Dinosaurs like me no longer understand game of football

Look, no gloves. Ron Springett in action.
Look, no gloves. Ron Springett in action.
Special Olympians say their good-byes to their host city of Portsmouth.

THIS WEEK IN 1997: Farewell Portsmouth – thanks for the memories

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Is it possible in the football world to resort to some kind of language older football fans, like me, can understand?

The Pompey manager was recently quoted as saying: ‘We had three centre-halves... ’

Erm, surely there can only be one centre-half – the other two being a left-half and right-half or three half-backs?

On the new Football League round-up on Saturday evenings before Match of the Day, one of the pundits recently said that Swindon were playing without any strikers!

I take it he meant forwards, but how can a team operate without any forwards? Did they have 10 defenders? Would it be five half-backs and five full-backs?

How on earth can they score any goals?

As for playing 4-2-3-1 with one up front, it always amuses me as to how they can kick off when there is no one to pass to.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a manager with the guts to play the old-fashioned 2-3-5 with five forwards. Imagine the goals.

Which brings me to the subject of goalkeepers and those mits they all wear these days.

When was the last time you saw a ’keeper take the ball in the air from a corner in the six-yard box?

You may remember the likes of Ron Springett of Sheffield Wednesday, Peter Bonetti of Chelsea, Pat Jennings of Spurs, Gordon Banks of Stoke and our own John Milkins to name but a few.

In those days, when a corner or a cross came over, if the ball was in the air inside the six-yard box it was undoubtably caught. The modern ’keeper has little idea how to do this. If they do get near the ball it is usually palmed away, often to an opponent who taps the ball into the net.

Gloves, usually woollen to grip the ball, were only worn in the wet. In dry conditions spit was always best to enable the ball to stick in the hands.