In the days before boring football blogs, football fans would get their information from newspapers and magazines. Football annuals would then fill the void as Christmas presents for information hungry youths. One short-lived annual from the early 1980s went under the name of Scoop, and luckily for you the 1980 edition recently came into my possession.
Not only does this annual feature a picture of Kenny Dalglish sitting in a wheelbarrow being pushed by Scotland team-mate Graham Souness, it also features a very odd picture-story concerning Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Corrigan. Similar to the picture stories you might see in a well known tabloid newspaper (think Dear Diedre), we see Corrigan pre-game at home with his family before bantering with his team-mates. He then plays out a 2-0 First Division defeat to Derby County at The Baseball Ground. Joe Corrigan’s afternoon isn’t nearly as exciting as the other comic strips in the annual.
Other features include a rather laudable attempt to help youngsters improve their game. There’s an opportunity to read how Franz Beckenbauer operates the offside trap and how Mick Mills can trick a winger, but my personal favourite is the piece on INSTRUCTIONAL SHOUTING from England centre-half Dave Watson. “Practice shouting in training and during matches and it will help improve your team’s performance”.
One of the stranger pieces in the annual is the “Intercontinental Supercup” in which the games between four continents are decided with what the annual describes as the “SCOOP 2000 SPORTS COMPUTER” – We pick the teams – the computer plays the games! (You can be rest assured that no computer got in 100 miles of the Scoop offices) What dates this article beautifully is that the competition is played on Astroturf in north America. Whilst astroturf is just beginning to become mainstream in the UK the threat from NASL and north American soccer is tangible throughout the pages of this publication. There was certainly a great fear in the early 80s that the United States was about to become a true force in world football via it’s well funded soccer league, NASL.
The four ‘continents’ competing are: Great Britain, South America, North America and Europe. The sides are selected based on players currently plying their trade in those areas, so the GB side features Argentinian Ossie Ardiles, whilst the North Americans feature George Best, Franz Beckenbauer and Rodney Marsh. Former Liverpool striker Kevin Keegan is awarded a place on the bench for the Europeans (he was at Hamburg at the time).
Perhaps unsurprisingly it was the Brits who won the tournament, defeating Europe 2-1 in the final. The industry of Brian Flynn in the midfield and the goalkeeping of Pat Jennings obviously impressed the SPORTS COMPUTER. All a bit of fun and reads very much like the ramblings of a Football Manager addict.
The annual ends on an excited note as the sporting themes of the 1980s are predicted. Amongst the predictions are the assertion that the Olympic Games will eventually have to be cancelled as it becomes too expensive to host in one city. Other (more footballing) predictions include:
Overall this annual is a little more erratic than others of its day. It features other sports like speedway and cricket but also offers one page on the best comedians of the day (The Two Ronnies and Leonard Rossiter). Despite the oddities it’s still an interesting piece of footballing ephemera.