I've talked about this before. When I was a kid going the away games I was especially interested in what the older fellas thought. On the trains I'd ask them about players
'What was Best like?' I'd seen him but was very young. 'Did you see Finney or Matthews?' There was no telly, little footage, so you tried to find out what players were like
This was when I was a teenager. But it continued. I always wanted to know what people who saw the players thought
I realise that there's been wall-to-wall TV for the past three decades but telly only gives half the story. What do players do when the ball and the cameras are at the other end of the pitch? How do they relate to team-mates
Before telly, I wanted to know about that. I still want to know. So I ask people who can tell me. I'm always asking people their opinions, whether they are managers, coaches, agents, players or fans. Supporters see their team all the time and know more than me
But the interesting thing is that in a quarter of a century of being a football journalist there've been very few people people - outside other journalists - who've asked my opinion about players from the past who I saw a lot
Loads of people have TOLD me how good or bad they were. People a third of my age often lay down the law about footballers who played before they were born. It happened with work experience people when I was football editor of a national newspaper
Now I know there's access matches across the world, youtube and all that but I'll be honest here. For all the live football I see - a lot - I try to talk to people who see individual teams and players more to check whether I'm on the right track
Happy to discuss opinions but if you're going to come on here and abuse me or call my opinions bullshit, you better have proper credentials. I'll be keen to learn from you if you know what you're taking about
On a related note, the greatest football talk I experienced - and I've discussed the game with a few - was outside Anfield in the early 70s when Shankly was talking about Finney. Did piece about it on the Plumber's 90th. No film but my imagination was on fire
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