Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Video proof that Steve Bould played with AOC's dad

Stoke City v West Ham, March 1983

I was browsing on itvPlayer earlier this evening and found this little gem: The Big Match Revisited Stoke City v West Ham from March 1983.

Why is this match so intersting to Arsenal fans, you ask? Well, the match was remarkable because it featured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's dad, Mark Chamberlain, and an inexperienced 19 year-old right back by the name of Stephen Bould. With hair!

I love watching these old matches. Not just because I enjoy watching football but also from a sort of social commentary perspective. I like to see the way that fashions and attitudes have changed in football and the world in general. From the dodgy moustaches and hairdos of the players to the products advertised around the grounds (but not on the players shirts) to the attitudes of the players and commentators (for instance, there was no rolling around and feigning injuries and the players didn't kick the ball out of play when someone was injured).

One thing which hasn't changed in the intervening years though is Stoke City's style of play. Even back then they relied on long balls and long throw-ins. Indeed, it was Ox's dad Mark Chamberlain who was Stoke's long throw expert in those days. And a pretty good one at that judging by the long throw ball he hurled into the box in the second half, which almost went directly into the net.

Watching this video, I could see where Oxlade-Chamberlain gets his skills. It was quite uncanny watching Chamberlain senior dribbling around and passing with an with assurance belying his young age. It was just like watching AOC.

Unfortunately, the match did not go entirely well for Bouldy. Gooners of many years may remember another former Stoke player who signed for Arsenal, Lee Dixon (who sadly did not play in this match), chipping his own goalkeeper David Seaman from about 35 yards out, leaving his keeper stranded as the ball flew into the back of his own net. Well, young Stephen Bould produced a similar effort in this match. Not quite as good as Dicko's, but one to be proud of nonetheless.

This weekend in March 1983 was also remarkable for a couple of other reasons. Firstly, it saw Tony Woodcock score his first hat-trick for the Gunners and it was also the first time that Tottenham captain Steve Perryman was sent off.

Sadly, of course, we don't get to see either of those two things because this was in the days when the ITV cameras only went to three matches out of the whole four divisions per weekend and you just had to hope that the Arsenal were playing in one of those matches so that you could witness your heroes in action on the little silver screen.

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