Those halcyon football days when less was more

The article on old football programmes brought back many great memories (DW 7 September). In this era of sponsors, TV rights and boards around grounds that rotate annoyingly during the match, it is refreshing to look back on when ‘less was indeed more’.

I served my apprenticeship compiling the Manchester United programme from 1967 to 1973, a period when the team had three European footballers of the year in Dennis Law, George Best and Bobbie Charlton. They also had World Cup-winner Nobby Stiles and won the European Cup in 1968 at Wembley.

The programmes in those days reflected the fact that it was the team and not individual players that was important. Set in hot metal by fans like me, they were a labour of love in the days when clubs could be owned by the local butcher (Louis Edwards at Man U) rather than Russian or American billionaires.

Today, very ordinary players are hyped up by greedy agents and sponsors, while in the 1960s absolute geniuses were described in Times 327

or Univers 689 in a modest way that appealed to the supporters. Managers such as Matt Busby, Bill Shankly and Don Revie commanded respect and journalists like David Meek wrote about the football rather than bullshit.

Fans loved to follow their teams home and away with rattles and scarves, standing only, Hollands pies at half time, 1s to get in and programmes costing sixpence. All that and The Beatles and Rolling Stones topping the charts. Happy Days.

Phil Jones, Managing director, Real Time Consultancy, London WC1

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