Schumacher & Battiston. Seville. 1982.

First memory of Football was the collision between West German goalkeeper Harald “Toni” Schumacher & the French defender Patrick Battiston at the 1982 World Cup semi-final played in the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, the home of Seville Football Club. I was 7 years old, I would have been watching the T.V. from Bristol in England.

heres some video of the incident I pinched from youtube

Hooked like a fish, The drama of a prone Battiston on our telly, seemingly dead (He’s dead, he’s fucking killed him), watching Schumacher wave it all away like everything was ok (Battiston had teeth knocked out, damaged vertebrae and was fast slipping into a coma) watch Battiston reach the ball ten yards before the German, watch the German turn his hip in mid-air and smash it into the Frenchman’s head.

Hands over mouths over Europe, foreheads wrinkled, eyes bulged, jaws dropped, the French milling around the horizontal defender beckoning the physio to rush, I would have joined in with that collective moment that communities have every now & again, Mum telling Dad to turn it over to stop us from witnessing, the kids watching the telly like they have just seen murder.. The crime made even worse by the lack of any penalty/free kick/punishment. The Germans eventually winning on penalties, and the righteous indignation from all. Glorious defeat for Platini’s France.

The reaction of my family made me remember, like when you ask someone what there earliest memory is, often its a fall or a cut or a burn, this was my traumatic first memory of the beautiful game, contemporary footballers and football experiences are doomed to live up to my memories of football from 82 to 90, of Platini, Giresse, Zico, Rummenigge, Maradona, Rossi, Screaming Tardelli, Lineker (when he was cool).. eternal summers, street football from morning until moonlight…

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