Ken Early: Rewatching old matches shows what the present game has lost
Current teams may beat old counterparts 10-0 but the freedom to play was entertaining
Rewatching David Beckham’s central midfield role in the 1999 Champions League final makes for interesting viewing. Photo: Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images
Football has always lived in the eternal now. As a mass entertainment propelled by anticipation and hype, it’s all about what’s happening right now, and what might be about to happen. The standard clichés – “We’re only thinking about the next game,” “you’re only as good as your last game,” express the amnesiac, perpetually forward-moving nature of the sport.
“History” is often mentioned, and seldom reflected on. Maybe it has a certain status-currency as a marker of identity and of commitment as a fan. Think of Celtic or Everton fans singing: “If you know your history, it’s enough to make your heart go, Ooooohhhh...”