What Football Is Supposed To Look Like #5 (Gallery)

We are back with another visually delicious gallery of the interesting sights and general old school greatness, that that at one point made football magic.

Classic post-communist/pre-modern ground with fence, Lithuania vs Italy, European Championships Qualifier, 1995:

Random mid-match pyro, Italy vs Portugal, World Cup Qualifier, 1993:

Plethora of reporters and other individuals at pitchside, Chile vs Uruguay, Copa America, 1983:

Classic graphics and sparsely covered terraces, Norway vs Denmark, friendly, 1986:

“…anyhow have a Winfield” and running track, Australia vs Israel, World Cup Qualifier, 1985:

“DAILY POST”, Wales vs Czechoslovakia, World Cup Qualifier, 1977:

“FALK”. Classic graphics, hoardings and stadium, Austria vs Brazil, friendly, 1973:

Communist-era athletics bowl, classic “R” graphic, sparsely covered terraces and seemingly recorded through a spy camera, Poland vs Greece, friendly, 1978:

People On The Pitch #6: FC Utrecht vs PSV Eindhoven, Eredivisie, 19/04/1981

To the layman, most incidents of supporter disobedience are classed as one, mainly seen as random acts of violence and thuggery. But the reality is far deeper than this, with pitch invasions being a good example of something that can happen for several different reasons.

As you know by now, we like to cover a variety of different pitch invasion types here in the People On The Pitch series. So far we have seen some classic discordian mischief from a drunk Aston Villa fan in 1982; chaotic joy at Wales vs Scotland ’66; an après match French rugby cup final victory invasion in ’79; an après match Northern Irish cup final running battle in ’83; and more chaotic joy in 1978 northern England (a rarity). And there are more to come.

In this edition, we look at another post-match pitch invasion and the actions that follow, which to the unknowing eye would appear to be a shocking act of destructive mass vandalism and the collapse of western civilisation.

Background:

As we have established early on, the Dutch possessed one of the great crowd trouble cultures of the golden era and as promised we shall be seeing more and more of them. Hence, today’s scene is the Stadion Galgenwaard of FC Uterecht as it was in April 1981 for the visit of PSV Eindhoven.

Like most things in the Dutch league at the time, the stadium was classically quirky and unorthodox and basically like something from a wonderful wet-football dream to us. Some shots from a game vs Feyenoord a couple of months prior give a good look at the unusual architecture of the ground, which includes huge concrete slopes, a “dip” in the middle of the main stand which makes you think you’re tripping, and lots of lovely diagonal terracing.

Incidentally, that Feyenoord match above is notable for some other reasons but, since we are not behooved to linear time here in the Pyro On The Pitch dimension, we will come back to discuss that at a later date.

What’s so special then about the PSV game on April 19th, 1981, is that it was unfortunately the last time the Galgenwaard would be seen in this form as the stadium was to be rebuilt in a more modern style and reopened the following year. This would be slightly more of a big deal but for the fact that the ground, like FC Uterecht itself (founded through the merger of three other local teams), was actually only created in 1970. Even so, with the passionate Ducth football scene of the time, a large and impressive fan culture had grown around the club with the likes of PSV and Feyenoord attracting 15-16,000 and 20,000 for Ajax.

The Match:

We join the action in the dying stages of the game as a 0-0 draw is being played out. Officially approx 15,000 is in attendance, slightly less than the PSV game, but in comparison it looks a greater difference. This is particularly noticeable where the entire left concrete slope is now visible, seemingly cordoned off in preparation for the reconstruction. Perhaps terracing had already been removed leaving the slope bare, but we’re just going to assume that people had somehow been standing on the steep concrete up to this point as it would be much better. A smattering of fans still hang around the edges.

The diagonal terracing around the ground is also not full, giving us another good look at it. But just take a moment to appreciate that beautiful, classic white and black football too.

One last PSV attack comes to nothing and the referee blows his whistle to mostly jeers and whistles, as the Galgenwaard formally completes it’s duty in it’s original form.

As the players and officials shake hands, a multitude of youths (and some older people but we love youths) breach the pitchside fences and teem past. One supporter even appears to attempt a running kick towards the ref, but this was probably only in jest.

A mass pitch invasion follows and to start with, the main destination for many is the right hand side goalposts. In a scene reminiscent of Scotland in Wembley in 1977 (a game pretty much too famous to bother covering on here) the supporters swarm around the uprights and shake them.

They are swiftly joined by others hanging from the crossbar and within seconds the old girl comes crashing down.

The self-inflicted demolition of the Galgenwaard has begun. Doubtless, the goal at the opposite end is subject to similar treatment, but next we see an area where a fence has/is being pulled down and the mob are attempting to tear large sections of wooden seating out of the earth and concrete slope.

They succeed, and the result is a very satisfying wave effect.

Another section is targeted next and, admittedly after some struggle and an aborted attempted, is eventually turned over too.

Anything that can be ripped from the ground is taken and broken, or used as a battering ram, as the supporters pay homage to their “old” ground by destroying it. However, any concerned parent watching the footage may have understandably misinterpreted it as some sort of dystopian, youth uprising against modern polite 1981 society.

One concerned man, possibly a parent completely misinterpreting the situation and unaware that the stadium was to be rebuilt anyway, appears to appeal for calm and halfheartedly attempts to rebuild the stadium.

Like so many instances of 20th century life, the situation has quickly turned into a modern health and safety enthusiast’s nightmare. Indeed in the midst of the chaotic destruction some sort of disaster seems imminent – the likes of which paved the way for the overly regulated world of the future. Along these lines the “danger level” increases, especially for those outside the stadium at ground level, with the smashing of glass panes from inside one of the stands.

The “concerned parent” from earlier can now be seen concentrating very hard on repeatedly kicking down a small pile of bricks, proving my assumptions about him and his mental faculty entirely wrong.

Meanwhile, the destruction of more wooden-board seating continues in several sections with a successful deconstruction technique now established. It really really is an extraordinary sight.

As we prepare to leave the scene, we finally come back around to the now long demolished goalposts. The camera then pans to the middle of the pitch where we see the hundreds still milling about and get one last look at the glorious main stand with it’s random dip in the middle. We salute the Stadion Galgenwaar in it’s original incarnation, 1970-1981.

FC Utrecht played out their three remaining home games at the Nieuw Monnikenhuize stadium (which translates to “New House of the Monks”, excellent) in Arnhem, home of SBV Vitesse, and would finish the season in third (their best ever league position to date ) ahead of Feyenoord and PSV and behind Ajax and champions AZ.

But the main thing to take away here is that we have seen an event that, out of context, could appear to be a shocking series of mindless vandalism and destruction, but in reality is a local bonding exercise of community service and an act of charity for the demolition company who’s job was made a lot easier.

Youtube link

Football Special Report #1: Ivory Coast vs Ghana, African Cup of Nations 1974 Qualifier, 29/07/1973

Here we are again with another new feature where we are going to take a look at random incidents, interesting matches or general football related events that don’t fit into any of our other categories. This is the Football Special Report.

For Football Special Report #1 we cast our eye to the West African derby of 1973 between coastal neighbours Ivory Coast and Ghana. The two were paired together for the final round of African Cup of Nations ’74 qualifying; a two legged affair that saw Côte d’Ivoire take the first game 3-0 away from home on July 15th, 1973.

Going into the return leg on July 29th in the Ivorian city of Abidjan, the hosts with their advantage were naturally feeling confident of victory. All that was needed was to kill time and let the clock run down while maintaining possession. But apparently, this was combined simultaneously with the need to take the complete piss out of the opponents, manifesting in one of the strangest sights ever seen in an international football match.

First it is worth noting the end behind the goal where throngs of people casually appear to be on the move, as seen during the throw-in below. Presumably, and hopefully, this occurred throughout the entire match.

Then, perhaps in an attempt to entertain the restless crowd during the dull game – or indeed themselves, or just in complete and utter contempt of Ghana – the Ivorian players begin to cruelly showboat and mess around, such as standing and sitting on the ball:

This occurs to overwhelming delight from the home supporters who vocally display their approval. As the ball is passed around, other players have their turn:

The Ghanaian players seem baffled and unsure how to react, but their restraint in not immediately descending into fury at this patronising display must surely be commended.

Later, as the visitors are taking a corner, a home substitute close by can be seen dropping a white hand towel to the ground and standing sternly with hands on hips. This may well be an innocuous moment, but given the spirit of the game I’m going to go ahead and assume it is some sort of local passive aggressive intimidation tactic:

Things get even more farcical from here as first the home side abandon a perfectly good chance to counter attack to do literally nothing…

…before one of the Elephants (official nickname of the Ivory Coast team, and I didn’t want to say “Ivorian” again) proceeds to lay down on the grass behind the ball:

This actually results in Ghana stealing possession shortly after and making at attempt on goal, albeit a failed one. Not to be deterred by this close call, an Ivorian (dammit) defender uses the dead ball situation to demonstrate his solo skills as throngs of supporters can again be seen in motion in the end behind the goal and we wouldn’t have it any other way:

So then: spontaneous and lighthearted fun that is sorely missed from the modern game, or a cynical, premeditated attack displaying unprofessionalism to a disgraceful degree? You decide. Either way, Ivory Coast were rewarded for their tomfoolery with a 1-0 win on the night, 4-0 on aggregate, and proceeded to the Nations Cup in Egypt the following year.

Ghana could take some solace from that fact that the Elephants would be knocked out of the tournament in the first round, bottom of their group and without a win. But the wounds inflicted, by way of the theft of their dignity on that July 1973 day, would doubtless take far longer to heal.

Youtube link

Cold War Classic #6 – Italy vs Yugoslavia, 1980

We are now in full swing with our Cold War Classic series in conjunction with MuseumofJerseys.com. See below for a teaser of episode 6 and a link to the full article. Amazing kit illustrations masterfully done by the MoJ maestro Denis Hurley.

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Cold War Classic no. 6 – Italy v Yugoslavia, 1980

Back in CWC3, we touched on the fact that literally every team representing a communist state in eastern Europe was wearing adidas kits by the 1980s.

The dominating presence of this most capitalist of western brands (and still we love it) must surely have been somewhat of an embarrassment to any staunch communists, since at least retrospectively it seems like an outward indicator of the eventual collapse of the system. The last side in the eastern bloc to make the switch to adidas was East Germany in 1982, and even then they had previously been wearing (unmarked) Erima kits, another West German brand which had been bought by adidas in 1976.

Many of these adidas kits were in fact produced in local eastern European factories under licence from adidas, whose own apparel production was limited at the time and often outsourced. One such instance was our highlighted country for today, Yugoslavia –  but, in a sudden swerve, I can reveal that we are not focusing on their beautiful and historic adidas kits that they wore like the rest (that day will come, I’m sure). Instead, we are looking at a little-known period where they were one exception to the Pax Adi Dassler…

READ ON

Retro Shirt Reviews #4

Taking this week to the now-famous Retro Shirt Review faux-wooden floor boards is a shirt that in another timeline could have been a contender for “Best Thing I Own”. A couple of minor drawbacks prevented this, as we shall see below, but this still is an amazing piece of history, art and of course clothing.

  • Club: ???
  • Year: ??? (Circa late 1970’s)
  • Make: Adidas
  • Sponsor: n/a
  • Number: n/a
  • Similarly worn by: 1.FC Köln (1976) and more (see below)

Needless to say, the first thing to talk about is the huge, amazing crest that dominates the front featuring a woodpecker sitting on a crossed hammer and tongs. When discussing this shirt when friends, families and co-workers, I like to describe it as “like something from some sort of tropical Socialist Worker’s Party or union” (as we have seen from every eastern European national team shirt in the 80’s, socialism is perfectly compatible with Adidas).

The other, more likely, possibility is that it was made for a company team, for which Germany is well known. Hammer and tongs together are of course a symbol of the blacksmith fraternity and the woodpecker suggests carpentry, so a business or factory that combined these two skills seems likely. Or maybe they just liked birds.

So as usual we have little to no information of when, where and by whom this was worn. But a version of the template had been put out by Adidas as early as 1976, as worn by Köln. I in fact came across two versions of the Köln shirt (see below) while visiting the city in 2015 when my colleagues and I chanced upon a marvelous bar featuring several vintage Köln shirts framed along the walls (and wrestling was on the tele).

As you can see, mine and the Köln shirts differ at collar with the latter featuring a round-neck rather than a v-neck. If I had the choice, I probably would have gone for a round-neck, especially as the material at bottom of the “V” on my one is unfortunately quite stressed from time (see above). But this is a minor complaint for what it is. VfL Bochum also used the roundneck template in the ’78/’79 Bundesliga, while NASL side the LA Aztecs wore the V-neck version in the same period. Many other teams would employ the design into the 80’s (please send examples!).

Edit: AZ Alkmaar wearing the template in 1978.

Now we come to the aforementioned drawbacks. Besides the stressed collar, some of you will have noticed the apparent absence of a trefoil. Or so it  seems, as it was once present in black which I’m sure looked glorious. It has since faded to near invisibility, but is just about still there:

A close, personal acquaintance, who excels at art, actually once offered to try and fill in the logo in black marker. The risk of ruin was of course too great, and I declined. Considering the less knowledgeable observer who might be confused by the “missing” logo, the unmistakable three stripes on the sleeves fortunately do their job to identify the brand.

 Another desired featured that is notable by it’s absence is a number on the back. While not a hideous disaster, this together with the lack of visible trefoil was enough to take the shirt out of the running for “Best Thing I Own”.

Lastly we come to the label, which has also become frayed and bunched over time, and I had to manually turn it over and straighten it out to examine it. I was rewarded for my efforts as I discovered, to my delight, an Erima logo and wordmark underneath the expected “adidas” and trefoil. For the uninformed, Adidas bought Erima in 1976 and the label shows that the shirt is a product of  “Adidas Erima” manufacturing in West Germany:

Apologies for the fingers.

Bonus: International Selection

  • Country: Argentina
  • Year: Circa 1987
  • Make: Le Coq Sportif

Like last time, here we have a shirt that, to be honest (we’re always honest), is not exactly a real international jersey. But historical accuracy is not really the point here since, as we have mentioned before, we are not collectors of expensive international match worn shirts. And either way, this is still amazingly beautiful:

While close, it is not exactly what Argentina wore in the 1986 World Cup. The LCS logo and white middle stripe system (the most obvious feature of the shirt that indicates it’s era) are the same. But the seemingly random, and slightly irksome, asymmetrical positioning of the AFA badge is an instant giveaway.

I say “seemingly” as the crest actually was indeed positioned this way the following year, as seen at the 1987 Copa America. But the LCS logo was also equally shifted, meaning my shirt is (again like last time) a sort of combination of the two versions.

Another difference is that the shirt texture on the actual ’86 shirt was greatly ventilated in comparison, and the shade of blue was slightly lighter. But another subtle and in fact welcome difference is that of the edges of the stripes: straight on the real version but pleasingly “zig-zagged” on mine:

Yes, I know the zig-zags were visible in the previous picture but I really wanted to include that super close up shot. Until next time.