- Lifestyle & Sports
- 11 Mar 16
Its '80s nostalgia week in HP towers, so now seems an opportune time to look back at the decade that rocked my sporting cradle and recall the good, the bad and the mullets.
The first thing that needs to be pointed out is that, while nostalgia tends to tint everything in a rosier light, now is a far better time to be a sports junkie than, say, 1989. Certainly in terms of quantity and choice, we live in the sort of sporting universe we could only have dreamed of back then. Indeed it is now possible to spend one’s entire 24/7 waking life consuming sport, if one so wishes. Little things like spouses, kids, jobs, friends, social lives etc can get in the way of course, but only to the extent that one lets them.
The flipside of all this is that one can get jaded, or even overdose on the stuff. Few of us have the appetite to sit through three or four matches in one day on a regular basis: such saturation consumption used to be reserved for special occasions, such as World Cups. It’s also arguable that the magic of the latter has been slightly diminished by the fact we now have football all year round. But to those who yearn for the way it was, think carefully: would any of us willingly rewind to a state of affairs where the FA Cup Final, Ireland internationals and the Charity bloody Shield were more or less the only live offerings? Where televised League football was basically restricted to Match of the Day and The Saint & Greavsie?
The English league, the one most of us devote most of our attention to, is an exception to the rule: there’s a very healthy democratic look to this season’s table, it is unlikely that anyone will get within an ass’s roar of 80 points, and the two League-leading title favourites at the time of writing are teams who kicked off the season at prices of 150/1 (Spurs) and 5,000/1 (Leicester). This is a wonderful state of affairs compared to 10 years ago, where a rapacious ‘Big Four’ invariably raced miles clear of the rest by October at the latest. And let’s not kid ourselves that the ’80s were an equal-opportunities paradise; Liverpool towered over the rest like a colossus. But there is a more general point that, in terms of competitive equality of opportunity, club football has taken a sharp turn for the worse. Aberdeen beating Real Madrid in the final of the ’83 Cup Winners’ Cup (RIP) is not a sight one expects to see repeated any time soon.
- Lifestyle & Sports
- 11 Jan 18