Live in same street as a Newcastle United player : Your dad owns a better car than the player – Progress?
Well obviously, that’s just what the game is in need of.
More confusion, more contention.
I appreciate that my statement may sound like one that an old fart of 64 years would make. Well, that’s fine, because that’s who I am.
I have a 29 year old daughter who regularly reminds me that I need to start living in the 21st Century.
Dad, you just can’t say that anymore, don’t you understand how insulting that sounds?
Well actually pet, no I don’t.
But that is because I grew up being screamed at by my troop sergeant, who took great pleasure at calling me a short, big nosed , Geordie “pancake turner.”
The truth is, that if you actually broke it down…
I was vertically challenged, I did have an enlarged proboscis, I was a Geordie and the 18 year old me could be a really irritating “pancake turner.”
So Sgt Nelson was actually correct, therefore there was no need for a safe space for me.
But this is 2024 and I accept that things change, that I need to think very hard about what I say or what I write, just in case I trigger someone and I’m removed at the dead of night from my house and taken to a re-education camp
Well, maybe that’s a bit over the top, but give it a few years lads and lasses.
Can I still say lads and lasses ?
So I will stick to football.
Its fair to say that the game I grew up with has changed hugely in the past 50 years.
It was two points for a win, which changed to three in 1981.
One substitute, which became two in 1987, to half a team these days.
From 22 teams in the top division down to 20 in 1995.
From two teams relegated, which became three in 1973.
From unlimited replays in the cups, reducing to one replay in 1992.
Remember playing Watford four times in 1989? Those four games played within eleven days of each other.
From all teams required to play three games in four days over the easter period (Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Monday). What would Jurgen have to say about that!
From having to ensure 10 minutes of back passes to the goalkeeper once Liverpool or Leeds went one up. Thankfully, the back pass rule was introduced in 1992.
And that is only the laws.
No live games on the telly and only two highlight games shown on match of the day. The first top flight live game being in 1984.
Defenders allowed to try to break the legs of the opposition’s best player three times before being warned by the ref. An actual leg break was required in order to receive a booking. While there had to be no sign of life remaining in your opponent, in order to be sent off.
Have darts thrown at you by away fans. The thought of that still makes me shudder. I mean what the hell were we on, back then?
Even on one occasion, a petrol bomb thrown at the away fans.
Get soaked to the skin standing on open terraces, while losing to Chester or Bury.
Survive on burgers and hot dogs from a van that it’s safe to say didn’t have to pass any hygiene inspection. The chef being a bloke with a very manky apron and a nose that permanently dripped into his food, in the cold Tyneside night.
Be regarded as target practice for police recruits to try out their shiny new baton on.
“PC 678, go and crack some heads”
“Why sarge, what’s he done?”
“He is a football hooligan lad”
Find out that it was actually legal to be arrested in West Yorkshire for the offence of ” being a Geordie.”
Live in the same street as a Newcastle United player.
Have your dad own a better car than the Newcastle United player.
Regard foreign players in the team as someone from Aberdeen or Dublin.
And finally, going for a half time pee in the Gallowgate end toilets.
This was a really traumatic experience for any teenager to endure. There would be about 200 skinheads attempting to simultaneously enter a space that was no bigger than your front room. One of these lads, if not two, would then pee on your feet.
In order to survive, it was best to look the other way, because the perpetrator of the piddling was an utter nutcase.
They tended not to be someone who would be up for a reasonable debate about covering your trousers in urine.
Gary Megson to Bruno.
Bobby Shinton to Isak.
Kevin Brock to Big Joe.
So I guess, progress is good for us all.
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