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Say What You See: Straw

Mark Harrowell examines a photograph from the late 70s


"Immediate reaction in 150 words you say?

Among others, João Pedro, Emmanuel Dennis and Ismaïla Sarr ensure a vital Carabao Cup tie can go ahead before Mr and Mrs Ranieri arrive with a Spear and Jackson no. 4 and a flask of tea. 

Darling, can you imagine?

My teenage sense of identity is swirling around in monochrome somewhere here but let’s just admire the width of the rakes, the idea that dried-grass engineering can save a top-class sporting event and that a garage in Bushey rather than a Chinese betting firm used the advertising hoardings.

The brief requires guesswork but that’s How, Ellis and Downes, so I’m going 1978/79 as I think the strange, mid-length anoraks (undoubtedly 100% nylon) were premiered after promotion from Division 4. 

Yes, it’s Watford’s first team clearing hay off a frosty Vicarage Road pitch, probably because Graham told them to. Same geographical coordinates, different club, different sport, different world."