Saturday, January 19, 2013

Goals Of The Season 2 - Ronnie's Rocket

The second in this series is perhaps the most shown TV goal of all-time, especially when FA Cup games are shown. It is Ronnie Radford’s goal – and if you haven’t seen this, how can you possibly have avoided it?

It is 5 February 1972, the fourth round of the FA Cup.  The Match of the Day producers intend to lead with the games between Liverpool and Leeds (0-0) and Preston v Manchester United (0-2) and conclude with a few minutes of the postponed third round replay between non-league Hereford United and First Division Newcastle United. However, after the events of the day, the match is promoted to top billing and provides the big break for the young commentator John Motson.

The first game, at St James’ Park, had ended 2-2 – a considerable achievement by the non-league side to hold a top team on their own ground. Because of postponements the reply was held on the same day as the next round.

Near the end Malcolm Macdonald heads Newcastle into the lead and, with time running out, Hereford push the ball forward with this result. In extra time Hereford go on to get the winner and the game is listed as one of the great upsets.

In the fourth round, Hereford are drawn against another top division team, West Ham United, but this time go down 3-1 after a 0-0 draw.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Goals Of The Season 1 - The Donkey Kick

To start this series, here is the goal of the season of 1970-1971 – according to Match of the Day – scored by Ernie Hunt for Coventry City against Everton on 3 October 1970. The famous ‘donkey kick’ goal.
I first read about this goal in Shoot magazine, about 1977, and how Willie Carr put the ball between his heels, flicked it up backwards, for Ernie Hunt to volley home. Coventry won the game 3-1.
Having read this article, with a couple of photos, I immediately grabbed my football and dashed to the rec to give it a go. It is a lot harder than it looks. One is more likely to kick one’s own backside and fall into an undignified heap while the ball lies motionless, seemingly mocking you.
Before you all dash off to give it a try yourself, here below is how it should be done. Note though that the practice is now banned as it was considered too much fun.

Friday, January 11, 2013

TV Legends (1) - Brian Moore

Saturday 1 September 2001 was a joyous day for every English football fan – for it was on that day that England beat Germany 5-1 in Munich in a world cup qualifier. This was the highlight of Sven Goran Eriksson’s reign. Even Emile Heskey scored – which shows what an unusual day it was.

But we were all brought down to earth to hear that, on the day of one of England’s greatest victories, one of TV football’s greatest faces had passed away.

No memoir of television football would be nearly complete without a mention to the legend that was Brian Moore. To all of us who grew up in the London TV region, his was a familiar and welcome face appearing on our screen every Sunday afternoon at 2.30pm. You would sit in front of the telly, stomach full with your Sunday roast, listen to the da, da, da, de-de-da, da, da theme music before Brian’s shiny head would appear ‘and welcome again to The Big Match.’

His presentation was reassuring and this, plus the fact he inevitably commentated on the first game, as well as presenting On The Ball, made it appear as if he ran ITV’s entire football coverage. I always thought he looked like a friendly science teacher with his manner and easy style – it is amazing to realise that he was only 36 when starting his stint on The Big Match in 1968 – and he became a regular face and voice for the subsequent thirty years.

Indeed, when going through the series of Big Match DVDs and watching The Big Match Revisited, the appearance of Brian was like seeing a welcome old friend and took me back to those Sunday afternoons. It struck me how Brian’s presentation was very smooth and a marked contrast to the between games dithering we see from those like Gary Lineker. At the end of a match, Brian would simply say something like ‘A good win for Arsenal there. And now over to Chelsea' ... etc

Like many TV commentators, he had started in radio for the BBC, and commentated on the 1966 World Cup Final. It was Jimmy Hill who headhunted him for London Weekend’s new football television show to rival Match of the Day. The story goes that Jimmy telephoned Moore at the BBC, but Brian was not there. ‘Who shall I say is calling?’ said the secretary. Jimmy didn’t want to reveal his identity so just said ‘the name is Hill’ and then hung up. On receiving the message, Brian assumed the call was from Lord Hill, the then Chair of BBC Governors, and that he was due for a big ticking off for some reason.

He presented The Big Match throughout its 15 year run and then afterwards gradually took to more commentating and less presenting. Arguably his most famous words were ‘it’s up for grabs now’ as Michael Thomas burst through to score a last minute goal at Anfield as Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-0 to take the League Championship in 1989.

He became a good friend of Brian Clough and they often worked together on commentaries – having two Brians calling each other Brian did sound odd. His boyhood hero was Tommy Lawton. And he says the best player he ever saw while commentating was George Best.

Brian retired after the world cup in France 1998. He died in 2001 at the age of 69. Yet through TV recordings, he can still remain with us as a reminder of Sunday afternoons in our younger days.

Monday, January 7, 2013

FA Cup Third Round 1978 - Part Two

And a second helping from the FA Cup Third Round in 1978.

This is a short but eventful clip from Match of the Day on 7 January 1978 which highlighted Leeds United against Manchester City. Featuring a fine right hook from Gordon McQueen (against his own goalkeeper!), a pitch invasion and mounted police, and Barry Davies trying to make sense of it all.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

FA Cup Third Round 1978 - Part One

Further to my entry from yesterday, here is The Big Match's coverage of the Third Round game from 1978 between Chelsea and Liverpool.

The result of the game played the previous day had dominated the back pages - Chelsea had been struggling at the time and indeed were relegated the following season, while Liverpool were League and European Champions and went on to retain the European Cup. The Big Match received one of its best audiences that afternoon and the image I can recall the most is when the photographer changed ends when Chelsea were three up and my Dad commenting 'they will score two down the other end now.'

The game comes in two parts. Enjoy.

Friday, January 4, 2013

FA Cup Third Round Day

Once the Christmas and New Year festivities were over, the next big event for the 70s schoolboy footy fan was FA Cup Third Round weekend. Armed with a Roy of the Rovers wall chart, and the Shoot preview issue, he would be ready for an afternoon by the radio and waiting for Grandstand to bring in the final scores.

It is traditional now to bemoan the FA Cup as if the magic has gone – and indeed much has changed with clubs fielding reserve teams, penalty shoot outs, and, my personal dislike, having the draw before every team has played. But I think we still like the dream. Very few of us will see our team in the Champions League, or even in the Premiership, but we may all see our team in a memorable cup run or as a plucky giant killer – every club, including non-league clubs, will have a favourite FA Cup year story to tell.

Indeed the tournament is far more open than the League. In the 1970s, nine different clubs won the Cup. Even in recent years, we have seen teams like Millwall, West Ham, Portsmouth, Cardiff and Stoke make it to the final.

As for television, personally I am looking forward to a weekend in front of the box and watching some live games, but of course it was not always so. In the 1970s, the television followed a regular pattern. First, we would have Football Focus or On The Ball, when ‘experts’ would make their tips, there would be previews of certain matches,  and the usual stories of giant killing would be wheeled out (e.g. 1933 Walsall v Arsenal, 1971 Colchester v Leeds, 1972 Hereford v Newcastle with ‘that’ goal). Then it would be Saturday evenings’ Match of the Day with ITVs The Big Match (or regional equivalent) – when the TV companies tried to spot the cup shock and send their cameras accordingly – a practice which is still the case when selecting live games.

To conclude, here is a link to a fascinating web site which is compiling a list of FA Cup giant killings.

And a reminder of what was on the TV for the third round in 1978.

Saturday 7 January 1978 – Match of the Day – BBC1
Carlisle 1-1 Manchester United
Leeds 1-2 Manchester City

(Carlisle were recently in the First Division but now relegated to the Third and took on the cup holders. The Leeds game saw a ten minute delay due to a pitch invasion).

Sunday 8 January 1978 – The Big Match – ITV
Chelsea 4-2 Liverpool
Everton 4-1 Aston Villa
Sheffield United 0-5 Arsenal

(Some crackers on ITV with the Chelsea game still a memorable highlight)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

1977: A Jubilee, A Mug and A Crossbar

On Saturday 4 June 1977, the nation was in a mood of celebration at the weekend of events to mark Her Majesty’s Silver Jubilee. The Queen had completed a quarter of a century on the throne and, as things economically in the UK were fairly bleak in 1977 with high inflation and regular strikes, the country decided to let their hair down for a party to take their minds off things. The exception that Saturday was with one nine-year-old boy from Manor Farm Primary School in Hazlemere, Bucks, who was feeling very gloomy indeed.

To commemorate the Jubilee, all school children were going to get a mug – with a picture of the Queen – as a souvenir. A lucky draw had been made for children to receive their mug personally from the mayor and, what do you know, my older sister was one of the names pulled out of the hat. So not only did she have to attend the afternoon’s presentation at a local school field, but the whole family had to go.

Now this date was not any old Saturday afternoon – many of you will remember the Home International Championships – and it was on that date that the highlight of the event was to take place – the live televised game (on both channels!) between England and the 'auld enemy' Scotland kicking off at 3pm in Wembley Stadium.

In those days the Scotland team were good – with players such as Gordon McQueen, Archie Gemmill and Kenny Dalglish – while England were wilting in the Don Revie era, having just lost to Wales at Wembley for the first time ever. The omens were good for a classic encounter. Alas, as John Motson announced the kick off, instead of being happily sat in front of the telly cheering on our boys, I stood patient but gloomy with dozens of other schoolkids in a queue waiting for a mug and wondering how the game was going.

By the time I had got home, word had spread that, not only had Scotland won 2-1, but the Tartan fans had torn Wembley Stadium to pieces brick-by-brick! A slight exaggeration, but the collapsing crossbar became the most memorable image of the day.

I have no idea what happened to my Jubilee mug – lost in the midst of times somewhere – but I do wonder if some, now elderly, Scottish fan still has his patch of Wembley turf in pride of place.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Going Live! - 1983

Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, our main output of League football was via TV highlights on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon – but from 1983, this changed when television decided to launch live league football.

The agreement made with the football authorities was that BBC and ITV would each screen seven live games a season, including FA Cup games. The BBC would screen their games on Friday evenings - which has always struck me as an odd time to play football (but now UEFA have adopted it for international qualifying games) – and ITV would stick to their traditional Sunday afternoon slot, with games being nationwide rather than the regional highlights.

It is hard to imagine but this was a big event. The first league game was between Tottenham Hotspur and Nottingham Forest and was trailed and previewed as if it was a cup final. I can recall going through London and seeing on big billboards the ITV posters with the provocative slogan ‘Arsenal fans, this weekend you can see real football’.

The main concern was the attendance - would anyone turn up knowing that the game was going to be live on their television? There was much talk of how much compensation home clubs could claim. In the event, although crowd numbers were slightly down, it was not significantly so.

With only 14 live league and cup games on the television, as well as the cup finals, this gave each game an aura of a special event, a treat for the TV footy fan. (To compare, this season, 2011-12, there will be 178 live Premiership and FA Cup games on Sky, ESPN and ITV).

ITV had the first three games with their third, a scoop, being the Merseyside derby – there were no worries about crowd attendance at that game. BBC joined in with a great contest just before Christmas, then other live games included a cup shock as Brighton beat League Champions Liverpool, a great performance from Manchester United demolishing Luton, and a treat for Southampton fans seeing them live on the telly three times in a month. We all got the bug, and have it still.

Below, collected from the web sites linked, is the list of the live League and FA Cup games which were shown in that first season.

Sunday 2 October 1983             Tottenham Hotspur 2 Nottingham Forest 1 (ITV)
Sunday 23 October 1983           Aston Villa 1 Wolves 1 (ITV)
Sunday 6 November 1983          Liverpool 3 Everton 0 (ITV)
Sunday 27 November 1983        West Ham United 1 Manchester United 1 (ITV)
Friday 16 December 1983          Manchester United 4 Tottenham Hotspur 2 (BBC)
Friday 6 January 1984               Liverpool 4 Newcastle 0 (FA Cup Round 3) (BBC)
Friday 13 January 1984             QPR 1 Manchester United 1 (BBC)
Friday 20 January 1984             Aston Villa 1 Liverpool 3 (BBC)
Sunday 29 January 1984           Brighton 2 Liverpool 0 (FA Cup Round 4) (ITV)
Sunday 12 February 1984          Luton Town 0 Manchester United 5 (ITV)
Friday 17 February 1984            Blackburn 0 Southampton 1 (FA Cup Round 5) (BBC)
Sunday 11 March 1984              Sheffield Wednesday 0 Southampton 0 (FA Cup Quarter Final) (ITV)
Friday 16 March 1984                Southampton 2 Liverpool 0 (BBC)
Friday 4 May 1984                     Manchester City 0 Chelsea 2 (BBC)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

It is Saturday, it is 3pm. That means Kick-off!

Welcome to my new blog in which I intend to record my love of televised football from 1969 to 1989.

I was not born until 1967, so my earliest memory is not until the 1976 FA Cup Final, but since then I have developed an appreciation of football since the days of colour television. You will see here many references to Match of the Day (when Jimmy Hill presented it), The Big Match (I have all the DVDs) and other events when a football fan would sit in front of the TV in the 1970s and 1980s.

I have chosen these dates as a forgotten pre-Premiership, pre-Sky era when live football was a special event, when most players and managers were British, where the referees wore black and the goalkeepers wore green, where there were characters both on the pitch and in the dug out, when only champions qualified for the European Cup, when players wore 1-11, and when the FA Cup Final day was a special nationwide event.

There were of course low points - such as hooliganism and the ban from Europe, and grounds in a poor condition, but in the true spirit of nostalgia we will try to forget the bad bits and concentrate on the good bits. Even if no-one reads this blog, I will try to add videos, comments, reviews and other bits of interest to me as an on-line record.

So to start, here are a few minutes of the first game I remember watching on television - the 1976 FA Cup Final when second division Southampton defeated the great Manchester United 1-0.

This video and blog are dedicated to the memory of my best friend, Adam Rowe, a keen Southampton fan, who died in October 2012. Rest in peace.