Posts Tagged ‘Greaves’

United v Spurs: 3 Great Games
We preview the New Years Day encounter at Old Trafford


A rare win at Old Trafford for Spurs would be a tonic for Tim

by Karl Hofer.

Nothing cures a New Years hangover like a decent game of football and we look set for a good one in 2014 as the live match on the box sees Tim Sherwood’s Spurs (sounds weird…) travel to Old Trafford to face David Moyes’ United (still sounds weird…).

These two usually serve up entertaining matches, and the team at BOBBY have searched through the archives to pick out three of the best from down the years to prove the point. Before we give you the odds and our prediction have a look back at these classic encounters:

Oct 16th 1965  Tottenham Hotspur  5-1  Manchester United

A match graced with legends all over the pitch including Mackay, Greaves and Gilzean for Spurs who took on the league champions with Law, Best and Charlton in their ranks – and ran riot with a 5-1 win at the Lane in front of 58,000.

Many people will tell you that Glenn Hoddle scored the greatest goal ever between the two sides when he volleyed home in a league cup tie in 1979, but in my opinion Jimmy Greaves takes the accolade for his goal in this match as he waltzed through the United defence and slotted home in the relaxed manner that was typical of the man (see link below).

It was a tremendous win for Bill Nicholson’s side, but The Red Devils would get their revenge with a 5-1 win at Old Trafford just a couple of months later.

Sept 29th 2001  Tottenham Hotspur  3-5  Manchester United

This was one of the most extraordinary matches in Premier League history, and it helped create an aura of invincibility around Fergie’s Manchester United team. It is also a result that has ensured that Spurs fans will never be able to relax against United, whatever the score may be.

Spurs were enjoying one of their finest performances in recent memory after blasting into a 3-0 lead at the interval. Spurs were coasting through goals from Dean Richards, Les Ferdinand and Christian Ziege.

The problem was the job was only half done, and in the second half United launched an astonishing comeback. After the restart Andy Cole grabbed the all important early goal to instill belief. Spurs were then blown away by the visitors as United fought back and then took the lead with goals from Laurent Blanc, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Juan Sebastian Veron. David Beckham completed the comeback in a match Sir Alex described as his most memorable during his long tenure at Old Trafford (highlights below).

It would be fair to say that this result had a bit of an affect on Spurs, who wouldn’t beat United for another 11 years.

Dec 7th 1986 – Manchester United  3-3  Tottenham Hotspur

One of the greatest clashes between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur came in a league encounter 27 years ago that really had it all. A topsy-turvy thriller that saw both sides wrestle control from each other at one stage or another before having to settle for a draw. United stormed into an early 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Norman Whiteside and Peter Davenport, before Spurs hit back with a diving header from Gary Mabbut in the second half.

Shortly afterwards Kevin Moran inadvertently turned a Glenn Hoddle shot into his own net and then Clive Allen put Spurs 3-2 ahead.

There was to be one final twist, though, as Davenport held his nerve to equalise with a last minute penalty. You can enjoy the highlights (and the wonderful commentary from John Motson) below.

(By the way, that match was played on December 7th despite what the graphic at the start says…)


Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, Wednesday January 1st 2014, 5.30pm, Live on BT Sport

The head-to-head record between the two very much favours United who have 85 wins against Spurs over the years. Spurs have won only 47 and there have also been 47 draws.

United in fact had an astonishing 33 match unbeaten run (which included 28 wins) against Spurs in all competitions from 2001 to 2012.



Van Persie 3/1, Rooney 7/2, Welbeck 9/2, Januzaj 7/1

Defoe 7/1, Soldado 7/1, Adebayor 8/1


United to win: 1-0 13/2, 2-0 7/1,  2-1 7/1, 3-0 11/1, 3-1 12/1, 3-2 25/1, 4-1 22/1

Draw: 0-0 11/1, 1-1 7/1, 2-2 16/1, 3-3 66/1, 4-4 200/1

Spurs to win: 1-0 14/1, 2-0 28/1, 2-1 16/1, 3-0 66/1, 3-1 40/1, 3-2 50/1


Rooney to score first @ 7/2

United to win 3-2 @ 25/1


Odds courtesy of William Hill


Jimmy Greaves’ 50 Greatest British Football Players

GreavsieMugshotby Jimmy Greaves

I’ve worked under some hard taskmasters in my time – Alf Ramsey with England, Bill Nicholson at Tottenham and even Greg Dyke at TV:AM. But the sports editor of the Sunday People has handed me the most thankless task of all this week – to compile a list of the 50 greatest British footballers of all time and in order.

Of course, the whole idea is nonsensical really – how can you compare a goalkeeper from the 1960s with a winger from the 21st century, for example? But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been tremendous fun, bringing back some wonderful memories of some extraordinary players. Football is all about opinions – so this list is the stuff that bar-room debates are made of – so I seem to recall! We only considered players who played after World War Two as if we had gone any further back in the mists of time, even I couldn’t have properly assessed their merits!

50 – Gareth Bale. Who knows where Gareth Bale will end up on a list of Britain’s 50 greatest footballers by the end of his career – but at 24, the world is his oyster. As of now, I can’t lift him above Cliffie Jones as Tottenham’s greatest ever Welsh winger but if he understands quite how good he is, Bale will end up much nearer the top of this list than the bottom.

49 – Danny Blanchflower. Tottenham captain when they became the first Double-winners of the 20th century and the first English team to win a European trophy, Blanchflower had the most influential dressing-room voice of any player I encountered. He was football’s Mike Brearley, if you like. A man whose most famous quote said it all: ‘The game is about glory. It’s about doing things in style, with a flourish, about going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom’.

48 – John Terry. One of the most controversial players in the history of the British game for non-footballing reasons, Terry has been one its most reliable and consistent performers on the pitch. A defender’s defender – unbelievably solid with such a none-shall-pass attitude. The captain and linchpin of Chelsea’s recent golden years. Like Roy Hodgson, I’ve preferred Terry over Rio Ferdinand for footballing reasons – but only just.

BarnesSticker47 – John Barnes. To have scored perhaps England’s greatest ever goal in a victory over Brazil in the Maracana really should mark you out for greatness all by itself. He was also an outstanding part of the last great Liverpool team – named Footballer of the Year award in 1990, after the Anfield club’s most recent title campaign.

46 – Ian Rush. One of the greatest goal poachers in world football, Rush’s goals made Liverpool an unstoppable force in the English and European game in the early 1980s. For Bob Paisley to sign a kid from Chester and see him become Anfield’s greatest goalscorer with a staggering 346 goals in all competitions, suggested that the only manager to win three European Cups was a former coal miner who turned into a gold miner.

45 – Cliff Jones. My former Tottenham team-mate Cliffie was a striker’s dream as a left winger – blessed with pace, dribbling skills and the ability go either way. Cliff’s record of 135 goals in 318 League games for Spurs is unbelievable for a wideman. He was an integral part Tottenham’s Double winning side in 1961.

44 – Tommy Taylor. While Duncan Edwards is rightly mentioned as football’s most lamented loss in the Munich Air Disaster, his fellow Busby Babe Tommy Taylor (front row, second from right) was another true great to perish. Taylor was a tall centre-forward who scored 16 goals in 19 games for England and would have gone down as one of our best-ever goalscorers had he not died just a week after his 26th birthday, when the world was at his feet. I roomed with Tom when I was first called into the England squad in 1957 and he couldn’t have made me feel more welcome – tragically, just months later, he was dead.

RayWilson43 – Ray Wilson. World Cup-winning left-back was probably the first great modern full-back – a player who was as comfortable bombing forward down the flank and crossing it as he was tackling and defending. When Alf Ramsey stumbled on the formula of playing without specialist wingers, the width Wilson gave the team was crucial.

42 – Michael Owen. Owen was a genuine world-beater – and was the last Englishman to win the Ballon d’Or as World Footballer of the Year in 2001. His early days with England and Liverpool were magnificent – with his wonder goal against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup an unforgettable highlight. Scoring forty goals for England is not to be sniffed at but he’d have ranked a lot higher but for injuries and, perhaps, a shortage of genuine hunger.

41 – Colin Bell. One of Manchester City’s holy trinity along with Francis Lee and Mike Summerbee in the club’s heyday of the late 1960s, Bell was blessed with the most remarkable stamina. An attacking midfielder blessed with great touch, pace and vision, Bell should have won even more than his 48 England caps.

40 – Tony Adams. The captain of the best England team I’ve ever seen – Terry Venables’ side at Euro 96 as well as FOUR Arsenal title-winning teams, bestriding the eras of George Graham and Arsene Wenger. If a young Tony Adams came on the scene now, any club in the Premier League would want to pay tens of millions for him.

jinkySTICKER39 – Jimmy Johnstone. Jinky Johnstone was Scotland’s George Best and the Pele of Parkhead. Johnstone was a thrilling sight as he danced down the touchline and he secured his place in history as one of Celtic’s Lisbon Lions, the first British side to win the European Cup when they defeated Inter Milan in the Portuguese capital in 1967. The brilliant outside-right won nine league titles in ten seasons with the Bhoys and has been voted Celtic’s greatest player of all time.

38 – Nat Lofthouse. The Aarchetypal old-fashioned English centre-forward and a one-club man who spearheaded Bolton Wanderers throughout his career. Lofthouse scored 30 times in 33 internationals and was nicknamed the Lion of Vienna after an heroic performance after a victory in Austria in 1952. The most famous image of Lofthouse arrived in the 1958 FA Cup Final when he barged Manchester United keeper Harry Gregg into the net for the winning goal. Nat was, in the modern parlance, one hell of a unit.

37 – Stuart Pearce. He tackled like a bulldozer, shot like a cannon and produced the iconic moment of Euro 96 when he celebrated like a true psycho on scoring a penalty in England’s only ever shoot-out win, against Spain, six years after missing in the World Cup semi defeat by West Germany.

BEARDSLEY36 – Peter Beardsley. They said he was no oil painting – but as a footballer, Beardsley was genuinely beautiful. He made the deep-lying second striker’s role fashionable in England and formed one of his country’s greatest strike partnerships with Gary Lineker – employing a visionary final pass and enjoying a telepathic understanding with his goal-poaching colleague.

35 – David Beckham. Probably the most famous British footballer ever and although he wasn’t a true great, Beckham was an outstanding crosser, passer and dead-ball specialist. England’s most-capped outfield player, with 115 appearances, Goldenballs is the only Englishman to score at three World Cup finals. But while Beckham was a phenomenally hard-working pro, Alex Ferguson became convinced that his desire for fame began to outstrip his love of football and his club career faded after leaving Manchester United in 2003.

34 – Paul Scholes. Grew up alongside Beckham and as a personality the little ginger limelight-dodger was the polar opposite of his friend. Many of the modern greats, including Zinedine Zidane and Xavi, would rate Scholes even higher than I do – having played against him, they are convinced he is one of the all-time great midfielders in world football.

33 – David Seaman. Our tendency to bang on about occasional high-profile mistakes clouds many peoples’ judgment of Seaman, who was a truly outstanding goalkeeper for Arsenal and England. The big fella was an imposing sight and a magnificent shot-stopper, his ill-judged ponytail obscuring the fact that he was the toughest of competitors between the sticks.

32 – Frank Lampard. There have been many father-and-son footballers but rarely does the boy outstrip his old man. A true self-made footballer, famed for his workrate and dedication in training, Lampard became Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer from midfield, captained them to Champions League glory and has recently passed 100 caps for England.

eng_geoff_hurst31 – Geoff Hurst. If you are going to be remembered for one thing in football, then it might as well be a hat-trick in a World Cup Final. Of course, Geoff would not have been such a legendary figure in the English game without that day in 1966 but it would be easy to under-rate him as a centre-forward. An extremely strong target man, I enjoyed a brief spell playing alongside him at West Ham. He might have taken my place after I got injured in ’66 but I fully appreciate he was far, far more than a one-day wonder.

30 – Alan Ball. While Geoff Hurst, understandably, got all the personal glory, it was Alan Ball – the youngest member of England’s World Cup-winning side – who was man of the match in the final against West Germany. Bally had a superhuman workrate, was a wholly committed lung-busting runner and a truly infectious character. He was loved by Alf Ramsey but prematurely ditched by his successor Don Revie.

29 – Ashley Cole. Controversies in his personal life and his transfer from Arsenal to Chelsea mean that Cole will never be the most popular man on this list. But he is the best English full-back I have ever seen and was the best left-back in the world for several years – outstanding in defence and when going forward. He has won the Premier League with both Arsenal and Chelsea and has an amazing all-time record of seven FA Cup winners’ medals. What’s not to like!

28 – Billy McNeill. As the captain of the first British team to win the European Cup, McNeill is assured of his place in footballing folklore. The leader of Jock Stein’s Lisbon Lions was a commanding centre-half and a great competitor who would often make our annual England v Scotland clashes even spicier still.

54_john_greig27 – John Greig. Probably the greatest Rangers player of all time, John Greig had supreme ability, reliability, longevity and leadership qualities. Greig made an astonishing 755 appearances for his only club and was a tireless up-and-down midfielder who rarely ever seemed to make an error but could also operate in defence.

26 – Steven Gerrard. One of the great Liverpool players, even though he has never played in a great Liverpool side. A dynamic all-round midfielder, Gerrard produced one of the greatest captain’s performances in world football history when he inspired Liverpool’s comeback from 3-0 down at half-time to defeat in AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League Final, the Miracle of Istanbul.

25 – Glenn Hoddle. The second-greatest passer of the ball after the peerless Johnny Haynes, Hoddle was one of the most elegant midfielders ever to play the game. He was such an instinctive and accurate passer, also famed for his free-kicks and long-range shooting. Hoddle was a quintessential Tottenham Hotspur player, all about style and panache, but never fully appreciated by England managers, who demanded a greater work-rate. Could have been a great England manager but for some strange attitudes away from the game.

24 – Peter Shilton. England’s most-capped player of all time with 125 appearances, Shilton would have won far more had Ron Greenwood not rotated him with Ray Clemence for so long. Shilton spent two decades at the top of the game, playing in the 1990 World Cup semi-final at the age of 40, then passing 1,000 League matches before he retired at 47. A key part of Brian Clough’s back-to-back European Cup-winning side at Nottingham Forest, Shilts will forever be remembered as the victim of Diego Maradona’s Hand of God.

23 – Alan Shearer. When Shearer burst on to the scene at Southampton in the late 1980s, I was convinced he would break every goalscoring record in the book, he was that good. Injuries prevented him from having a serious crack at my all-time English top-flight goals record, but he is easily the finest marksman of the Premier League era. Brilliant alongside Teddy Sheringham for England at Euro 96. Won the title at Blackburn but might have won far more had he not turned down Manchester United.

billy-wright-1989-football-greats-fax-pax-trading-card-32032-p22 – Billy Wright. The first man to win 100 caps for England – and that would be 200 in today’s money. A truly great captain for club and country, leading Wolves through their glory years under Stan Cullis in the 1950s. Bill was my first England skipper and he ended up my boss when he was head of sport at ATV. He was as good a gaffer as he was a centre-half. An absolute diamond.

21 – Wayne Rooney. course to break Bobby Charlton’s England and Manchester United all-time scoring records, Rooney could end up much higher up this list now he seems to have recaptured his best form. A teenage prodigy who might have inspired England to glory had he not been injured at Euro 2004, he has yet to impress at a major tournament since that maiden campaign. But as an all-round forward, world-class in at least three different positions, the best may still be to come for Rooney. Two hundred goals and counting for United and 40 for his country, quite a player.

20 – Jim Baxter. Just imagine a slimline Gazza. Those of us who played against the Rangers midfield tearaway, will never forget his ability to tease and torment, most notably when he inspired Scotland to a 3-2 victory over England at Wembley in 1967 and the Tartan Army declared themselves world champions. Slim Jim took the p*** that day by juggling the ball and had he not been performing so many party tricks, the Scots might have won more easily. He retired at 31, was a drinker, womaniser and hell-raiser. But as a footballer, he was a genius, plain and simple.

duncan-edwards-2001-the-all-time-greats-carlton-books-trading-card-55238-p19 – Duncan Edwards. Had he survived the Munich Air Disaster, which took his life at the age of 21, Edwards would probably be No 1 on this list – so forgive me, because more than any other player it impossible to accurately place him in this pantheon of greats. I met Big Duncan when I was first called up by England, shortly before he died in 1958 and he was a true gent. He could have been anything – a great central defender or midfielder, probably a striker too. He would have been at his peak at the 1966 World Cup, he would have won everything the game had to offer.

18 – Graeme Souness. A man’s man. A magnificent footballer. It is exceptionally rare for a footballer to be as hard as nails and yet a supremely gifted ball player but Souness – once dubbed ‘Renoir with a razorblade’ – was the complete animal. He won five titles and three European Cups under Bob Paisley at Liverpool, many as an inspiring captain, then enjoyed success in Serie A with Sampdoria and as a player-manager who transformed the fortunes of Rangers.

17 – Kevin Keegan. The ultimate hard-working footballer who transformed himself from a limited kid at Scunthorpe into a genuine global superstar and was named World Footballer of the Year while at Hamburg. The Mighty Mouse forged an outstanding partnership with John Toshack while at Liverpool and became an English football icon in the 1970s – also featuring in hit TV multi-sporting contest Superstars. He was worshipped at Southampton and then at his boyhood club, Newcastle – where the team he would go on to manage perhaps the most entertaining of the Premier League era.

16 – Kenny Dalglish. When Keegan left Liverpool for Germany in 1977, they feared he could never replaced – but Bob Paisley unearthed an even greater star for the club in Kenny Dalglish. King Kenny was an outstanding competitor and goalscorer who formed a remarkable understanding with Ian Rush and netted 199 League goals for the Anfield club, having made just as many. Probably the most successful player-manager the English game has known, as he led the Reds to a League and FA Cup double in 1986, Dalglish was also an inspirational figure in Liverpool in the aftermath of the Hillsborough Disaster.

Jennings15 – Pat Jennings. I was once knocked out cold by Pat Jennings in a five-a-side training match at Tottenham and it was like being hit by a truck. A huge man, both literally and figuratively, Pat dominated his area like no other keeper I have seen. He is perhaps the only man to play for Spurs and Arsenal and to be adored by both sets of supporters, which says it all about his genial nature.

14 – Gordon Banks. I cannot put a fag paper between the two best goalkeepers I was lucky enough to play with – Jennings and Gordon Banks. Banks was a very different kind of keeper than Big Pat, smaller and remarkably quick – quick off his line and amazing fast in his reactions. For many top keepers it is all about positioning but not for Banksy – his incredible reactions meant he made such spectacular saves, especially his most famous effort to deny Pele at the 1970 World Cup. Had Banks not fallen ill before the quarter-final against West Germany, England would almost certainly have reached back-to-back finals. Banks might even have won a second World Cup after keeping goal in 1966.

13 – Gary Lineker. The ultimate poacher of goals, a World Cup Golden Boot winner in 1986 and a semi-final scorer in 1990, Lineker ended up with 48 England goals – just one missed penalty short of the all-time record. He also finished top scorer in the English top-flight with Leicester, Everton and Tottenham as well as enjoying a successful spell at Barcelona. Younger readers will only know him as a TV anchorman and a potato-crisp salesman but nice-guy Lineker was absolutely lethal in front of goal. Sharp, quick, phenomenal.

12 – Ryan Giggs. The most decorated footballer in the history of the British game and still going strong just days away from his 40th birthday. Thirteen Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues, four FA Cups, three League Cups and United’s all-time record appearance holder. Giggs was a thrilling sight as he dashed down the flank in his youth, scoring one of the great individual goals in the 1999 FA Cup semi-final replay against Arsenal, as United went on to win the Treble.

11 – Bryan Robson. Robson had everything – goals, passing, tackling and a remarkable workrate. Captain Marvel for Manchester United and England and a true leader who was brave to a fault, injuries preventing him from reaching a deserved century of England caps. The outstanding British footballer of the 1980s who stuck around to inspire United’s re-emergence as England’s top club side under Sir Alex Ferguson.

10 – Dave Mackay – Second only to John Charles in his versatility, Dave Mackay was a 5ft 7in titan and an inspirational title-winner for Tottenham and Derby County.The iconic photo of him grabbing the fearsome Billy Bremner by the shirt says it all about his supreme competitive spirit but he was also a wonderfully gifted footballer. Mackay worked hard and, boy, did he play hard off the field too. One of football’s greatest men.

9 – Denis Law. My favourite footballer, pure and simple. Denis in full flight was a simply awesome sight. When we were the two pre-eminent goalscorers in the English game, the Press were always trying to get us to do the other one down – but our mutual respect was total. A consummate goalscorer with 171 in 309 league games for Manchester United but so much more than that, as he spent his formative years playing in midfield. An infectious personality, part of Manchester United’s holy trinity with George Best and Bobby Charlton and probably Scotland’s greatest ever footballer.

Gazza8 – Paul Gascoigne. The best British player to have emerged in the 40 years since the end of my professional career – and in terms of raw talent alone, he is the equal of anyone on this list. Thrilling unpredictable, Gazza’s performances – and tears – at the 1990 World Cup made football truly fashionable again in England after the dark days of hooliganism. Although his immense early promise was never fully realised after his self-inflicted injury in the 1991 FA Cup Final, his goal for England at Euro 96 was one of the best ever.

7 – Johnny Haynes. A maestro, a genius. The first £100-a-week footballer, the Brylcreem Boy, the captain of England and simply the finest passer of a ball the world has ever seen. It was a joy to be on the end of those passes for England. Injury cut short his finest years and prevented him from being a World Cup winner in 1966 but John’s instinctive all-round vision was supernatural.

6 – Tom Finney. An even better all-round footballer than his friend, rival and contemporary Stanley Matthews – and so he should probably stand as joint fifth on this list of Britain’s greats. Unlike Stan, Finney was genuinely two-footed, could operate on either wing or as a fine centre-forward. And the Preston Plumber could also unblock your sink too – as he continued his trade long after becoming a great player for North End. Finney never won a major team honour as Preston were nothing special – even becoming known as ‘the plumber and his ten drips’ – and he was denied moves to Serie A, where he would have excelled. But he was Bill Shankly’s favourite ever player and, now in his 90s, Tom remains the grand old man of our game, a knight of the realm and a complete gentleman.

5 – Stanley Matthews. Stan was feted the world over not just for his amazing longevity, his baggy shorts, his shuffling gait, his devastating pace – no one was quicker over five yards – his phenomenal dribbling skills and his incomparable ability to cross a ball. It was just that no man adored football quite as much as Stanley Matthews. And that no footballer was ever adored quite as much as he.

1961-Kellogg-Charlton4 – Bobby Charlton. This is a man who survived the Munich Air disaster in 1958, won the European Cup in 1968 and played a key role in the appointment of Alex Ferguson as Old Trafford manager in 1986. He’s history in the flesh is Bobby Charlton. He’s our greatest living football man.

3 – Bobby Moore. The man who captained England to World Cup glory, the one oasis in more than 60 barren years of international competition, Bobby Moore is an automatic great. The greatest English footballer of all time was a very close friend of mine and I can assure you that he was no angel, no saint. But he was as good a mate as a bloke could have. Just as long as he wasn’t marking you.

2 – George Best. There are rare players you cannot judge by mere honours nor statistics. There are rare men who are touched by God and by the Devil in equal measure – with all the superhuman gifts that entails. George Best was a lovely man and a dear friend. Sometimes when you were with him, it was easy to forget. Easy to forget that you were in the company of an immortal.

1 – John Charles. Big John was not just a great footballer – he was TWO great footballers. A genuinely world-class centre forward and a genuinely world-class centre-half, Charles was also Britain’s finest footballing export. He was JCharlesadored at Juventus and is still revered to this day in Turin, where he is known as King John. When Juventus signed Charles from Leeds in 1957 for a world-record £65,000 he was one of the first British players to move abroad – and no other Brit has ever enjoyed the same levels of success on foreign fields.

Charles netted 93 goals in 155 matches in the League which boasted the meanest defences in the world – despite often playing at the back. In five years in Turin, he won the Scudetto five times. He is also Leeds’s second highest scorer of all time – despite having also played at full-back and in midfield for the Elland Road. Idolised in Wales, Italy and the People’s Republic of Yorkshire, Big John was quite possibly the greatest all-round footballer the world has ever seen.


Originally published in the Sunday People. 


The Auldies Were Goodies:
England v Scotland Remembered
Steve Curry

The oldest rivalry in international football will be renewed on August 14th when Scotland visit Wembley as part of the FA’s 150th anniversary calendar.

The two ‘Auld Enemies first met in Partick in November 1872 when the match finished goalless in front of 4,000 fans. What was once an annual fixture has not been played since the European Championship play-offs in 2000.

However past conflicts provoke debate and stir memories and here STEVE CURRY recalls two of the most memorable, one for fans north of the border, the other recalling a famous victory for England.


April 15th, 1967 Wembley
European Championship qualifier

There was bitter-sweet poignancy for Scottish fans from this victory. They claimed it made them unofficial world champions but it was England who progressed to the European Championship finals in Italyin 1968.

North of the border they had squirmed eight months earlier when Bobby Moore had lifted the World Cup on this hallowed turf but here was their chance to exact some kind of retribution.

The Tartan Army moving south numbered 30,000 and they were to produce a cacophony rarely matched in the long history of the old Wembley.

It was manager Bobby Brown’s first game in charge but at his disposal was some of Britain’s finest talent. John Greig was leading out mystical players…Jim Baxter, Denis Law and Bill Bremner among them.

Anecdote has it that during Brown’s pre-match team talk, Slim Jim Baxter sat in a corner reading the Racing Post. When Brown said: “Anything to add, Jim” he replied “See this England side, they can play nane” At which he stretched his left leg, then his right and said “OK that’s me warmed up”

If that was not exactly true there was some wonderment from my seat at the way the Scots moved the ball like inspired brushstrokes from an artist and it was therefore no shock when Law scored in the 28th minute.

England had been on an unbeaten run of 19 games and this was not in the script by it was the denouement of the game that was to make it the stuff of folklore.

So swaggering was Baxter, so confident of his own ability and that of his team, he began to play keepy-uppy out near the corner flag with Nobby Stiles not more and a yard away.

When Bobby Lennox added a second goal in the 78th minute it triggered a remarkable finale. First Jack Charlton, who had been injured earlier in the game, pulled a goal back in his switched role of centre-forward.

But within two minutes Jim McCalliog had restored Scotland’s lead and Geoff Hurst’s header 60 seconds later came too late for an embarrassed England.

The hordes came spilling onto the pitch carving out lumps of the Wembley turf and wrapping it in newspaper to take home as souvenirs of the day Scotland became UFWC – Unofficial Football World Champions.


April 15th, 1961 Wembley
Home International Championship


Jimmy Greaves scores England’s third goal in the 9-3 rout of Scotland at Wembley in April 1961 in front of 97,000

England were on a roll at the start of the 1960-61 season. They had been told by Walter Winterbottom at the start of the season that the players selected for the first game of the season that that squad would be the basis

for the World Cup assault the following year in Chile.

It triggered an avalanche of goals, five against Northern Ireland, nine against Luxembourg, four against Spain and five against Wales going into the the biennial game against Scotland at Wembley.

As Jimmy Armfield, the ever-reliable right-back reflects: “The England v Scotland were ultra competitive. Half our team at Blackpool were Scots and our five-a-sides became so physical the manager had to stop them.”

There was nothing to suggest this latest Wembley meeting would be any different with a Scottish side that boasted Dave Mackay and Billy Bremner, neither a shrinking violet, not to mention Billy McNeill and Davie Wilson.

But then England were bursting with confidence, Jimmy Greaves on fire and Bobby Smith using his weight to some effect. And in mid-field the pairing of Bobby Robson and Johnny Haynes, the skipper, was just as formidable.

Armfield says: “There was little in the way of TV footage in the early Sixties so maybe we remember ourselves as better players than we really were. But if memory serves we were pretty tasty in that match.”

That was the way it seemed in the opening 30 minutes of the game with England careering into a three-goal lead, Robson opening the scoring and Greaves grabbing two in ten minutes

Haynes of the silken pass and first £100 per week pay packet, controlled the game from mid-field with his broad vision and Blackburn’s jinking little winger Bryan Douglas was dribbling his day down the right .

When barrel-chested Mackay pulled a goal back just after half-time and Wilson added a second five minutes later it seemed as if the Scots might have worked their way back into the game.

Step in first Douglas and then Smith to restore England’s nerve and though Patrick Quinn made it 5-3 Haynes took over with two in three minutes. And when Greaves and Smith scored their second goals in the last eight minutes the roiut was complete.

Poor Celtic keeper Frank Haffey was totally shell-shocked, never really recovering from what had been, for him, a nightmare afternoon. The torment lingered on as up in Scotland the gag “What’s the time? Nearly ten past Haffey”

Eventually Haffey decided to get away from it all and emigrated to Australia and eventually went into the entertainment business as a cabaret singer, a far cry from life in post-war Glasgow and well away from his worst nightmare.

by Steve Curry