Was football better in the 90s? Here are five reasons why we think it was

Richard Bevan
Richard Bevan
4 Min Read

When you take a trip down memory lane, the golden era of football in the 90s seems to glisten even brighter. From the crazy goalkeeper shirts to the relative simplicity of the sport, it’s not surprising that many fans long for the days before VAR, astronomical wages, and tightly fitted kits. Here are five reasons why football was arguably better in the 90s.

5. The Goalkeeper Shirts Were Outrageous

Anyone who watched football in the 90s will remember the psychedelic onslaught of colours that were the goalkeeper shirts. They were vibrant, eccentric, and, quite frankly, looked as if someone on a mad acid trip designed them. They were, however, laden with character and became iconic elements of 90s football culture.

4. Footballers: They Were One of Us

In the 90s, footballers felt less like untouchable celebrities and more like your average bloke down the pub. Fans felt a deeper connection to their favourite players, who often seemed just as likely to enjoy a pint and a laugh with supporters as they were to score a hat trick on the pitch.

3. The Glory Days of Serie A and Football Italia

Channel 4’s ‘Football Italia’ show was an absolute delight, giving UK viewers a taste of the exquisite skills of Serie A. From Gabriel Batistuta’s thunderous 30-yarders to Paolo Maldini’s masterclass in defending, we were treated to some of the best football Europe had to offer every week.

2. The Lesser Influence of Money and TV Rights

Money has always played a part in football, but the 90s were different. Players were often groomed through the ranks, with youth development seen as essential. The FA Cup was more than just another tournament; it had a special meaning. These days, however, the focus seems to have shifted significantly due to financial priorities.

1. Football Was More Fun

Sure, the technical quality of football has improved over the years, but many would argue that it has come at the cost of the sport’s character. The 90s was an era when a bone-crunching tackle was a show of commitment rather than a red-card offence.

And let’s not forget the unique personalities that graced the pitch. How would the likes of Vinny Jones fare in today’s sanitised version of the game? Or the eccentric antics of Gazza, Ray Parlour and Eric Cantona, players with larger-than-life personalities that brought an extra sprinkle of joy to the game.

So, were the 90s a better era for football? It’s subjective, of course, but there’s no denying that it was when the sport seemed more fun, relatable, and arguably more exciting. As we navigate through an era of football that feels increasingly commercial and detached from its roots, it’s hard not to yearn for those ‘good old days’.

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