There will be times when this blog might get dangerously close to being a memoir. Memoirs being notoriously unreliable and frankly often uninteresting, i will try to veer away from purely personal nostalgia. I am however, going to explore my own understanding of football.
West Germany versus The Netherlands wasn't the first game that I remember. I was 8 years old when it was played, and I was already interested enough. There was something profoundly influential about the match though.
My mother, 34 and thin as a corner flag, dark and with Kitty cat eye glasses...she was also a Zionist. And so on that wet Sunday afternoon we were supporting hippy Holland. I was happy enough with the arrangement. I've no idea where my father was.
I liked Johann Cruyff. I just checked myself there- in 74 we would have had a black and white TV, so the orange didn't come into the equation.
My understanding of football exploded phenomenally in the years 1974 and 1975.
When 1978 came around I simply couldn't understand Cruyff's absence. How could you choose not to play in a World Cup?
But years before, closer to the 74 Final, something had puzzled me even more. Cruyff of Barcelona. I had a card- not the one above, but a colour card, showing Cruyff, looking like an ordinary boy, in the extraordinary blue and red of Barcelona. Barcelona in Spain...why would a Dutchman be living in Spain, playing football in a foreign country? It was left to my mother to explain. It was all about money. I didn't like the sound of it.