Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My First Charity Shield

The Charity Shield is one of those events that we have fallen out of love with. Once the official curtain raiser to announce joyfully that the football season is back, now the season is well under way by the time we get to the Shield game. True, the Premiership hasn’t started but the Championship and the League is under way as well as the early rounds of the Champions League and the Europa League.

My first memory of the Charity Shield is 1977. The previous season had finished with a bang. Manchester United had spoiled Liverpool’s treble hopes by winning the cup final 2-1. Liverpool, however went on to Rome where they won the European Cup by beating Borussia Munchengladbach 3-1. Then a low point when, in the British Championships, England lost to Wales at Wembley for the first (and so far, only) time before losing also to Scotland at Wembley, the famous occasion where the Scots invaded the pitch and collapsed the crossbar. (See my post of 3 January)

In those days, there were no pre-season friendlies on TV and so we just had the long wait before the season could start again. There were other events to entertain us of course. The Silver Jubilee was a national celebration. Virginia Wade won Wimbledon. And England won the Ashes 3-0 with a young chap called Ian Botham making his debut. Even Roy Race went off to the USA and ended up playing American football.

So it was with a long yearning that us kids waited for the football season to start again. And when, on Saturday 13 August 1977, up popped Jimmy Hill’s smiling face to introduce us to the Charity Shield – yes, football was back!

The game saw champions Liverpool and cup winners Manchester United playing out a 0-0 draw, the main point of interest being Kenny Dalglish’s first game for Liverpool, and the fact that both captains (Emlyn Hughes and Martin Buchan) went to collect the Shield together – which at the time I thought rather odd.

Here’s a link to a newspaper report.

But that night us nine year old kids could go to bed and sleep a contented sleep. Football was back!