We caught up with John Earls, writer for Classic Pop, Loaded, When Saturday Comes, NME and the Daily Star, to talk about playing in goal for Teletext and the best comment he’s overheard at a West Ham United match.
What was your first football shirt?
My first two football shirts now fill me with shame. I became a Luton fan aged nine during our 1981-2 promotion season to the top flight. Growing up in Milton Keynes, Luton was the closest thing the city had to a League team.
It still is, thanks very much MK Spongs. But, previous to noticing how well Luton were doing in the old Division Two, I’d been a glory-hunting early ‘80s Liverpool fan.
My parents got me the top for my seventh birthday in 1980. That same year, my primary school team won a local football tournament. In the final, my goalkeeper’s top was still in the wash and I had to borrow a team-mate’s Arsenal top.
So the first (and pretty much only) football trophy ceremony I took part in has me collecting my medal in an Arsenal top. Bleeurgh.
What is your favourite shirt?
I usually buy a local football top from wherever I go on holiday. The simplicity of Maltese side Valetta’s green top appeals, and it can double as a goalkeeper’s top for when I play six-a-side. The ultimate is probably my Teletext goalkeeper’s top.
Teletext, Stanno, 2000s
I edited Teletext’s music section during the ‘00s and our in-house football team’s kit had the sports page numbers on the back. I was 401, the main sports index.
What is your favourite goal?
Brian Stein’s last-minute winner for Luton in the 1988 Littlewoods Cup Final over Arsenal is the obvious one. Otherwise, it might be Scott Oakes’ hat-trick goal that got Luton a late 3-2 win over West Ham in a 1994 FA Cup quarter-final replay live on BBC1, because it caused my favourite ever overheard fan’s comment.
After a superb performance culminating in a mazy individual solo goal for the winner, Oakes was still denied his moment in the sun by the bloke who fumed on his way out
That c*** only ever performs for the TV cameras.
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