Most Twitter accounts don't have an origin story beyond "I thought it was a good idea at the time," but @Crap90sFootball is an exception. The year was 2010, and James Richardson, a then 25-year-old from Hull, England and lifelong Hull City supporter, had a friend who was looking to get rid of some old Hull City VHS tapes. Not many people still had VHS players, but Richardson had a VHS-DVD combo unit. He offered to take the tapes and put the footage on YouTube.
But even after Richardson did this, the tapes hung around, through "sheer laziness" as he put it. Around 2013, he decided it was time to finally dispose of them, but figured he'd go through them one more time to clip any footage of value or interest. "I was going through one of them," Richardson told me over Skype, "and I just thought, there is some really, really bad football on these."
There was one clip from 1990 in particular involving Paul Stancliffe shinning the ball into his own net. But it wasn't just the own goal. It was the muddy pitch and the barren, ramshackle stands behind the goal. And, of course, there was the own goal. Everything about the six second clip seemed almost alien to modern football; not in an Against-Modern-Football kind of way, just in a factual, nostalgic way. "I was just howling with laughter watching this and I thought, there's more stuff like this on there."
For the next few years, when he could steal an hour or two between his office job and other life interests, Richardson went through the tapes, marked where something funny happened, then ripped that bit to a DVD and eventually the internet. Many of Richardson's 60 or so VHS tapes are Match of the Days, but he has some full games, too, which he acquired when Hull City moved offices, threw out old VHS tapes, and a local supporter rescued them from the dumpster and kept them in his attic before giving them to Richardson.
In March 2016, Richardson launched Crap 90s Football. He just wanted to create a few months' worth of clips to tweet out from an account he and his friends would enjoy. But, to his surprise, many other people have enjoyed it, too. He has tweeted some 2,100 times and accumulated more than 27,300 followers.
In one extremely unimportant way, Richardson failed. His goal was to get rid of the VHS cassettes. Instead, he accumulated more. But this is a small price to pay for what is, in my opinion, the best sports Twitter account out there.
I love Crap 90s Football because it reminds me soccer doesn't have to be excellent to be entertaining, a lesson Richardson learned at a young age watching Hull City float around the third tier of English soccer, and one most Americans haven't internalized because of our specific sporting culture which prizes achievement over everything. When the goal is only to win, the only two emotions one can feel is happiness or sadness. This is robotic, and leaves out an important third option: humor.
Laughter is an important element to any sport, but especially soccer, and especially if your team is terrible, as Richardson knows all too well. "If you're going to watch Hull City get tonked 4-0 at home as seemingly was often the case, you had to laugh at it, otherwise you'd end up wallowing in depression."
As it happens, "you had to laugh at it, otherwise you'd end up wallowing in depression" is a pretty apt way of describing my sentiments about the general state of the world at the moment. I know this is a blog about a dumb soccer account, but this is a key element of said dumb soccer account for me. When I'm feeling particularly bummed and in need of a good chuckle, I go to its page and just scroll until I've laughed myself into a stupor. To be honest, it's usually one of the best parts of my day.
Tell me that didn't brighten your day.