I saw the ‘rematch’ of the 1988 FA Cup yesterday between veterans from Liverpool and Wimbledon. John Alridge finally scored a penalty against the Dons, though only just. But two things struck me of note.

Firstly, was how much the old players, most of whom were in their forties, still ‘had it’. They didn’t have pace, and to be fair, some never did. There were a couple of recent AFC Wimbledon players there in their twenties, and despite having younger legs and fitter bodies, the older Liverpool players still knew too much in the main. Most times they used their experience and anticipation to make up for the lack of pace. It’s a cliche used whenever a workhorse of a midfielder becomes a centre-back or sweeper, but yesterday I saw that it is true.

The second point was that despite the brain being still advanced, age wasn’t being kind to the players on show. Most of those who have been out of competitive football for a few years have gone to seed, carrying a little more weight that they used to. I was reminded of seeing football of a testimonial for ex-Nottingham Forest player Kenny Burns, where he looked extremely (shall we say) rotund. It made me think that given the classic English player’s diet and refuelling habits (steak and chips washed down with lots of beer) the only thing keeping them match fit was the regular training. Once that regime ceases, they pile on the pounds.

Contrast with today’s players – I can’t ever seen Thierry Henry, even at 60, being a portly chap. RIP ‘who ate all the pies’…