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Men's Devin Harris Swingman Navy Blue Adidas Jersey: NBA Dallas Mavericks #34 Alternate England in the 1970s and early ’80s was a grim, violent, angry, lean, ambitious, stimulating place. It had hardship and conflict on a scale unknown since the end of World War II. It was the golden-studded age of English punk and heavy metal. It also had football success of a magnitude unseen since: English clubs won the European Cup in seven of the eight years between 1977 and 1984. Now the English Premier League is the richest and most popular in the world, but English clubs’ dominance on the pitch is a thing of the past – like, alas, Lemmy Kilmister’s throbbing bass in Motörhead and Bob Paisley’s understated cunning at Liverpool. Not much was understated back in English football’s salad days. And by salad days, of course, we mean beer-and-burger days, because enlightened dieting and sport science did not drive English clubs’ victories. The Italians and Spanish were well ahead on that front, as were the Dutch, Portuguese, and West Germans (who knew what the East Germans were consuming?). And yet for the better part of a decade, English clubs consistently outfought, outran, and beat their continental counterparts. What was fuelling them? It wasn’t fancy brain food. Managers such as Paisley and Brian Clough were tactically smart but never developed schemes as elaborate as, say, Authentic 12th Fan Youth Jersey the total football of the Ajax team that reigned supreme in Europe from 1971 to 1973, or the tiki-taka tyrants of 21st-century Barcelona. The three European Cups immediately after Ajax’s regal streak were won by Bayern Munich, who fielded almost the entire West German national team, including the imperious libero Franz Beckenbauer. His qualities somehow included a remarkable ability to escape conceding blatant penalties in the 1975 European Cup final, when Leeds United were on the wrong end of whiffy refereeing and a 2-1 scoreline. That should have been the first English triumph of the ’70s. Nevertheless, a feeling of injustice was not enough to account for the rioting and pillaging in Paris by Leeds fans after the final, when, as the striker Duncan McKenzie later put it, “all they left was the Eiffel Tower.” Yes, England was prey to darkness back then, both figuratively and, because of frequent blackouts, literally. The country was in economic, social and political turmoil. Inflation and unemployment soared, and so did tempers. In 1974 businesses were restricted to using electricity only three days a week, and motorists faced petrol rationing. That prompted Idi Amin, a murderous despot who knew an easy target when he saw one, to taunt Britain by sending a telegram saying he had arranged for Ugandans to donate “one lorry load of vegetables and wheat” and the British government should dispatch a plane to collect it quickly “before it goes bad.” Meanwhile Britain’s prime minister, Ted Heath, declared four states of emergencies in three years as he attempted to quash mass strikes. Violence of all strains broke out, sometimes politically or racially motivated, sometimes economic or recreational. Lord Radcliffe, best known for chairing the committee that partitioned India at decolonisation, suggested England was “ungovernable.” The bleakness dragged on. In the so-called Winter of Discontent in 1978–79, public sector strikes led to school shut-outs, rubbish festering in the streets and even the dead being left unburied. Authentic Adam Oates Youth Jersey Margaret Thatcher came to power in May 1979 with a plan to fix the nation. It was radical, callous and rooted in her belief that “there is no such thing as society.” It was never going to be carried out peacefully, so she weaponised the state apparatus to atomise resistance. To some minds, her scheme worked. In other senses it made resistance stronger or, at least, made the alienated more impassioned.

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