THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

October 2, Division One

CoventryvLeicester762 October ~ The "Sky Blues Talk-in" column confronts the issue of "honest sweat" versus entertainment in the light of second division Fulham having just signed George Best, Rodney Marsh and Bobby Moore. If there were no players with Best's skill, asks the column, "what then? The question would be better asked after studying Fulham's attendances and League position at the end of the season." As it happened, crowds initially rose, but Fulham barely escaped relegation.

No worries about too much entertainment at Highfield Road with a squad containing John Beck and Terry Yorath. Not that you could have convinced an 11-year-old punter like myself this wasn't the big time, attending his first-ever top-flight game and seeing Mick Ferguson score with a 30-yarder in the first minute. Coventry manager Gordon Milne, however, already knew better, pointing out in his programme notes that Leicester had drawn six of their first seven matches. "They have not been winning but," he observes perceptively, "they have not been losing and football, unfortunately, is sometimes about not losing." What do you want, Gordon? A coin toss after 90 minutes? Final score: 1-1.

The programme just keeps on thrilling. There's a full-page shot of the empty home dressing room, "the most tension filled room in the city shortly before kick-off", although the away dressing room, the article concedes, might run it close. There's more detail: "Connecting doors lead to the bath and showers on one side and the medical room on the other." You can keep your virtual reality 3D computer games when good old-fashioned prose can so evocatively transport you to another magical time and place, with Mick Coop's honest sweat cascading down his buttocks and laddish banter echoing off the walls.

Cheekiest club chairman Sir Jack Scamp

Targeting the fan demographic "Chrysler Alpine, Everything you've ever wanted, in one beautiful car". And they mean everything, "including dual-line servo assisted braking and much more"

When refs weren't refs Ray Toseland, who "is married with one daughter and is an office manager for a shoe manufacturer. His hobbies are gardening and walking"

Result Coventry 1 (Ferguson) Leicester 1 (Worthington)
Crowd 20,597
Coventry Blyth, Coop, Dugdale, Holmes, McDonald, Yorath, Hutchison, Powell, Cartwright, Ferguson, Green
Leicester Wallington, Whitworth, Woollett, Blockley, Rofe, Birchenall (Earle), Sammels, Weller, Kember, Garland, Worthington

Ian Plenderleith

Ian Plenderleith's "Rock n Roll Soccer: The Short Life and Fast Times of the North American Soccer League" is out now, published by Icon Books

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