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Football 100 Years in the Future – as Forecast in a 1939 Everton Programme

10 Football Predictions that became a reality

In a fascinating short article in a 1939 Everton match day programme an anonymous writer makes a whole series of predictions as to what football will be like 100 years in the future.

Whilst predictions of us all travelling by rocket and living well beyond 100 years old have proved wide of the mark most of his football related predictions have proved to be uncannily accurate in one form or another.

So 82 years on we take a look back at his predictions.

 

1 VAR (Video Assistant Referee) and Goal Line Technology

From the 1939 Everton Programme

“As the kick off drew near the line and goal judges, one stationed every 20 yards, took their places, followed by the referee, each with his mouthpiece and radio apparatus strapped to his chest for instant communication with the control room, where they were now trying out the invisible light ray which covered the goal lines, one bell denoting if the whole of the ball had crossed a touch line; two for the net line, and three if the referee pressed the infringement button and denoted a goal”

According to Wikipedia “VAR was conceived by the Refereeing 2.0 project in the early 2010s, under the direction of the Royal Netherlands Football Association “

Goal Line Technology was first tested by FIFA in 2011.

2 Swipe Card Technology and Unmanned Turnstiles

From the 1939 Everton Programme

“With my Amusement Bureau Licence Key, I registered at the Robot Gate Machine which returned my numbered seat card and programme and passed me through.”

The first Magnetic striped card was developed by IBM in the late 1960s and Introduced on credit cards in the early 1970s.

Unmanned turnstiles date to the early 2000s and technology to enable turnstile entry via a mobile phone app is a very recent introduction, Manchester United for example announcing “During 2020 we upgraded our stadium turnstiles and they are now all compatible with digital / contactless ticketing.”

Image By Arthahn – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25001296

3 Escalators in Football Grounds

From the 1939 Everton Programme

“Escalators quickly whisked me to my seat”

Not really a surprise is this prediction as Escalators had been around since the end of the 19th Century. Interestingly it was Everton who in 1971 installed what we believe was the first Escalator at an English Football Ground.

4 Video Screens

From the 1939 Everton Programme

“Four square screens dropped from the Television Autogyro hovering over the centre circle”

The first giant LED screens were introduced in the 1990s.

5 Retractable Roofs

From the 1939 Everton Programme

“quickly covered by the giant rollers pulling the reinforced cellophane cover over the enclosure, a very useful gadget invented by a Manchester man in 2012 which had solved all ground troubles with snow, rain and ice, etc that had been such a bugbear to our ancestors”

Roofed stadiums are not a new phenomenon by any means, with the first fully retractable stadium unveiled on the Rogers Centre, in Toronto in June 1988. The Principality Stadium in Cardiff built in 1999 has the 2nd largest retractable roof in the world.

6 Undersoil Heating

From the 1939 Everton Programme

“Even tried in 1938 to cook the ground with electric wires”

Not a prediction but mocking early attempts to develop a new technology. Until then bales of straw and braziers were widely used.

However in 1958 Everton did become the first club to successfully install undersoil heating.

There is a picture of the Installation here http://www.evertoncollection.org.uk/object?id=796+EFC%2f26%2f4%2f6&z=1&q=heating#title

7 Performance Enhancing Drugs

From the 1939 Everton Programme

“Chewing their Buckley energy gland pills”

Whilst not widely seen in football, performance enhancing drugs have become a major issue in modern day Athletics and Cycling.

8 Destined for High Office  

From the 1939 Everton Programme

“By arrangement with the F.A.; three of whose officials Messrs Stanley Rous, Don Welsh and Charles Hewitt had just taken their places”

In 1939 retired referee Stanley Rous was Secretary of the FA, in 1961 he became President of FIFA.

In 1939 Don Welsh pictured,  played for Charlton Athletic. He went on to become Liverpool Manager in 1951.

In 1939 Charles Hewitt was manager of Millwall and was at Millwall in the mid-1950s when he retired from Football.

9 Comfortable Seats

From the 1939 Everton Programme

“Sinking back into the luxurious chair, I switched on the foot and back warmers and adjusted the positional lever to my liking.”

Definitely not Elland Road or many another ground where there is not enough legroom …. Sounds very much like the Emirates Stadium.

10 International Club Tournaments

From the 1939 Everton Programme

“Drawn against today’s winners in the next round of the World International Shield”

European Club Competitions commenced in the 1950s, the Intercontinental Cup in 1960 and the FIFA Club World Cup in 2000.

Aside from the Football related predictions the writer made one or two other Interesting predictions

11 Global Warming

From the 1939 Everton Programme.

“We settled down to watch impressive and noisy views of Icebergs breaking away from Greenland”

Enough said

12 Genetic Engineering

From the 1939 Everton Programme

“Their brilliant centre Tommy Ralph”

Presumably a reference to a combined Tommy Lawton and Dixie Ralph Dean?

The full article is included below and here is a link that talks of what the stadium of our future might look like. https://worldfootballsummit.com/smart-football-stadium-populous/

The full article

A HUNDRED YEARS HENCE

(With Salaams to HG WELLS)

Sucking my Ham and Ketchup tablet, I dashed into the Victoria Street tube depot and, two minutes later, the North-end Rocket Tube had deposited me at Goodison Park where, with my Amusement Bureau Licence Key, I registered at the Robot Gate Machine which returned my numbered seat card and programme and passed me through.

Being in good time had secured an early rotation, being in a front row, much to my delight, for such an attractive feature as we had today: Escalators quickly whisked me to my seat and, sinking back into the luxurious chair, I switched on the foot and back warmers and adjusted the positional lever to my liking.

The sky was black with Rocket Planes, Aero Buses and Air Taxicabs swooping down to the Stanley Park underground Parking-drome and a cackle of cheers and wisecracks heralded the arrival of the Scarlet U.S.S.R. plane bringing the Russian eleven, who, having been drawn against today’s winners in the next round of the World International Shield, had secured this opportunity of weighing up their opponents form. Their machine had scarcely settled on the clubs private parking station placed on the roof of the Goodison Road Stand, when a wild roar greeted the all-silver South American Comet Express carrying the Brazil F.C., popularly known as the “Nuts” and certainly a hard proposition for any team to crack.

The ground was rapidly filing and now the four square screens dropped from the Television Autogyro hovering over the centre circle and we settled down to watch impressive and noisy views of Icebergs breaking away from Greenland and a highly amusing debate on Footer by Wakefield Oliver and Big-Hearted Stinker, a feature generally released on all grounds by the National Amusement Bureau by arrangement with the F.A.; three of whose officials Messrs Stanley Rous, Don Welsh and Charles Hewitt had just taken their places, still hale and hearty despite their hundred and thirty odd years.

As the kick off drew near the line and goal judges, one stationed every 20 yards, took their places, followed by the referee, each with his mouthpiece and radio apparatus strapped to his chest for instant communication with the control room, where they were now trying out the invisible light ray which covered the goal lines, one bell denoting if the whole of the ball had crossed a touch line; two for the net line, and three if the referee pressed the infringement button and denoted a goal

The timing whistle blew its 5 minutes to go warning and out came the teams, Brazil very smart in their all yellow rig out, Everton equally so in their one-piece blue velvet togs chewing their Buckley energy gland pills, the players broad silver zipp fasteners and number plates flashed in the momentary sunlight; the homesters being deeply bronzed after their week at the North Pole Health Centre. Now the captains were tossing up and just as the contestants were lining up down came  a heavy shower of rain, from which we were quickly covered by the giant rollers pulling the reinforced cellophane cover over the enclosure, a very useful gadget invented by a Manchester man in 2012 which had solved all ground troubles with snow, rain and ice, etc that had been such a bugbear to our ancestors who had even tried in 1938 to cook the ground with electric wires on the “Shutting the –gate after the Wolves were in principle.

At last the whistle went, they were off, straight away Everton made ground , their brilliant centre Tommy Ralph had seized the ball and was making one of his characteristic goal dashes, my excited neighbour sprang up pulling at my sleeve,

“Come on! Come on,” he shouted, ”Come on!”

“Come on! Wake up!” I rubbed my eye bewildered; there was my wife. “Wake up,” she said, “dozing off over that futuristic rubbish, you’ll be late for the Cup-tie. You know that the tram takes an hour and you’ll have to put your heavy mac and boots on, it’s raining heaven’s hard and you will be soaked to the skin, standing out in the open on that cold concrete, and you will have to queue up, so just shift yourself!” Trams? Macs? Soaking to the skin? Queues? Bemused I; then suddenly I remembered it was 1939 not 2039 and with a heart broken moan I sunk back in my chair and bitterly pondered over my vanished and glorious shape of things to come.

LWB

Taken from Everton match day programme dated 18th February 1939