Monday 14 June 2010

Esso Blues

My first World Cup was Mexico 70. I was football mad and we'd just got a colour TV. It was the dawning of a new age - though not, as it transpired, for English football; little did we know back then, but, we had to fill our boots while we could - we wouldn't be troubling the world stage for another twelve years. But it wasn't just the matches that occupied my time. I had wall-charts to fill in, football cards to swap, even Hartleys were putting the squad on their jam jar lids. All to the backdrop of 'Back Home.' This, however, was all overshadowed by the Esso World Cup coins - the mother of all collecting crazes. Every dad in the land was hounded by their offspring to forget fuel economy. We demanded that the old man went to the forecourt at least three times a week: more petrol meant more coins. And then we had to get the rarities: yer Peter Osgoods and yer Jeff Astles were ten a penny. We needed Henry Newtons and Colin Harveys. Alas, it wasn't to be. My collection was filled with gaps (a little like our defence when we should have beaten the Hun) and so the coins c/w display board (bought separately for the princely sum of 2/6) got flung into the loft with the Christmas decorations and winter woolies. Cash In The Attic? Maybe not.

I couldn't leave this piece without mentioning Back Home. Yes, it's been done to death and, yes, it's cheesy. But flip it over and you get a pleasant surprise. Brian Labone and barrel chested Frannie Lee slip anchor with a cracking bit of singalong bubblegum (from the stable of Martin and Coulter, no less).


  1. This was the first one that registered for me, too - I was fascinated by the TV trailer ("underneath the sun in Mexico, magic has begun in Mexico...") with its glamorous dancing lady, and apparently pestered my parents to take me there. Strange thing is, I remember it in colour, though we only had a black and white TV...

  2. I had the Esso coins - full set too I think. Sticker books and Admiral kits were the collectables burning a hole in my pocket money around 76 - 78.

    Cinnamon Stick's not too bad is it (in a Sing Something Simple way, that is)

  3. Hi JM been layed out with laryngitis and bronchitis, hence the dip out of view...

    Was a bit too young for the 1970 WC, but pretty sure my dad collected these for me (they are still up in the loft somewhere), although it may well have been the 1974 set.

    First World Cup that I really got excited for was 1978 in Argentina (no England!). Remember turning on for Scotlands usual 3 games and out! Buzzed up on every one ever since, although USA 94 was a bit of a non-event, no England and all too late to watch.

    Must dig out those coins!


  4. 1970 I'd have 7 heading for 8 during that summer. Despite really being a Gillingham man through and through I was flirting with Chelsea then as frankly Gillingham were never going to win the cup or the title... still aren't frankly but as you grow older you accept this stuff don't you.

    A mate at school was collecing those coins. We never had a car so I wasn't really but I remember having a few that he passed on that were surplus to his collection and I treasured them for ages the way 7 year olds do.

    Oh yes - I remember Back Home and the b-side well. It was a constant on the old radiogram in those days - that was just about though when I started to discover Hendrix etc. and my guitar obbession began :-)