Video Nasties

Nowadays, the vast majority of football matches are recorded by some sort of camera. Walk into any non-league ground and you’ll see a hastily-erected camera gantry, and most clubs manage to put out a review of the season of some description or another. Of course, you wouldn’t guess this from your local DVD & CD mega-store. With a couple of notable exceptions (such as the BBC’s excellent three disc “Match Of The Day” compilation and the exhaustive “The History Of Football” series), it’s all about the glitter, the gloss and the fluff. If you landed an alien in the middle of HMV in Brighton’s DVD selection and told them to learn about football, they would report to their home planet that there are five teams called Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Brazil and England that matter, and that the rest of the teams are mere bit players. There is, I guess, an element of truth in this, but that’s a different story. What I’m talking about here is the proliferation of a new cottage industry that came about in the late 1980s: the club video. There was a time when the only matches recorded by camera were those caught by BBC and ITV cameras – at most, six or seven matches across all divisions, in addition to the “big” matches. In the late 1980s, though, portable video recording technology became...

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