The world wide web has changed the way we view and interact with the greatest game on earth, from blogs to tweets, every man and his dog as an opinion. One great game for a player now makes him a superstar, from ex pros to pundits they all jump on that bandwagon. We're being told just how good players are compared to the old days, how the likes of Best and Pele wouldn't be able to keep up with todays pace, but is the quality of the football really as good as it was 40/50 years ago?
Over the next few months we're gonna be dusting off the archives and plough through the statistics that will hopefully answer this long running debate, the only spillage here, will be that of the Midweeker spilling his pint down his bright orange shirt!
We want goals!
First up in this series, we will be looking at the great art of goalscoring, We've all seen Harry Kane shin it from 5 yards out, Ryan Giggs missing an open goal and that classic Arsenal penalty routine that would be better suited on strictly ballroom! But over a full season how does the modern game measure up to its past? Are we getting more goals on average over a full season? or should we be getting a refund on the ever increasing ticket prices?
Lets go back to 1958/59 season, A random choice i know! - Just a few things to point out - The old first division had 22 teams in it, meaning that each team would end up playing 42 league games per season, and to even make it harder, teams couldn't even make substitutions! The only thing players needed to get through a match back then was that half time cuppa!
So Wolves had just won back to back titles, banging in over 200 goals in the process (110 during 58/59), whilst second place, Man United also managed to get into the 100's in terms of scoring goals, not a bad effort when you consider most teams ended up playing 10 a side!
Now back to present times - The top two teams last season (Chelsea & Spurs) only managed to hit the 80's in terms of goals, yet players now days have better nutrition and each team can make unto three subs!
This pattern continues into the 1960's, During the 60,61 season three teams in the top flight managed to hit the 100's, The champions Spurs, third place Wolves (once again) and fourth place Burnley. Even relegated Newcastle managed to score 86 goals throughout that season. If we head back to 2015/16 when The Foxes managed the impossible, they only managed to hit the 60's in terms of their goalscoring abilities... Now is that entertainment... really?
When you consider Jimmy Greaves still holds the record of being the outright leading goalscorer in top flight matches in England, (lets not forget he fell out of love with the game at the tender age of 31) it hammers home even more that we are being blinded by fancy advertising and over the top pundits!
Now don't get me wrong, Big Alan Shearer was top notch but he was still over 70 goals shy of Jimmy's record, and you have to remember he was at The Toon into his late 30's!
So in terms of putting the ball in the net over a course of a season, it seems the greats of the past found it easier than todays modern not so greats.