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Hello, my name's Eugene and... I'm an ESPN Classicaholic

By EJ Ruane :  23/09/2009 :  Comments (19) :

I'm on cable (ie: not a dish). NTL to be precise.

I pay for the sport and films and get a load of (other) tat thrown in.

One of the things that happens fairly regularly is that channels just.... appear. I'll be flicking channels one night and suddenly 456 is now the Cheese Channel (457 - Cheese+1)

When we were offered the ESPN (to replace Setanta) I subscribed in that pathetic Pavlov's dog kind of way that so many of us do (how lucky was Pavlov's cat!?).

And it IS pathetic - I could rail for hours about the 'wrongness' of anything to do with Murdoch, but show me one of those 'Premier' compilations (goals flying in, 'that voice' etc) and I'll immediately start throwing handfuls of cash at you

Anyway, when ESPN was up and running, I noticed ESPN Classic had arrived with it and since then...well just can't I can't leave the bleeding thing alone.

I'm spending FAR too much time there... Reg and Harry looking at the first Turpin-V-Robinson fight? I'm rooted.

Thommo and 'Lamby' looking at the 1981 Ashes series? I'm going nowhere.

And of course 'classic' matches.

The first Everton game I saw on there was a a couple of weeks back - a home game with Leeds from 1974.  As soon as it started I thought 'this is 3-2 for us' which it...turned out to be.  An amazing memory?

Selective memory more like - I can't remember what I had for breakfast ( I had breakfast)

Anyway, it was great and I was and am... hooked.

There was a lovely kind of light winter mist over Goodison, there was no diving, proper tackling was allowed, "you're going to get your fuckin' heads kicked in!" was sung one second after they scored, no sponsors and... we won.

We don't win all the time of course.

The night before last, it was the Glen Keely 5-0 derby and last night Villa beat us 3-1 at home, though to be fair, they do go on to be champions and we had Gary Megson playing for us (who should have never played for Everton again after the 1980 semi).

The other great thing about 'the classic game' is that teams that win things do so because they bought good players and coached them well - not because they could spend unlimited cash, buy 20 of the best players on the planet and say "there you go - you're called Chelsea" (City etc).

As for my addiction well I know I'm a long way from 'rock-bottom' and I know it's down to me and that I have to want to give up. At the moment I don't.

However, I thought I'd mention all this in case anyone is going through the same thing.

If it's any help - you're not alone...

Reader Comments

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Brendan O'Doherty
1   Posted 23/09/2009 at 13:51:51

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Careful with that axe, Eugene...
Jay Harris
2   Posted 23/09/2009 at 14:12:39

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Nostalgia is a wonderful disease EJ.

Those were the days eh!!

When people were... well people and you could get "Real Hovis".

Footballers didn't dive (unless they were foreign!! .. and there were’nt many of them).

Referees weren’t corrupt (maybe still a bit useless but not corrupt).

Supporters and players mostly showed mutual respect.

Ah Well........ and then came along Sky, Setanta and ESPN but we wouldn't do without them would we?
Simon Gilmovitch
3   Posted 23/09/2009 at 14:12:55

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Eugene, I am a fellow convert to the show and I was also at that game in 1974 age 13 with my Dad and Uncle we used to travel up from Chester, home and away. Bob Latchford was my hero.

I watched the first Ali v Liston fight that they showed the other night. it was one of the best fight Ali ever had. And the Buster Douglas v Tyson fight was fuckin brilliant.
Ciarán McGlone
4   Posted 23/09/2009 at 14:19:37

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You’re just lucky your addiction hasn’t driven you to figuring out how to decode the various European satellite channels via various electronic gadgets...

My week is crammed full of various ridiculous sports - which over the last 7 days has included a 2 hour ’synopsis’ of this years cheese rolling competition in southern England - in Serbian; professional water polo (which I can seriously say I was glued to)......and a completely new ’sport’, which I can only describe as a hybrid between basketball and trampolining.

And don’t get me started on midget porn....
Simon Gilmovitch
5   Posted 23/09/2009 at 14:20:38

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Eugene, sorry bout misspelling your name. Jay the refs in those days were bent as nine bob notes! Supporters were as mad as fuckin hatters as I remember! And especially the leeds players and supporters were animals, I was a hooligan in those days I always went for the fighting, thats what we did. The Glawdys street in 1974 was fuckin awsome! all standing and singing and crushed on the barriers.
Eugene Ruane
6   Posted 23/09/2009 at 14:20:43

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Brendan - BRILLIANT!!

If I could make a suggestion, you should send that to everyone you know who is called Eugene.

I can guarantee they will be HUGELY entertained by it’s sheer humour and originality.

I am 50 and on hearing my name, not one person has EVER said this to me - yet now you mention it, it seems so obvious.

I don’t know how I missed it all these years!

Keep ’em coming!

(Hey - if someone called Billy writes, you could comment ’Billy Don’t be A Hero’)

Steve Ferns
7   Posted 23/09/2009 at 15:07:20

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I’ve been watching the ESPN channel for a few years now as it’s always come as part of my sky package. You really do get the opportunity to compare the heroes of yesteryear with today’s stars. Perhaps some of the kids should be forced to watch before they go believing football’s never been so good...

The biggest difference for me is the pitches, you forget just how bad and uneven they were, no wonder the football can be better these days, you had to boot it in the air just so it didn’t get bogged down in the mud. Watch out for classic reruns of the ECWC, they’ve shown that a few times.
Eugene Ruane
8   Posted 23/09/2009 at 16:07:00

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You’re right Steve, most of the pitches are woeful although if I’m honest, I’m even able to romanticise them.

Eg: Fourteen blades of grass in the 18 yrd box and I’m thinking "Now THAT is what a goalmouth should look like!"

(why IS the past so wonderful? I’m sure I didn’t think it wonderful at the time - almost certainly quite the revesrse)
Derek Turnbull
9   Posted 23/09/2009 at 16:24:55

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Simon Gilmovitch,

Back of the Gwladys St in 74, only young myself at that time so it’s quite hazt, what were the names of the songs you remember then? I only remember the main ones the whole ground sung. No Sky for me, I have to get my memories unlocked this way! Come on Freeview get your act together get ESPN!
Ray Robinson
10   Posted 23/09/2009 at 18:34:33

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’course, Franny Lee NEVER dived, back in those days!
John Brennan
11   Posted 23/09/2009 at 18:44:41

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Thanks for your contribution.
I have been wallowing in nostalgia with that 4 minutes or so compilation of Bob Latchford and some of his goals.
I also caught a clip the other night of our defeat to Derby(FA Cup 3rd round) at the Baseball ground in January 76. I lived in London at the time and went up with the London branch of the supporters club.
Great days with Big Bob, Andy King, Dave Thomas and others. Keep the memories coming and lets celebrate after a win tonight!!
John Brennan
12   Posted 23/09/2009 at 18:50:18

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Sorry, I meant the the Latchford clip on You Tube of course!
Simon Gilmovitch
13   Posted 23/09/2009 at 18:37:18

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Being nostalgic I would say "we shall not be moved" but take off the rose tinted specs ’Your going home in a fuckin ambulance! and sheep shaggers. There was no "grand old team" but there was always celtic rangers chants. Pretty much every player had a song which was sung after the team sheet anouncements. The best time singing was always when we were loosing, I remember when United beat us 6-0 at xmas they started singing Jingle Bells and that set everyone off! Of course the Park End always had there own songs as well.
Mike Allison
14   Posted 23/09/2009 at 18:56:58

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Ciaran that basketball/trampolining thing is fucking awesome. I saw it round my mate’s house once while we were getting boozed up before going out. I think its called Slamball or something like that. I recommend it. You can keep your water polo and your midget porn though, although I’m starting to wonder if midget water polo wouldn’t be a good idea...
Dave McCarten
15   Posted 23/09/2009 at 21:40:11

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Well I saw that game too and lo and behold when it came back on after the break they started talking about the boys pen, then wash me down with a wet stick of rhubarb there I was climbing down off the fence. Oh happy days.
Brendan O'Doherty
16   Posted 23/09/2009 at 21:54:47

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Sorry Eugene, it was just that the tone of your post suggested that you might be losing it a little with your addiction, and I was just thinking that caution might be in order.
Eric Myles
17   Posted 24/09/2009 at 05:13:58

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Dave Mc - you didn’t see Bill Kenwright there in the boys pen did you? Did anyone?

Ray Robbo - nor Emlyn Hughes!!! I’m sure Gerrard’s training includes watching old vids of crazy horse tripping over the penalty spot.
Eugene Ruane
18   Posted 24/09/2009 at 09:50:12

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Ray Robinson - fair point re Francis Lee.

He was, even back then, considered a fat cheat.

Can’t really think of any others though.
Eugene Ruane
19   Posted 24/09/2009 at 10:39:01

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Actually I CAN think of one other cheat from that time.

You may have heard of a certain.....Tommy Smith!

(played for Liverpool? Spent much of the time after he retired, suggesting foreign players were shifty cheats and nothing like our brave honest lads)

Well, this snippet from the Guardian (an old one)

"...Liverpool’s Cup-winner’s Cup run in the 1974-5 season, Bob Paisley’s first in charge.

Having dispatched Stromsgodset of Norway 12-0 over two legs, clocking up a club-record 11-0 victory in one of them, the campaign was going well. And things looked even better in the next round when Kevin Keegan gave the Reds an early first-leg lead at Anfield against Ferencvaros.

However, Mate Fenyvesi scored a last-minute equaliser to totally knacker the plans of Paisley’s men, who failed to come up with an away goal in the return leg.

Insult was added to feigned injury when Tommy Smith went down near the end, pretending to have been clocked by a missile which was chucked onto the pitch. Yellow card and European ban ahoy!"

No doubt ’The Anfield Iron’ would also have a few choice words for Mr Diouf as well!

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