The Absolute Game Remembered – 2

December 11, 2010

TAG 2 appeared March 1987.

If the first edition had been ‘numbered’ as ‘1st Round, 1st Leg‘ then the fact that this one bore the ‘number’ ‘2nd Offence‘ indicated that this was going to be a running gag throughout the lifetime of the mag.

There was a discernible step up in the quality of the paper and the print, and that was matched by the burgeoning confidence of Mad Mac and his willing contributors and helpers.

In the main editorial Mac again holds forth on the then burning issue of synthetic pitches (“football played on plastic pitches bears such a poor resemblance to the real thing that it might as well be another sport“).

TAG’s first award for absolute hypocrisy inevitably went to Graeme Souness (“possibly the most talented midfielder ever to play for Scotland, Souness is, equally possibly, the most vicious…..he shares Uruguay’s two chief footballing characteristics : skilful play and wilful brutality….“).

Wolfgang Needlematch is back with more from France, while there’s a review by Loopy Larios of Campbell and Woods’ history of Celtic, Larios being a Rangers supporter (he enjoyed it – “The humour mainly comes in the form of quotations from the Glasgow Observer’s ‘Man in the Know’…he describes a letter from an ‘Ibrox Blue’ as being written by ‘some scummy and slummy skulker of the underworld where bag-snatchers and razor-slashers foregather to devise midnight outrages and curse the Celtic’…..“).

Mad Mac indulged himself with a full-scale article on his beloved St Johnstone, and demonstrated his skill with the felicitous phrase – “Their stay in the Premier League was a brief flirtation, and like all casual affairs left a good deal of ill-feeling all round“.

That was followed by a lengthy paean to the Cruyff-era Netherlands team, in an article entitled ‘A Love That Never Died’. For all that divided and divides football supporters it turned out that certain things were common to us all, and a lifelong attachment to Dutch ‘total football’ of the 1970′s was one of them.

Partick Thistle get the in-depth treatment, there’s an entertaining miscellany from Andy Lyons of When Saturday Comes and Estuardo Vasquez weighs in on Spanish football. A Letters Page was inaugurated, edited by ‘our man in Turin, Agnello Arrosto’.

And this time the ‘Forgotten One’ was a real classic in the shape of Alistair Dewar – (click on the article to enlarge it for reading) –

To which I can add that I once saw Alistair’s report on a Hibs game where he said, “At half-time as we huddled against the icy blast, we consoled ourselves with the thought that the football could not possibly be as bad in the second half as it had been in the first.

Oh, how wrong we were !“


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