Weekly football conversation since 2009, with Graham Sibley, Jan Bilton and Terry Duffelen. Listen on Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or your podcatcher of choice.

Violent Vicious Yobs

Johnny P remembers fans in the old days

Johnny Pundit: fan power
Johnny Pundit: fan power
1950s fan: not necessarily known for his sophistication
1950s fan: not necessarily known for his sophistication
Prawn sandwich: good thing too
Prawn sandwich: good thing too
Funny old thing, Football. For instance, the fans. Violent. Abusive. Yobbish. That's the 1950s for you; things are so much better now.
Gently, Bentley
I wouldn't want you, dear reader, to think that in my day things were perfect. Some things were better: the walnut finish on a Bentley's dashboard, the price of a pint of wallop, the legal requirement for hat-wearing, the home brewing of Dunkirk spirit. But other things were worse. Y'see, the soft deodorant of middle-class attitudes had yet to waft through the crowd as it does now, for better or worse. If a foreigner played football in Britain in the fifties, it was because we'd just let him out of a prisoner of war camp. And the fans would have thrown bananas onto the pitch given half the chance but rationing was still on, so they couldn't.
Bad teeth, worse attitudes
No, fans in the 'fifties climbed back over the wrong side of the tracks, assaulting anyone who looked 'a bit funny' on the way, broke into the ground and once there - crammed in like an accident waiting to happen, which is exactly what they were - they snarled at the players, snaggle-toothed, sewer-breathed, but terribly well turned-out. Make no mistake: these were people for whom borstal was not so much a punishment as a different box to tick on the application form of life. There were some women at games; they made the tea. And jolly good it was too. It had to be, there would have been riots otherwise.
Prawn stars
No, give me a prawn sandwich any day; some of the pies at fifties football matches were used to build the Post Office Tower. And while some of the players' names today may give us something to get our falsies round, there is a whole world out there - why not invite it over for a game of football? Best of all, the nature of the modern game means that pundits like me can recline in our warm, luxurious commentary boxes and wax lyrical on how great things were in the old days — when football was the working man's game. More pink champagne, anyone? You've never had it so good.

Till next time,

Koo koo ka choo
Johnny Pundit

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