In Praise Of… The St Albans City Club Video (1991/92)

It seems almost difficult to believe now, but there was a time when, if you saw the football on the television, that was it. You’d see the goals once, maybe twice, and then they’d disappear into the vaults of the BBC and ITV, only to resurface once or twice at random intervals on the likes of “On The Ball” and “Football Focus”. In the 1980s, video recorders started appearing in people’s homes and, in some very small way, the face of football was changed forever. By the late 1980s, boxes started appearing in club shops the length and breadth of the country, selling videos of just about every match that your team played. Camera technology had become cheap enough for clubs to record their own matches and sell them back to their supporters. At many clubs, every single match – every dreary 0-0 draw against Scunthorpe United in the Football League Trophy – was put on sale and, presumably, people bought them. There must be people with vast, vast libraries of the most mundane seasons imaginable, the vast majority of which have never been watched. When it comes to videos and obsessiveness, the average football supporter could even teach that most famous of film obsessives Kim Jong Il a thing or two. Grainy footage, usually from one camera, was the order of the day. If you were lucky, you’d...

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