My first love, besides Sarah Shaw as a 5 year old at primary school, was Leeds United. We were in an incredibly passionate and intense relationship for four years between 1973 and 1977. We met at a party – the 1973 FA Cup Final, which was gatecrashed by unfancied second division Sunderland who won 1-0 and lifted the FA Cup against all the odds. It was the the biggest footballing upset since Windy Miller’s Camberwick Green knocked out Trumpton in the 1961 Egg Cup!!
Knowing little about football at the time, I had inadvertently decided to support the most successful team of the era, Leeds United, because I liked and preferred their all white strip over Sunderland’s red and white striped shirts. So I met my first love randomly at an FA Cup Final Party and ironically we split up four years later because of the FA Cup, when tickets that I was promised for the FA Cup Semi Final between Leeds United and Manchester United at Hillsborough in 1977, failed to materialise. That was the final straw that broke the camel’s back and after much soul searching I changed my allegiance to my home team Nottingham Forest, who I had had a covert and furtive date with behind Leeds United’s back in January 1976 for an FA Cup 3rd Round tie with Peterborough!! Yes, I know it was wrong, but it was purely platonic and there was no attraction at that time!!
However having dumped Leeds United, I was re-acquainted with Nottingham Forest and was immediately caught up in a whirlwind romance!! Forest sneaked promotion to the First Division one month after we got together. In the next three years Nottingham Forest, under the stewardship of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor, won the First Division Championship, two European Cups and two League Cups and the rest is history. Forest and I have now been an item for 35 years. As my brother in law once said: “You were in love with Leeds United, but you are married to Nottingham Forest”. And it’s true – I love Nottingham Forest and it’s a comfortable relationship that has works well, but nothing quite compares to that blind love that I had for Leeds United. I now realise that it was unrequited love, as Leeds United never allowed me to see them play, except on the TV!!
Nevertheless I measured my love for Leeds United through a raft of football merchandise. In the days before you could buy replica football strips, I possessed everything else from wool and silk football scarves, badges, mugs, towels and sports bags, all branded with the yellow, blue and white corporate colours of Leeds United Football Club. And of course amongst the pop posters of Slade, Mud and Sweet on my bedroom wall, there were the Shoot magazine pull outs of Allan Clarke, David Harvey, Paul Reaney, Duncan McKenzie, Tony Currie, Paul Madeley, Trevor Cherry, Joe Jordan, Gordon McQueen, Terry Yorath and legends Peter Lorimer, Norman “Bite Yer Legs” Hunter and Billy Bremner. Along with the newspaper cuttings scrapbooks, I even chronicled their matches on cassette tapes!! In the days before video recorders, the next best thing was the to record the live commentary of their matches, featured on Radio 2’s Saturday afternoon sports coverage!!
The football merchandising of the 1970s is now the nostalgic football memorabilia of a new century. How I wish I had kept my Panini Football Sticker Albums and that Cleveland Petrol Station promotion – Joe Mercer’s Great Britain Squad, comprising plastic head and shoulders busts of Gordon Banks, Bobby Charlton, George Best, Bobby Moore, Mike England and others. Cleveland Petrol Stations gave away Joe Mercer’s Great Britain Squad in 1971, presumably on the back of the success of the Esso World Cup Coin Collection in 1970. I missed out on that one, but made up for it twenty years later, when Esso produced another World Cup Coin Collection to celebrate the “Gazza Tears” 1990 World Cup. This time I was determined not to miss out and bribed a petrol station assistant to hand over a big bag of coins to ensure I got the complete Esso World Cup Coin Collection, in order to celebrate the fantastic Italia 90 World Cup tournament. Sainsburys were later to produce a 1998 World Cup Coin Collection, but I found Sainsbury’s staff less amenable to a bribe!!
And of course, the 1970s was also the decade that saw the advent of football club songs and England Team anthemic songs released as singles; some good, some horrendous!! From 1970 through to 2000, there was a proliferation of Football Club Songs and England Team Anthems marching up and down the charts. Here’s a Top 10 of the Best Football Hit Singles ( 1970 – 2010 )–
Top 10 of the Best Football Hit Singles ( 1970 – 2000 )
1 ) Baddiel /Skinner/ Lightning Seeds – Three Lions ( 1996 Euros / 1998 World Cup )
2 ) England & New Order- World In Motion ( 1990 World Cup )
3 ) Luciano Pavarotti – Nessun Dorma ( 1990 World Cup BBC TV theme )
4 ) Manchester United – Come On You Reds ( 1994 FA Cup Final )
5 ) Chelsea FC – Blue Is The Colour ( 1972 League Cup Final )
6 ) Liverpool FC – Anfield Rap ( 1988 FA Cup Final )
7 ) Fat Les – Vindaloo ( 1998 World Cup )
8 ) Cockerel Chorus – Nice One Cyril ( Tottenham Hotspur 1973 League Cup Final )
9 ) Leeds United FC – Leeds United ( 1972 FA Cup Final )
10) Cockney Rejects – I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles (West Ham Utd 1980 FA Cup Final)
Ironically Leeds United are in the Top 10, but Nottingham Forest & Paper Lace’s 1978 hit single “I’ve got the whole world in my hands” doesn’t make it!! What does that say about the state of my marriage?!!
If you are an England Team follower and / or a fan of either Manchester United, Liverpool FC, Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United or Leeds United, you can immortalise the love of your football club in your home or office, by ordering your favourite Football Club Song in a vinyl single format; framed and mounted as a picture disc souvenir. You can also personalise it with an inscribed / plaque……
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Framed vinyl records with a personalised plaque, make a unique present or original gift for a special celebration ie a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!! THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT!!
Other nostalgic products available from MyFirstRecord include your favourite childhood comics ( masthead & front cover ), TV cartoons and pop idol posters. If you would like any of these framed ( with a personalised , engraved plaque, if you wish ) as a lasting memento to your childhood ……… Please E-mail info@MyFirstRecord.co.uk