Internet TV and Ancient Soccer Footage

Can I first apologise to readers who have emailed me asking about GoogleTV and what I said were hours of old Match of the Days and original Pathe News rushes?

GoogleTV itself was a particularly wonderful hoax perpetrated by the evil minds behind Youtube’s “Infinite Solutions.” The days following the launch of the hoax were difficult ones for me: I found the whole thing far more amusing than it was probably worth, and couldn’t keep it off my mind. Motiveless giggling fits in Post Office queues and on Underground trains followed.

My references to it here did have a serious side to them, as did the original hoax. We want internet TV, don’t we? and prompting Google – or someone else:
Joost sounds promising – into action some way some how strikes me as a fine thing to do. Likewise, the Beeb is indeed sitting on a lot of Match of the Day, and not using it sufficiently in my view, in some cases hamstrung by copyright agreements, true, but yet..

I don’t know if Pathe still have their original rushes. There are certainly some Pathe films that are known to have existed that I’d love to see, but can’t find archived at their otherwise excellent site. For example, there’s a match played in 1920 by Dick Kerr’s Ladies that Pathe filmed: the game was floodlit by war surplus anti-aircraft searchlights.

The BBC definitely do. In “My Father and Other Working Class Heroes”, Gary Imlach’s persistence led to the rediscovery of the original rushes for the 1959 FA Cup Final. That’s in addition to Match of the Day.

I see no reason, quite honestly, why this material isn’t properly professionally archived and made available. A search on the National Sound Archive database reveals what a shamefully small amount of the millions of hours of sports broadcasting done down the years is being made properly available. With all due respect to the BBC’s rights over its own archive, it has “history” when it comes to wanton destruction of valuable material.

In that respect, the BBC’s making available certain of its archive to film makers on the web is very welcome, and so is the new deal with Youtube. These ventures need encouraging and making much of, so that we see more in the future.

Somewhere out there, I am sure, is a lot of colour film of pre-1969 football that is currently just tucked away in its tin. Friese-Greene aside, someone must have taken a colour camera to a preWar match, surely? Or done so in the 1940s and 1950s?

I’d be interested in any finds, needless to say. Anyway, apologies again: that’s why I did it, and I hope, in the reasonably close future, to see something real that amounts to what I was writing about.

This image dates from 1941. If this is what could be done if required, there must be something similar out there showing sport, surely?

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