THE ENGLISH DISEASE / INTO THE 70"S.
ACCELERATING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.
So, finally , dear readers , I return from a further 5 weeks recuperation in beautiful Turkey, to continue my personal journey and the way the world has been affected by events and the changes that have brought us to the parlous "English Disease" condition that prevails upon us with ever, it seems, increasing effects to render us a basically impotent society in certain key areas. I did truly intend to do the Hubs remaining whilst in Turkey, but the combination of sunshine and physical activity towards recuperation won my mind, though in my defence I did do some sound background research whilst there. My last Hub took in the so called , "swinging sixties", which probably were the harbingers of the decline in standards that has been only too visible since.
The 1970"s were however, the years when the acceleration in the wrong direction took hold and raised momentum. It was a decade when the pendulum began to swing ever faster buoyed by the push start that had taken place in the 1960"s.
On the world stage, the Vietnam War showed that no lessons had been learned from 1940-1945 World War. In other arenas, the thrust of Terrorism manifested itself at the Munich Olympics. Through the decade it flourished with events like the Patty Hearst activity showing that a modern approach to war was being cultivated more and more as minor groups found ways to discomfort super power Governments by slaying citizens at random. It seems hardly possible given the situation today to think that in the 70"s this was a new concept to mo9st.
Political intrigue ,however, was no new invention and though Nixon visited China to promote liaison, his home machinations via Watergate eventually forced his resignation in 1974, just one year after the end of the Vietnam War.
The order changed also in Europe with the death of the Dictator, Franco, in Spain but events elsewhere in the world had also big effects. OPEC flexed muscles and doubled oil prices, South Africa saw the Soweto riots and the new American President, Ford survived an assassination attempt. Towards the end of the decade change escalated and though peace came to the Middle East in 1977, in Iran, the Shah fled, leaving Khomeini to take control, whilst in Britain, the final year of the decade of disruption saw Margaret Thatcher elected as the first female Prime Minister in the history of the UK.
UK ORDER CHALLENGES INCREASE.
In the UK, the decade proved to be one where the mass, spurred on by Trades Union Leadership challenged repeatedly, the old order. Post Office Workers, Miners, Dustmen all went on strikes of varying time and influences leading up to the final "Winter of Discontent" in 1979. . Even Commercial TV was not spared and ITV screens were dark for 5 months. Earlier the Miners strike of 1972 heralded a 3 day working week for all. The weather also went haywire and the summer of 1976 brought drought conditions to this normally verdant isle.
Amidst the bad spots there were of course, more happier times. Queen Elizabeth 11 clocked up 25 years as Monarch in 1977 but by then her country was long decimalised having said farewell to pounds shillings and pence in 1971. Still with 91% of homes now having TV and 60% having a washing machine, modern trends were established. Soon all would demand kitchens like film stars and that hateful and odious being "Celebrity " began to appear as some became famous for merely being famous and set a trend that now strangles the thoughts and actions of far too many.The first Jumbo Jet arrived at Heathrow in 1970, and Global Travel became possible for more than had ever been envisaged previously. The rich embraced Concorde at 2100 kilometers an hour across the Atlantic and developments in Electricity, North Sea Gas and Nuclear power reduced the need for coal and the need for men to spend their working lives deep underground in difficult conditions. However, if it were thought this would be welcomed by those so enlisted, they were to get a cruel awakening in the next decade as men ,almost unbelievably, fought all for the right to continue being cast down to the bowels of the earth for a third of each day. As they say in Yorkshire, "There"s nowt a queer as folk".
To finalise this strange decade, some began to walk about carrying what appeared to be half a house brick with a stick jutting out of it. Most of us then did not realise that we were witness to a modern phenomena and now scourge, the mobile phone was with us!
A Personal Difficult Decade.
As 1970 entered things were good on a personal basis for me. The move to Derbyshire from hated Harrogate had made life better all round, cemented by the birth of Christopher John in May. His brother and I played football in the garden as he arrived and I was doubly delighted to have 2 sons.
By 1974, I became dissatisfied with my job. I realised that I could probably go on till 65 and not see the advances I wanted to see within English Football. A chance meeting with Sir Alf Ramsey at FA Headquarters in London caused me to think again. Alf had managed England to World Cup victory in 1966and to me was the man at the pinnacle of the game. However, he disabused me of this at once telling me the top job in the FA was that of the Secretary and that he, like all Managers would, if things ran there course, get the sack. It was unthinkable at the time but later proved to be correct. His advice was basically, if you wish to stay in the game go for a side away from the playing side. This view was confirmed by another top Manager, Don Revie. At the time his Leeds Utd were feared everywhere. As a Manager in my region, I had approached him with some trepidation, but we hit it off and he supported me at all times, even enrolling a a student when I created and organised the first course for Football Management in the country. Fleet Street"s finest, ever keen to have a pop at anything Educational in sport, were stopped in their tracks when Don told them that he had enrolled and that to be against such courses was to be against progress itself. From that time, the Press in my Region actually embraced me and I became keen on Broadcasting myself.
Cutting a long decade short, from 1976 to the end of the period was my own personal testing period. I changed my work to enter the world of Sports Marketing but after 2 years realised that whilst I had a talent for the work, the actual position was a mismatch and so I departed with mutual agreement. My radio reporting went forward however and I rose from Regional to National air time exposure. Through this I also witnessed at first hand up and down the country, the development of a particular form of the English Disease, namely Football Hooliganism, and the development of which appeared to run almost unchecked despite efforts made by the authorities to deal with it. A clear case of the overthrowing of older values and the emergence of a lack of respect and discipline that was to escalate beyond all reason. Perhaps it is worth commenting that many involved are today"s parents, so we should not be amazed at the way many younger people behave today. They had the wrong principles instilled from birth as both nature and nurture were of a decreased level. What will the next 30 years bring is thus to be faced with considerable apprehension, not only in the UK but worldwide it seems..
As the decade ran on, I moved into Marketing and Administration in Professional Football, which was to prove a good move, whilst on the other side of things, the family was driven apart by divorce, not of my choosing, and which at the same time hurt my sons badly. It is to their personal credit that they grew to be what they are today and to the way they parent their own offspring. Microcosmic behaviour sadly mirrored the way things were truly accelerating in the wrong direction and man"s inhumanity to man far from improving was to worsen still further in the decades to come. Despite the family blows, work went clearly onwards and upwards as opportunities at times fell into my lap and financially at least I surfaced from normal debt to comparative fiscal security
I THUS APPROACHED THE 1980"S WITH SOME OPTIMISM , AND LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD WONDERED WHAT LAY AHEAD. IT WAS TO BE ANOTHER TURBULENT DECADE.