Football pitch side ads, 1966 v 2018

England at Wembley

At Spiral we are proud to be official print partner of our local football club, Macclesfield Town. Recently we’ve been busy working on the pitch side advertising boards at their Moss Rose stadium for the 2018-19 season – their first back in the English Football League after last season’s promotion triumph. We may have become slightly obsessed.

We’ve also been watching England’s matches from Russia of course. And at times we found that the football was so exciting it was distracting us from a proper study of the perimeter boards. This got us thinking about how pitch side advertising has changed since England won the World Cup in 1966.

We shall not be moved

Readers old enough to remember 1966 will know that the big difference back then was that everything happened in black and white. It was also hard to see the action because practically everyone in the 95% male crowd was smoking. OK they’re both slight exaggerations, but this much is true: the pitch side ads were completely static.

In fact the only time a mid-sixties hoarding was likely to move was when it was hit by a Bobby Charlton thunderbolt shot, or when a crunching Nobby Stiles tackle sent an opponent thudding into it.

1966 England

Different times, different messages

1966 vintage ads were even simpler than 1966 footballers, with their total lack of tattoos, shortage of hair and complete absence of acting ability. Most pitch side boards were nothing more than a logo, often for an alcoholic beverage, cigarette brand or newspaper.

Today’s messages tend to promote betting and video games or advise viewers to “just do it”. All that would have seemed like the most outlandish sci-fi to fans from 50 years ago. In fact off-racecourse gambling had been illegal in the UK until 1960. And in those pre-Ray Winstone days, bookmakers were still disguising themselves themselves as turf accountants.

Turf Accountants

The beautiful game deserves beautiful ads

2018’s constantly moving digital perimeter boards, as seen on TV and at major international stadia, are the most eye-catching difference between then and now of course. But even the static pitch side posters found further down the football pyramid are a major advance on the 1960s experience.

At Spiral we print onto Dibond using the latest Jetrix Flatbed press. Colours are bright, definition is crisp and boards are resilient enough to still look fresh after the toughest of British winters. Messages can also stretch across several boards if required.

In fact, apart from England winning the World Cup and a few decent songs from The Beatles, we’d say 2018 beats 1966 hands down.