Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Sat 17 January 2009

SPAOTP's Virtual Museum of World Football #1

With all the money sloshing around in the world game these days, it seems odd that no-one has seen fit to build a museum that wallows in all that's good in the sport. Oh sure, there's a National Football Museum up in Preston, but for those of us not living anywhere near Lancashire (or too lazy to go there, more like), there has to be another way.

Fear not, old friend. Some People Are On The Pitch is here to save the day, for it is our intention to create an online virtual museum of world football containing all the things that really matter to you, me and every other football fan around the globe.

And today we start by putting our first item on show in a virtual glass case, and it's

Bob Stokoe's red tracksuit bottoms (as worn during the 1973 FA Cup Final)
There are many things that stick in the mind from Sunderland's surprising win over Leeds United in the 1973 Cup Final. Ian Porterfield's goal, Jim Montgomery's amazing double save from Trevor Cherry and Peter Lorimer, but for us the key moment was when the final whistle blew.

Leeds United, one of the biggest clubs in Europe at the time, had been beaten by a club that were 250-1 outsiders when the Third Round started and no-one gave them a snowball in hell's chance of winning the Final. But Sunderland did win, and nobody was more pleased and excited than their manager, Bob Stokoe.

When the referee put the whistle to his lips, Stokoe ran onto the Wembley turf like the David Pleat of his day (only rather less embarassing). Dressed in smart hat and cream-coloured coat, he looked the image of professionalism and decency - from the waist up. In a fashion statement that would send Trinny and Susannah into convulsions, his lower half was dressed in an ill-matching pair of red tracksuit bottoms.

Put bluntly, they looked ridiculous. Stokoe was found in a strange No Man's Land between training ground coach and boardroom big shot. His outfit was neither one thing or the other, but did he care? Did anyone care? Not at all. This was the biggest day of his managerial career (if not his life) and nothing could have been further from his mind.

To have created such an enduring image because of an innocent but monumentally bad wardrobe malfunction deserves recognition, we feel, so Bob Stokoe's red tracksuit pants become the first exhibit to go into our Virtual Museum of World Football.

If you have a suggestion for an additional artifact to go into our museum, do let us know. Send us an email to info [at] spaotp [dot] com with a short explanation of why (if necessary) and we'll put it alongside the most famous pair of tracksuit bottoms in football history.

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