David Owen: 1974 – when British football was whiter than white and QPR briefly looked like the shape of the future

Rummaging through my mother’s garage, I found a mildewed relic: a copy of Shoot! “incorporating Goal”‘s summer special from 1974.

It was not a happy time for English football. The Alf Ramsey era had just fizzled to a close with a goalless draw in Portugal. With the World Cup that England had failed to qualify for about to take place in West Germany, the first article was an assessment of Ramsey’s long reign. The verdict: “OK, before their recent East European tour it was fair game to knock England…but the long-term [their italics] picture is more favourable.” A not exactly over-generous verdict on England’s only World Cup-winning manager.

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