Old School Football – Better or Worse?


Chas published this picture of a game against Leicester in ’71 (which I attended) and it sent me into a land of memories.

Black and White photography

Players wearing the same coloured shorts

Proper numbers – none of this 54 nonsense

Uncovered Clock End



Leather ball, and only one per game


Jon Sammels, my one time hero (playing for LCFC)

Real Arsenal shirts

No sponsorship logos

Sensible (?) hair. Not the ridiculous shaved bonces we see today

Proper cannon on the shirt

Charlie (?) on his arse

Our real home ground

Better times? No, just different.

What do you think?

written by Grandad and BOF Big Raddy


46 Responses to Old School Football – Better or Worse?

  1. chas says:

    Cheers, BR.

    I did a bit of sleuthing and, since the original caption for that photo was about Pat Rice scoring, found which game the photo was from.

    It was from a 3-0 victory from 25th September 1971. Charlie George was on the bench and came on for Peter Storey. My first reaction was that the chap in the foreground was Storey and this confirms it, I think. Charlie G would have been wearing 12. 🙂

    Here’s a link the the game with players and scorers. Your hero scored two!


  2. chas says:

    I’ll have a think about all the things I reckon have changed for the worse in modern football and come back later with a list (probably quite extensive 🙂 )

  3. chas says:

    Oooo look, over an hour and a half from the 1971/72 season.
    Just looking at a few minutes of it, I realised I probably know more players still from then than I do from now!

  4. chas says:

    25th September 1971. Arsenal and Northern Ireland full back Sammy Nelson, in action against Leicester City. Groomed as the long term replacement for Bob McNab, Nelson would have to wait until 1974 to nail down a regular first team spot.

  5. chas says:

    Arsenal footballer Ray Kennedy in action against Leicester City watched by David Nish during their match at Highbury. 25th September 1971.

  6. chas says:

    Oooops, I’ve just realised I’ve given lie to the idea that the game was played in black and white!!!!!!!!!

  7. chas says:

  8. mickydidit89 says:

    Thanks Erik

    Have to be brief. Storm here, wifi down since yesterday, so tethered up

    I’d say everything about the modern game is better, except the food in the stadium. Give me roasted chestnuts and bovril all day long.

    Also, while better on the pitch now, I’d say it was better in the stands then, which brings me on to yesterday’s chat which I was sad to miss

    Totally disagree foreign poor players are hungrier. England’s yoof teams do well. Iwobi and M-N look driven to me.

    So again, I’d say the spoilt brats are in the stands rather than on the pitch in the modern game

    Love the train vids this morning

  9. chas says:

    Looking at Thierry these days makes me think, traitor and back-stabber. Having said that, it will be interesting to see how he gets on as manager of Monaco.


  10. LBG says:

    I’m with you Grandad, in every way!
    Just look at those pictures from Chas. Pat Rice and Peter Storey. Limited ability but all heart, soul and, in Peter’s case, studs at waist height!
    The action shots are better, bodies all over the ground, no poncy coloured boots ( except AB), and the classy, “float over the ground”, movement of Ray Kennedy.
    Even the memories of rolling around the North Bank in a 60000+ crowd. Exciting times!

  11. LB says:

    Another great idea for a post, I could have been at that game unfortunately my memory is not that good but then again I usually can’t remember who we played two weeks ago.

  12. LB says:

    Hang on, hang on, so who are we saying is the number 8 on the ground in the main picture, it can’t be Storey he can be seen at the back………

  13. chas says:

    Haha, someone actually read the shite I wrote!

  14. chas says:

    So if, Graham was 11, Kennedy 10, Big Raddy 9, Geordie Armstrong 7, it must be Eddie Kelly number 8?

    Unless it’s Radford or Graham!

  15. chas says:

    Is number 8 George Graham in this one?
    (love the arms up in the upper tier West stand and old TV gantry)

  16. GunnerN5 says:

    Wow Raddy – it’s amazing how a simple picture can conjure up such incredible memories!

    My football memories of yesteryear are not quiet as romantic.

    Leather balls with leather lacing that when wet and muddy could sprain an ankle or give you a concussion.

    Ankle high leather boots laced up high and then around the ankle, weaponized with studs nailed in the soles with the nail heads strategically exposed. The wetter the day the heavier the boots got, sapping ones energy.

    Muddy pitches full of deep divots, that could, and did break ankles and rip knees apart.

    Dressing rooms with no heating, seating or running water.

    Toilets that were disgusting and stank to high heaven.

    But – I still played every week and went to Highbury every Saturday regardless of the conditions – and loved every minute.

    Today we have lost our “footballers” and they have been substituted with “egos”.

  17. LB says:

    Mmmmm, yes, at first I thought it was Radford by the shape of the head but the number 8 threw me, doesn’t look like Graham, must be Kelly as you say.

  18. LB says:

    Ahh, just seen the 2.15. Number 8 definitely Graham in that one.

  19. GunnerN5 says:

    It’s interesting to note that the entire 1970/71 squad including the manager were all British,

    Geoff Barnett – England
    Bob Wilson – Scotland
    Frank McLintock – Scotland
    Bob McNab – England
    Sammy Nelson – Northern Ireland
    Pat Rice – Northern Ireland
    John Roberts – Wales
    Peter Simpson – England
    Peter Storey – England
    John Woodward – Scotland
    George Armstrong – England
    George Graham – Scotland
    Eddie Kelly – Scotland
    Ray Kennedy – England
    Jon Sammels – England
    Paul Davies – Wales
    Charlie George – England
    Peter Marinello – Scotland
    John Radford – England
    Bertie Mee – England

  20. chas says:

    How about this GG8?

  21. GunnerN5 says:

    Who was the first non British player to play in England?

  22. chas says:

    1908, Max Seeburg, a German, playing for Tottenham.

  23. GunnerN5 says:

    I just love looking at the old pictures of the ground and surrounding area. Having grown up there I get very nostalgic and the memories come flooding back.

    Thanks Chas that was a surprise as I thought it was a lot later.

  24. GunnerN5 says:

    From Arsenal.com

    Here’s the latest team news update from our medical team:

    Mesut Ozil
    Now returned to full training following back spasm.

    Ainsley Maitland-Niles
    Now returned to full training following a small fracture to left fibula in August.

    Danny Welbeck
    Withdrawn from England squad with minor hamstring issue. Being assessed ahead of Leicester City (h) on Monday, October 22.

    Petr Cech
    Left hamstring injury. Being assessed ahead of Leicester City (h) on Monday, October 22.

    Dinos Mavropanos
    Groin injury. Expected to return to full training by the end of October.

    Laurent Koscielny
    Right Achilles tendon repair. Aiming to return to full training in November.

  25. GunnerN5 says:

    The scheduling of matches really needs to be reviewed. We have a a 15 day period with no games (Oct 7 to 22) followed by 5 games in 13 days (Oct 22 to Nov 3).

  26. insideright says:

    I was there too. But the thing that struck me was that, despite the fact that it was literally pennies to stand on the terraces and that we had only just won the double, there were still only 40,000 present in a stadium that took 50% more than that.

  27. GunnerN5 says:

    My ability to remember song lyrics from the 50/60s far exceeds my ability to remember why I just walked into the kitchen?

  28. chas says:

    As far as crowd sizes go, wasn’t that the nature of the game in those days? If you could just turn up on the day and pay, then that’s what you did, all depending on the oppo, the wife, the weather etc.

    Big teams would pull big crowds to Highbury. Man U would be up in the 50 thousands attendance-wise and mediocre opposition only high 20s.

    Allied to that, I’m not sure Bertie Mee’s boys could ever be accused of playing Wengerball. 🙂

  29. LBG says:

    So, picture one 1971 Arse v Leicester and, although the hair still doesn’t look right, No8 must be Kelly.
    But what about picture two! What year? Arse v, I presumed Stoke (Gordon Banks – last year with Leicester 1967, Stoke 1967-73). So 1973-4 season 22nd September Arse won 2-1 home, Ball and Radford scored. My records say Graham played at No 11 for that game! And additionally and more significantly Kelly came on as a substitute for George. But isn’t that Eddie directly in front of Charlie? ( Or is it Peter Simpson?)
    Good fun! But none the wiser me!

  30. LBG says:

    Picture three. If that’s GG8. Whose that at 11?
    Taller than Gorgeous George? Jeff Blockley? Peter Simpson?

  31. mickydidit89 says:

    Viv Anderson? He was tall

  32. chas says:


    Picture 2 is Arsenal v Stoke 1st May 1971.
    I found the same incident but from behind the goal with the North Bank in the background. 🙂

    GG8 has arms aloft and Eddie Kelly is celebrating with Charlie, Raddy on the deck.

    In picture 3 I reckon 11 is Peter Simpson.

  33. chas says:

    I saw an episode of The Chase the other day and the question was, ‘who created the Thunderbirds TV series?’
    And the contestant said ‘Gerry and Viv Anderson’

  34. mickydidit89 says:

    ha ha.

    The detective work by yourself and your bro. is impressive

    Bordering on the weirdly obsessive but impressive nonetheless

  35. chas says:

    Getty Images has a search facility.

    It’s a bit rich you accusing others of being weirdly obsessive! 🙂

  36. chas says:

    Hells bells.
    Armenia must be Mkhitaryan plus 10 binmen.

  37. mickydidit89 says:

    Arsenal wise, it couldn’t be a better time to have internet down. Damn these breaks are long, especially as our Leicester game isn’t until the monday

  38. chas says:

  39. chas says:

    At least the Monday game gives those playing on the 16th (including Terrier) a few extra days rest.

  40. mickydidit89 says:

    re the obsessive 🙂

    Love the Hells Bells expression

  41. chas says:

    Ah, a surefire way of getting the opposition motivated………

  42. mickydidit89 says:

    Yes that’s true, but although I don’t know which of our squad are in action, I reckon a first XI of non participants would be strong enough to hold Leciester for the inevitably dull first 60 mins while we wear them out, allowing the good subs to only have to strut their stuff for the last 30 🙂

  43. mickydidit89 says:

    ha ha ha, that’s a brillliant idea.

    Next time England have a crucial home game against, say France, instead of their National Anthem, we play…… If you go down to the woods today…or perhaps, the magic Roundabout theme music

  44. chas says:


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