Football in 1979

I am a difficult person to buy things for at Christmas.  And to make matters worse my birthday is just 12 days later.  But this year I had a few nice surprises, one of which was a selection of England programmes from yesteryear.  So let me take you back to October 1979 for England’s European Championships qualifier against Denmark at Wembley, and what everyone was talking about.

So firstly lets look at the price of getting a ticket for the game.  Thanks to our trusty inflation calculator we can see that the price of tickets has far outstripped inflation.

Ticket prices were £3 for standing and £5.50, £6.50, £8.50 and £10.50.  With inflation these prices today would be £14.81, £21.15, £27.50, £35.96 and £44.42.  So how does that compare with Wembley today?  £30, £40 and £60 are the prices we are charged for an equivalent game today.

And a programme?  40pence at the time (£1.69) would now cost you £6 – bargain.

Just to show how times have changed the lead article talks about some of the England players transfer moves.

It must be good for our England Team that some of our top players are happy to change clubs…..” Five players from the previous squad had since moved teams .  The article goes on to say “All to frequently it is not appreciated that no-one in football can compel a player to move while his contract is in force (Obviously Agents had not reared their ugly head in the late 70’s) . The inference, then, is that all these players were happy to make their switch and England should reap the benefits.”

The England squad for the game included players that everyone had heard of and it seems that most went on to get quite a few caps.  The split between the teams was interesting as well.  Sixteen clubs supplied players to the squad of twenty two, with Liverpool and Nottingham Forest,  League Champions the season before, providing the most players with three each.  Interestingly enough there was also three players who plied their trade outside of England – Keegan (SV Hamburg), Laurie Cunningham (Real Madrid) and Dave Watson (Werder Bremen).  Compare that to the last England squad for the home game versus Belarus when players from eleven teams were used with Manchester United providing four players, and just David Beckham in the team from overseas.

Coming into this game Denmark had never beaten England.  This was to be the seventh meeting between the two with England having won five (and scoring 20 in the process) and there had been one draw.  Since this game, we have played Denmark ten more times and Denmark have won three, including the last two games we have played – and who could ever forget that performance in Copenhagen in August 2005 when David James gifted the Danes 4 second half goals!

England won the game 1-0 with a goal from captain Kevin Keegan, and would go on to qualify for the 1980 European Championships in Italy.  The Danish team on the night included a few names familiar to us today.  In the midfield was Frank Arnesen, now head of youth poaching at Chelsea and formerly of Spurs, Allan Simonsen, European Footballer of the Year and the man who almost bankrupted Charlton Athletic and current Danish national team manager Morten Olsen.  Interestingly enough, their squad of 17 players only contained 6 players playing in Denmark – in 1979 FC Copenhagen did not exist and Brondby IF were no more than a non league side.  For their last games in the FIFA World Cup Qualifying tournament against Sweden and Hungary 11 of the 18 were from Denmark.

Finally, a word about the programme adverts….

Sportraits – fabulous hand drawn soccer portraits of all your favourite stars, beautifully printed in the individual club colours – ONLY £1.25 (plus £1 postage and packaging)

David Dryer (Sports Travel) Limited – General Agent in the UK for selling tours and tickets for the Games of the XII Olympiad Moscow 1980, Fenerbahce Istanbul v Arsenal, Valletta v Leeds united and Carls Zeiss Jena v West Bromwich Albion. Dryer is still going strong despite some poor publicity about some of his trips in the 1998 World Cup Finals in France.

Zetters Pools – “Oh Boy!” Says Joe Brown…Whichever way you look at it £100,000 is worth winning.

Progress Jim, but not as we know it……….COMING SOON – ENGLAND V BRAZIL 1978..

Liverpool to sweep aside Reading and kickstart their season
Transfer Rumors (12 Jan 2010): Barca and Real want £70m Rooney, Chelsea eye Wolfsburg star Dzeko, Man United track Fiorentina #1 Frey, and more