Manchester United Vintage 1966-69

EnglandMore retro Manchester United Vintage images from the peak years of the Matt Busby era. Few would have imagined it at the time but United’s 1967 title win would be Busby’s, and indeed the club’s last for a quarter of a century.

This was probably the most important of Busby’s five championship wins as the resultant European Cup campaign was the one that set United on the road to becoming the first English winners of Europe’s premier competition.

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A Lot Of Balls 1963-66

A Word From Our SponsorsMore ball manufacturer marketing from the mid-1960s as part of our A Lot Of Balls series. What’s noticeable about these times is just how many companies were out there competing in the replica ball market – and how most of them are now sadly long-defunct.

Minerva, Stuart Surridge, Slazenger and Spall are among the manufacturers featured with each tripping over themselves to boast of their celebrity endorsements or the major games in which their balls were used. Spall reaped the benefit of a lengthy and high-profile association with Bobby Moore, while we hope that Minerva’s boast about supplying the official ball for the 1963 England v Scotland Amateur international sounded rather less forlorn at the time than it does now.  

Johan Neeskens Vintage

NetherlandsMichels, Cruyff and Neeskens: the three men who best defined the transformation of the Dutch game in the 60s and 70s from footballing backwater to world force. The trio was an interesting mix of styles and personalities who individually drew on many of the qualities associated with other great footballing nations.

Hungary invented many of the ideals behind total football and the brilliant Rinus Michels followed the tradition of the many great Magyar coaches who adapted and innovated tactically to create wonderfully progressive football teams. Johan Cruyff was to all extents and purposes a Brazilian in Dutch clothing. Outrageously skilled and blessed with huge self-belief and natural confidence, his sheer audacity and impudence inspired a generation of Dutch footballers to believe they too could be equals with the best players from the world’s more established football powers.

And then there was Johan Neeskens, a footballer who would have looked right at home playing for the azzurri had he been Italian-born. He had the lot. A right back who became a world-class midfielder with a prodigious work ethic; Neeskens could pass, tackle, defend, attack and score regularly. His Italian-specific qualities took in his supreme tactical awareness, his game managing capability and a willingness to deploy fiercely pragmatic use of the dark arts against opponents when it suited him.

This Vintage post features some of our favourite images of our favourite 1970s Dutch footballer. All picture rights reside with their owners.

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Squandered – Barcelona 1981-82

SpainThere’s an accepted modern-day footballing rule of thumb that suggests if you want to add skill, craft and guile to your team then go out and sign Spaniards. Just a few short decades ago this situation was the polar opposite. The highest profile Spanish players of the early 1980s were more kicky-hacky than tiki-taki and La Liga’s creativity was mostly contracted out to its big name imports. Barcelona were little different: West German midfielder Bernd Schuster and the Danish winger Allan Simonsen supplied the stellar quality, while their teammates of Spanish provenance – whether the hardened veterans or the fierce youngsters – did the dirty work around them.

SquanderedThe evergreen striker Quini was an honourable domestic exception and Barcelona relied heavily on his goals. In March 1981 he was kidnapped and by the time he was released unharmed 25 days later, the club’s title push that season had collapsed with just a single point collected from the four games he missed. Approaching the 1981-82 season and determined not to show the same fragility, Udo Lattek’s appointment as new coach made sense on several levels.

The German was known for his motivational ability and he was expected to bring the best out of both Schuster and Simonsen having managed them successfully in the Bundesliga. In a bold move he appointed Schuster as club captain, the extra responsibility Lattek reasoned might help curb the wayward excesses that often undermined the midfielder’s game.

Udo LattekA 4-0 hammering in the Nou Camp by Köln in the Final of their own Juan Gamper tournament did not augur well, but once the domestic season got underway competitive form was much more encouraging: Alexanco was in towering form at sweeper, Simonsen was irresistible on the right wing, Quini was putting away goals in his easy, unruffled manner and at the heart of everything was Schuster.

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FA Cup Final Vintage 1957-79

England flagAs part of our build up to the FA Cup Final this weekend, today we have our second Cup Final Vintage post dedicated to some of the wonderful photos taken of happy fans preparing for, or enjoying their team’s big Wembley day out. All picture rights rest with their owners. Missing credits available on request.

 

 

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FA Cup Final Vintage 1913-56

England flagHowever much the BBC marketing department might tell you otherwise, the FA Cup Final isn’t and never will be the momentous event it once was. I’m Scottish and while our Cup Final was a big event in each season’s calendar, unlike its English counterpart it really never came close to being a cultural occasion that fascinated an entire nation one Saturday in May each year.

Following a club that battled all the way through to a Wembley Final was a thrilling event in the life of a football supporter and we’re dedicating a couple of Vintage posts this week to some of the joyous photographs taken over the decades of fans enjoying their Wembley day out. All picture rights rest with their owners. Missing credits available on request.

 

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Bill Nicholson – The Player

England flagWhile Spurs claim to have aspirations as top four contenders, the reality is that this has been another subdued season for the club. There was a Wembley Final appearance of course along with wins over Chelsea and bitter rivals Arsenal, but a finish in the Europa League placings will do little to appease the supporters.

Chairman Daniel Levy insists that if the club are to break into the Champions League places on a consistent basis, they simply have to move to a new stadium. Earlier this month that switch began in earnest with the removal of the entrance gates named after the very man whose success the club has been trying to emulate for over forty years.

Bill Nicholson, TottenhamDespite what Tim Sherwood might say, Bill Nicholson was the most successful manager in the history of Tottenham Hotspur. In 16 years at the helm ‘Billy Nick’ secured a League Championship, three FA Cup and two League Cup wins. Spurs became the first club in the 20h century to complete the mythical Double and there was European glory to accompany the domestic success too. Nicholson oversaw the first British side to win a European trophy – the Cup Winners Cup in 1963 – then added the UEFA Cup nine years later for good measure.

His managerial record is well-known, but those of us who began watching the team at the end of his time there have only vague knowledge of Bill Nicholson the player. Sadly his exploits on the field are not so comprehensively documented, but during a long career he did manage to break one national record that’s unlikely to ever be superseded .

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