If you can’t remember the 1970s in Britain, count yourself lucky. They were dingy. Magnolia paint was the height of sophistication. While continentals lived in brightly painted villas under blue skies, Britons lived in damp terraced houses or damp concrete tower blocks under drizzle, and everything looked grey. In Holland they had sparkling Total Football; England couldn’t even qualify for the World Cup in 1974 and 1978. Americans had Ford Mustangs and Hollywood. We had the Austin Allegro and two dozen lightbulbs in Piccadilly Circus.
Of course there was some relief for a lucky few on Saturday afternoons, when the brave lads of the Arsenal strode out onto the green, green Highbury turf, and everything was transformed to colour, like Dorothy in Oz. But off the pitch, even the Arsenal players lived in semi-perpetual dinginess.
Consider this picture of Willie Young and David O’Leary playing snooker. Have you ever seen a more depressing environment for people to have fun in? This is how I imagine East Germany looked, though the snooker balls may have been inside a sock there, for use by the Stasi in whacking the genitals of those not toeing the party line. At least we didn’t have that, just Ted Heath and Jim Callaghan.
The most exciting thing in this picture is David O’Leary’s tie. Even the snooker balls look as though life has taken its toll on them, and they refuse to shine. Cheer up David! Roberto Bettega isn’t going to do a horror tackle on you for another two or three years!
And what is that bloke at the dart board doing? If he’s that short-sighted I really don’t think he should be playing with anything sharp.