THE idea of re-watching every single game of the 1990 World Cup for a podcast might seem a little left of centre to some of you because, let’s be honest, it is! Like many unusual ideas, it came from an idle rummage through some old boxes in the attic. The first inspiring find was an old ‘Orbis’ 1990 World Cup preview binder and sticker album. The second was a whole set of Subbuteo figures from that era, with teams from Scotland to Argentina all in perfect condition.
The next piece of the jigsaw was the discovery that websites have sprung up all over the internet during this worldwide pause in sport providing access to full recordings of thousands of random old football games, including every single World Cup Finals game stretching back to 1966.
But most importantly, meaning it is possible to watch every minute of the 1990 World Cup if you so wish. Now, no-one is suggesting that is good for your health, so we’ve done that part for you.
‘Italia 90 — One Day at a Time’ is a football podcast that aims to transport you back in time so you can relive the stories and the drama of a World Cup finals that changed the sport forever.
Hosted by yours truly and Ciarán O’Hara with a team of regular guests, this series will take you on a journey through every match of a seminal World Cup, re-living the games and unearthing long forgotten stories and perspectives that will entertain and inform.
When it was announced that Euro 2020 was being deferred by 12 months, the idea of creating a show that would fill the void for a large portion of football fans who have been starved of entertainment was set in stone.
Our gut feeling was that people in Ireland, and around the world, with memories of the 1990 tournament would jump at the chance of reliving it in a new and illuminating way. So far, it looks like we were right.
Our main team of match-watchers includes our own Billy Joe Padden, Irish Examiner and Mayo News contributor Colin Sheridan, and Sunday Times sports writer Michael Foley. All three have accepted the task of re-watching games such as Ireland’s 0-0 draw with Egypt or Belgium’s 2-0 victory over South Korea with almost as much enthusiasm as the more glamorous fixtures.
The show is filled with tales about football, fans, music, culture and geopolitics as we stop to consider the world as it was in 1990; be it from the upheaval in eastern Europe, the complexities of a volatile Colombia, the emergence of African football in the shape of Cameroon, the first steps back onto the world stage for the USA, and everything in between.
What we’ve learned is the act of re-engaging with the original match footage in full can uncover angles, perspective and leads for stories that would otherwise have been long been forgotten.
Even the tiny details like Scotland using walkie talkies to communicate with spotters in the stands, or Romanian fans with flags that had holes in the centre where the Soviet symbols had been removed.
It’s allowing us to stop and re-consider the world at that time.
Italia ’90 was a watershed for the small, island nation of Ireland and that’s the prism it’s told through. But the themes and experiences are universal and this series gives the complete picture of an event that changed football and fandom utterly.
You can find us on iTunes, Spotify or Twitter at: ‘Italia 90 — One Day at a Time’