Tuesday, 9 August 2022

The classified football results

It doesn't take much for a media storm to brew. Take something traditional, ditch it without giving any notice, and stand back to assess the damage. Removing the classified football results from the BBC Sports Report programme at 5pm on a Saturday was always going to be a move that would set teeth gnashing up and down the country.

A few caveats: I'm not angry, just disappointed. Yes, I know I'm possibly a dinosaur who should let go of things like this. But I'm still trying to get over the loss of Teletext, so cut me some slack. Yes, I know we all have access to football scores at our fingertips now. Personally I love the fact that checking the latest scores when out and about has progressed since the 80s. But there is surely still a space for something as cherished as the classified football results.

Monday, 8 August 2022

1989/90: Aston Villa v Everton

It would prove to be a pivotal match in the 1989/90 season for both Aston Villa and Everton. A crossroads during the campaign where one team took a wrong turn and the other joined the road that led to a title race. And all of this was played out in front of a live ITV audience on the Big Match.

There was a sense of anticipation as the opening credits rolled and that classic theme tune played on Sunday November 5, 1989. Aston Villa and Everton were potential title challengers, and it was hard to disagree with co-commentator Ian St John when he predicted a score draw between two teams that looked evenly matched.

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

1987: Trouble in Scarborough

It should have been a day of celebration, an atmosphere befitting an historic occasion for anyone associated with the Football League debutants Scarborough. After winning the GM Vauxhall Conference in the 1986/87 season, the club managed by Neil Warnock was about to step into unchartered territory. 

"Very proud, obviously," Scarborough Chairman Terry Brown declared as the crowd filtered into the Athletic Ground on Seamer Road for Scarborough's opening Division Four match against Wolves. "At present, everyone's behaving themselves. The Wolves fans seem very happy. I just hope it finishes like this."

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Defending Chris Tavaré

It's easy to mock. It really is. Take a glance back at a lot of things from the past and the natural reaction is to pour scorn. The Sinclair C5, SodaStream, three channels on British TV, no overnight television, and the national anthem played at closedown. Pound notes. Pah, what a bunch of losers those dinosaurs were in the 80s.

Admittedly some of these things earned derision at the time. But it really is not fair to look back at all our yesterdays through a lens that is obscured by what we live through today. Which is a roundabout way of me attempting to defend an English cricketer of the past that, shall we say, maybe might not have fitted in too well with this brave new world of Bazball that we see today.

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

1982: The Lost Final

Sometimes life can be full of pleasant surprises. Your day can be plodding along and all of a sudden you discover something that brings a bit of buzz. It says a lot about me as a sad individual that my life can feel a little more exciting when I discover a new documentary about a little-known football tournament 40 years ago.

As a bit of a 1980s sports obsessive - I've kept that quiet - you can probably appreciate my sense of anticipation when I heard news of a BBC Scotland programme called The Lost Final. Presented by Pat Nevin, the 45-minute documentary takes a look back at Scotland's triumph in the 1982 U18 European Championships.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

1985: Anne White causes a storm

On the face of it, the first round match at Wimbledon between Americans Pam Shriver and Anne White in 1985 was not expected to provide many headlines. White had never been beyond the third round at SW19, so a routine win seemed the order of the day for number five seed Shriver, a 1981 Wimbledon semi-finalist.

Shriver would progress. But come the end of the match, the actual tennis was very much a sideshow. The reason for the furore would be revealed at approximately 7.20pm on Thursday June 27. As soon as White took off her tracksuit, it was very much a case of hold the front pages.

Monday, 13 June 2022

1983/84: British Home Championship

The tributes after the death of former Northern Ireland manager Billy Bingham inevitably evoked glorious memories. Two World Cup finals tournaments, Arconada...Armstrong, a double over West Germany in a so near and yet so far Euro 84 qualification campaign. Even that Josimar goal was a special moment.

Sandwiched between Spain and Mexico is one particular victory that left a sweet taste in the mouth. Winning the 1983/84 British Home Championship was an achievement in its own right. Only the third time Northern Ireland had won the competition outright, claiming the trophy took on extra significance that season.