When I was young, in the halcyon days of Sanga and Soldini, a trip to Tutto Sport in Strada Zekka Valletta would mean a stocking up in the 'latest' (read affordably latest) sporting gear on display. It was thus that in the days of the LA Olympics when branded advertising was beginning to really hook on into the footballing world that my parents bought me a new pair of runners cum football shoes that were not of the sanga-soldini variety. Unfortunately the various Adidas, Nike and Reebok were still far beyond the reach of the lower middle class family in Mintoff's Malta and so the "coolness" of the make was limited to its not being a Sanga. I remember my "3A Antonini" shoes with a certain affection. Ever the fan of the conspicuous and non-conformist, they were bright red - a novelty in those days when Marco Simone was still unheard of.
Anyways, I digress from the scope of this post. An article on today's Times (the English version) was the reason of this sudden flashback to those outings in Valletta for the purchase of the Red Devil kit, the 3A shoes and the football socks that could have been tights. Danny Baker's regular column "The Game" today features an item about World Subbuteo Champion Massimo Cremona (Maltese) who is apparently sponsored by TuttoSport Ltd. I do know that Mr Cremona plies his subbuteo skills with a Perugia team and is the first Maltese to be paid to flick dolls at balls with his finger. It would seem that TuttoSport provide the ERREA tracksuit for Cremona to play in. Cool. Here's the full Baker lowdown on the story:
By a tremendous turn of events two of my best friends are playing each other on the international stage this week. By this I mean that one of them is half Hungarian and one of them is fully Maltese and these two mighty nations will come face to face in a Euro 2008 group match on Wednesday. While nobody could sanely claim this pairing is The Tie Of The Round to hear Grollner (Hungary) and Micalef (Malta) jousting over the weekend you’d think that this obscure basement tussle in group C was some sort of Old Firm fixture. From all their chest-butting, though, one titbit of information has emerged and, in my book, given Micalef the edge. Did you know that the generally acknowledged Table Football King Of The World comes from Malta? Well he does, even if he has temporarily lost his official crown after a recent controversial Golden Goal match in Germany. His name is Massimo Cremona and, upon searching online, I see that this week it was announced that Tutto Sport Ltd have agreed to continue his kit sponsorship for another season.
I wonder what kind of deal that is? What is a table football kit like? Is it a full suit or do they just wash and iron the one top between tournaments? If so, then I now realise my mother was my “kit sponsor” when I was at school. I’m perfectly sure Massimo will be there when these two sleeping giants of the world scene do battle in midweek. Perhaps he will be secretly coaching his Maltese brethren about wild, continual overhead kicks and playing off the advertising hoardings. Let’s hope he’s in his working clothes so we can see just what Tutto Sport are getting for their money. Now then, Malta v Hungary . . . will that be Sky Sports 2 or BBC One?
*Photo: Massimo Cremona (right) and TuttoSport representative - the same guy who sold me the 3A shoes back in 1984.
** While researching 3A Antonini on Internet I discovered that the company went on to develop the world famous Lumberjack brand and I also discovered this 80's advert featuring Enrico Montesano which I do not remember seeing.