As difficult as it may be for some of you, young, internet-generation, foul-mouthed, whippersnappers to believe. There were once the good old days of football. These were days when the closest any footballer got to a fashion deal was George Best opening a boutique, a WAG was when George Best shagged the latest Miss World and football managers used to scout players by going to watch them in person, rather than on Youtube.
One of the biggest differences between now and those halcyon days, are the pitches. The modern pitch and groundsman has every concievable accoutrement to enable him to present a beautifully smooth surface for players to play hoofball on. It wasn’t always the case. In the golden era, pitches were a different kettle of fish. Grass was optional and often disregarded altogether for a muddy, congealed surface that would break up to resemble a chocolate brownie at the first sign of any rain. Players boots were 50% leather, 50% wellington to cope with the gelatinous muddy mess that the ball would often get lost in.
In those days, a groundsman’s basic tools for the job consisted of three things. A hand pushed mower, a little line marking machine that was wooden and looked like it had been cobbled together by a local scout pack in bob-a-job week and a bucket with a brush. Undersoil heating was the thing of science fiction fantasy. The result was pitches that saw, in many cases, the ball become incidental as teams battled bravely against the elements that conspired against them as you can see in this video;
Nowadays, commentators say pitches are cutting up, should a few errant sods be turned up here and there. Compare this to the 1970’s where the only green on most pitches were near the four corner flags and the centre of the pitch from goalmouth to goalmouth, resembled nomans land. So while fantastic playing surfaces have done much to improve things for players, lets not forget the good old days when playing on a vegetable patch, in the pissing rain, was common place not just in Sunday league, but also at professional level too.