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 FOOTBALL ON THIS DAY.....     

MAY
Day by Day........

Football is a 365 day a year game. A day by day reminder of some of the famous, record-breaking or bizarre things that have happened in the month of January over the years.

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April  May  June  July
August  September  October
November 
December

 
     
 

1st May

Football On This Day – 1st May 1970     
This was the date when one of the more unusual ground attendance records was set - 14,000 at Cambridge United's Abbey Stadium in a friendly against Chelsea. The match was arranged as part of Ian Hutchinson's transfer between the clubs and marked the opening of the Abbey Stadium floodlights - but end of season fixture congestion caused a few problems. On Wednesday 29th April Chelsea were due to play Leeds in the FA Cup final replay, on the Thursday United were in Southern League action, Friday was the day of the friendly between the clubs and on Saturday United were in Southern League action again - and United had to win both their Southern League matches to guarantee retaining their Southern League title. Chelsea beat Leeds in the Cup Final on Wednesday and Cambridge United beat Worcester City 3-0 on Thursday. On Friday the record 14,000 crowd saw a near full-strength Chelsea side take a 1-0 half time lead but in the second half Cambridge United rested their players and the Chelsea reserve side provided the opposition to the Chelsea first team. Cambridge United/Chelsea reserves won the match 4-3. On Saturday, before a 5,298 Abbey Stadium crowd Cambridge United beat Margate 2-0 to pip Yeovil Town by a point to win the Southern League Premier Division title. On Saturday 30th May Cambridge United were elected to the Football League - now that's got to be a perfect month in the life of any club!

Football On This Day – 1st May 1974
With the World Cup Finals in West Germany just a few weeks away - and England not part of it - the FA sacked Alf Ramsey as England manager. Appointed in 1963 he had managed England in 113 internationals of which they had won 69 and drawn 17 with his most notable achievement of course being the World Cup win in 1966. But failure to qualify for the finals of the Euros in 1972 and the World Cup in 1974 resulted in his downfall. With England due to play seven internationals in a little more than a month Coventry City manager Joe Mercer took temporary charge of the national team (3 wins, 3 draws and a defeat against Scotland) before Don Revie left Leeds United to become England boss in July 1974.

Football On This Day – 1st May 1980
The Arsenal v Liverpool FA Cup semi-final was finally decided – in the fourth match! In those pre-penalty-shootout days a 12th minute Brian Talbot goal gave Arsenal a 1-0 victory at Coventry’s Highfield Road ground in the 3rd replay – the only time an FA Cup semi-final was played at that ground.
Link - FA Cup results 1979/80

 
 
2
nd May


Football On This Day – 2nd May 1953

In one of the most memorable FA Cup Finals Blackpool beat Bolton Wanderers 4-3 at Wembley. It was know as the ‘Matthews Final’ as a 38-year-old Stanley Matthews at last won a club honour after previously being on the losing side in two FA Cup Finals - but it was close with Bolton being 3-1 up with less than 25 minutes remaining. The 'Mortensen Final' would have been a more appropriate title though with Matthews' team-mate Stan Mortensen scoring hat-trick. It was only the third hat-trick in an FA Cup Final - the first at Wembley with the other two coming in the finals of 1890 and 1894.
Link - FA Cup results 1952/53

 

Football On This Day – 2nd May 2016
Chelsea 2 Tottenham Hotspur 2 – Spurs let a two-goal lead slip in the Premier League match with the dropped points seeing Leicester City crowned as Premier Division champions. Yes, unfashionable Leicester, 5000-1 outsiders at the start of the season, are League champions for the first time in their history. They went on to finish the season 10 points clear of second-placed Arsenal although that margin isn’t really a true reflection of the title race. Leicester and Spurs were neck and neck going into the final few matches but while the Foxes were unbeaten in their last 12 matches Spurs didn’t manage a win in their last four, a run which saw them pipped to the runners-up up spot by their great rivals Arsenal. Leicester’s success was widely seen as the most unlikely triumph in the history of team sport but just nine months later the architect of that triumph – manager Claudio Ranieri – had been sacked. Such is life!

 

 
 

3rd May

Football On This Day – 3rd May 1924
The 1923/24 season was the closest the Welsh have got to winning the League Championship. Saturday May 3rd saw the last matches of the season being played and at the top of the First Division table Cardiff led Huddersfield by a point. But on that last day Huddersfield defeated Nottingham Forest 3-0 and Cardiff drew at Birmingham 0-0 after leading scorer Len Davies missed a penalty. Both clubs had 57 points and under present rules Cardiff would have won the title on goal difference (and then goals scored) but in the days of goal average the title went to Huddersfield by two-hundredths of a goal! Even if their points totals remained the same had Cardiff scored one more goal during the season - or Huddersfield had conceded one more - the title would have been Cardiff's. So that missed penalty cost the Welsh a League title!
Link - 1923/24 First Division table

Football On This Day – 3rd May 1980
Goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar scored the only goal in his League career – from the penalty spot for Crewe Alexandra against York City in Division 4.

On This Day – 3rd May 2014
Hamilton beat Morton 10-2 in the Scottish Championship. It was the first double figure score in the Scottish League since Rangers beat Raith Rovers 10-2 on 16th December 1967.

 
 


4
th May

Football On This Day – 4th May 1929
Cardiff City played their last match of the 1928/29 campaign - a 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers - to finish the season with the best defensive record in the First Division. But that achievement didn't see them challenging for the title - in fact they finished bottom and were relegated to the Second Division! Despite winning their first home match of the season 7-0 - against Burnley - Cardiff also finished with the worst goalscoring record in the division and that saw them relegated.
Link - Cardiff City results and table 1928/29

Football On This Day – 4th May 1935
It was definitely a game of two halves at Exeter City's last Division 3 (South) fixture in the 1934/35 season. The score at St James Park against Aldershot was 0-0 at half-time - at full time it was Exeter 8 Aldershot 1.

Football On This Day – 4th May 1935
Now this was a memorable debut! After being a consistent scorer for the Accrington Stanley reserve side centre-forward Allan Duckworth was given his first team debut in Accrington's last match of the 1934/35 season, a Division 3 (North) match at Barrow. He scored after 4 minutes and that goal helped Accrington to a victory which saved them from finishing in the re-election area. But he was also carried off after 20 minutes with a knee injury and four months later having not recovered from that injury - and having also suffered a badly dislocated shoulder - he retired from the game. Those 20 minutes proved to be the only League football he ever played.
Link - Debuts

Football On This Day – 4th May 1949
Italian football was in mourning following the Superga tragedy. The aeroplane carrying AC Torino back from playing a friendly in Lisbon against Benfica crashed into the Basilica of Superga near Turin in bad weather, killing all 31 on board. Among the dead were 18 Torino players - including most of the Italian national team - as well as their English manager Leslie Lievesley. The crash left Torino with just one senior player - Sauro Tomà who missed the trip due to injury - and so for the final four league matches of the season Torino fielded their youth team. As a mark of respect their opponents in those four matches also fielded their youth sides - Torino won them all to confirm their fifth Italian championship in a row.

Football On This Day – 4th May 1966
Goalkeeper Peter Shilton made his Football League debut for Leicester City against Everton at Filbert Street. He kept a clean sheet in the 3-0 First Division victory and went on to play 1005 League matches in the League and 125 times for England, both records.

Football On This Day – 4th May 1976
The First Division fixture between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool saw a dramatic conclusion to the League season which was suitably marked by the Wolves programme cover. The match, on the last evening of the season, saw Wolves needing a win to have any chance of overtaking near neighbours Birmingham City (who also played that evening) and keep their place in the First Division. Liverpool were a point behind top-placed QPR (who had finished their season) and needed the two points to guarantee them the League title. A 48,900 Molineux crowd saw Wolves leading 1-0 with 15 minutes left - but Liverpool won 3-1. Liverpool were the champs, Wolves were relegated.
Link - 1975/76 First Division table

Football On This Day – 4th May 2013
The total mis-match that was the Scottish League Division 3 in 2012/13 was well shown by the attendances in the last round of League matches on May 4th. There were 386 spectators at Annan, 745 at Clyde, 786 at Elgin, 462 at Queens Park and 50,048 at Ibrox for the Rangers v Berwick match. Rangers had been demoted from the Premier League after financial problems in the previous season had seen them enter administration. The Scottish giants took the title by a mile, finishing 24 points ahead of runners-up Peterhead and although the 50,048 was their best League gate of the season (will that ever be bettered in Division 3?) only once did a League attendance at Ibrox drop below 40,000.

 
 


5
th May

 


Football On This Day – 5th May 1928

Everton’s Dixie Dean scored a hat-trick against Arsenal to bring his League goals total for the season to 60 – still a record. Including FA Cup and representative matches his total for the season was an amazing 82 goals.
Link - Dixie Dean's League goals 1927/28


 

Football On This Day – 5th May 1951
A Football League first. Alex and David Herd became the first father and son to play together in the Football League – for Stockport County against Hartlepools United in Division 3 (North).

Football On This Day – 5th May 1956
Probably the most famous footballing injury of them all. At the 1956 FA Cup final between Manchester City and Birmingham City Bert Trautmann, the Manchester City 'keeper, was injured when making a save. He was treated for several minutes on the Wembley pitch but with no substitutes in those days, he played on to help his side record a 3-1 win. Three days later it was found that he had broken his neck when making the save! His surgeon was blunt in his assessment of the injury - 'You should be dead' he told the player. But Trautmann always denied that it was a brave act, 'If I had known I had broken my neck, I would have been off like a shot.'
Link - Footballing Injuries

Football On This Day – 5th May 1966
The lowest-ever League crowd at Highbury – just 4,554 – saw Arsenal defeated 3-0 by Leeds.

Football On This Day – 5th May 1969
A tragedy at York City's Bootham Crescent in their last Fourth Division match of the season, against Halifax Town. Referee Roy Harper collapsed on the pitch shortly after kick off and died of a heart attack. I think it amazing that the match wasn't called off out of respect but instead one of the other officials took over and the match was played to the finish.

Football On This Day – 5th May 1979
Norwich finished the season with a 1-1 First Division draw against Nottingham Forest at Carrow Road. It was their 23rd League draw of the season - a record for a 42-match League season.
Link - Norwich City results 1978/79     
 

 
 


6
th May


Football On This Day – 6th May 1961
Tottenham beat Leicester 2-0 in the FA Cup Final to become the first club since Aston Villa in 1896/97 to win a League and FA Cup double. Among their ranks that day were Bill Brown, Danny Blanchflower, Dave Mackay, Cliff Jones and John White who helped Spurs become the dominant force of the time. And Jimmy Greaves had yet to arrive at White Hart Lane! The final was Leicester's 10th FA Cup tie of the season and it was part of a disappointing run that saw them lose in all the four FA Cup finals they played in in the 25 years since football had resumed after the Second World War.
Link - FA Cup results 1960/61
Links - 1960/61 results - Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur

 


Football On This Day – 6th May 1978

Arsenal were red-hot favourites to beat FA Cup final debutants Ipswich Town in the 1978 final at Wembley. The Suffolk side had been beaten 6-1 by Aston Villa in the League a week previously but the underdogs hit the posts three times in the final before Roger Osborne scored the only goal of the match for Ipswich in the 77th minute. That was his last action in the match - he immediately fainted and had to be substituted!
Link - FA Cup results 1977/78
Links - 1977/78 results - Arsenal, Ipswich Town

    



Football On This Day – 6th May 2018

Wolves were clear champions but the battle for the second automatic promotion spot from the Championship in 2017/18 went to the last match of the season. Fulham had to pick up more points than Cardiff on the last day, May 6th - Cardiff drew 0-0 at home to Reading while Fulham - defending a 23-match unbeaten League run dating back to December 2017....lost at Birmingham! Cardiff's promotion saw their manager Neil Warnock set an impressive new record - it was the eighth time he had managed a club to promotion, a record covering 7 different clubs. He started off by managing Scarborough to promotion from the Conference to the Football League in 1986/87 followed by promotions with Notts County (twice), Huddersfield, Plymouth, Sheffield United and QPR before his latest success at Cardiff. And for the record Cardiff set a major new Football League first during the season. In consecutive matches in February and March they beat Bristol City, Barnsley, Birmingham, Brentford and Burton to become the first side ever to beat five clubs starting with the letter 'B' in consecutive League matches. Hey - every record is important!

 
 


7
th May

Football On This Day – 7th May 1921
Old Trafford staged 2 matches on this day in 1921. Following the Manchester United v Derby County fixture Stockport County, whose Edgeley Park ground had been closed as a punishment for crowd problems, played Leicester City. Only 13 paid to watch the Stockport match although several thousand others stayed on from the Manchester United match to watch the Stockport game for free.   


Football On This Day – 7th May 2006

Spurs needed win their last match of the season to make sure of getting the fourth Champions League spot – instead they are beaten by West Ham and food poisoning with Arsenal pipping them to that Champions League place. A dodgy meal of lasagne the night before the match is thought to have caused the problem but to be fair to the West Ham fans they were prepared to be helpful.....

 

 
 


8
th May

Football On This Day – 8th May 1993
Brian Clough took charge of his Nottingham Forest side for the last time in a Premier League match at Ipswich Town. His managerial career saw him win League titles and European Cups but it ended on a low with Forest losing at Ipswich to finish bottom of the Premier League in its debut season.
Link - Nottingham Forest results 1992/93 & Clough last match programme article.

Football On This Day – 8th May 1999    
Going into the last match of the season Carlisle United were favourites to fill the one relegation spot from the League to the Conference, they were a point behind Scarborough. Going into the last seconds of the season Carlisle were near certainties to go down. Scarborough's match had just finished - they had got a point - while Carlisle were level with Plymouth at Brunton Park, and so they needed a win to stay up. With seconds left Carlisle goalkeeper Jimmy Glass went upfield for a Carlisle corner - and scored the winning goal to keep Carlisle in the Football League. Jimmy Glass was on loan from Swindon at the time, he only ever played 3 times for Carlisle and yet scored one of the most important goals in the clubs' history - not bad for a goalkeeper!

 
 


9
th May


Football On This Day – 9th May 1951

England played their first international against foreign opposition at Wembley, beating Argentina 2-1 in front of 99,000 fans. Since 1924 England had only played Scotland at Wembley. The match kicked off at 3 o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon - it would be another 4 years before floodlights were installed at the national stadium.
Link - floodlights

Football On This Day – 9th May 1961
A week after Ian St John joined Liverpool from Motherwell for a club record fee (a mahoosive £37,500!) the Scottish international made his debut for the Reds. Although Liverpool lost the Liverpool Senior Cup final 3-4 against Everton at Goodison Park St John scored all 3 Liverpool goals in front of an amazing 51,669 crowd.

 
 
10
th May

Football On This Day – 10th May 1947
The four British Football Associations - England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales - have had something of a love-hate relationship over the years with FIFA,  the governing body of world football. In 1928 - not for the first time - the four home country FAs withdrew from FIFA,  this time due to a disagreement over FIFAs proposal to allow 'broken time' payments to amateur players. The four rejoined FIFA in 1946 and so on May 10th 1947 Hampden Park in Glasgow hosted a friendly between Great Britain and the Rest of Europe to help celebrate that re-unification. The fixture was described as 'The Match of the Century' with the GB side consisting of English players Frank Swift, George Hardwick, Stanley Matthews, Wilf Mannion and Tommy Lawton while Archie Macaulay, Billy Steel and Billy Liddell were from Scotland, Billy Hughes and Ron Burgess from Wales and although Jackie Vernon was the only Northern Irish player the opposition included Johnny Carey, an Irishman from south of the border. Goals from Mannion (2), Lawton (2), Steel and an og saw GB win 6-1 with an amazing 137,000 crowd producing £35,000 in receipts which was donated to FIFA. Rejoining FIFA meant that the home nations could enter the World Cup and there were great hopes that they would dominate that competition. If only!


Football On This Day – 10th May 1995
A lob from 45 yards out on the right touchline by former Tottenham player Nayim beat David Seaman in the last minute of extra time and gave Real Zaragoza a 2-1 victory over holders Arsenal in the final of the European Cup Winners Cup played at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

 



 


Football On This Day – 10th May 2008

In May 2008 Rochdale striker Lee Thorpe could only watch his team-mates from the sidelines when they played their League 2 play-off final against Stockport at Wembley, Rochdale's first-ever match at Wembley. He had broken his arm in three places a couple of weeks earlier. He did it in an arm-wrestling contest with team-mate Rene Howe on the coach to the semi-final against Darlington! Striker Chris Dagnall was seemingly full of sympathy when he later described the incident. 'Everybody on the bus heard the snap, it was that loud.' Ouch!


 
 
11
th May

Football On This Day – 11th May 1976
On May 11th 1976 Elton John performed a concert at Earls Court. Elsewhere, in the world of football on that day Jim Bonser resigned as chairman of Watford FC with his replacement being one Reg Dwight, aka Elton John. The new chairman said ' I'm really serious about this. I hope people will not treat this as a gimmick. I've supported this club since I was seven years old.' Graham Taylor was an early appointment as manager and between them in ten years they turned Fourth Division Watford into a club who had finished second in the top flight, reached an FA Cup final and had played in European competition. Far from being a gimmick the appointment of Elton John was surely Watford's greatest ever signing!


Football On This Day – 11th May 1979
Surprising, despite having scored less goals than relegated Sheffield United, going into their last match of the season Crystal Palace had everything to play for. They were fourth in the Second Division table but the top three sides who were in the promotion spots had all completed their League fixtures - Palace were catching up after a poor season of weather-related postponements. A win for the Terry Venables managed Palace on that Friday night would see them finish top and deny great rivals Brighton the championship, a draw would see them miss out on the title but still win promotion to the top flight while a defeat would see them in the Second Division for another season. What is still a record Selhurst Park crowd of 51,482 witnessed a goalless first half against Burnley before goals from Ian Walsh and David Swindlehurst in the last quarter of an hour gave the Londoners a 2-0 victory and the Second Division title.
Link - Crystal Palace results 1978/79 and table

Football On This Day – 11th May 1985
Tragedy strikes at the Bradford City v Lincoln City match at Valley Parade when a discarded match starts a fire in the wooden Main Stand. It was soon engulfed in flames which left 56 dead and over 250 injured.


 

 
 


12
th May



Football On This Day – 12th May 1979

The day that Sunderland won the FA Cup......by scoring for Arsenal! In one of the most memorable FA Cup finals Arsenal had taken a 2-0 half-time lead over Manchester United with goals from Brian Talbot and Frank Stapleton and with four minutes of the final left to play the scoreline remained the same and the Londoners looked set to win the famous trophy. But then things happened! In the 86th minute United pulled a goal back with Gordon McQueen scoring and then in the 88th minute Sammy McIlroy hit an equaliser. With extra-time looking a certainty things changed again when Arsenal's Alan Sunderland scored an 89th minute winner. Amazing - it was one of the most dramatic cup finishes with the match becoming known as 'The Five-Minute Final'. 

I wonder how many of the 99,219 Wembley crowd missed the last five minutes of the match to beat the rush at the Tube station?
Link - 1978/79 FA Cup results





Football On This Day – 12th May 2007

Stevenage Borough captain Ronnie Henry became the first player to climb the 107 steps to the Royal Box of the new Wembley to collect a trophy – the old stadium had 39 steps. A 53,262 crowd saw Stevenage Borough beat Kidderminster Harriers 3-2 to lift the FA Trophy. Seven days later the crowd increased to 89,826 for the first FA Cup final at the rebuilt stadium when Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0.

 

 



 
 
13th May




Football On This Day – 13th May 1984

Lou Macari’s testimonial match at Old Trafford between Manchester United and his former club, Celtic, attracted a crowd of 40,140 which included over 15,000 Celtic fans. Macari played one half for each side. The £85,000 receipts were the record at the time for a testimonial match in Britain.



 



Football On This Day – 13th May 1997

Sunderland played their final match at Roker Park. Sunderland beat Liverpool 1-0 in a friendly fixture with John Mullin scoring the last goal at the famous old ground. Liverpool had been the visitors for the first match at Roker Park, 99 years earlier on 10th September 1898, for a First Division fixture which the home side had also won 1-0.

 





Football On This Day – 13th May 2018

Following on from the exploits of Bobby and Jackie a third Charlton brother - Tommy - made his England footballing debut....at the age of 72. A Rotherham player - well a player for Mature Millers in Rotherham - Tommy made his debut for the England Over 60's side in the first ever Walking Football international. The match against Italy was won 3-1 by England which was played at Brighton's Amex Stadium. Tommy certainly had the look of Bobby about him but he didn't manage a goal on his debut although he had two good attempts during the fixture.

 
 
14
th May

Football On This Day – 14th May 1931
I was asked a while ago if it was right that players started exchanging shirts after a match so that they could sell them on ebay to earn a few extra pounds. I'm sure a few do but the practice started before the days of the computer, back in May 1931 after a France v England international in Paris. It was the seventh time the countries had met and England had won all the previous six, usually by a big margin. But on 14th May 1931 things were different and France recorded - for them anyway - an historic 5-2 victory. So pleased were the French that they asked if they could have the England shirts to keep to commemorate the win, their request was granted and a tradition was started.



Football On This Day – 14th May 1980
In their 68th competitive match of the season (they would play a record 70)  Arsenal met Valencia in the first European final to be decided on penalties. Liam Brady and Graham Rix missed their kicks with Valencia winning the penalty shoot-out 5-4 at the Heysel Stadium in Belgium to take the European Cup Winners Cup.

 


 

Football On This Day – 14th May 1983
Saturday 14th May 1983 was the day that Raddy Antic got a page to himself in the Luton Town history book. It was the last match of the season and Manchester City were playing Luton in a First Division match at Maine Road, The mathematics were straightforward enough. The winning team would stay in the top flight, the losing team would be relegated with a draw seeing City up and Town down. And it looked as if it was heading for a draw when Antic came on as a sub in the last half an hour but with four minutes remaining he scored the only goal of the match with a shot from the edge of the box. The Hatters stayed up and Raddy Antic became the hero of the day although Luton manager David Pleat did get a headline or two for himself with his celebration jig when the final whistle was blown. Luton were the Serbian's only club in England and after leaving Kenilworth Road he turned to management. Most of his managerial career was spent in Spain and the clubs he managed there included Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Not bad!

 


Football On This Day – 14th May 1988
Just 11 years previously Wimbledon had been a non-league side but on this day in 1988 they caused a major shock by beating Liverpool in the FA Cup final, Lawrie Sanchez scoring the only goal of the match to deny the Merseysiders a League and FA Cup double. Wimbledon's skipper Dave Beasant became the first goalkeeper to save an FA Cup final penalty at Wembley (against John Aldridge).








Football On This Day – 14th May 2017
Tottenham Hotspur played their 1993rd and last League match at their old White Hart Lane ground, their home since 1899. Spurs were moving to Wembley for the 2017/18 season to allow their old ground to be demolished and their new ground to be completed. They marked the occasion with a 2-1 victory over Manchester United to equal a club record of 14 consecutive home League wins. But it was perhaps their last two away matches of the season that made more headlines. On May 18th Harry Kane scored 4 in the 6-1 win at reigning champions Leicester and three days after that Kane scored three more in their 7-1 victory at Hull, their record away League win. Those goals saw Kane win the Golden Boot award for the top Premier League goalscorer for the second season in a row while the points won saw Spurs finish second, their best League finish since 1963 and perhaps more importantly for the first time since 1994/95 they finished the season higher in the League than north London rivals Arsenal.



Football On This Day – 14th May 2017
Two front page stories in the Sunday newspapers ended any doubt – if there had ever been any doubt that is – that footballers just earn far too much money! According to The Sun when Coleen and the kids were away for a few days Wayne Rooney made a late night visit to a Manchester casino and proceeded to lose £500,000 in a couple of hours playing roulette and blackjack. But hey, his earnings were £300k a week! His former teammate David Beckham was a tad more sensible with his cash although the anniversary present The Star said he was buying for his missus, Victoria, did seem a tad over the top – a £7 million Caribbean island.

 
 

 
 


15
th May

Football On This Day – 15th May 1957
The Denmark v England international played in Copenhagen saw Stanley Matthews play his last match for England. He had won his first cap as a 19-year-old against Wales in 1934 and over the next 23 years had played 54 times for his country. At 42 years and 103 days his appearance against Denmark saw him set the record as the oldest player ever to turn out for England. In fact only two other over-40s have played for England - both were goalkeepers - Alec Morton back in the 1870's and more recently Peter Shilton. Stanley Matthews also holds the record for being England's oldest goalscorer with a goal against Northern Ireland in October 1956 when he was 41 years and 248 days old, that's over five years older than the next oldest, Tom Finney. England won the match in Denmark 4-1, a World Cup qualifier, to virtually assure their place at the 1958 finals in Sweden.






Football On This Day – 15th May 1963

Spurs became the first British club to win a European competition when they hammered Atletico Madrid 5-1 in the final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup played in Rotterdam.

 

 




Football On This Day – 15th May 2016  

The most embarrassing postponement of all time? A 75,000 crowd was assembling at Old Trafford for what should have been Manchester United's last Premier League match of the 2015/16 season, against Bournemouth. Then a 'suspect device' was found in one of the toilets, the ground was evacuated, the match was called-off and a controlled explosion was carried out.
It was later found that the 'suspect device' was a dummy bomb which had been used in a security training exercise at Old Trafford and which had unknowingly been left at the ground by mistake. No-one had discovered the very realistic-looking pipe-bomb (as pictured) until just before scheduled kick off - and then nobody was taking any chances. Two days later United beat Bournemouth 3-1 in the re-arranged fixture.

 
 


16
th May

Football On This Day – 16th May 1987
The 1986/87 FA Cup final was something of a 'David v Goliath' encounter between Tottenham Hotspur - who had previously played in seven FA Cup finals and won them all - and Coventry City who were playing in their first final. It proved to be one of the most entertaining finals. Clive Allen gave the Londoners the lead after just two minutes, Dave Bennett equalised five minutes later, Gary Mabbutt restored the Spurs lead just before half-time with Keith Houchen levelling things up again in the second half. Extra time brought the winning goal with Gary Mabbutt getting his second goal of the match - an own-goal giving Coventry victory! 

To add insult to injury brewers Holsten, the Spurs kit sponsor, were obviously delighted at the publicity they would be getting at the high-profile cup final. But a manufacturing problem meant that half the Spurs shirts supplied for the final had the Holsten logo on it.....and the other half didn't!

Links - FA Cup results 1986/87, Spurs results 1986/87. other football Whoops moments.


Football On This Day – 16th May 1988
Just two days after winning the FA Cup the Wimbledon's 'Crazy Gang' hit the headlines again. In a testimonial for one of their cup-winning team, Alan Cork, most of the players 'mooned' at half time. It saw Wimbledon being charged by the FA for bringing the game into disrepute - the club were fined £5000 and each of the players involved £750.


Football On This Day – 16th May 1999
West Ham United set a new world record! Each fan who attended West Ham's last Premier Division match of the 1998/99 season, against Middlesbrough, at Upton Park on Sunday May 16th 1999 was given a bubble-blowing pot by kit supplier Fila and 23,680 of them blew bubbles for 1 minute to get into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Football On This Day – 16th May 2015
The quickest-ever hat-trick in the Premier League was scored by Southampton's Sadio Mané on Saturday May 16th 2015. His three goals were scored in 2 minutes 56 seconds in the 6-1 defeat of Aston Villa at St Mary's. The Senegal international's 176 second record beat the previous best which had stood for nearly 21 years - Robbie Fowler had scored all of Liverpool's goals in their 3-0 victory over Arsenal at Anfield on Sunday August 28th 1994 in four minutes 33 seconds.
Link - hat-tricks

 

 
 
17
th May

Football On This Day – 17th May 1997
Middlesbrough ended a disappointing season with a 2-0 FA Cup final defeat against Chelsea. Chelsea's first goal came from Roberto Di Matteo after just 42 seconds which at the time was the quickest FA Cup final goal - since beaten by Louis Saha for Everton in 2009 (25 seconds). Chelsea's victory saw their manager, Ruud Gullit, become the first foreign manager to lead his team to an FA Cup triumph - now we wonder when there will be another winning team with an English manager!  Apart from being beaten in their first FA Cup final the 1996/97 season had also seen Middlesbrough beaten in their first League Cup final (by Leicester) - and they suffered relegation from the Premier League!
Link - Middlesbrough results & table 1996/97


 
Football On This Day – 17th May 2000 and 2006
Arsenal's first two European final appearances of the 2000s were both played on the 17th of May and sadly both ended in disappointment. The first of those was the UEFA Cup final played at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen on 17th May 2000 when Galatasaray provided the opposition. Not a goal in the 90 minutes of normal time and 30 minutes of extra although there were 9 yellow cards and a red card - Gheorghe Hagi of Galatasaray getting his marching orders. And then to penalties and inevitably Arsenal scored just once from their three pens while Galatasaray scored all their four to win 4-1 on penalties to become the first Turkish side to win a European tournament.  On 17th May 2006 the Gunners became the first London side to appear in the Champions League final, their opponents being Barcelona at the Stade de France in Paris. The Londoners suffered a major setback when 'keeper Jens Lehmann was sent off after 18 minutes but Sol Campbell did give them the lead late in the first half but Barcelona lifted the trophy with two second-half goals.

Links - Arsenal results 1999/2000, Arsenal results 2005/06

 

 
 
18
th May

Football On This Day – 18th May 1960
The date of the first final of the European Cup (later the Champions League) to be played in Britain, the venue being Hampden Park in Glasgow. The participants in what was the fifth European Cup final were Real Madrid, who had won the first four European Cup competitions, and Eintracht Frankfurt. Eintracht were the first German side to play in the final but had made a name for themselves in Glasgow a couple a weeks earlier when they won 6-3 at Ibrox to complete an amazing 12-4 aggregate victory over Scottish champions Rangers in the semi-final of the competition. Eintracht were one up in the final after 18 minutes but a hat-trick from Alfredo Di Stéfano and four from Ferenc Puskás saw the Spaniards finish comfortable 7-3 winners. Despite the one-side nature of the scoreline the match is still considered one of the classic European finals while the attendance - 127,621 - is a European final attendance which surely will never be bettered.
Link - European Cup/Champions League finals

 


Football On This Day – 18th May 1970
When Bobby Moore and Bobby Charlton went shopping in Columbia on May 18th 1970 during an England pre-World Cup tour a diplomatic incident followed. Bobby Moore was accused of stealing a bracelet and a week later was charged with theft and placed under house arrest. The case was later dropped and Moore was able to take his place in the England team in the Mexico finals.

 

Football On This Day – 18th May 1991
Paul Gascoigne was carried off - and many say should have been sent off – with a torn cruciate ligament after a wild tackle on Forest’s Gary Charles at the Spurs v Nottingham Forest FA Cup Final. Was he ever the same player again? Spurs won 2-1 to deny Brian Clough success in his only FA Cup final.

 
 
19
th May

Football On This Day – 19th May 1977
The end of the 1976/77 season saw one of the closest - and most controversial - top-flight relegation battles. In the days of two points from a win Tottenham and Stoke had finished their First Division league programme and were both relegated - Spurs were bottom with 33 point and Stoke one place above them on 34 points. The remaining relegation spot would go to one of three other clubs who were also on 34 points - Sunderland, Coventry and Bristol City - and each of those had one match left to play which they were all playing on Thursday 19th May 1977 - the Saturday was reserved for the FA Cup final. Sunderland had the slightly better goal difference but had a toughie last match away to Everton while amazingly Coventry and Bristol City were paired against each at Coventry's old Highfield Road home. The permutations of scorelines to who would be relegated filled many a column inch in the newspapers but nobody would have believed what was to happen. All the matches were due to kick off at the same time but Coventry Managing Director Jimmy Hill held back the kick off of the Coventry v Bristol City match for over 10 minutes due to 'crowd congestion'. So when the full time whistle went at Goodison, where Everton had beaten Sunderland 2-0, they were still playing at Highfield Road where the scoreline was 2-2. Jimmy Hill got that result at Goodison announced over the PA system which meant that the crowd - and players - knew that if the scoreline remained at 2-2 both Coventry and Bristol City would be saved and Sunderland relegated but if a fifth goal went in at Highfield Road the losing club would go down and Sunderland would stay up. With that knowledge the players had a gentle kick-about in those remaining few minutes with no thought of scoring. So the match ended 2-2, Coventry and Bristol City stayed up, a very upset Sunderland were relegated. A Football League inquiry followed and Jimmy Hill received a reprimand but the result stood and Sunderland were even more upset.

 


Football On This Day – 19th May 2001

The word most often used to describe Southampton's former home at the Dell was 'cramped' and a cramped capacity crowd of 15,252 saw a dramatic and memorable end to their 103 years at the ground. In the last competitive match at the Dell Arsenal were the visitors for a Premier League fixture with the Gunners twice taking the lead. Hassan Kachloul equalised twice for the Saints before 32-year-old Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier came on as a sub and scored an 89th minute winner. Amazing! A week later Southampton entertained Brighton in a friendly for the very last match at the ground - Brighton United had been Southampton's first opponents at the Dell on 3rd September 1898. 



Football On This Day – 19th May 2013

After 27 years as manager Alex Ferguson took charge of Manchester United for the last time in the League. He saw his side let in 5 goals at WBA – they drew 5-5, the first time that scoreline had been recorded in the Premier League. United finished the season as champions of the Premier League, a full 11 points clear of second-placed Manchester City.
Link - 2012/13 Premier League table and all results

 
 
20
th May

Football On This Day – 20th May 1962
Bobby Moore made his England debut and Jimmy Greaves scored a hat-trick in England’s 4-0 friendly victory in Peru.

Football On This Day – 20th May 1989
For the second time in three years Wembley hosted an all-Merseyside FA Cup final between Liverpool and Everton. In the first of those finals - in May 1986 - Liverpool beat their great rivals 3-1 to complete their first League and FA Cup double. This time the Reds took the lead with a goal from John Aldridge after just four minutes, a lead they held until the last kick of the 90 minutes when Stuart McCall hit an equaliser. Ian Rush restored Liverpool's lead in the fifth minute of extra time, Stuart McCall equalised again with Rush scoring what was the winner two minutes later. Another success for the red half of Liverpool but with the Hillsborough tragedy having taken place only five weeks earlier celebrations were very much muted.

 

 
 
21
st May

Football On This Day – 21st May 1966
An unusual fixture at Highbury. A young apprentice by the name of Charlie George was one of those who helped turn Arsenal's former home into a boxing arena. The occasion was a World Heavyweight title bout between Henry Cooper and defending champ Muhammad Ali. Over 40,000 were present to witness Our 'Enery suffer a sixth round defeat with a badly cut eye.


Football On This Day – 21st May 1983
The 1982/83 season was a disappointing one for Brighton. Their first stint as a top flight club (it lasted 4 seasons) came to an end when they finished rock bottom of the old First Division. But they did reach their first ever FA Cup final and on May 21st 1983 they had the chance of making history by becoming the first relegated club to win the competition....and they so nearly did it. With just seconds of extra time left against Manchester United Brighton's Gordon Smith looked certain to score and Peter Jones' BBC radio commentary of the moment passed into history - 'And Smith must score....and he hasn't scored. And Bailey has saved it'  The final whistle then went confirming the 2-2 draw and five days later the replay at Wembley ended with Brighton being thumped 4-0. That Gordon Smith miss and Peter Jones' words will forever be with us and they were even remembered in the name of a Brighton fanzine (which is no longer with us).
Link - Brighton results 1982/83


Football On This Day – 21st May 2008
For the first all-English Champions League final the fans of Chelsea and Manchester United had to make the long journey to Moscow. It was also a late night - it was 7.45pm kick off for the British TV viewer but in Moscow it was 10.45pm and with the match going to extra time and penalties the cup didn't get presented until the early hours. It was presented to Manchester United who won 6-5 on penalties after the match had ended 1-1.
Link - kick off times


 
 


22
nd May
Football On This Day – 22nd May 1967
Ron Springett won 33 England caps - he played in the 1962 World Cup finals and was a non-playing member of England's 1966 World Cup winning squad. His brother Peter played for England at both youth and Under 23 level although never won a full cap. What was unusual was that both brothers were goalkeepers and what was unique was that on 22nd May 1967 they were involved in a transfer swap. Ron moved from Sheffield Wednesday back to his former club Queens Park Rangers while younger brother Peter moved in the opposite direction. Sheffield Wednesday also paid QPR £24,000 to complete the deal.
 

Football On This Day – 22nd May 1982
Tottenham drew 1-1 with Second Division QPR at Wembley in the FA Cup Final but Spurs were without their Argentine player Ricky Villa who had withdrawn from the squad because of the Falklands War. Spurs won the replay at Wembley five days later.
Link - 1981/82 FA Cup results

 

 
 
23
rd May

Football On This Day – 23rd May 1954
Any lingering hopes that England were the best in the world ended in their final warm-up match for the 1954 World Cup finals. England lost 7-1 to Hungary in Budapest, a result which is still England’s record international defeat.


 

 
 
24
th May

Football On This Day – 24th May 1972
Celtic were the first Scottish side to win a European competition when they won the European Cup with a victory over Inter Milan in the 1967 final. But on this day in 1972 their great rivals Rangers won their first Euro title and also became the first Scottish side to win the European Cup Winners' Cup with a 3-2 victory over Dynamo Moscow in the Nou Camp, Barcelona. Rangers had twice previously lost in ECWC finals - beaten  by Fiorentina in 1961 and Bayern Munich in 1967. Ironically Rangers were only in the ECWC this time because of the success of Celtic who had recorded a League and Cup double in Scotland in 1970/71. Because of that Celtic were in the European Cup in 1971/72 leaving beaten Scottish Cup finalists Rangers with a place in the ECWC, Sadly though Rangers were badly let down by their fans in the Nou Camp. Just before the final whistle and again after the final whistle their fans invaded the pitch prompting violent clashes with the Spanish police. The result of that was Rangers received a 12-month UEFA ban meaning that they were unable to defend the trophy the following season.

Football On This Day – 24th May 1984
Terry Venables was appointed the new manager of Barcelona on a salary reported to be around £150,000 a year. ‘El Tel’ lasted three years in Spain.

Football On This Day – 24th May 2000
Indoor international football arrived in Britain for the first time when Brazil beat Wales 3-0 under a closed roof at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Football On This Day – 24th May 2015
Steven Gerrard made his first-team debut for Liverpool on November 29th 1998 in a Premier League match against Blackburn at Anfield and on 24th May 2015 he played his 504th and last League match for the club. He scored Liverpool's only goal at Stoke but it wasn't a memorable last game for the Reds' legend. In fact the match saw a scoreline he hadn't experienced in any of his previous 503 League matches for the club (and hadn't happened in his lifetime) - a 6-1 defeat!

 
 
25
th May

Football On This Day – 25th May 1947
England beat Portugal 10-0 in Lisbon with Stan Mortensen scoring 4 on his debut. Tommy Lawton also scored 4, the first after just 17 seconds. I promise I haven't made that up - England did that sort of things in those days!

Football On This Day – 25th May 1963
It normally takes clubs a full five months to win the FA Cup but on 25th May 1963 Manchester United set a record by winning the final just 82 days after playing their first match in the seasons' competition. Bad weather meant that they didn't play their Third Round match until March 4th rather than in early January and by the end of May they had beaten Leicester City in the final. Apart from 6 FA Cup ties United also played 17 League matches in those 82 days.
Link - Manchester United results 1962/63

Football On This Day – 25th May 1967
Celtic beat Inter Milan 2-1 in Lisbon to become the first British club to win the European Cup. The Italians - twice European Cup winners in the previous three seasons - took the lead from a Sandro Mazzola penalty after just seven minutes before Tommy Gemmell and Stevie Chalmers scored second half goals to take the trophy to Glasgow. The victorious Celtic team became known as the Lisbon Lions and given the international nature of players in the top European teams nowadays it's hard to believe that every one of those Lisbon Lions were born in Scotland. In fact every member of Celtic's 15 man first team squad was born with 30 miles of Celtic Park.





Football On This Day – 25th May 2005
At half time at the Champions League final at the Atatürk Stadium in Istanbul AC Milan were leading Liverpool 3-0 - Liverpool were poor and were going to get hammered. In one of the most amazing turn-rounds though second half goals from Steven Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso put Liverpool level. No more goals in extra time and so it went to penalties. And yep, Liverpool won 3-2 to complete what was genuinely The Miracle of Istanbul.
Link - it's never over....

 

 
 

26th May



Football On This Day – 26th May 1982

Goalkeeper Nigel Spink joined Aston Villa in 1977 and made his League debut on Boxing Day 1979 in the defeat at Nottingham Forest. He had to wait until 26th May 1982 for his second appearance in the first team.....playing for Aston Villa in the European Cup Final! He came on as a sub in the 10th minute when injury forced first choice 'keeper Jimmy Rimmer to leave the action against favourites Bayern Munich in the final played in Rotterdam. The goalkeeper played a blinder, keeping a clean sheet while Peter Withe scored the only goal to see Villa crowned as European champions - the sixth season in a row that an English team had won Europe's top club competition.
Link - European Cup/Champions League finals


Football On This Day – 26th May 1984
Leicester City’s Gary Lineker made his England debut as a 72nd minute substitute for Tony Woodcock in the 1-1 draw against Scotland at Hampden.



Football On This Day – 26th May 1999

Manchester United's attempt to win the Champions League for the first time looked doomed to failure at the Nou Camp, Barcelona. They went behind against Bayern Munich after just six minutes and that was still the score as the final whistle approached. Then amazingly came goals from subs Teddy Sherringham in the first minute of injury time and Ole Gunnar Solskjær a minute later and the Champions League trophy joined the Premier League trophy and FA Cup in the Old Trafford trophy cupboard.
Link - it's never over....

 
 


27
th May

Football On This Day – 27th May 1951 
May 27th has been a bit of a jinx day in the history of the Scotland international side. Back on 27th May 1951 Dundee's Billie Steel became the first player to be sent off while playing for Scotland. He got his marching orders for retaliation in the 82nd minute of a bad-tempered 4-0 defeat against Austria in Vienna. Exactly nine years later - on 27th May 1959 - came the second sending off. Bertie Auld - probably best known as one of the Celtic Lisbon Lions who won the European Cup in 1967 - was sent off in the third minute of added time against the Netherlands in Amsterdam, also for retaliation. It was his Scotland debut!

Football On This Day – 27th May 1972
England’s Alan Ball wound up a 119,325 Hampden Park crowd by wiping his nose on a corner flag bearing the Cross of St Andrew. England beat Scotland 1-0 – Ball scored the goal.

Football On This Day – 27th May 1982
Managers nowadays seem to moan if their team has to play twice in a week but back on this day Tottenham Hotspur played their last match of a busy season, an FA Cup final replay victory over QPR. Apart from retaining the FA Cup Spurs finished 4th in the League and were beaten in the final of the League Cup and semi-final of the European Cup Winners Cup. In all they played 66 competitive matches in 1981/82 - including 4 at Wembley - with 19 of those being played in the last two months of the season alone.
Link - Spurs results in 1981/82

 
 


28
th May

Football On This Day – 28th May 1888
Celtic Football Club was formed back in November 1887 but it wasn't until 28th May 1888 that they played their first match....and it was against Rangers. No Scottish League in those days - that didn't start until the 1890/91 season - so the season for Rangers was the Scottish Cup, Glasgow Cup, various Charity Cups and a host of friendly matches. In total Rangers played 45 matches in the 1887/88 season the last of which was the friendly match away to Celtic. Rangers didn't field their strongest side while Celtic had a team of borrowed players but it was Celtic who ran out 5-2 winners in front of a crowd of around 2,000. Neil McCallum was the first goalscorer for Celtic who on that Monday evening played in white shirts with a green collar. From those small beginnings the 'Old Firm' local derby developed into one of the world's most famous and competitive fixtures.

Football On This Day – 28th May 1959
Billy Wright made his 105th and final appearance for England against USA in Los Angeles. England scored seven second half goals in an 8-1 victory.

Football On This Day – 28th May 1960
Peterborough United were elected to the Football League. Their election was certainly not a surprise given that they were perhaps the strongest non-league side since WW2 but what was surprising was that Gateshead were voted out – they were third from bottom in Division 4 in 1959/60 with no recent record of previously needing to seek re-election.
Link - full Posh history in the Football League

 
 


29
th May




Football On This Day – 29th May 1968
Manchester United became the first English club to win the European Cup, beating Benfica 4-1 at Wembley.
Link - European Cup results 1967/68



 


 


Football On This Day – 29th May 1985
Just 18 days after the Bradford City fire disaster tragedy struck at the European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium. Rioting fans and a collapsed wall at the decrepit stadium saw 39 fans crushed to death and over 600 injured. Despite this happening before kick off the match took place with the authorities fearful of further violence if it was called off. The result of the match was an irrelevance.

                    



Football On This Day – 29th May 2015
Forty seven years to the day after Benfica had played Manchester United in the European Cup final the Portuguese side were up against another Manchester side, this time the opposition being FC United of Manchester. They were the protest club founded in 2005 by supporters of Manchester United following the unpopular takeover of their club by the American Malcolm Glazier. The match was to mark the official opening of their new Broadhurst Park ground, a 4,232 crowd witnessing a 1-0 victory for the Benfica reserve side. So how long is it going to be before they celebrate their first match in the Football League?
 


Football On This Day – 29th May 2019

London is a biggish sort of place but I guess that most of will think that matches between Arsenal and Chelsea would be classed as local derbies. But not so when they met in the final of the Europa League in 2019. May 29th 2019 saw the two London clubs meet in the final of that competition at the Olympic Stadium in Baku. I don't want to sound too school-teacherish but perhaps a couple of lessons are in order. First geography - Baku is further east than Baghdad and is the capital of Azerbaijan which has a border with Iran...so is in Asia! Second a history lesson - the Olympics have never been held in Azerbaijan! OK, Azerbaijan is a member of UEFA and so can't be left out hosting the big matches but the cost and practicalities of London fans making the 5000+ mile round-trip meant that neither Arsenal or Chelsea could sell their full allocation of tickets. Not a great deal of local interest either with the gates reportedly being opened for free entry to local fans to boost the attendance. Oh - and Chelsea won 4-1.

 
 
30
th May




Football On This Day – 30th May 1979

Cloughie leads unfashionable Nottingham Forest to a European Cup Final victory over Malmo in Munich. An amazing achievement – one which Forest repeated the following year to become the first club ever to win the European Cup more often than there own domestic League title.


 




Football On This Day – 30th May 2006

Aged 17 years and 75 days Theo Walcott became the youngest England international in the 3-1 victory over Hungary at Old Trafford. Another debut was given to the robotic dance celebration of Peter Crouch after he had scored England’s third goal.

 

 
  31st May

Football On This Day – 31st May 1893
The Football League decided to increase the size of the Second Division by 4 to 16 clubs for the start of the 1893/94 season. Newcastle United and Rotherham Town were elected at the League AGM but it was decided to advertise for clubs to fill the other two places. Applications were soon received from Doncaster Rovers, Liverpool, Loughborough, Middlesbrough Ironopolis and Woolwich Arsenal. On this day in 1893 the Football League announced that they had decided that Liverpool and Arsenal should fill the remaining two places. In the case of Arsenal it was perhaps a brave decision. Apart from the FA Cup, their 1892/3 fixture list consisted entirely of friendlies and as the first southern side in the Football League every other club in the division would be hit with extra travelling costs.
Link - Arsenal results 1892/93

Football On This Day – 31st May 1961
Football may be the major attraction to Wembley but over the years the famous stadium has hosted some weird and wonderful events, perhaps the most weird being back in 1961. A 150-foot tower was built at one end of the ground and then on May 31st (one session) and June 1st (two sessions) some 50 tons of ice was crushed into artificial snow each session and spread to a depth of 6 inches on the bottom slope of the tower. And then the paying spectators watched ski-jumping. Really!

Football On This Day – 31st May 1980
Brighton’s Peter Ward made his England debut as an 85th minute sub against Australia in Sydney – he never played for England again!

 
     

 

Question:

No League club could do it until the 1981/82 season but York City were the first to do it - in 1983/84. Fulham were the first club to do it twice while a Premier League club didn't manage it until 2017/18. What?

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