15 Classic Traits Of A Sports Fan Who Grew Up In The 1980s
The 80s was the decade of the little sport. Tennis, darts, and, above all, snooker, were flying. Football was a much earthier and less glamorous pursuit. It was an era of sports magazines, muddy pitches, and long balls.
Here are the 15 classic traits of the sports fan who came of age in the 80s.
1. Insisted all the way through the Charlton era that Ireland’s greatest side was in fact the Eoin Hand’s team that failed to qualify for Spain ’82
2. They remember the forerunner of the TV3 Curse; The Jimmy Magee Curse
Ireland would go game after game unbeaten under the watchful eye of George Hamilton. George did every game in Italia 90 (yes I know not the 80s, but just an example) until this one. Quite why the RTE bosses decreed we needed to change tack, only they can answer. It’s on their heads.
3. They can remember the local outrage that used follow on from comments made by patronising and condescending BBC commentators on Irish sport and Irish sportspeople
You know this one by now. Whenever a Northern sportsman won anything they were a credit to Queen and country, whenever they lost they were a plucky but limited little loser from “Eire” who gave their all but came up short.
4. If he was at Ireland 1 – 4 Denmark in 1985 he will boast about it forever. If not, he will not.
Real football people were at this match. 8,000 of them.
5. When asked to instance a great Darts player, they will reach for Eric Bristow rather than Phil Taylor. Still.
The name Jocky Wilson will also mean something to them. A forgotten man.
6. They don’t set any store by winning the Five or Six Nations championship
Its only about the Triple Crown or the Grand Slam. (The same goes for 1970s people. Not many people know this but Ireland won the Five Nations championship in 1974. There was no one triple crown so no one talks about it). Rugby people back then were too imbued with amateur era corinthianism to do something so pedantic as calculate points, never mind point difference.
7. They wonder what in the name of God happened to snooker. It used to be great craic.
8. The first hurler that springs to mind is Sylvie Linane
Followed by a jocular comment about what a tough bastard that lad was.
9. They remember clinging to success of the Northern Ireland football team
Cue stories from young lads running around and kicking ball in the garden pretending they were Gerry Armstrong and Billy Hamilton. Very few youngsters run around the garden thinking they’re David Healy and Roy Carroll.
10. They have stacks upon stacks of Shoot magazine
A great institution which has been laid low. The 80s issues are big on Ebay.
11. They have a stomach-churning fear of Meath footballers
12. Boris Becker is invariably the first name that pops into their head when tennis is mentioned
They refused to be wowed by the Nadal/ Federer/ Djokovic/ Murray golden era.
13. They primarily think of Paul McGrath as a Manchester United player
This is a clear division between 80s and 90s. The 90s kids tend to think of him as a VIlla man.
14. They’re a fan of the commentary of ITV’s Brian Moore and they reckon that, on balance, the Michael Thomas goal was more dramatic than Sergio Aguero’s one
Not the ex-hooker who now co-commentates on rugby for the BBC, obviously. Different Brian Moore. The one who said “Oh I say” and “My word” a lot without ever sounding in anyway camp.
15. Saint & Greavsie
“I ‘fink’ you gotta draw the line somewhere Saint!. I mean, my grandparents were Irish. I was born in the East End of London, I talk like this, ‘ow can I play for Ireland?”
- Jimmy Greaves on the Granny rule in 1986
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