Cast your mind back if you will to a period of innocence. When TV channels numbered three, maybe four, where HD meant nothing and where a 451 was likely to be a bus service between, say, Sutton Coldfield and West Bromwich.
Keegan and Toshack, Rush and Dalglish, Lineker and Beardsley, Sutton and Shearer, Sheringham and Cole, and, even Hunt and Taylor closer to home.
These days there aren’t many around.
Yet West Bromwich Albion have bucked the trend this season, treading alien ground to Baggies sides of recent years.
Shane Long’s arrival from Reading has seen a change of system, an alteration of shape and a partnership with Peter Odemwingie.
It would be fair to say the duo have yet to hit it off. Indeed the ‘chalkboard’ section of a national broadsheet newspaper suggested earlier this week that the Odemwingie-Long axis was an ill-fitted alliance. Just once they exchanged a pass between each other, not counting the kick-off.
But assistant boss Michael Appleton is confident the duo can fulfil their roles successfully and become a potent strike force.
Yet the traditional 4-4-2 system has had some detractors.
Supporters have correlated the shift in system from a five man midfield as being a reason for the poor form so far this season – though it’s often glossed over that Albion played a 4-5-1 variant when they won just three matches during the final throes of Roberto Di Matteo’s reign as boss.
Roy Hodgson’s No.2 said: “The manager’s got a lot of experience from his 30-odd years of management and it rubs off on myself and Keith Downing and Dean Kiely and we don’t really get too caught up in all of that.
“We know what we want, the players know what we want and we have a way of playing.
“We teach that every single day, the players respond every single day and we’re working to get the same thing.
“In time I’m sure we’ll reap the benefits from the work we do on the training field. It’s not really a massive change at all. You go through different periods.
“The games that we won last year were all tight games and they were games that could have gone either way but they went our way.
“A lot gets said because of results and we understand it is a results business and we believe we will get results.”
Odemwingie’s form has been cause for particular concern in some quarters.
But Appleton is not too worried about the Nigerian. “Maybe Peter is trying a bit too hard. It’s not a bad trait to have,” he continued.
“You’d much rather have someone working hard to get their form back rather than someone not really bothered and throwing their towel in.
“But if he keeps working hard and doing the simple things well I’m sure that something will happen, whether it’s a goal that kick-starts him, some good play or setting up a goal for someone else. The gaffer is right in a sense – you’re looking at a player who got 15 goals last season.
“When you have that kind of firepower and pace then you’re keeping the opposition stretched so no matter how well you’re playing or not then the opposition will still know he is a danger, especially with his pace. More so away from home in many ways as you tend to be more of a counter attacking side.
“And I think that had a lot to do with us keeping him on, in the hope that he might stretch the opposition on a counter attack and either score or set someone else up.”
“He is still getting chances and he will. I thought we looked much better this week than we did in the last weekend.
“With Peter, even if the team aren’t creating chances, he has the ability to create them for himself. If he keeps doing that then eventually we hope he will get a run where he gets a few on the bounce. Once you have a player who is gaining confidence then you have a dangerous tool.”