Saturday, September 20, 2008

Structural stability went hand in hand with serious professionalism. I don’t mean professional players – nothing new there – but professional attitudes in every aspect of the game. Better training, better stadiums, better tactics, better kits, better balls, better financing, better media coverage. The combination of all aspects suggested exciting future. For instance, television made possible watching foreign games – not as many as today, but may be once a twice a week: domestic championships were not threatened and people were still going to see their local clubs. But television had one more effect: it became possible to study foreign teams. Up to 1970 international games were romantic enigmas – players were known from the press, but rarely seen and most often noone knew neither the tactics, nor the current form of foreign opposition. After 1970 it was possible to film training and then watch on screen recent matches of foreign clubs, and thus to study their game and prepare schemes. Scouts became routine, sent to see how the opposition play and report back strong and weak points. Training itself became more scientific and included various innovation – from medical monitoring of players to serious diets. Gone were the muddy training pitches – everybody was training on descent grass and the training facilities were greatly improved. So were the stadiums – new were built and old stadiums at least got new pitch. Fan comforts were not an issue yet, but the pitches became better and more importantly – somewhat standard. So were the new balls. Everybody was playing with same balls and more or less on same grass. Football kits also improved – the new equiptment was lighter and much more comfortable. And more was expected from players in terms of fitness, skills, and attitude.

Peter McParland (Aston Villa and Northern Ireland). Such was football equiptment in the 1950s and good part of the 1960s. – heavy shoes, woolen socks, cotton jerseys. Leather balls, changing shape and absorbing water.
Andersson (Sweden and Bayern) pursues Dzajic (Yugoslavia) in mid-1970s. Everything was more comfortable for the players by then. Orthopedic shoes, synthetic light shorts and jerseys, water resistant standard balls, better pitch.
German training: the two national goalkeepers Maier and Franke in unison.

West Germany was leading the world in professional attitude. Heynckes flies over Hoeness in preparation for the World Cup 1974.