Got, Not Got: 10 Essential Bits of Football Memorabilia

Derek Hammond's new book is a nostalgic blast to the past to British football's lost utopia. Here he charts yesteryear's top 10 Christmas gifts every football-loving child pined for.
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10 – Subbuteo Stadium Riot Set

Table football was never cooler than in the Eighties, when Subbuteo’s dogged determination to keep up with the times gave rise to a splendid ‘Astroturf’ pitch – although it remains unclear how this green baize cloth was any more ‘artificial’ than the regular pitch’s green baize cloth. The Subbuteo 24-Segment Crowd Barrier C170 was a thrilling addition to any kid’s DIY cardboard-layered terraces, replacing the dinky green picket fence of earlier editions, while proper coppers with horses and truncheons – no laptops or luminous tanktops here – kept our 00-scale hoolies in check.

9 – Be Like ‘The Bee’ with Bullworker

“You’ll build steelhard muscles in every part of your body, and your husky good looks will be the stepping stone to an exciting new life...”

Bullworker gives England’s dynamic goalkeeper Peter Shilton that extra muscle power required to lift a stocky six-foot brickie clean off his feet and send him soaring through the air in unlikely fashion. The scientifically proven principles of isotonics (established by the Max Planck Institute in Germany) play their part in enabling Shilts to cheat gravity, along with a built-in powermeter. Stand-up comedian Stewart Lee hates football, but he’s still one of the best writers on football. Stew’s nickname for Shilton: ‘The Bee’.

8 – Fun with Inflatables

Frank Newton, co-founder of the trailblazing Blue Print fanzine, took a giant inflatable banana to the Man City-Plymouth game on 15 August, 1987 – and the latter half of the 1988-89 season saw perhaps the last fan-driven, organically grown football craze sweep the country. ‘Imre Banana’ travelled home and away all season, in an ever-growing crop of pneumatic fruit, fried eggs, T. Rexes... and a paddling pool (“A paddling pool? But thats not an inf...”). Could it be time for a giant haddock/hammer/canary comeback, or are we just blowing it out of all proportion?

7 – Bobby Charlton’s Casdon Soccer – VIDEO SPECIAL!

According to the box lid, “Bobby Charlton says Casdon Soccer is the nearest thing to English soccer it is possible to experience in one’s own home, and has spent many hours playing with his own family.” What a delicious thought, brother Jackie coming round to play with Bobby. No arguments about who would be white and who would be red. Maybe you remember the game from when Kenny Dalglish endorsed it, or when it became the England Squad Soccer Game in the ‘80s. Either way, you can take up the whole story – featuring LIVE CASDON ACTION! – on the Got, Not Got YouTube channel...

6 – A Nice Bobble

Knitting was an ancient craft not dissimilar to today’s recycling craze, and just as popular in the olden days. It involved taking a pile of fluff found on a sheep’s back, twisting it into 300 yards of yarn and then painstakingly twisting this single length into a giant knot shaped like a bobble hat. Forget those horrible modern baseball caps that mimic the street style of an octogenarian Alabaman redneck, and put your order in with Gran for a nice bobble. If you’re lucky, she’ll set you up with two cardboard rings and another 300 yards of wool and you can feel the DIY joy of spending seven creative hours winding yourself a giant fluffy bobble as big as your head.

Because you’re the festive plotter making the purchase, you can ensure your [insert name of favourite team here] bikini is fashioned from only the softest, sexiest, revealingest scraps of nylon.

5 – Cossack

In 1977, Cossack suggested adding hairspray to the bottle of TCP, the bottle of Brut and the deadly ‘safety’ razor in our half of the bathroom cabinet. QPR goalie Phil Parkes used Cossack hairspray, okay? And he’d “just finished an hour and a half of diving, scrambling, lunging and kicking a football away from his muddy goal.” What’s more, Cossack was named after killer horsemen from the Russian Steppes. One squib of ‘greasy hair formula’ swordsman’s sex glue on your barnet and you’ll be quite literally knocking the ladies dead...

4 – Bambino Kick-the-Goal Soccer

Fashioned in beige and orange plastic to match the wallpaper, and featuring the kind of stunning graphics that showed up on the very first digital watches, the Japanese Bambino handheld seemed like a dream come true in 1979. What you had to do was “Maneuver Your Ball-Carrier to Successfully Score a Goal”, weaving your way through the seven oppo players who swarmed like flies over their patchy pixel pitch. Only ten years earlier man had flown to the moon using only one billion gallons of kerosene, a large tin can and a computer chip no more powerful than the one powering the Bambino; now the same technology was used merely to confound the opposition goalie by “Kicking a Banana Shoot”.

3 – The [Insert Name of Your Favourite Team] Bikini

A wonderful Christmas gift for any man – and all the better for the fact that it doesn’t even count as a gift for you, but as a thoughtful ‘little extra’ for your significant other. Because you’re the festive plotter making the purchase, you can ensure your [insert name of favourite team here] bikini is fashioned from only the softest, sexiest, revealingest scraps of nylon, while simultaneously maximising incoming present potential from family and friends. If you drop enough hints, maybe your missus will get you a matching [insert name of favourite team here] handkerchief to knot in the corners and wear on your head.

2 – The Superfan Loudhailer

It’s the greatest matchday accessory of all time (that no one has ever heard of) – a combined electric siren and directional loudhailer which somehow failed to catch on in the mid 1970s. Not to be confused with the potentially offensive vuvuzela, the Superfan is a precision tool for bespoke, personal matchday encouragement. Used according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, this ultimate vocal support aid can be aimed directly into the ear of an out-of-form centre-forward, enabling you to offer words of advice and inspiration from the pie stand at the back of the Popular Side.

1 – Got, Not Got

Got, Not Got centres around the very stuff of our football-mad childhoods, digging out old programmes and stickers (which weren’t always sticky), dusting off everything from vintage progress charts and league ladders to antique handheld games, petrol freebies and priceless clumps of turf. Hundreds of items of fan ephemera and memorabilia are featured among the book’s 1000+ images, which help summon back the sky-high promise of the Admiral seconds box, and all the thrills of the Peter Barnes Football Trainer depositing your shorts in next-door’s shrubbery. For punk rock football songs and dogs on the pitch, for mud, the magic sponge and Melchester Rovers, get Got, Not Got.

Out this week: Got, Not Got: The A-Z of Lost Football Culture, Treasures & Pleasures, by Derek Hammond & Gary Silke (Pitch Publishing, RRP £19.99) Click here to purchase it on Amazon

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