FOOTBALL boots used to be like the Model T Ford. You could have any colour you liked, as long as they were black.
Now boots come in rainbow shades. The other night, watching Town battle their way to a Wembley final in the League One play-offs, every colour was on display. White with a blue stripe, black with a red stripe, yellow, white and orange boots. Any colour you liked.
Call me old fashioned, but I still prefer black. They don’t colour clash with the team kit, either.
If my mind wandered during an exciting game, perhaps it was because soccer fatigue had set in. This was the middle of May, after all, and the season is still going on. And there is a lot more to come.
Tomorrow West Ham face Blackpool at Wembley for the Championship play-off final, followed by Chelsea and Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.
Town make the trip to Wembley to take on Sheffield United on May 26, followed by the League Two play-off final the following day.
England meet Belgium in a pre-tournament friendly on June 2 and the Euro Championship starts on June 8 and ends in July. Time for a week in Bridlington for your summer holidays and it’s back in front of the TV to follow the Great Britain men and women’s football teams at the Olympics. These run from July 25 until August 11 when, finally, the soccer season is complete.
Just in time for the English Football League to start again on August 18.
I remember when the last game of the season in England was the FA Cup Final on the first Saturday in May and the sun always shone. The event was the biggest of the season and coverage was as total as a coronation.
It started on TV first thing in the morning from the hotels of both teams and continued throughout the day. There was a camera on each team coach and a bloke in a white suit conducting the crowd in singing Abide With Me before kick off.
Where has all the tradition gone?
Of course, there wasn’t the money in the game then that there is now. Players earned modest wages. If you went early enough, you could catch the same bus as a Town player on his way to the ground for a Saturday match.
Now that cash is king, games are played at the dictate of Sky TV to maximise their return with global broadcasting of the most exciting league in the world. American and Arab billionaires buy clubs as an investment or an indulgence.
“Daddy, I want a cowboy outfit for Christmas.”
“All right son. I’ll buy you Blackburn Rovers.”
In olden days, you hammered the studs into your boots and the nails often came through into your feet, the ball became as heavy as a cannonball in the rain and pitches looked like a battlefield from the Somme in bad weather.
The game has changed just as the boots have changed and this year the season will go on for ever. And can I be bothered to watch it? Of course I can. Every match that’s broadcast.