Football Hooliganism - Football History - 1970's

Sadly, 'Football Hooliganism', a term dreamed up in the mid-1960's by the media, became more prevalent.  Possibly due to reportage by the daily newspapers.  There were two types of 'hooliganism', the sudden flare-up between supporters and the organised gangs or 'firms'.  During the 1970's the police seemed powerless to curb this violence.  The Daily Mirror, in 1974, did little to help the situation, publishing a Table of Hooligan Notoriety.  Serving only to encourage hooligans, by placing them in the limelight.

A very dark decade for English Football; beset not only by hooliganism, but dirty play, lack of cash and the national side performing badly.  The FA had a malignant and powerful person in the form of Chairman, Professor Sir Harold Warris Thompson.  He had been a chemistry don at Oxford, teaching Margaret Thatcher when she was a young student.  One former FA official described him "He was a bas----.  He treated us like s---

Prior to becoming Chairman in 1976, he was a senior FA Director and, in April 1974, was the force behind the sacking of Sir Alf Ramsey, the England Manager.  Leo McKinstry, author of 'Sir Alf: A Major Reappraisal of the Life and Times of England's Greatest Football Manager' states "England's most successful manager would have had a legacy fit for a hero had it not been for the malevolence of the FA chief Harold Thompson".  The reason given was because England did not qualify for the World Cup.  Justifiable, maybe, but the sacking was handled brutally and with no sensitivity and maybe a lie.

 

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Sir Alf Ramsey 1920-99

It had been Ramsey who had won the World Cup for England in 1966 and he was booted out of his position with a payout of £8,000 and a pension of £1,200.  Bearing in mind that he had only been paid £7,200 per annum, less than some Division 3 managers!  To cap it all, Don Revie, Ramsey's successor, was paid £25,000 per annum.  For some reason, Thompson had taken a deep dislike to Ramsey, which was reported as 'sheer snobbery' at the time.  This came about during a European Tour in 1972, when, on behalf of all the team members, Alf Ramsey asked Thompson to put out a large cigar.

Sadly, Sir Alf Ramsey, after a very short semi-retirement, succumbed to Allzheimers.  A hero of English Football, he was mourned by many.  One of the World Cup winners, the late Alan Ball, said the treatment of Sir Alf was "the most incredible thing that ever happened in English Football".

The 1970 World Cup, the Jules Rimet Trophy, was kept by Brazil, having won it a total of three times.  They beat Italy 4-1, a dominant force, with players like Pelé, Didi and Garrincha.  Arguably the best team Brazil have ever had, was the 1970 squad.  They won six games in 6 matches, an unprecedented achievement and not seen again until 2002, when Brazil won all 7 matches.

 

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Jules Rimet Trophy With thanks to Wikipedia

The 1974 World Cup was designed by Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga and is still played for today.  West Germany beat Netherlands 2-1.  Netherlands had beaten Brazil, who had lost their top 3 players.

The 11th FIFA World Cup, in 1978, was won by Argentina, a first for them and won on their own grounds.  The fifth team to do so.  England failed to qualify (so it was nothing to do with Sir Alf Ramsey) and it was perhaps just as well.  The hooligan element following England, particularly at away matches, was growing.  These were gangs of thugs, simply out for notoriety.Kettering Town FC (The Poppies), playing against Bath City FC on 24th January 1976, became the first British club to wear a Sponsor's Logo on their shirts, after signing a deal with Kettering Tyres.  The FA later ordered them to remove the slogan.  Changing 'Tyres' to a simple 'T', they claimed that it stood for Town, but the FA persisted, threatening a £1,000 fine.  A year later, sponsorship was legalised by the FA.  Kettering Town FC were also the first British club to have their initials on their ground's floodlights.

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Kevin Kegan (Joseph Kevin Keegan) OBE, a brilliant player of the 1970's and 80's, was once described as "arguably the first superstar English player to attract the modern media spotlight".  He was also one of the professional footballers to set the fashion for bouffant hairstyles and small, tight shorts!  That is, apart from those who lost their hair early and used Bobby Charlton 'comb-overs'!  Amongst many other clubs, he played for Liverpool, moving there in 1971, where he won 3 First Division titles, 2 UEFA Cups, 1 FA Cup and the European Cup.  In 1972, he also won his first England cap.  In 1977, he moved to Hamburger SV, a top German club, where he was crowned European Footballer of The Year in both 1978 and '79.  Keegan moved back to England in 1979, joining Southampton FC for 2 seasons.  He later transferred to Newcastle United FC. in 1982 and retired from playing football in 1984, having been capped 63 times for England, scoring 21 goals.  What a trophy winner!

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