FOOTBALL ON THIS DAY.....     December
     
 

 

 

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 December over the years.

Index
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April  May  June  July
August  September  October
November  December

   
     

DECEMBER Day by Day........

1st December

 

Football On This Day - 1st December 1934
Following a clash of heads between Sim Raleigh of Gillingham and Paul Mooney of Brighton in a Third Division South fixture the Gillingham centre-forward collapsed and later in the day tragically died in hospital from a brain haemorrhage. Brighton defender Mooney was so distressed by the accident that he retired from playing football.


Football On This Day - 1st December 1959
Second Division Liverpool announced that Bill Shankly would be their new manager. The former Carlisle, Grimsby, Workington and Huddersfield Town boss proved to be the man who transformed the Anfield club into one of the English greats.

 

Football On This Day - 1st December 1973
Brian Clough is well remembered for his League Championship titles and European Cup wins but he had his bad results as well. The worst of those came in the early days as manager of Brighton. A 4-0 home defeat by non-leaguers Walton & Hersham in a First Round FA Cup replay was followed three days later by a performance he said he was ashamed of. On December 1st 1973 Brighton lost 2-8 at home to Bristol Rovers in a Third Division fixture. His comments .....


 

Football On This Day - 1st December 1973
The Professional Footballers' Association bought a bit of footballing memorabila at Sotherby's - a painting by LS Lowry. Going to the Match depicts a scene of fans on their way to a match at Burnden Park, the former home of Bolton Wanderers and  PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor said of it that it 'represented 'the heart and soul of the game - the anticipation of crowds going to the match', It cost the PFA £1,926,500 which at the time was a record for a modern British painting. It was rumoured at the time that David Beckham was interested in making a bid for it but Victoria didn't fancy it on any of her walls...so that was the end of his interest!
Link - Memorabilia
 

2nd December
 

Football On This Day - 2nd December 1907
The Players Union – officially the Association of Football Players’ and Trainers’ Union – was founded on this day in 1907 at a meeting in Manchester’s Imperial Hotel. The main problem of the day was the introduction of a maximum wage of £4 per week for players. Now known as the Professional Footballers’ Association, it is the oldest professional sports trade union in the world.

Football On This Day - 2nd December 1948
Alf Ramsey started his long and successful association with England when the Southampton full-back made his playing debut for his country on this day in 1948. Opponents Switzerland were playing their first international in England but were beaten 6-0 at Highbury.

Football On This Day - 2nd December 2010
England again missed out on staging the World Cup finals when FIFA announced the host nations for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments after a vote in Zurich. England were up against Russia and Belgium/Netherlands and Portugal/Spain joint bids in the battle for the 2018 finals. Sadly England received just 2 of the 22 votes in the first round of voting and were eliminated from the vote at that stage. Russia won the right to host the 2018 finals with Qatar getting the nod for the 2022 finals. So nothing controversial there then!
 

3rd December
 

Football On This Day - 3rd December 1960
Jimmy Greaves scored 5 goals for Chelsea in their 7-1 defeat of West Bromwich Albion in front of 19,568 at Stamford Bridge. Greaves finished the season as leading First Division goalscorer with 41 goals in his 40 League appearances for Chelsea.
Link - Chelsea results 1960/61

Football On This Day - 3rd December 1962
An unusual purchase by Mansfield Town – they bought a complete steel-framed stand from the closed Hurst Park Racecourse in Surrey for £30,000. They re-assembled it behind the old West Stand and when it was finished they demolished the old stand and constructed a terrace in front of the new structure.

Football On This Day - 3rd December 1997
Pele received an honorary knighthood from the Queen at a Buckingham Palace ceremony. Although he couldn’t call himself Sir Pele, he was able to add the letters KBE - Knight Commander of the British Empire - after his name. I bet he didn’t though!

4th December
 

Football On This Day - 4th December 1909
In the First Division match at Anfield between Liverpool and League champions Newcastle United the visitors took the lead in the first minute and by the half time whistle Newcastle led 5-2. But an amazing fight-back in the second half saw Liverpool finish as 6-5 victors.
Link - Liverpool results 1909/10

Football On This Day - 4th December 1965
Tottenham’s Frank Saul was sent off in the First Division match against Burnley at Turf Moor. What made that newsworthy was he was the first Spurs player to be sent off in a League match since Cecil Poynton got his marching orders back in October 1928.
 

5th December
 

Football On This Day - 5th December 1908
Newcastle finished as League champions in 1908/09 but there was one match they would rather have forgotten – on this day in 1908 they lost 1-9 at home. It shares the record for the worst home defeat in the top flight and is the worst defeat by any club winning the League title – but worse still it was against their nearest neighbours, Sunderland, in front of their highest gate of the season at St James' Park, 56000. Ouch!
Link - Newcastle United results 1908/09

Football On This Day - 5th December 1921
The Football Association declared its opposition to women’s football. Officially it was because it considered women not physically capable of playing football but unofficially the growing popularity of the women’s game was causing men some concern. The FA couldn’t stop women playing football but they could – and did – ban any FA member club allowing their ground to be used for a women’s football match. The ban lasted until 1971.

Football On This Day - 5th December 2004
Now this injury causes me pain and I'm only writing about it!
When playing for Servette against Schaffhausen in a Swiss League match Paulo Diogo jumped on one of the boundary fences to celebrate a Servette goal. Not being aware that his wedding ring was caught on the fence he jumped down leaving behind the ring and much of his finger, the rest having to be amputated in hospital. And he was booked by ref Florian Etter for excessive celebration of the goal. Ouch!

Football On This Day - 5th December 2005
Paul Gascoigne was a great footballer but when he was appointed manager of Conference North side Kettering Town the general opinion was that it just wasn’t going to work. On December 5th 2005 that opinion was confirmed when he was sacked after just 6 League games (won 2, drawn 2 and lost 2) and 39 days in charge. The club owner accused Gazza of drinking too much while Gazza accused the owner of interfering with team affairs. And if you think the story of those 39 days might be worthy of a book – it was!
 

6th December
 

Football On This Day - 6th December 1930
Just 469 turned up for the Saturday afternoon Division 3 South match between Thames and Luton Town. The crowd was lost in the home ground of Thames, the 100,000+ capacity West Ham Stadium (not Upton Park).  Luton’s share of the receipts was 1s 7d (8p) which they paid by postal order and which Luton framed and displayed in their boardroom.
Link - Thames FC League results & tables

Football On This Day - 6th December 1977
Six months after moving to Hamburg Kevin Keegan was back in Liverpool when the clubs met in the European Super Cup. It was not a happy return, a Terry McDermott hat-trick helping Liverpool to a 6-0 victory on the night, a 7-1 aggregate win.
Link - Liverpool results 1977/78
 

7th December
 

Football On This Day - 7th December 2002
Arsenal lost 2-0 to Manchester United at Old Trafford which was the first time they have failed to score in a League match since May 2001. The 55 League matches on the trot they had scored in set a new record, breaking the previous best of Chesterfield – 46 League scoring matches in a row – set in 1929 and 1930.
Link - the 55 unbeaten Arsenal matches
 

8th December
 

Football On This Day - 8th December 1984
The 371 souls present at Annfield for Stirling Albion’s Scottish Cup First Round tie against amateurs Selkirk witnessed the highest score in a senior match in Britain in the 20th Century. Eight Stirling players were to score goals – Dave Thompson hit seven of them – the half time score was 15-0 with the score at the final whistle being ‘only’ 20-0. Selkirk’s goalkeeper Richard Taylor was presented with the ball after the match – you would think he would have been sick of seeing it!
 

9th December
 

Football On This Day - 9th December 2000
Ledley King scored his first Premer League goal for Tottenham in the 3-3 draw at Bradford City – after just 10 seconds of the match, a Premier League record.
 

10th December
 

Football On This Day - 10th December 1892
In Division 2 Sheffield United won 10-0 away to Burslem Port Vale – the only time an away club has hit double figures in Football League history. Port Vale must have been dreading their next match when the following week the clubs played the return match at Bramall Lane. Sheffield United only won that one 4-0!
Link - 1892/93 Division 2 table and all results

Football On This Day - 10th December 1955
Although Derby County had slipped to the Third Division for the first time in 1955/56 they were expected to beat Midland League Boston United at home in the Second Round of the FA Cup. To be fair though it was almost like a home game for the non-leaguers with six of their side being ex-Derby players - Reg Harrison (an FA Cup winner with Derby in 1946), Geoff Hazledene, Don Hazledene, Ray Wilkins, Dave Miller and Ray Middleton. A 23,757 Baesball Ground crowd watched in amazement as Boston won 6-1 to equal the record win by a non-league side away to a League club in the FA Cup. When the clubs next met in the FA Cup in 1973/74 the scoreline was reversed with Derby winning 6-1 at Boston United's York Street ground in a Third Round replay.
Links - FA Cup results 1955/56, 1973/74.

Football On This Day - 10th December 1960
A St James’ Park crowd of just 20,106 saw nine different players score goals in Newcastle’s 5-5 draw with West Ham United. Newcastle scored 86 League goals in 1960/61 but conceded a club record 109 and suffered relegation from the First Division.
 

11th December
 

Football On This Day - 11th December 1962

Tottenham drew Rangers in the First Round of the European Cup Winners Cup in 1962/63. The first leg of the ‘Battle of Britain’ saw Spurs win 5-2 in front of White Hart Lane crowd of nearly 60,000. The second leg was scheduled for December 5th but was postponed due to fog but on December 11th 1962 an 80,000 Ibrox crowd saw the English cup holders dominant, comfortably winning 3-2 on the night and 8-4 on aggregate. Spurs went on to win the ECWC that season.
 

12th December
 

Football On This Day - 12th December 1953
Perhaps surprisingly for a club who have played in the Premier League but Wigan Athletic’s highest home attendance was recorded in their pre-League days. On this day in 1953 the all non-league FA Cup 2nd Round match between Wigan and Hereford United at Wigan’s former Springfield Road home attracted a crowd of 27,526. Wigan won 4-1 to earn a 3rd Round tie at Newcastle.
Link - FA Cup results 1953/54
 

13th December
 

Football On This Day - 13th December 1930
Two high-scoring matches in the old First Division on this day in 1930 – Huddersfield 10 Blackpool 1 and Sheffield Wednesday 9 Birmingham 1.
 

14th December
 

Football On This Day - 14th December 1935
A 60,891 Villa Park watched in disbelief as Aston Villa lost 7-1 at home to Arsenal with Ted Drake scoring all seven of Arsenal’s goals. That set the record for the most goals scored in a match by a player in the top division and was the most goals scored in any competitive match by an Arsenal player.
Link - 1935/36 Division 1 table and results

Football On This Day - 14th December 2013
Everton 4 Fulham 1 – it was a record 21st time in a row that Everton had defeated Fulham in a League meeting at Goodison Park.
 

15th December
 

Football On This Day - 15th December 1998
Scandal at the FA. The Football Association Chief Executive Graham Kelly resigns after allegations of financial irregularity concerning a loan to the Welsh FA. It was alleged that the loan was made in return for the Welsh FA backing FA chairman Keith Wiseman’s bid to become a FIFA vice-president, an appointment which would have helped England's bid to stage the 2006 World Cup finals.
 

16th December
  Football On This Day - 16th December 1899
To me, one of the most amazing bits of info on the site! On December 16th 1899 a group of English expats led by Herbert Kilpin and Alfred Edwards formed the Milan Cricket and Football Club .... and they are now the mighty AC Milan! Although no longer renowned for playing cricket AC Milan still pay tribute to their English founders by using the English spelling of their home town in their club name - Milan - rather than using the Italian spelling - Milano.
Link - Cricket and Football

Football On This Day - 16th December 1961
Jimmy Greaves continued his record of scoring on his debut for every senior side he played for with a hat-trick for Spurs in Tottenham’s 5-2 First Division victory over Blackpool at White Hart Lane. The first was a from a spectacular flying scissors kick which set the scene for him achieving legend status in North London.
 

17th December
 

Football On This Day - 17th December 2001
It was announced in Zurich that Michael Owen had won the European Footballer of the Year award, the first English winner since Kevin Keegan in 1979, but David Beckham had finished as runner-up to Luis Figo for World Player of the Year.
Link - European Footballer of the Year
Link - World Player of the Year
 

18th December
 

Football On This Day - 18th December 1937
George Hardwick didn’t have the best of Football League debuts. Playing for Middlesbrough against Bolton at Ayresome Park in the old First Division he scored an own goal with his first touch of the ball in the first minute of the match!
Link - debuts

Football On This Day - 18th December 1954
In the First Division match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge Leicester defenders Jack Froggatt and Stan Milburn each struck the ball at exactly the same time to send it past the Leicester 'keeper to record a 'shared own goal' in Chelsea's 3-1 victory, the only such goal in Football League history.

Football On This Day - 18th December 1956
The first ever Ballon d'Or - European Footballer of Year - award was made. In second place was
Alfredo Di Stéfano and his team-mate in the great Real Madrid side, Raymond Kopa, was third but the winner was a 41-year-old Englishman who played for Blackpool - Stanley Matthews. He was presented with the trophy by the man behind the new award, Gabriel Hanot. Two other Brits received votes in the contest - Billy Wright finished in ninth place while Duncan Edwards was 13th.
Link - European Footballer of the Year


 

19th December

Football On This Day - 19th December 2003
It was announced that Rio Ferdinand’s punishment for missing a drugs test in September was a fine of £50,000 and an eight-month ban from football at both club and international level. The test was scheduled to have taken place at Manchester United’s Carrington training ground but Ferdinand forgot about it and went shopping instead.

Football On This Day - 19th December 2004
One of the reasons why Joey Barton always seemed to have the word 'controversial' preceding his name came at the Manchester City Christmas Party on this day in 2004. Reserve-team player James Tandy set fire to Joey Barton's shirt and Barton responded by stubbing a lit cigar into Tandy's eye. Barton suffered a £60,000 club fine and paid £65,000 in damages to the injured player.
 

20th December
 

Football On This Day - 20th December 1974
At half time at the Leicester v Ipswich First Division match City’s England international Keith Weller had things on his mind. He had suffered an FA fine for bringing the game into disrepute, a transfer request from him had been turned down, Leicester had lost seven matches on the trot (and would lose against Ipswich), the crowd were starting to get on his back and he argued with team-mates in the tunnel at the half-time break. So he decided enough was enough, ran a bath, got in it and refused to go out for the second half! His one-man strike cost him a club fine and he got his wish of going onto the transfer although all was later forgiven and he remained at Filbert Street for another four years.
 

21st December
 

 

Football On This Day - 21st December 1957
A Christmas miracle at The Valley. With less than half an hour left of their Second Division match against Huddersfield, Charlton were 1-5 behind and were down to 10 players. When the final whistle blew Charlton had won 7-6, the only time that scoreline had been recorded in the Football League. Amazing!
Link - Full story



Football On This Day - 21st December 1996

Middlesbrough were due visit Blackburn Rovers on this day in 1996 for a Premier League match but the fixture was called off by Boro as they had 23 players unavailable because of illness, injury and suspension. No permission was given for the postponement by the Premier League though and Middlesbrough were fined £50,000 and docked three points. They were relegated at the seasons' end - just two points short of safety!
Link - Full story & points deductions
 

22nd December
 

Football On This Day - 22nd December 1972
Tommy Docherty was appointed Manchester United manager at a reputed salary of £15,000 a year. Mainly remembered, perhaps, as being in charge when the Holy Trinity of Charlton, Best and Law finished their playing days at Old Trafford, seeing United relegated to Division 2 and setting up home with the wife of the club physio.
 

23rd December
 

Football On This Day - 23rd December 1978
An early Christmas present for Arsenal who gain a 5-0 First Division victory over Tottenham at White Hart Lane. A 42,073  crowd witnessed Alan Sunderland score three goals, the first Arsenal player to score a hat-trick against Spurs since Ted Drake in 1934.
Link - Arsenal results 1978/79
 

24th December
 

Football On This Day - 24th December 1999
In a deal concluded late on Christmas Eve Everton vice-chairman Bill Kenwright takes control of the club he had supported since childhood. The ex-Coronation Street actor agreed to buy the 68% of club shares owned by chairman Peter Johnson for around £20m.
 

25th December
 

Football On This Day - 25th December 1919
After losing 14 Division 2 matches and drawing 5 – and not scoring a goal in the last 11 of those matches - Coventry City finally won their first match of the season, 3-2 against Stoke at Highfield Road. The following day they lost 6-1 at Stoke in the return fixture.
Link - Coventry City results 1919/20

Football On This Day - 25th December 1924
Leicester City’s John Duncan scored a club record six goals in the 7-0 Second Division defeat of Port Vale at Filbert Street on Christmas Day 1924. The scorer of the seventh goal that day - Arthur Chandler - later equalled that record scoring 6 in Leicester's club record 10-0 League victory over Portsmouth in October 1928.

Football On This Day - 25th December 1936
Not a happy Christmas Day for Wrexham’s Ambrose Wilson in a Division 3 (North) match at Hull City – he was sent off after just 20 seconds!

Football On This Day - 25th December 1957
Jimmy Greaves scored his first League hat-trick (he eventually scored 4) in Chelsea's 7-4 victory over Portsmouth at Stamford Bridge on Christmas Day 1957.
Link - Chelsea results 1957/58

Football On This Day - 25th December 1965
This day in 1965 saw the last Football League match played on Christmas Day – Blackpool 4 Blackburn Rovers 2 in front of 20,851 at Bloomfield Road.

Link - Christmas Day football

26th December
 

Football On This Day - 26th December
Their seems to be genuine hang-overs about on Boxing Day given some of the results of matches played over the years the day after Christmas Day….
December 26th 1896 – Darwen 12  Walsall 0  (Division 2)
December 26th 1930 – Hull City 10  Halifax Town 0  (Division 3 North)
December 26th 1935 – Tranmere Rovers 13  Oldham Athletic 4  (Division 3 North)
December 26th 1962 – Oldham Athletic 11  Southport 0  (Division 4)
December 26th 1963 – Fulham 10  Ipswich Town 1  (Division 1)
Link - clubs scoring double figures in League matches

Football On This Day - 26th December 1920
The Dick Kerr’s Ladies Football team, formed in a Preston munitions factory in the First World War, played St Helens Ladies in front of a capacity 53,000 crowd at Goodison Park with over 10,000 locked out. The men-only Football Association were not too happy…..

Football On This Day - 26th December 1927
It's never over until the final whistle blows. Syd Reid had scored 4 goals to help Luton Town to a 5-1 half-time lead in the Third Division (South) match at the County Ground against Northampton Town on Boxing Day 1927. But at the final whistle Northampton were the victors 6-5.

Football On This Day - 26th December 1963
A record number of goals were scored in one day in the top division – 66 goals in 10 matches in the old First Division. That figure included 11 at Craven Cottage – Fulham 10 Ipswich Town 1 – which was the last time a club scored double-figures in a top flight match.
Link - record goals 

Football On This Day - 26th December 1979
For the first time the two Sheffield clubs found themselves playing themselves in the Third Division. Boxing Day saw the first of those matches, Wednesday beating United 4-0 at Hillsborough in front of a Third Division record crowd – still – of 49,309.

Football On This Day - 26th December 1999
There was a time when a 'foreign' player in the League was from Scotland, Ireland or Wales but on Boxing Day 1999 Chelsea fielded the first team in the League to consist entirely of non-British players. They won 2-1 at Southampton in the Premier League with a starting line-up of - Ed de Goey (Netherlands), Albert Ferrer (Spain), Celestine Babayaro (Nigeria), Emerson Thome (Brazil), Franck Leboeuf (France), Dan Petrescu (Romania), Didier Deschamps (France), Roberto di Matteo (Italy), Gabriele Ambrosetti (Italy), Gus Poyet (Uruguay), and Tore Andre Flo (Norway). Their manager was Gianluca Vialli of Italy but at least they had English subs that day!
Link - Chelsea results 1999/2000

 

27th December
 

Football On This Day - 27th December 1919
After losing 4 League matches on the trot Hull City beat Wolves 10-3 in a Division 2 match.

Football On This Day - 27th December 1980
Goalkeeper Tony Coton made his debut for Birmingham City against Sunderland – the first time he touched the ball for his new club was to save a penalty.
Link - debuts
 

28th December
 

Football On This Day - 28th December 1997
Spurs legend Jürgen Klinsmann returned to the Tottenham line-up in the 1-1 draw with Arsenal at White Hart Lane. His ‘second coming’ didn’t prove as spectacular as his first spell with the club although his 9 goals in 15 League appearances saw him finish as club top goalscorer and did much to help the Londoners avoid relegation.

Football On This Day - 28th December 2013
It was newsworthy enough that Hull turned a 0-0 half-time scoreline into a 6-0 full-time Premier League victory over Fulham at the KC Stadium but one of the goalscorers, Tom Huddlestone, kept the story going. His previous goal was back in April 2011 when he decided he wouldn’t get his hair cut until he scored again to raise money for charity. His goal celebration against Fulham – on his 27th birthday - included having a lock of hair cut by physio Rob Price (which was sold on ebay for £6300) and later followed the most publicised haircut of the year!


 

29th December
 

Football On This Day - 29th December 1923
A frozen pitch meant that the Feethams ground was unfit to stage the Division 3 North match between Darlington and Chesterfield – so the match was played on the adjoining cricket ground. A crowd of 5,675 saw Darlington take the points with a 2-1 victory.
Link - football and cricket


Football On This Day - 29th December 1990
Andy - Andrew -  Cole made his League debut, and played his only ever League match for Arsenal, when coming on as a sub for the Gunners in the 4-1 First Division defeat of Sheffield United at Highbury.
 

30th December
 

Football On This Day - 30th December 1995
After the ref dropped his yellow card Paul Gascoigne – then of Rangers – jokingly ‘booked’ the ref when returning the card to him. The ref booked Gascoigne for real! Lucky he didn’t drop a red card I guess.
Link - referees

Football On This Day - 30th December 2009
A Premier League first at Fratton Park for the Portsmouth v Arsenal fixture - for the first time a match kicked off with not one Englishman on the field for either side. The starting line-ups included 7 from France as well as players from Iceland, Algeria, Croatia, Ghana, Cameroon, Russia, Bosnia, Belgium, South Africa, Israel, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. But the English did eventually get a look-in, just before the final whistle each side brought on an English sub!
 

31st December
 

Football On This Day - 31st December 1932
Bill Shankly is best remembered as manager of Liverpool but on this day in 1932 he made his first appearance in the Football League. The 19-year-old former coalminer made his debut for Carlisle United in the 2-2 Third Division North match with Rochdale at Brunton Park.

Football On This Day - 31st December 1941
Alex Ferguson – full name Alexandra Chapman Ferguson – was born at his grandmothers’ house in Govan, the shipbuilding district of Glasgow.
 

     

 

Did You Know.....
..an abandoned match allowed a player to play for both sides in the same fixture. Full details of this and other unusual abandonments click on...


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