DVD review: The Big Match – The best from the studio

If you are looking to produce a DVD that is going to sell well and be replayed hours on end, the last footage to include would probably be Jimmy Hill discussing the state of referees in the early 1970s.

Everybody loves receiving free stuff. So, imagine our excitement when the good folk at ITV Sport got in touch and asked us to review “The Big Match - The best from the studio” which includes footage of some famous faces from the 70s including Brian Clough, Pat Jennings and Malcolm Allison.

This “nostalgic trip down memory lane” does have some redeeming qualities not least a fine collection of goals and it is fascinating to see how football was covered when TV was truly becoming a major focal point of people’s lives. Legends of broadcasting Brian Moore and Jim Rosenthal make lengthy appearances and it is impossible not to stare at their crazy hair and fat ties from another era.

Split into sections, the first segment is a complete turn off. Most of us remember Jimmy Hill as a pompous twat who was a reason to switch channels. As a result, “Jimmy Hill on refereeing” is one of the worst pieces of television you will ever have the misfortune to watch.

Thankfully the DVD does improve from then on and there is interspersed throughout some incredible footage. Standout moments include Alan Mullery explaining to Malcolm Allison why he is one of the best midfielders in England, Bobby Charlton on the two yellow cards he received in his career and Bobby Moore knocking out a referee with a bullet header.

The “Golden Goals” section which round up the Goal of the Season competitions on The Big Match is a hugely enjoyable watch and whilst the editing may not be what we are used to, does include some excellent goals which are not that well known and have probably been long forgotten.

Risking the fact that neither ITV or anybody else will send us a freebie again, the sad truth is that this DVD includes television that is difficult to watch once. “Viewers Letters,” “Where Are They Now” and “Jim Rosenthal’s News Desk” may all have provided relatively interesting programming at the time but over thirty years later they hardly set the pulse racing.

A case in point is “Where Are They Now” which traces back players from the 30s, 40s and 50s to see how they were faring in the 1970s. Of course it is clear that unlike today’s professionals they did not earn enough to avoid working after they had hung up their boots, but why anybody would buy this DVD for such drivel is beyond this writer.

Following the brilliant The Damned United movie, it is no surprise that a number of DVDs were released such as this one. But the producers should have stuck with the footage that is worth watching and not just bundled a package together which is a sad indictment of 1970s football coverage.

(It is also worth pointing out that there are also Big Match DVDs for a number of clubs which are just back-to-back archive action and are probably a good watch. For more see here.)

To redress the balance, below are some clips from the DVD that could perhaps entice you to spend your hard earned money on some footie nostalgia from a bygone age.

1. The classic Muhammad Ali rant about Brian Clough (which was slightly distorted in The Damned United as the-then Derby manager sees it with his family and Peter Taylor).

2. The Big Match theme music.

3. Fabulous goals scored by Glenn Hoddle and Dennis Tueart (0.40 on the video) that are included in the “Golden Goals” section.

Buy the DVD here.