17 Reasons Football Was Better Back In The Day

Before image rights and sponsorships deals, the national game was indeed a thing of beauty.

1. You travelled to away matches in style.

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Fans off to Wembley, 1923.

2. Getting into matches was easier. Particularly as tickets were about 2 shillings (£1.15).

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Turnstiles being erected at Wembley Stadium, 1923.

3. Pitches invasions were PROPER pitch invasions.

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A massive crowd is forced onto the pitch by sheer weight of numbers at the FA Cup Final between Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United, 1923 (Bolton won 2-0).

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An estimated 200,000 people attended the match.

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Even though the capacity was only 127,000.

4. Flat caps were mandatory.

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Fans enter Wembley Stadium, 1923.

5. …Although the odd bit of fancy dress was encouraged.

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Preston North End football supporter, 1938.

6. The entertainment at half time was way better.

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A man playing a small flute to entertain other supporters during the first round of the FA Cup, 1923.

7. Ground preparation was meticulous.

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Groundsmen mark out the touch line at Wembley Stadium, 1925.

Right down to the weeding.

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Wembley Stadium ground staff pluck weeds, dandelions and daisies from the pitch, 1934.

8. And dogs were allowed in the Wembley changing rooms.

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Wally Kilminster (actually a Speedway Rider) relaxing, 1934.

9. Players were far less image-conscious.

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Like Raith Rovers’s Alex James, pictured here in 1928.

10. (Not that they weren’t good looking chaps).

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Bolton Wanderers players, 1923.

From left to right: Joe Smith, Haworth, Billy Butler, John R Smith, Harry Nutall, Alec Finney, Jennings, Ted Vizard, David Jack, Dick Pym and Jimmy Seddon..

11. And they were made of sterner stuff. Snow didn’t bother them.

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England centre-forward Tommy Lawton heads the ball past Scotland’s goalkeeper Dawson, 1942.

12. They played with leather balls that absorbed water and got heavy - and still went in for headers.

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Derby half back Leon Leuty (left) and Charlton Athletic centre forward Bert Turner vie for possession, 1946.

13. They trained harder.

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A Chandler, J Virgrass, B Marsden and P Burnham of the Queen’s Park Rangers, 1922.

14. And yes, their wages were slightly less eye-watering.

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In 1922, the maximum wage for a football was £8 a week - roughly £264 in today’s money*.

The current highest earner in the Premier League is Eden Hazard, who makes £185,000 a week.

above: Captains toss the coin before the start of the match between Birmingham City and Chelsea, 1922.


15. Sometimes, teams outside Manchester and London won stuff.

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Like Newcastle United. Here’s captain Frank Hudspeth being escorted from the pitch with the FA Cup trophy after beating Aston Villa 2-0 in the 1924 FA Cup final.

16. And best of all, hooliganism and the ‘English disease’ was still decades away.

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Everton FC supporters and their young mascot, 1927.

17. Fans were just fans, cheering on blokes not so different to them…

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Arsenal football supporters wearing mortar boards, 1930.

…Utterly transfixed by the beautiful game.

Young football fans at Queen’s Park Rangers, 1949.

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