I Was A Teenage Armchair Honved Fan by Half Man Half Biscuit (1987) discussed...

I’d hazard a guess that most HMHB fans are of a certain vintage. NB10 is in his early 50s and I am a tad older. What men of that age share is the fact that there was really only one TV station of any note to watch for decent midweek sport in the early to mid-1970s. That was, of course, the BBC, specifically Sportsnight on a Wednesday. I’m sure most of us could bang out the theme tune and reminisce about David Coleman.

British/English football was fairly insular in those days. There was no wall-to-wall coverage of the European Cup, as it was then known, and results would appear at the bottom of the Sportsnight screen and, perhaps, a crackly report would be telephoned through if an English club was involved. Strange sounding names would appear and the anchorman (for it was always a man then) would murder the pronunciation of these exotic clubs from far away as the scores were read out.

I personally looked out for Grasshoppers. Why would a club be called that, I wondered. Where did they come from? I can’t say I was as fanatical as the bloke in the song. Grasshoppers doesn’t scan very well, for a start. I can see him, in his mid-teens, soaking up the results looking out for his favourite club; one that was behind the Iron Curtain in the homeland of Puskás and goulash. Seeing as there was no Google, nor even the internet, research would have been done in the local library’s copy of the Rothmans Yearbook or back issues of Shoot! Facts would have been painstakingly gleaned and knowledge stored to impress schoolmates.

Ah, the good, old days of black and white television, dull Wednesday evenings and a very smoky living room watching Sportsnight. Thank fuck we’ve moved on, eh?

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