Robin Scott-Elliot: ITV in tights spot again as hoarding looks tough to swallow

View From The Sofa: The big match revisited, ITV 4, Thursday

Adverts may be a touchy subject when it comes to ITV and football – it could have been worse, they might have cut to the funeral ad currently brightening up Sky Sports News – but there was one in particular last week that caught the eye.

The ad in question is 30 years old, so this is not some desperate attempt to attract freebies (or go on a Sir Brian Bender as it's known), although who doesn't need the peace of mind provided by Co-op Funeralcare? The Big Match Revisited revisited Goodison Park last week for Everton against Bristol City, and just about visible through all the cascading hair, hairy first touches, eye-threatening collars and all pervading beige was a hoarding promoting Swallow Hosiery. A Goodison crammed full of Scouse blokes would not seem a natural market for hosiery, although my knowledge of the natural market for hosiery would not stand up to rigorous examination, unlike, no doubt, a pair of 1979 Swallow Hosiery tights.

Football has its hosiery history. Barely a month before this Goodison encounter, the late Keith Weller stunned the man's game by sporting, and scoring in, a pair of white tights for Leicester City. Legend has it that he only wore the tights because his wife had discovered them in his car, prompting Weller to conjure an excuse that they were for playing in, hence he had to actually play in them. Disappointingly, that turned out to be a Frank Worthington-created legend.

Did the executives of Swallow Hosiery sense a sensual gap in the market? Perhaps they thought Weller's sartorial courage would spark a demand for tights all the way down to Hackney Marshes. Or perhaps, with Valentine's Day approaching, it was just an attempt to persuade a male audience into an ambitious purchase over and above the bunch of carnations from the garage down the road.

The raison d'être of Swallow Hosiery's marketing was just one of a number of important questions that cropped up. Was it compulsory for wingers to wear their socks round their ankles then? Whatever happened to Elton Welsby? How inspired a decision was ridding the game of the back pass? And was football actually a bit rubbish 30 years ago?

The appropriately hirsute Andy King had time to light a John Player, down a Watneys Party Seven and [insert your favourite 1970s cultural reference here – swinging perhaps, or Swingball] before swivelling to score the second of his hat-trick for Everton. As a whole, the match was a world removed from today's game. But then hosiery too has come on leaps and bounds, or so I believe.

It is part of this country's unwritten constitution that nobody is allowed to say nice things about ITV. At the risk then of a treason charge: it made an accomplished job of England's friendly (and its overhauled FA Cup highlights are much improved), with just the odd moment of overkill. Peter Drury's dream about David Beckham overtaking Peter Shilton's caps record in the World Cup final was a football fantasy dressed in the skimpiest, frilliest lingerie imaginable. Unless you're Shilton. Or not a fan of hosiery, which is, frankly, hard to swallow.

BBC finger on button for Goode exposure

Director's cut of the week belongs to the BBC man calling the shots at Cardiff on Saturday. England were down to 14 (again) when Wales scored their all-important try at the start of the second half and moments later our screens were filled by Andy Goode sitting in the sin bin, head buried in hands; a man laid bare for all to see.

Portsmouth's victory over Manchester City ended a run of nine league games without a win, the worst in their six years in the Premier League. Their previous worst was eight games without success near the end of the 2005-06 campaign.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate