THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

The new WSC is out now, available from all good newsagents or dispatched on the day of order from the WSC shop
Continuing our 25th anniversary retrospective, we examine the changing nature of televised football since 1986, including: social history analysed through pundits, how live broadcasts took over, the launch of the Premier League and what has football done for TV?
Plus: The similarities between now and the last all-Manchester Cup semi, in 1926
Brighton bid a final farewell to the Withdean, while Darlington eye a smaller stadium
A sorry spring for Arsène Wenger
Calming the Old Firm online and Italian solidarity in sleep

In this issue:

Nostalgia rules Getting too old for football and music
"When you hit middle age, it's almost impossible not to fall into the trap of yearning for the days when things were different. Not necessarily better, just different. When nearly every house had just one telephone and one TV. When you played football in the same field every day with the other kids in the village using cowpats for goalposts (really). When a new album by the Jam was not just a new album by the Jam, but a significant event in your life that you looked forward to for weeks in advance. When a live football match on television was something very special that happened no more than a handful of times per year." Buy here to read the full article

Sheffield Utd 2, Leeds Utd 1 The confident pre-match favourites fall to a chastening defeat
"Like many major northern cities, including Manchester and Leeds itself, Sheffield is in what you might call its post-post industrial phase. No longer the traumatic, menacing and broken cityscape that launched a thousand Cabaret Voltaire albums back in the 1970s and 80s, the mile between station and stadium is a clean and untidy mélange of surviving small business concerns, vestigial blocks of grand, 19th century architecture, eye-catching modernistic sculpture such as the sweeping water feature outside the station, multi-storey car parks, destitute fossils of pubs, and various civic heritage and commercial initiatives dating from the Blair years. It feels neutralised, Full Montied." Buy here to read the full article

25th Anniversary Special ~ Football and TV
The changing face of pundits
From Channon to Holland
"In 1986 presenters and pundits sat stiffly, in wife-selected jackets, behind desks, because the desk is the key western symbol of wisdom. In 2011 we have lounging gigglers like Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson who do not even wear neckties, or the man-child Jamie Redknapp who is allowed to wear expensive fashion-clothes and constantly interrupt his elders in a career-long attempt to prove his right to be heard. The desk has gone. Anything even faintly resembling a table is now made of glass and is present at ankle height for feng shui purposes only. Glamorous world football ambassadors such as Clarence Seedorf, Leonardo and David Ginola are scattered around the studio as a finishing touch. Retired centre-backs are using irony to our seated faces. Have we moved with the times? Or were we pushed?" Buy here to read the full article

Boxing clever
Saturation football coverage was unimaginable in the 1980s
"TV coverage of English football was in a state of flux 25 years ago. The 1980s was the decade of change between two quite distinct orthodoxies of how we watched most of our televised football. Before 1980 we had the certainties of the highlights era and after 1990 the choices offered by live broadcasts. This system began to unravel with ITV's infamous 'Snatch of the Day' in 1980 which disrupted the viewing habits of up to a third of the population by taking the BBC's long-established Saturday night slot. Viewing figures (and match attendances) began to fall steeply and the TV companies' interest turned to other sports (notably snooker) and other football formats. In October 1983 the Spurs v Forest fixture was moved for live TV coverage, the first League match to be so covered since a failed experiment in 1960. While depressing the attendance at the match – at times severely – the live format (about a dozen games were covered) drew a significantly larger TV audience than highlights programmes. The battle between live coverage and highlights had started." Buy here to read the full article

Plus
Wayne Rooney punished by TV
Reigniting England's captaincy kerfuffle
Savage runs out of steam; reserve team football gets worse; Dong Fangzhuo disappears; desperation for Derby County
Millwall's Lionesses maul Watford in the Cup
Stoke's semi-final – a Potter points out facts in the face of nationwide prejudice
Champions League a mixed blessing for Slovaks; hostile environment for Grasshoppers
Focusing on the final in the A-League; campaigning against Indonesian corruption
Strange case of Claude Le Roy, Cambridge's French favourite
Irish folk tales; rethinking Revie and Bremner; Olympian ideals; a sickened scout
Season in brief Division One 1965-66

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Photo by Colin McPherson, illustration by Matt Littler

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