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The Big Match from 1974-75 and 1980-81: Must See TV

No matter whether you’re a fan of a particular Premier League club, the league itself or soccer in general, the above two videos should be required viewing so you can get a taste of how English soccer has changed as well as how the TV production of the beautiful game has changed considerably over the years.

The two videos feature Chelsea playing at Stamford Bridge. The first is from the 1974/75 season against Arsenal. The second is from the 1980/81 season against Queens Park Rangers, who used to be a force to be reckoned with in the top flight of English football.

If I had to list all of the interesting observations I saw in these two videos (both are the first ten minutes of the broadcast from The Big Match TV show from England), they would number more than a dozen. However, I’d prefer to keep the element of surprise so you can see for yourself through your own eyes all of the interesting differences both on and off the pitch.

After watching the videos, post your interesting observations in the comments section below. One observation I’ll point out is how the two players in the Chelsea against Arsenal match got injured in a clean tackle, but how both of them quickly got up and tried to shake their injury off rather than sprawling around on the grass and pretending they had been shot.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

23 Responses to The Big Match from 1974-75 and 1980-81: Must See TV

  1. OleGunnar20 says:

    A. when did they get rid of the back pass to the keeper? it was weird to see the keeper pick up the ball kicked back by the defenders

    B. ONE SUB?!!? WTF!?! how on earth do you play a 90 min game with only one substitute?

  2. Adam says:

    one thing that always strikes me is that the footballing skills from vintage games are top shelf. Before youtube I assumed the players of old were far inferior to todays players and that they couldn’t possibly posses the same type of dribbling and passing abilities but was so surprised that they are very comparable.

  3. Peter says:

    The back pass rule was changed sometime between the 1990 and 1994 World Cup.

    I don’t know when the sub rule changed, but it went from 1 to 2, to 2 + emergency goalie, to what we have now in the matter of a decade or so. Someone who was around then will have to clarify that one for me.

  4. Brian Chicago says:

    The ash tray on the table of the first video stands out.

    Receipts from the game were 30,000 pounds.

    Pitch seems to be in great shape.

    I am surprised that they have multiple camera angles. Ahead of baseball at the time from what I’ve seen.

    Cameramen packed together behind the goal.

  5. jon-jon says:

    stamford bridge looks very much different….it looks like it did in 1991 when i last visited the bridge…. good ole terraces.

  6. ovalball says:

    I immediately noticed the absence of a massive force of police/stewards. When did they become necessary?

  7. Amazing afro in the crowd.

  8. wozza says:

    Ah The Big Match… that theme.. and Brian Moore, one of the best commentators ever. I still remember one of his lines from the 77 Cup final:

    “Pearson, put through by Greenhoff… Jones is after him, Pearson shot-GOAL!!!”

  9. ZiggerZagger says:

    R.I.P. Petar Borota, Chelsea keeper in the 80-81 clip –Just passed a week or two ago. That shiny new East Stand was almost the bankrupting of Chelsea. The terraces do look like quite a bit of fun, though!

  10. BPK says:

    The items previously mentioned struck me as well as the lack of advertising on the uniforms, the large amount of out of bounds space on the near side, and the cars parked in view of the pitch. Also the host in the second clip mentioned 11 first division matches so were there 22 first division teams at the time? Also, I think it applies to the first clip but I didn’t think about it until the second clip… EVERYONE is white.

  11. scott says:

    I remember watching the highlight show at 10 on BBC 1. Match of the day.

  12. brn442 says:

    The back pass rule was introduced by FIFA to discourage time wasting.

    Ironically, Goalkeepers were still using their bare hands.

    It’s always nice to see Charlie George, one of football’s first glamour boys on and off the pitch. Also, that Pre-Premier League football wasn’t about hooligans and louts.

    The skills of players back then were never in doubt but they are nowhere near the athletes of the modern game.

  13. back when managers still openly puffed cigs and studs-up challenges went ignored.
    life on mars indeed.

  14. The Gaffer says:

    Personally, I liked seeing “The Exorcist” advertising signboards behind the goal for the 1974/75 Chelsea match. Kind of fitting.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  15. redskin says:

    some people have made comments about the space around the pitch. stamford bridge was not just a football stadium it was also used for greyhound racing. this is the reason for all the space on the near side and behind the goals. bpk, at the time we had 22 teams in the first division. unlike today we had two down and the top two up from the second division.

  16. scott smith says:

    Back when a jersey was about the name and not the sponsor. However, I do not think I could wear those shorts again. WOW.

  17. Dante says:

    Has anybody else noticed the lack of teeth/quality dental work. Scary lololol The Goalie in the first video had awful teeth and ref in the second one also had awful teeth.lolol

  18. Eric says:

    What seem to stand out to me was that I thought the skill was better, like dribbling etc. Whereas players today spend more time on strength training. Today’s players would easily push around the old players, but to me they would just dribble right around them.

    Another thing that I noticed was a lot more long shots. Watching today’s games you hardly see anyone take a shot from outside the box. If look at the Chelsea vs. Queens Park game there were several shots from way outside the box and they were effective.

    Finally, the goal keeping styles seemed much different from today. The goalies seemed less aggressive to me. They seemed better at making saves sitting back in the net more, but didn’t challenge well on crosses and corners. Maybe that was just those keepers style, but keepers today really go out and grab corners.

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