Goals on film

This article originally featured in MEHSTG No.10 Autumn 1990

If, like me, you've seen hundreds of games in the name of supporting Tottenham Hotspur, the ability to dredge the fine detail of matches from the dim and distant past becomes harder and harder. The old grey matter tends to eliminate those games with little merit (ie games v Coventry or the FA Cup tie at home to Forest 1975 or even that game on Boxing Day), but even the matches that had you jumping up and down at the time seem to be clouded in the mists of time. Wouldn't it be nice if you could relive all those great incidents again in crystal clear vision??

Well, to a certain extent you can, Every year there is a video to recap what Spurs got up to at work in the previous season. Old Cup finals, since TV was invented, can be bought on tape and savoured. You can video the goals or live games direct from the television (highly illegal) or you can purchase videos with snatches of action from the good old days. These seem to be increasing in popularity with the release of 'The Greatest Spurs Team Ever' and 'Tottenham Hotspur's Greatest FA Cup Victories' The mix of old action and a selection of the Best Spurs Team (send in your selection now) is an interesting one, which gives some fans an opportunity to see players previously unknown to them and also will spark debate about who should be included. The idea of taking a pub argument like this could be extended to 'The worst away match of all time', 'The Worst Spurs Team of All Time' or perhaps, 'The Best Spurs Goal of All Time' (Judging by your voting in our Poll, this would be a definite best-seller.). The FA Cup tape culls highlights from our recent cup successes (which can be found elsewhere), but cleverly adds in some footage from other exciting ties which are rarely seen. it may be that this is the way videos are heading. Use the bits which are recent and widely available over and over again, but spice it up with a few bits that are locked away somewhere, to attract a potential buyer.

The mine of unused footage must be endless . I'm sure most of us would be only too willing to offer to sort through it. The television companies must have miles of football film in their archives from all those 'Big Match' and 'Match of the Day' programmes. I wonder what the reason is for them not having cashed in on them ?? There have been the three 'Match of the Day' tapes to mark their 25th anniversary and three specials devoted to West Ham, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United. I understand that there are three more to be issued on the North -East giants. (Who's that then?-Cynical Ed) Another BBC video captured '101 Great Goals' some of which decidedly aren't and with the wealth of available material, I feel they could have done a lot better. LWT responded with their '21 Years of London Soccer ' which flits about the Capital's football scene dropping in on the successful eras of those clubs. However, there must be a lot, lot more untapped.

While I was at home helping with the new born baby, I always offered to do the feed at 3.30 am on a Thursday morning. Everybody thought "What a caring Father" But underneath all this, I had an ulterior motive. At 4 am was a programme entitled "Soccer in the Seventies" hosted by our own Goalden Gary Lineker. In this show, the spotlight fell on a particular year and Gary chatted to some of the principal players of that season. These usually turned out to be Ray Clemence, John Hollins, Jimmy Case and Frank Worthington. There was, however, action from the featured season and also a special feature on a player or area of play (eg. goalies, wingers). One of these specials was on Ossie Ardiles and showed the famous 'Running Man' sequence of him in the home match v Chelsea in his first season and other match action, including a goal against Man Utd (and Gary Bailey) that brought the memories flooding back. Another special was on God. The first goal v Stoke away, forty yard passes at home to Everton and a headed goal against Palace 'at home (who were wearing the most appalling concoction of blue and red with huge wing collars!! An Admiral nightmare. l'd plum erased that one from my mind.) which had escaped my recollection, You would have thought that a Glenn header would have been a thing to be long cherished! But, the point is, if this action is available then why hasn't it been put out?? I mean, they could make themselves a fortune.

There are now more football videos on the market than ever before, but archive action could open up a whole new market. As far as I know, there has never been a video released of the 1971 UEFA Cup Final in it's entirety. I remember watching the first leg on the box and know that the return was covered by ITV, so it must be in the storerooms somewhere. How about the 1981 FA Cup semi-final and replay?? The 5-0 over The Arse being re-issued? Highlights from the European ties not featured in 'The Glory, Glory Nights'?? Other games from the Seventies and Eighties apart from those already seen on the 'Greavesies' 6 of the Best' vids? Some of the videos mentioned have proved that there is the footage available and it can be used, so why not get some of those gems from yesteryear unearthed and on sale? Going way back to 1972, I can remember standing down the front of the Park Lane as Tottenham notched four against Stoke City, who themselves got three and then seeing the game shown on the following day's 'Big Match'. Although I was quite young at the time, it was a great game and with Gilly, Pratt and Coates all scoring past Banksie, it made it all the better!! All those exciting experiences of my younger days. Oh, and the football too!! I'm certain that we all have matches that we saw in our formative years which stand out from all the dreadful Spurs v Birmingham City encounters we've endured throughout the seasons.

Just recently, the passing away of Cyril Knowles prompted LWT to sort through the stock of tape lying idle in a dusty room to capture some superb action that shows him at his skillful best. Some of you reading this probably never saw Cyril play, but those couple of minutes would have given you an idea why he was so special to Spurs fans. It is a travesty that the glittering performances of these stars are buried in the bowels of Television Centre or the LWT Tower.

There was a time on the old 'Big Match' and more recently on 'Saint & Greavesie' when you could write in to request highlights from your favourite game from the past. The film was readily at hand to be put to this use and although the number of people who would go out to buy it may be drastically fewer than would watch it on TV, it must be a viable proposition for the television companies to do this. They would end up selling more copies than Spurs v Sparkasse Stockerau !! 

And anyway, they release Arsenal videos and who buys them apart from insomniacs ???


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