Mud, Poor Pitches and the FA Cup

The state of the playing surface – and specifically, mud – has been a concern of English football since its earliest days. Many clubs spent their formative years using makeshift pitches on public or private land, in conditions which did not encourage ‘the beautiful game’. Even by 1888 and the founding of the Football League,…

By Paul W January 9, 2021 0

Festive Football in Great Britain

Festive football was a tradition of the British game, introduced even before the very first seasons of the league. While Boxing Day (St Stephen’s Day) fixtures continue to the current era, Christmas Day matches fizzled out in England during the late 1950s and lingered a few years longer in Scotland. Britain’s last Christmas Day football…

By Paul W December 26, 2020 0

Queens Park Rangers v Derby County, 1975

Queens Park Rangers welcomed champions Derby County to Loftus Road, with the home team in the midst of their most successful season. QPR’s 1975-76 campaign ended agonisingly short of the title, remaining unbeaten at home all season and finishing a point behind Liverpool. QPR had won 5-1 at Derby in August with a Stan Bowles…

By Paul W December 12, 2020 0

Old Trafford: The Football League on Film

Manchester United’s world-famous Old Trafford stadium was opened in February 1910, laid out by Archibald Leitch as “a palatial ground”. The stadium suffered bomb damage in the Second World War and only re-opened in 1949. As location filming expanded in the post-War years, various grounds were used as a setting for football-related feature films. Old…

By Paul W November 21, 2020 0

Sheffield Wednesday v Barnsley, 1979

Barnsley faced Sheffield Wednesday in November 1979 on their first visit to Hillsborough in over 20 years. The previous game between the two in April 1959 ended in a 5-0 home win for Wednesday. The sides were meeting for the first time in the Third Division in the 1979-80 season – their opening-day encounter at…

By Paul W November 7, 2020 2

Middlesbrough v Norwich City, 1980

Middlesbrough and Norwich City met in the First Division at Ayresome Park in October 1980 as two solid mid-table sides. The home side had consolidated their top-flight status under John Neal, in charge from 1977 until leaving for Chelsea in 1981. The visitors had been managed by John Bond since 1973 but he was to…

By Paul W October 4, 2020 0

Coventry City v Crystal Palace, 1980

Coventry City and Crystal Palace met in the First Division at Highfield Road early in the 1980-81 season. This fixture was won by the home side, but is largely remembered for a Clive Allen ‘goal’ that didn’t count. The Palace striker hit a fierce free-kick which rebounded out from the stanchion in the back of…

By Paul W September 6, 2020 0

Leeds United v Everton, 1970

August 1970 brought an early-season meeting between Leeds United and Everton, England’s top two teams in the previous season. Champions Everton had claimed their seventh league title in 1969-70, finishing nine points clear of runners-up Leeds. Each club had provided four players to the England squad for that summer’s World Cup in Mexico: Jack Charlton,…

By Paul W August 22, 2020 0

Italia 90: Background & Qualification

Italy won the bid to host the 1990 World Cup at a FIFA vote in 1984, comfortably ahead of the Soviet Union. This meant they hosted the tournament for the second time after their victory in 1934, and only a decade after the European Championship finals were held in Italy. Twelve cities were chosen to…

By Paul W July 25, 2020 0