Monday, September 22, 2008

Professional attitude on every level. Players were expected to be dedicated professionals – their job to come first on and off the pitch. Certainly the 1970s player did not look like Ferenc Puskas, but there is also the myth of the lean professional, who does not drink, smoke, nor spends his nights chasing girls. Pure fiction, of course. However, players trained more and were generally fit. But professionalism did not stop with that – amateurish approach was largely abandoned in other areas too: for instance, Sweden and Denmark changed their long standing policy to include only amateurs in the national team. Thus, foreign based professional players elevated the quality of the Scandinavians. Yugoslavia made similar change: until 1975 no foreign based player was permitted to play for the national team. Other countries opened their domestic championships for foreigners – the ascent of Greece and Turkey started with that and however slowly, both countries improved their football. In the same time new means of revenue were sought and found in advertising. France, Germany, Austria, Belgium were the earliest pragmatist, placing adds on team’s jerseys. More money meant better salaries – the players were no longer low working class. This is especially true for England, where the players were paid poorly and regulations prohibited increases. I am not speaking for the stars, but for the bulk of average players, who, as a rule, did not have much future after finishing their football careers, having no education, or skills in trades. The professional attitudes did not affect two rather different points: one is playing in all kinds of weather. Better stadiums still meant open air stadiums and the unpredictability of the game remained. No matter what, there is certain beauty in playing in mud, and snow, and ice – it is a different game then, bringing unexpected results. The other point is selections: even rich clubs were shrewd – squads were relatively small, consisting of core group of stars, two experienced foreigners, and the rest were reliable journeymen. Stars were rarely for sale – it was mostly mid-level players on the transfer lists. This is what preserved relative parity between the clubs and gave hope to the supporters of smaller teams. And still not everybody was entirely professional – with some luck, semi-professional teams were able to win a championship or two.
This is Turkish wall ‘preventing’ a German free kick at the World Cup finals in 1954. It is not surprising West Germany won 4-1, but it is surprising that, given the attitude, Turkey scored at all. Such scenes were unthinkable after 1970.
Czechoslovakia against Romania in a winter friendly in 1975. Football was still played in whatever the natural conditions were. Nehoda scored a weird one for Czechoslovakia – that is why rain, mud, and snow are fun. And Czechoslovakia won the European title in 1976.

Jan Janssens, the captain of K.S.K. Beveren, lifts the championship cup of Belgium in 1978. Unlike Anderlecht, FC Brugge, and Standard Liege, Beveren was semi-professional club. Most players trained part-time and had other jobs. One was a longshoreman. Champions nevertheless. Manchester United 1962-63. This kind of structure – first team (in the middle), reserves or youth team (at the right, very young George Best there – eight from right to left), and juniors (at the left) was still dominant in the 1970s. Only the first team were full professionals.
The first team are (left to right): Johnny Giles, Mark Pearson, Nobby Stiles, Bill Foulkes, Nobby Lawton, Albert Quixall, Bobby Charlton, Jack Crompton (coach), Maurice Setters, Matt Busby (manager), Shay Brennan, Denis Law, Alex Dawson, Noel Cantwell, David Herd, Dennis Violett.
Bayern Munich with their first European Champions Cup in 1974.
First row, left to right: Zobel, Hadewicz, Jensen, Robl, Maier, Hansen (Denmark)
Second row: Beckenbauer – captain, Kapellmann, Torstensson (Sweden), Schwarzenbeck, Durnberger, Roth, Gerd Muller, Breitner, Uli Hoeness, Udo Lattek – coach.
7 West German national players (Maier, Beckenbauer, Kapellmann, Schwarzenbeck, Muller, Breitner, and Hoeness), 2 foreigners (Torstensson played for the national team of Sweden, and Hansen played for Denmark), and three solid journeymen (Zobel, Durnberger, and Roth). The core of the team played together for years – the typical 1970s squad.
Bayern 2001-02.
Third row (left to right): Effenberg, Jancker, Santa Cruz (Paraguay), Sergio (Brazil), Thiam (Guinea), Sforza (Switzerland), Wojciechowski (Poland), Tarnat, Zickler.
Middle row: Binder (masseur), Gebhardt (masseur), Hoffmann (physiotherapeutic specialist), Jeremias, Di Salvo (Italy), Kuffour (Ghana), Robert Kovac (Croatia), Henke (assistant coach), Hitzfeld (coach)
First row: Fink, Scholl, Salihamidzic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Wessels, Kahn, Dreher, Hargreaves (England), Niko Kovac (Croatia), Hauenstein (rehabilitation trainer)
Small photos on top: Linke, Sagnol (France), Lizarazu (France), Elber (Brazil), Pizarro (Peru).
21 national players, representing 11 countries. And if Hargreaves is included (for he was not yet English national player) – 22 players and 12 countries. Very different from the 1970s, yet the Bundesliga was the same – 18 teams, 34 games a season. A whole national squad permanently sitting on the bench… Significantly, practically nobody came from Bayern junior teams – and Bayern have very well organized junior system. So unlike the earlier years, when Breitner and Hoeness were lifted from the junior team before been old enough to sign professional contract, and from 1975, when Muller was injured, and one Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was called to replace him from the juniors.
The ‘ersatz Muller’ Rummennige in 1975 against lowly Tennis Borussia (West Berlin). It is not clear what exactly Rummenigge is doing – looks like helping the TeBe defenseman Mulack in the effort to stop Roth’s shot. And may be successfully: the match ended 2-2. No matter - TeBe was relegated and Bayern was still European Champions Cup holder.
Five seasons later: European player of the year 1980. Still sporting Bayern’s jersey.