The state of 21st-century football | Letters

In his day, skinhead thuggery was endemic and football hard men stalked every match in his day, writes Richard Tippett. It’s the teenage daughter of Carragher’s target I feel sorry for, writes Joe McCarthy

I laughed at almost every line of Anthony Clavane’s diatribe (Spitting on the grave of what was once a beautiful game, 13 March). At first I thought it was a manufactured rage piece, but it appears he was being serious from the kick-off. Having watched football for over 50 years, I can assure Mr Clavane that the game today is far more pristine and, I would suggest, more skilful than it was in my younger days.

Corinthian values were in short supply on and off the pitch during the 60s and 70s: skinhead thuggery was endemic, full-on pitch invasions by fans were commonplace, and football hard men stalked every match. Far from “not recognising today’s game”, Bobby Moore would have admired its relative lack of contact. In his time, Moore’s West Ham team-mates would shudder under the ruthless tackles of Norman Hunter, Nobby Stiles, Chopper Harris and Tommy Smith.

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