand. The sternly endorsing words of Alf Ramsey seemed more of an order than an inducement too.

The Importance Of Being An Innocent Bystander – Kevin Keegan’s Belgrade Misadventure, 1974

England‘Bad luck always comes in threes and starts with a B’ is a variant on a popular old adage that could have been copyrighted by Kevin Keegan during his playing days. Bikes, Bremner and Belgrade: the Liverpool and England forward suffered a personal hat-trick of misadventures during the mid-1970s when he Yugoslaviabecame the unwitting and unfortunate victim of three very different and very painful incidents.

In 1976 the perpetrator was a particularly wobbly bike during a guest appearances on BBC’s ‘Superstars’ programme. Never seeming in control as he pedalled down a track for 100 Kevin Keegan v Belgrade Airport Securityyards or so, Kevin’s precarious battle against gravity was finally lost and he crashed to the ground suffering severe cuts and grazes to his arm, shoulder and back. Two years earlier he had been on the wrong end of a physical battering from Leeds United in the Charity Shield at Wembley. Johnny Giles was to the fore in the tenderisation of the Liverpool man and when he whacked Keegan from behind at a corner, the forward’s considerable patience finally snapped. When Keegan turned round Giles had disappeared, so the angry Liverpool man assumed that Billy Bremner was responsible as he was the closest Leeds player in attendance. A punch-up ensued and both players were red carded, tearing off their shirts as they left the pitch in protest at the decision. There was wide scale condemnation and a lengthy ban for Keegan, but precious little comment about the lack of protection he had received from the match officials.

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