This Was The Week

Hatters Hit For Six by Law!
But it Counts for Nothing as City Still Go Out & He’s Robbed of Cup Record

by Richard DJJ Bowdery

Manchester City’s great form over recent seasons might have the purists drooling but none of Pellegrini’s players have managed to achieve what the Scottish Lawman did on January 28th 1961: one player, six goals.

The irony is that despite such a heroic effort City still lost the tie. Let me explain…

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Law is credited with 42 FA Cup goals, but it could have been 47

Dennis Law, known affectionately as the Lawman by the fans, scored all six goals for City in a 4th round FA Cup match against Luton Town at their Kenilworth Road ground.

After 68 minutes the Sky Blues were winning 6-2. By the 69th minute the referee took the decision to abandon the game because of a waterlogged pitch.

As the game was abandoned Law’s six goals were wiped from the record books.

To add insult to injury when the match was replayed on 1 February Luton Town won 3-1 – with the Lawman scoring his side’s only goal.

Had those six goals been allowed to stand then Dennis Law would have gone into the record books as the FA Cup’s top goalscorer in the 20th Century with 47 goals (assuming he didn’t add to his tally in subsequent rounds).

Instead Ian Rush’s 44 FA Cup goals propelled him into the number one spot, by default.

Another interesting point to note from City’s bygone era, which was almost emulated by last season’s side, is that in the 1957/58 season the Sky Blues scored 104 League goals in the old First Division. However, they also leaked almost as many by conceding 100 goals. In so doing they became the only club to score and concede a century of goals in the top-flight.

@RichardBowdery

 

 

 

January 1984: Inchy’s League Cup Leveller Saves Kendall From The Chop!

by Richard D J J Bowdery.

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Heath became Everton’s record signing when he signed for £700,000 from Stoke in January 1982

With only six wins from 21 League appearances the natives of Goodison Park were growing increasingly restless. There were vociferous calls for the manager’s head on a platter.

To cap it all his First Division side were facing a banana-skin match: a League Cup quarter final tie against Third Division Oxford United.

It only made matters worse when his side went 1-0 down during the match before Adrian Heath stepped up to level the score and draw the game at one apiece.

Everton went on to win the replay 4-1 and made it all the way to the Wembley Final only to lose in a replay 1-0 to arch-rivals Liverpool.

But a corner had been turned on the 18 January 1984 with Heath’s equaliser and it’s such results that define a manager’s career – you only have to look at Mark Robbins famous winning goal for Manchester United in an FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest to realise that. It was that cup win which saved Alex Ferguson’s United career according to perceived wisdom at the time. And we all know what he went on to achieve…

While some among the Everton faithful still wanted ‘blood’ the board stayed faithful to their man at the helm.

It was a wise decision on their part as it as it turned out. And Howard Kendall rewarded their faith with the most successful period ever in the Toffee’s history.

When Everton FC were looking for their Manager of the Millennium in 2000 they had over a dozen candidates to choose from. The Millennium Giants panel whittled it down to two: Harry Catterick and Kendal.

But even the legendary Catterick couldn’t compete with a manager whose success included:

• Two League Championships – 1984/85 and 1986/87
• FA Cup winner – 1984 (runners-up in 1985 and 1986)
• Charity Shield winners – 1984, 1985, 1986 (shared) and 1987
• European Cup Winners Cup winner – 1985
• Manager of the Year – 1985 and 1987.

So it was Kendall, appointed player/manager in 1981, who was bestowed with the honour of being Everton’s Manager of the Millennium.

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Kendall is his playing days

He left in 1987 to manage Spanish club Athletic Bilbao, largely because of the ban on English clubs competing in European competitions, but returned for two further spells with Everton in 1990-93 and 1997-98.

During these latter periods, however, he couldn’t rustle up that Midas touch he had once displayed. Even the 1991 Zenith Data Systems Cup eluded him when his side lost4-1 in the final to Crystal Palace.

Although his managerial reign at Everton ended in a whimper it has done nothing to taint the glory years from 1981 to 87 when Everton FC really did reach the dizzy heights of English and European league and cup success.

But there is still one question I have that remains unanswered: did Howard Kendall ever buy Adrian Heath a large drink for that goal he scored on 18 January 1984..?

@RichardBowdery

The Day Leicester’s Keith Weller Went on Strike at Halftime!

KeithWellerby Richard DJJ Bowdery.

Leicester City’s Keith Weller was an attacking midfielder who could score goals as good as any striker – and he could strike as well as any trade unionist!

On the 20 December 1974 Leicester were playing at home against Ipswich Town. But Weller had more than a game of football on his sometime temperamental mind…

The club were on a losing streak, his recent transfer request had been turned down, the crowd were getting on at him and he was arguing with teammates.

As he trooped off at half-time he decided enough was enough. Once in the dressing room he stripped off his kit and said he was going for an early bath.

One can only imagine what his manager and fellow teammates thought of his antics. Did it contribute to Leicester losing that day? It certainly didn’t help.

This fit of pique got him what he wanted: a transfer request (and something he didn’t want, a club fine).

Eventually Weller and his club settled their differences and it would be another four years before he left Filbert Street.

Keith Weller started his footballing career as a schoolboy on the books of Arsenal FC; turned professional with their north London rivals Spurs in 1964 and went on to lift the European Cup Winners Cup with Chelsea in 1971. He even managed to win four England caps during Joe Mercer’s time as caretaker manager.

But it was at Leicester where he made his name and became a hero among the Filbert Street faithful with his goal scoring prowess… and those tights.

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Weller in his infamous tights

The winter of 1978/79 saw a particularly brutal weather grip Britain. In a game against Norwich City that January – a match that went ahead when most of the football programme had been postponed – he wore a pair of white tights beneath his shorts.

The opposing fans in particular made much of his sartorial elegance. Undeterred he scored in his side’s 3-0 victory over the Canaries. That match was to be one of his last for Leicester.

His next move was to the fledgling soccer scene in North America where he excelled as both player and coach. He even found time to run a coffee shop.

Sadly tragedy was to intervene. In 2002 he was diagnosed with cancer. Leicester fans and former colleagues raised money to pay for his treatment. It was all to no avail. Just two years later he was dead at the age of just 58.

Alan Birchenhall, his former team-mate, said: “For me he was one of the five greatest ever players to pull on a Leicester shirt. His death is a tragic loss not just for Leicester but for the whole of English football.”

Ten years on from his passing it is fitting that we should remember the feisty midfielder who did so much to put Leicester City on the footballing map.

 @RichardBowdery

Shankly Fits the Bill
Legend Began His Rebuild of Liverpool 55 Years Ago This Week

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.

Fifty five years ago Second Division Liverpool embarked on a rebuilding programme that was to result in unprecedented success.

The foundation they laid was sure and solid which, in no small part, was down to the cornerstone they laid on 1 December 1959.

Bill-Shankly-salutes-the--001For that was the day they appointed the charismatic Scot Bill Shankly as manager. And the former boss of Carlisle, Grimsby, Workington and Huddersfield Town proved to be the right choice to transform the Anfield club into one England’s greats.

Incredibly it wasn’t the first time he was interviewed by the Reds for their managerial post. He applied in 1951 for the role. Although he wasn’t appointed on that occasion, the impression he left was sufficient reason for the club to come calling eight years later. This time he was the only candidate they interviewed.

The club he inherited in ’59 was very much down at heel. So he set about making the changes necessary to turn their fortunes around, and – perhaps even more importantly – to overtake near neighbours Everton as the top team on Merseyside.

To help him achieve this he utilized an existing backroom staff comprising of Reuben Bennett, Joe Fagan and Bob Paisley. This small team would form the boot-room group which went on to achieve fame throughout the footballing world.

During nearly 15 years at the helm, Bill Shankly won:

• Second Division championship 1962
• First Division championship 1964, 1966, 1973
• FA Charity Shield 1964, 1965 (shared on both occasions), and 1966
• FA Cup 1965, 1974
• UEFA Cup 1973

Then came the shock which reverberated down the Mersey and throughout the footballing world: Bill Shankly announced his resignation.

He cited that at 60 he wanted to spend more time with his family. As the Kop went into mourning the boot-room came into its own with the elevation of Bob Paisley to First Team manager.

Paisley would build on Shankly’s tenure bringing even more success to the red half of Liverpool, including unprecedented glory in Europe.

The changes Shankly brought about at Liverpool and the success he attained made him a legend that time hasn’t diminished.

He will be remembered, like Busby and Ferguson at Manchester United, for rebuilding a winning side from the ashes of the previous one.

His quick wit and sparkling one-liners will also live long in the memory; such as his line: “There are only two sides in Liverpool: Liverpool and Liverpool reserves.” Toffee fans are probably sick to the back teeth of hearing that one!

Interviewers remember a man who was only marginally more understandable than future Liverpool manager, Kenny Dalglish.

But to truly remember the man is to simply look at his lasting legacy: Liverpool Football Club.

@RichardBowdery

Football isn’t just black and white…sometimes it’s red or blue or yellow

Viv Anderson races past Czech defender Koloman during his England debut.

Viv Anderson races past Czech defender Koloman during his England debut.

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.

At any England match many of the fans will be wearing shirts in the national colours. It identifies them as supporters of our nation’s football team and shows solidarity with the players on the pitch. Some might even wish they were one of the eleven. Others might affirm in good old Anglo-Saxon that they could do better than those representing their country!

Yet whatever the result, win, lose or draw, white is the colour – or at least that was the case until 29 November 1978 when England played the former Czechoslovakia, in a friendly.

That night 22-year-old Viv Anderson, a defender with Nottingham Forest, trotted out to take his place in the England back four. Nothing remarkable about that you might think. You’d be wrong.

When Anderson pulled on the white shirt of England and strode out onto the Wembley turf as England’s first black full international, he trod a path for others to follow.

By selecting Anderson, national team manager Ron Greenwood broke down any remaining barriers to black players representing their country.

And to cap a game changing night the host’s ran out 1–0 winners in front of 92,000 fans.

With so many black players gracing our game for club and country, Viv Anderson’s inclusion in the England team might not seem such a big deal for our younger readers. That wasn’t always the case back then which is why his elevation was such a defining moment in our national sport.

Seventy-six black players (up until November 2014) have represented England at full international level since 1978, but that number is certain to increase.

Down the years England have worn shirts of varying colours: red, white, blue and yellow. Today the squad also varies in colour and that can only be good for the game and for our chances in future tournaments. As the old adage states: ‘if you’re good enough that’s all that should matter.’

@RichardBowdery

Anderson was the 936th player to represent England

Anderson was the 936th player to represent England

 

Cap’n Bob Stirs Up a Hornets Nest at the Football League

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.

Today oil sheiks, Russian businessmen, US tycoons and Asian multi-millionaires have bought into the Premier League ‘dream’.

Some clubs would have folded without their financial intervention, and others may not have achieved the level of success they have without their monetary input – Hull City and Chelsea come to mind.

MaxwellBut there are strict FA rules in place to stop these wealthy owners from extending their grip in the Premiership. And one famous incident contributed to that stance.

It was 27 years ago this week that Robert Maxwell, one of Britain’s most colourful businessmen, tried to expand his portfolio of clubs by attempting to purchase Watford FC from a Mr. Reginald Dwight, better known as Elton John.

On 20 November 1987 the singer agreed to sell the Hertfordshire club, then playing in the old Division One, to Maxwell’s British Printing and Communication Corporation for £2million.

However, Maxwell already owned Derby County, who he rescued from collapse in 1984 with County in debt to the tune of around £1.5m – chicken feed by today’s multi-million pound deals, but a fortune in the mid-eighties.

Yet just six days later, on 26 November, his deal to buy Watford was dead in the water.

The Football League had stepped in and blocked the sale citing Maxwell’s other footballing interests. Their decision was upheld in the High Court. Maxwell was forced to back down.

Much debate has raged, over the last few years, about the effect of foreign money on the English game. Indeed I have contributed to that debate in this column.

But there is one thing I think we can all agree on: no one person or corporation should be allowed to get a stranglehold on our national sport.

What we have may not be perfect but we should be grateful that the game’s legislators, by and large, have the fans interests and the good of the sport, at heart.

@RichardBowdery

 

Match of the Grey? Not After Man Walked on the Moon…

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.

On 15 November 1969, five months after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin went for a kick-about on the moon, football fans here on Earth finally saw their favourite spectator sport get colourful.

And it was all courtesy of Match Of The Day (MOTD) who this season celebrate 50 years on our screens.

Their cameras were at Anfield to record Liverpool’s league match against West Ham United in glorious Technicolor (Liverpool won by the way, 2-0 with goals from Lawler and Graham).

For the first time viewers could actually see the shirt colour…well that isn’t strictly true.

Back then a colour television cost between £250-300 putting it out of reach of the average working class fan; the colour signal covered only half the country; and the license fee for a colour set was twice that of a black and white.

Oh…and if you were fortunate to own one, you had to turn it on at least five minutes before the MOTD broadcast to ensure the valves in the set were ‘warmed up’ to give you a picture! I should know, I missed many a goal because my dad hadn’t allowed much warming time.

Of course there was one additional problem: the match commentary. With colour TVs encroaching on the black and white versions turf, commentators were required to cater for viewers of either set.

The result could sometimes cause unintended hilarity, as when John Motson once said: “For those of you watching in black and white, Spurs are in the all-yellow strip.” A Colemanballs if ever there was one.

Forty-five years later, with televised football available in colour across a range of devices and channels, indoors and out, it’s hard to believe that once upon a time it was as rare as a sighting of Lord Lucan. Now who did he play for..?

@RichardBowdery

Every Ass Loves to Hear Himself Bray Except…
Tony Adams Makes His Arsenal Debut

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.

Opposition fans tried to unsettle him during matches with braying noises – probably inspired by a Daily Mirror article – yet he refused to be put off his stride.

They called him a lowly donkey but, at nearly 19 hands, he was a thoroughbred at the heart of Arsenal’s defence.

But his career also contained deep troughs that almost destroyed him. Yet, just like his battling performances on the pitch, he fought his way back from the brink of alcoholic addiction.

Today he is considered one of the greatest players to have graced English football, for both club and country.

Two of his managers even used Greek mythology and academic references to describe his talent. George Graham said he was “my colossus.” Whilst Arsène Wenger described him as a “professor of defence.”

To cap it all, in 2011 a statue of this Gooner hero was unveiled in front of the Emirates Stadium.

But this was in the future for 17 year-old Tony Alexander Adams, who made his debut for Arsenal in a 2-1 defeat at home to Sunderland on 5 November 1983.

From this inauspicious start Adams grew too dominate the Arsenal back four; a defensive unit that included Steve Bould, his partner at centre-back, alongside full-backs Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn. How Wenger must long for a similar partnership in today’s Arsenal eleven.

Then aged 21 Adams was handed the club captaincy which he held to his retirement.

His captaincy coincided with perhaps the most dramatic end of season game in living memory.

In May 1989, Arsenal travelled to Anfield needing to win by two clear goals to snatch the title from under the nose of their hosts. Their second goal, scored by Thomas in the dying minutes of the game, saw them achieve what many said was impossible and crowned League champions.

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Adams celebrates winning the double with Arsenal

Almost as memorable was Adams goal and celebration after he had raced from the back to bury the ball in the Everton net on 3 May 1998; capping Arsenal’s first League championship under the new management of Frenchman ‘Professor’ Arsene Wenger.

But these were just two highlights in a career that included 10 major trophies spread over 19 years (14 as captain), and 669 appearances.

Adams made his international debut against Spain in 1987, making him the first player to represent England who was born after the 1966 World Cup win.

He represented England at World Cup tournaments and European Championships as well, by the time Euro 96 came round he was the country’s captain.

In all Adams appeared 66 times for England. But for injury, he could have won significantly more caps.

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Adams was a natural leader for club and country

Since retiring as a professional footballer in the summer of 2002 – his last league game in Arsenal colours was against Everton at Highbury in May of that year – he tried his hand at coaching: firstly at Wycombe Wanderers, then Feyenoord, Portsmouth, and Gabala FC in the Azerbaijan Premier League.

But perhaps his greatest contribution to the world of football and beyond was his Sporting Chance Clinic, a charitable foundation he set-up in 2000.

Based in Hampshire, the clinic provides support, counselling and treatment for sports people with a drink, drug or gambling addiction.

Adams own battle with the ‘demon booze’ was the catalyst behind the organisation which, over the last fourteen years, has helped many others battling their own demons.

During his playing days, his style of play was often associated with that of the legendary Bobby Moore. Sadly, like Morro he was never invited to use his knowledge and experience to better the game.

But then again he doesn’t need to bray about his achievements. Just like Bobby Moore, he can simply show people his trophy cabinet. Nuff said!

@RichardBowdery

Memories of a Boy Being Taken to his First Football Match
A stroll down White Hart Lane

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.

The 2 November 1968 was my initiation into life as a football supporter. On that cold, damp day I was taken by my dad to watch my first professional game of football. I was…well it’s not important how old I was.

We journeyed from south London to N17 to watch Spurs take on Stoke City in a Division One match. But not for us queuing at the turnstiles to pay our admission.

My dad was a talented freelance photo journalist and had his pictures published in local and national newspapers. He also had the gift of the gab. And though he hadn’t been sent by any paper to cover the game, following a few words in the right quarter, we were in.

So as ‘members of the press’ we were escorted pitch-side and we took up our position behind the goal which Spurs were to attack.

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The great Jimmy Greaves

Oh, did I forget to explain my role? I was a runner for my dad. It sounds a bit dodgy but basically it meant taking used rolls of film containing the pictures he’d shot to the press entrance where a messenger would whisk them off to Fleet Street. Needless to say not once did I leave my perch behind the goal!

How could I, with Pat Jennings in goal, Mike England the rock at centre-half, and Alan Gilzean feeding that goal-poacher supreme, Jimmy ‘Greavsie’ Greaves.

Spurs could only manage a draw but at least Greavsie scored. And as he left the field guess who got his autograph? With my prized procession tucked away in my coat pocket, Dad and I left for home.

Being a south London boy it was beyond the pale to support a north London team. But nonetheless, it is a match, a day, a rite of passage that will live long in my memory…

@RichardBowdery

The Three Amigos –
The Wallace Boys from South London Make History!

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.

The modern game saw history made on October 22nd 1988 when a trio of brothers all featured for the same side in a top flight English match.

The Wallace brothers, Danny and twins Rod and Ray from Lewisham, South London, lined up alongside each other in a Division One game against Sheffield Wednesday at the Dell. Although Wednesday nicked the game by two goals to one Southampton had the last laugh ending the season in 13th place on 45 points, three places above and three points more than the Yorkshire side.

But not only did these siblings compete on the highest domestic stage, each brother also went on to represent their country at Under 21 (and in Rod’s case England B) level; though it was only Danny, the oldest of the three, who made it through to the full England side.

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Rod won league titles both North and South of the border

Danny was also the first brother to break ranks when he joined Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in 1989 and won an FA Cup winners medal in May 1990 when United beat Crystal Palace after a replay.

Two years later Leeds United came calling for the remaining two Wallace brothers, still plying their trade at Southampton.

After Leeds Rod went on to play for Glasgow Rangers, Bolton Wanderers and Gillingham where he ended his playing career in 2004.

Ray’s post Leeds career took him to Swansea, Reading, Stoke and Hull as well as some lower league and non-league sides in England, Scotland and Ireland. His playing days ended at Witton Albion in 2002.

Although he was the oldest age wasn’t the reason why Danny was the first brother to hang up his boots.

It was while playing for Manchester United that he began to experience something that wasn’t quite right though he couldn’t put his finger on it.

He said: “I had a lot of injuries at United. They were just normal, everyday hamstring or calf problems but they were so frequent.”

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Danny during his Old Trafford days

After a loan spell with Millwall he was sold to Birmingham City in 1993.

At City it became obvious that he was far from fit. He recalls getting a lot of pain and numbness in his feet. He had trouble running and eventually even walking was a problem.

Then in 1994 he joined Wycombe Wanderers on a free transfer. It was to be his last club.

Finally in 1996 the reason for his frequent injuries and lack of fitness became apparent when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Aged 32 he was forced to retire from football.

Today Danny is actively engaged in raising funds for research into MS and in helping others with the condition through the Danny Wallace Foundation.

And though no longer involved in the game he has some great memories from his playing days and one of those must surely be that time in the late 80s when he and his brothers were Southampton’s Three Amigos.

@RichardBowdery