Now that we are a good few years into the decade of the 2010s, it is surely now official that the decade before last, the 1990s, are hereby trendy as ‘retro’.
Unfortunately, if this is indeed true then nobody has kindly informed the mainstream yet – though the odd nineties nostalgia night/venue/theme pops up from time to time, it has some way to go if it is to catch the juggernaut that is eighties nostalgia.
When 90s throwbacks do go full throttle, however, you can be sure that football will be on the front line.
Those of us who had the honour of growing up as footie-mad punk kids during the final decade of the 20th century will fondly recall all of those awesome memories, from the seminal to the ludicrous, that made football culture stand out back then, especially for (but not exclusive to) kids.
Football author Ash Rose has gone one step further – he has captured said memories into a recently-released table publication titled Alive and Kicking: The Ultimate Book of '90s Football Nostalgia.
With Ash’s help, we are going to pick out our eight best footballing memories of the 1990s…
1) The greatest World Cup - Forget vuvuzelas, group stage snorefests and hideously-suspect venues: back in 1994, the United States fit FIFA's apparent 'new frontiers' philosophy for awarding World Cups - and unlike South Africa and, seemingly, Qatar, knocked it out of the park (which is fitting, considering it is the home of baseball).
2) ‘Proper’ villains - We all hate the current crop of divers, foulers, play-actors and thugs. But do you remember when we 'loved to hate' them? Mostly because it wasn't so commonplace back then. But there's no denying that the likes of Klinsmann, Cantona and Simeone were far cooler than the likes of Suarez, Ronaldo and Bale.
3) Stickers! - A proud, long-standing tradition among younger fans (and an alarming number of adults) absolutely exploded in the 1990s. Merlin's Premier League sticker range were all the rage in the middle of the decade. And rightly so.
4) Video games - While the advancement of technology understandably means games of all genre get better as time rolls on, there was something about the 16-bit era, especially for sports simulations. Not only that, but remember when there really was a choice of different football games - not just FIFA? Not to mention that this was when management games took off.
5) Internet? Too easy! - We all love the fact that we can come across as savants of the Swiss Pro League inside two or three quick internet searches. But when information came by spending money on Clubcall or staring at Ceefax for hours waiting for a full-time or breaking transfer, there was a much bigger sense of accomplishment. Again, two older institutions which became musts for any young football fanatic in the 90s.
6) Football Italia - There is an admirable range of magazine content on TV for the fan who just won't settle for Match of the Day and Premier League highlights. But let's not kid ourselves: NONE of them are on the level of the 1990s terrestrial television cult hit.
7) Ow! My eyes! - Unsightly football kits do not belong to an era. They crop up to this day (Hi, Warrior Sports!) and likely began in the 19th century with some kind of shocking collar that was a different colour to the rest of the shirt. But thanks to teams like Norwich, Chelsea, Everton and Mexican goalkeeping icon Jorge Campos, we know which decade was the peak for nauseating pitchwear.
8) Subbuteo - Nuff said.
What else do you feel belongs on this list? My Summer With Des? The Hat-Trick Cheeseburger? John Barnes shilling Lucozade? Valderrama's hair? Have your say in the comments section below.
And when you're done there, head over and order a copy of Ash Rose's complete tribute to the 1990s, Alive and Kicking: The Ultimate Book of '90s Football Nostalgia, by clicking here (or have a peek inside the book before purchasing it here). Mr. Rose can also be followed on Twitter here.