Initially, players were expected to change at the back of a hedge and the luxury of a hot shower was unknown. It was considered unmanly and almost sinful to indulge in such comfort.
Fortunately our economy then began to emerge from the depression that had lasted from the foundation of our State up to the late 1960s.
Thanks to some amazing fundraising efforts by dedicated individuals, club houses sprung up in almost every parish and nowadays, some sports clubs have first class facilities that provide pretty much everything any player could desire.
The GAA have been perhaps the major beneficiaries of this new affluence and the emerging generation of players now has buildings and facilities their grandparents could only have dreamt of. There is still much work to be done, however, and the comfort of the poor old supporters could be better catered for.
On my travels around Ireland I pass many sports grounds and in general, they are not a pretty sight.
Most have bare concrete block walls at the roadside, sometimes with barbed wire strung along the top and their only gesture to decoration being maybe a rusting iron arch over the entrance containing the name of some medieval saint in Gaelic preceded by the word 'Pairc'.
Some remind me of a concentration camp or war time prison and one wonders if their purpose is to keep people out or in.
It doesn't have to be so.
Most of us take pride in the appearance of our homes and plant hedges, trees and shrubs to improve the general landscape.
Why not do the same with our sports grounds? It would cost so little and would make a brilliant activity for the kids to be involved in.
Most large firms such as our major supermarket chains along with manufacturers of goods like sports clothing love to sponsor tree planting. It is great for their image and brings them tax efficient and beneficial publicity.
There are also groups like the Heritage Council, The Tree Council of Ireland, Crann, who, if given a suitable project would help carry it out.
Sapling trees are cheap to purchase and grow rapidly so it doesn't take a fortune to establish a good looking and practical shelter belt that would break the wind and protect spectators from the worst of the elements.
Cover those awful bare concrete walls with ivy and suddenly they look attractive while providing food and shelter for wildlife.
In addition, there are a host of other lovely climbing plants which could transform club premises.
Surely it wouldn't be that difficult to organise a team of young volunteers, head out some evening with spades and get them planting.
When older, they could proudly point out to their own children the now large trees they had planted in their youth.
Get planting and reduce match day stress
To provide an effective and attractive windbreak all that is needed is a relatively narrow strip the length of a pitch, approximately 5 or 6m wide and planted with a mix of species such as birch, rowan, hornbeam, beech or cherry.
Blend in conifers such as Norway spruce, Western hemlock, Larch and Scots Pine and add some holly and hazel and other understory species at the edge.
The choice is wide and the mix of hardy broadleaves and conifers will provide year round shelter. According to the Agriculture section of the United Nations, spending time near trees improves physical and mental health while increasing energy levels and reducing both blood pressure and stress.
Now isn't that exactly what we need at our sports grounds given the stress levels reached by some parents while watching a match.
Finally, during my years with Crann we found that involving children in any planting scheme was an essential element for success. The kids took ownership of the trees which in turn greatly reduced vandalism. There was a sense of shared community pride when establishing small copses.