When Was Football Best? (Or At Least Least Worst?)

Tonight’s message is brought to you from One Touch Football, the message board for the venerable magazine, “When Saturday Comes”. A debate started there this morning and, since I don’t have the time to post my thoughts on the subject up on there in sufficient detail and put something up on here in the same evening, I thought that it would be a good opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and put the reply to it up on here (and I’m making no apologies for the Anglo-centrism of this piece, by the way). You can, should you choose to, keep up with the ensuing debate on the subject here. It is often said that the best World Cup is that one that was held ten years after you were born. So it was for me and the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain. The over-saturated colours on the live transmission, players and even (in the case of El Salvador) whole countries that I’d never heard of. It was my first major tournament, and I was still young enough to be able to shrug off the inevitable elimination of England – something that I wouldn’t be able to successfully relearn how to do until I was in me thirties – and focus on the high excitement of the semi-final between West Germany and France. The same rule applies,...

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