|Footie Traditions That Modern Technology Has Erased !|
Mon 10th Sep 2012 08:45
A look at some of the rituals that have been rendered obsolete by the advent of the digital age.
With the internet and mobile phones that enable you to log on to it and find out the latest news in an instant, the modern day football supporter can find out what is happening at his club in an instant, he is rarely anymore than pressing a couple of buttons away from all the information he wants.
But it wasnt so long ago that things were completely different, for those of us who started watching football in the 70's finding out about your club and its players was a completely different ball game, in short the club programme apart, you only had two outlets, the local paper and the local broadcasting media and neither would be that fast in getting you the news.
Now if a player is signing for Saints everyone knows about it and has googled him withing minutes, back then a quick piece of sports news on Radio Solent and maybe the evening news was all you had and it would be a further 24 hours when the following days Echo came out that you would find out more about the player and even then information was very limited.
But the main problem would be finding out about your teams progress on a Saturday afternoon if you hadnt been to the game, if you didnt sit at home and listen to the radio then it was virtually impossible, Grandstand and World Of Sport were the two Saturday afternoon sports programmes, but they didnt update on games as they would be showing Wrestling or racing, thus one of the big rituals of the post war football fan would take place.
Shoppers in town would start to notice that around 4.40, groups of men and boys would start to gather to stare at shop windows, but not any shop, TV rental stores of which in those days there were a few as not many people actually bought their own televisions, the assembled crowd would be peering intently at the screens of the display models on show at the video printer on screen slowly churned out the results, your team might be one of the early showings, but with around 70 games in England and Scotland it could be a long process.
You could always tell when Saints result came up, a little cheer or a barely audible groan would be followed by the crowd dispersing, Im sure this scene was being repeated in Cities and towns across the country.
At 5pm came only two chances to hear the classified results in full, bear in mind how big the football pools were in those days, for millions it was the chance to find out if they were now rich, the results would be read out at 5pm and then 6pm, if you missed these it was your only chance to get them till Sunday, unless you bought the footie echo of which more later, but at homes across the land at 5 & 6 pm fathers, mums & countless more would be hastily scribbling down the results for when their family returned, for those at the match it was almost impossible to find out the other scores, you probably knew the half time results but as you got the bus home (pubs didnt open till 6pm in Southampton back then) all you had were rumours and if you think rumours are bad these days, they were even worse back then as nobody had much to go on when it came to scores.
At 6pm came the next ritual, at paper shops across the country crowds would gather outside for the arrival of the van that delivered the footie echo or in Southamptons case Pink, this would be the highlight of the week and you had a mixture of Saints supporters wanting the first report of the days game, especially if it had been away and those that played on a Saturday and were involved in amateur football, the back page though was the one everyone wanted to see, it not only had the full results but league tables as well.
When the van pulled up there would be great excitement, the big pile of papers would be placed on the counter, the string cut and for a few minutes all other business suspended in the shop as footie echos were sold to the waiting throng, at that moment there was an unwritten law, you couldnt hold up the shop assistant by wanting something else as well, it was a case of you handed over your money and picked up your paper, no till receipt.
Then the days news would be digested, animated conversations would break out outside the shop and the kids would head home and the men to the pub, in the 70's the footie echo was the font of all knowledge be it about Saints or local sport, it was the bible for local sports fans and would be kept for most of the week and read over and over again.
Youngsters today will find it hard to believe that this was the only way of getting football results, but the truth is it was, the evening news would tell you the top games in the first division before match of the day, telling you to look away if you didnt want to see them and many did, but apart from those couple of full readings and the footie echo that was it till you bought the sunday papers and got them there.
These ritulas went on well into the 90's, in 1989 we had all day opening which meant that you could get in the pub and get the results after the game, but it would be the advent of Sky in the early 90's that opened the game out with its full soccer Saturday programmes before things did start to change.
But then things did start to change fast, in the mid 90's with mobile phones becoming readily available to all and not just seen as the plaything of a rich businessman, the text service came in and those stupid enough to subscribe could start to enjoy goal updates etc about their local team sent by text, at 10pm a time and with a defence like ours it was a costly experience for Saints supporters.
The modern day of communication only really hit around 1998, as the internet first started to spread to the masses and within a couple of years, modern media as we will now recognise it emerged, football had changed for ever, sadly perhaps not for the better, today everything is instant and rarely open for debate as you can google it all and arguments can be settled in minutes. Back then arguments about players could rage for weeks as no one could find out the statistics about them, a friend of mine once woke up in the middle of the night because he remembered where he had put an old copy of Shoot which would settle an argument once and for all, it was much more fun back then.