60 years ago this month...

All advertisments are hidden for logged in members, why not log in/register?


HodgysBrokenThumb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Messages
6,170
Reaction score
11,551
Sept 23, 1961
United 1-4 West Ham
Attendance: 21034

This will have no doubt been one of those games which fixed the expression ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’ firmly in my young brain. After the 89th minute Pace winner v Wednesday, celebrated on the Kop in the company of my school pal Wednesdayite, one week later it was confirmation yet again that inconsistency was the problem we needed to overcome.
I assume the trauma of this ‘hammering’ was immense, because the match did not exist in my mind until I looked a few weeks ago at the results for that season. It does not appear in the scrapbook; I can’t find the match programme, despite the fact that I have the annotated programme for the League Cup match just 2 days later; and I have not even one small memory of the match itself.
This post has been saved by Silent Blade , who has again kindly supplied material from the newspaper archives, including a Heap cartoon which is memorable for a Peter Swan item, and one on Sheffield football supporters going home miserable yet again. I can report that the therapy worked - I read the match reports and looked at the photos, and have so far had no adverse reaction. Knowing how the season ended probably helped.
The pics below start with the League table (from the following week’s programme at Blackburn): after drawing with Spurs and beating Wednesday, we were still only 1 point away from the relegation spots. This was disappointing, and needed greater consistency in the weeks to come.
F68F187C-654F-41BA-A427-809FC8BAC36E.jpeg1D91F72F-FE75-40AE-9514-081199EFD902.jpeg44F3E2D5-2E12-4C0C-AA01-4C7AFC6970D6.jpeg24B05A74-8B2E-468B-86C4-F3EF0E168C77.jpegFE7E93A6-7424-4660-A1D7-0203955CC944.jpegA74A0313-6CE9-41F3-8CA6-B91EFD8BD235.jpegF7E9ECC0-8312-4706-83E0-26BFCAD0C9E4.jpeg8ED7B95B-1F73-4A21-9940-9A5034A2BB13.jpeg
 

HodgysBrokenThumb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Messages
6,170
Reaction score
11,551
Monday, September 25, 1961
League Cup, Round 1, Replay
United 4-0 Fulham
Attendance: 8820

United got their first ever win in a League Cup match, in a game which produced more than one goal for the Blades for the first time since the first game of the season. Both sides made some changes (Joe Shaw and Johnny Haynes were the most prominent absentees), but nothing like the changes made currently for such games. Fulham still had plenty of talent in their team (Cohen and Mullery, for example), but on this occasion they were outplayed from beginning to end. Me and my brother had Allchurch as man-of-the-match (see scores on the team-sheet). I have noticed that we are often hard on Gerry Summers; looking back, that surprises me, as he was a popular and reliable player. This comfortable result meant we had a home tie v Newcastle to look forward to, but next up was a tricky away match at Blackburn, an away match I remember well. Thanks again to Silent Blade for the newspaper material.
81B203A0-0F9D-4E39-A86D-5992CF64D417.jpeg2AD1A185-75CA-4E12-9DFC-41C4BC0054B9.jpeg34F4EA83-D60B-4681-8125-B905685F301A.jpegBC90DFEF-4101-4A1B-A796-DCD7F4EF39C9.jpegAC99F6B6-2862-4937-A67A-55B4EB5832A2.jpeg175624AB-7D21-4439-9E12-E0FBB6E86F14.jpeg
 

HodgysBrokenThumb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Messages
6,170
Reaction score
11,551
September 30, 1961
Blackburn 1-2 United
Attendance: 16677

The inconsistency continues. After a big home defeat in the League and a big win in the League Cup, United went to Blackburn and, thanks to Derek Pace’s ability to score last-minute goals (1 in each half), picked up a win which their overall performance deserved. And I can confirm that I was there, partly because I remember the day (we were behind the goal United attacked in the first half, shown in Kettleborough’s attempt on goal pictured in the scrapbook, below), and partly because the players’ ratings added to the programme show an average of the scores given by me and my brother.

This was, in fact, the first of 3 away matches in a row that I went to, in a season where I did not go to many. It took me a few minutes to work out why, and it is an ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ story. I missed away games because I was playing Under-14’s school football on Saturday mornings, and it must have been the previous Saturday when I channeled my inner Hodgy and bravely dived head and hands first at the feet of an opposition forward who at that moment tried to smash the ball into the net, and only succeeded in breaking my wrist. It was near the end of the game, and I channeled my inner Bert Trautmann (hero no. 2), and made it to the end of the match. Thinking about it, this will have been why I can’t remember the West Ham match - I will have been at the hospital having the plaster put on. There were clear downsides to the injury. It was the left wrist, so no excuse for not doing schoolwork. I could not play football for several weeks, but my prayers were answered and my replacement was a disaster, so I won my place back straight away, and team-mates complained a lot less about my goalkeeping after that. And it meant I could go to away matches, which fortunately included Hodgy’s best ever performance, of which more in a few weeks time. And I only had one more injury in a ‘career’ that lasted until I was in my mid 40s: in the back garden, diving to save a shot from my then 10-year-old daughter, I tore a cartilage in my right knee and ended up in the Hallamshire Hospital for 5 days. And thanks to the NHS, my knee has been fine ever since, touch wood.
But, I digress. It felt as if Utd had a good following, but maybe we were mainly gathered behind the one goal, and that made it seem more boisterous. And with my right arm intact, I could contribute to the noise with the trusty old rattle. From the scrapbook pictures, it looks as if the crowd could have been bigger than the official figure. The story of the game was a familiar one - United creating plenty, but not taking enough chances. It looked as if we would have to settle for 1-1, but fortunately the most productive pairing of that time, Allchurch and Pace, combined in the 89th minute to allow Pace to score an opportunist’s goal and secure victory. And to ensure a good train journey home.
In the post below, I will add extracts from the programme, my scrapbook, and the Green ‘Un report, kindly provided by Silent Blade . A couple of questions: how did the Blackburn programme think that Furness was our left-half? Former right-back Fred Furness had retired about 6 years previously. And did Mike England often play at inside-right? I always thought of him as a centre-half.
 

HodgysBrokenThumb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Messages
6,170
Reaction score
11,551
Monday, October 2nd, 1961
United 2-2 Newcastle
Attendance: 12065

The wheel of fortune of football constantly turns. Only 7 months previously 2nd Division United pulled off a great giant-killing at Division 1 Newcastle in the 6th round of the FA Cup; now in the 2nd round of the League Cup, 2nd Division Newcastle managed to hold 1st Division SUFC to a creditable draw, despite going 2-0 down early in the second half.
This was a classic Cup throwaway. Allchurch and Pace were in a rich vein of form, and a rare header from Allchurch and and an opportunist’s goal from Pace meant that the 12000+ crowd was assuming that a Cup run was on the cards; unfortunately, the United players appeared to be in a similar frame of mind, and careless errors from Joe Shaw and Richardson allowed Newcastle to snatch a 2-2 draw, and secure a replay. Much as the Board was repeatedly bemoaning the low crowds and insufficient revenue, an away replay would put further pressure on a squad (had the term been invented then?) which was suffering from injuries - in particular, Summers and Joe Shaw were missing games, and further injuries would not be welcome.
A few other bits and pieces:
1. This was the first time that brothers Len and Ivor Allchurch had played against each other. Only last week we had George and Sam Baldock in opposition at the Lane.There must have been plenty of others over the years, but I need a reminder of who they are.
2. I am impressed that me and my brother gave Joe Shaw and Richardson low ratings, as they are criticised in the newspaper report provided by Silent Blade for their careless mistakes leading to the Newcastle goals.
3. The programme announces the coming friendly v Eintracht Frankfurt, an enterprising initiative. They lost the European Cup Final at Hampden Park in 1960, 7-3, v Real Madrid. This astonishing game had been live on TV, and while I was looking forward to seeing the German team at the Lane, it was Real Madrid that that had grabbed my attention. I was studying Spanish at school, and for a parents night at school we were each asked to produce a wall display. I chose Spanish football, much to the disgust of my Spanish teacher, who was an Oxbridge-type who despised football. In fact, my display (in effect, a variant on my Blades scrapbook) was looked at by many more parents (ok, fathers) than most of the more academic exhibits. And, to my surprise, in more recent times football and politics have become respectable topics for scholarly research; I was at the time vaguely puzzled by the presence of Puskas and Di Stefano in Franco’s nationalist Spain.
7C46E1F9-7E71-4D56-A6B6-3129D22594F0.jpeg26F09392-7C62-480C-A5D3-9A0F0FF0AA84.jpeg1222C2DA-CB36-4E25-8E76-809ECA96AC4F.jpeg54211F75-2057-4D52-8C54-4D6F69DBD6DD.jpegB783E250-BE77-4678-8F9F-70505F71B427.jpeg34DA4E52-01CE-4E6D-B66C-4ED8C78D2185.jpeg977F3748-CE33-4CB7-9B58-EB72DD0F3EEE.jpeg
 

HodgysBrokenThumb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Messages
6,170
Reaction score
11,551
2A419B74-B3B0-4B75-95A0-8001BABC0A8B.jpeg
Well I won’t be around to put up a post about it! Good goal, though, particularly as I had him as my Fantasy Football captain🤣
 

HodgysBrokenThumb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Messages
6,170
Reaction score
11,551
October 7, 1961
Leicester 4-1 United
Attendance: 17952

My fractured wrist continued to keep me away from school football, so I was able to make my first trip to Filbert Street, a ground I liked visiting, although this first visit did not produce a good result. The reports provided by Silent Blade suggest that United started well, but once Leicester got on top and started scoring goals, United were reliant on Hodgy for keeping the score down. The player-ratings given by me and my brother, and sellotaped into the programme to ensure the programme cannot be sold on for a fortune, agree that Hodgy was star player, with Harry Orr, deputising for the injured Summers, not far behind; he too receives praise in the press reports. Harmony reigned with my brother, with the main differences between us concerning Coldwell (I gave him 3 more marks), and Simpson (2 marks less from me). Those were in line with our prejudices!

So, the dreaded inconsistency remained, with 4-1 defeats to West Ham and Leicester separated by the previous week’s excellent win at Blackburn. And both the heavy defeats contained spells where United were on top and playing well, without being able to turn the superiority into goals. It was ironical that a few months earlier, in the Cup semi-final, it took Leicester 451 minutes to score against us; this time it took just 18 minutes. And according to our annotations in the programme, the goals were scored after 8, 38, 48, 58 and 88 minutes. That must be some sort of record!
The first goal was scored by Howard Riley, a small right-winger who always seemed to play well, but who was rarely in the limelight. It is the only goal I remember - hard and low from the corner of the penalty area arrived into the bottom corner. I assumed he had a long career with Leicester, but in fact he went part-time at a relatively young age, and trained as a teacher; he became concerned about his long-term finances, and took this step to secure his future. How different the life of a PL footballer is today! Apparently he still watches Leicester nowadays.
Another busy week coming up - away at Newcastle in the League Cup replay, followed by a home match v Ipswich, newly-promoted and 4th in the League. Challenging times. Programme and match reports in the next post.
 

HodgysBrokenThumb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Messages
6,170
Reaction score
11,551
October 7: Review of the First Quarter of the Season

683CF742-8709-4C11-8D7D-A8BAB09A29E5.jpegF157FEF6-E15B-44E1-B859-DF48B4B2103B.jpeg
11 games played (out of 42), so this is a good moment to assess progress following promotion to the top League. The photos above are from the next home programme, and give a good snapshot of where we were.
The league position is ok, but nothing more. The table shows it is all pretty tight (2 points for a win, remember), with Utd 3 points clear of relegation (2 per season relegated), and 3 points behind Forest in 5th place. There was no need to panic, but at the same time a bad run would soon see us in danger of relegation.
The main problem was inconsistency, and failing to press home the advantage when dominating games. There had been wonderful moments. Pace scoring in the 89th minute at the Kop end to win the local Derby - does life as a Blade get any better? Richardson equalising in the 89th minute against Double-winners Spurs. (Off-topic - I was beginning to think how splendid to have all these 89th minute goals, but at that time only the ref knew how much added time there was, and usually it was not much, so if memory serves me right, there was no such thing as a goal in the 91st minute - 89th minute covered that minute and all that followed). We had also beaten traditionally powerful teams in Wolves and Blackburn. But also we had had a 6-1 defeat (Chelsea), and two 4-1 defeats (West Ham and Leicester).
A close look at the League table makes clear where the problem lay: with 11 goals scored, United were by far the lowest scorers in the League. At the same time, with 22 goals conceded, United’s record was as good or better than 5 of the top 7 teams. We had won promotion largely because of the strength of the defence, but would the attack have to be strengthened to keep us safe from an immediate relegation back to League 2?
The problem is clear from the stats in the second table: Pace had scored 6, Allchurch 2, and three other players had scored 1. It was not immediately apparent how this could be improved, but it certainly needed to be improved. No players had been added to the squad since promotion, and it seemed unlikely that signings would be made, particularly with concerns over low crowd numbers.
The squad list makes interest. Stability is very apparent - 11 players have made 9 or more appearances, though some players (Joe Shaw, Summers) were apparently struggling with injuries. The rest of the squad divided into groups:
1. Established experienced reserves, who rarely played in the first team (Ridge, Mason, Thompson, etc.)
2. Recent signings struggling to make an impact (Docherty, Hartle, Shiels, Orr, etc.)
3. Young players who were not breaking through regularly into the 1st team, despite some appearances (Nibloe, Rooney, Finnigan, etc.)
4. Young players we hadn’t come across much yet, but who were about to embark on good careers - Badger, Jones, Mallender, Tony and Barry Wagstaff, etc.

In conclusion: reasonable start, some great moments, a sound starting 11 which needed more goals, sound backup players to cover injuries, but a lack of players pushing for first-team places. It was time for fingers crossed.
 

HodgysBrokenThumb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Messages
6,170
Reaction score
11,551
Wednesday, October 11, 1961
League Cup, 2nd Round replay
Newcastle 0-2 United
Attendance: 12595

Just 7 months earlier, 2nd Division United had gone to League 1 Newcastle in the 6th Round of the Cup, and provided a performance which I regard as one of the most memorable I have ever seen. On October 11, 1961, 2 goals from Barry Hartle sent United through to the 3rd round of the League Cup for the first time, with United now in League 1 and Newcastle in League 2, and I have no recollection of the match ever taking place. I didn’t go to the game, my brother presumably didn’t either, as we have no match programme, but the match did merit a page in the scrapbook. And from that it appears that it was an excellent performance , with 3 reserve players (Orr, Wagstaff and Hartle) all acquitting themselves well. Hartle seems to have shown qualities (speed, determination) that I didn’t normally associate with him. It did not turn out to be the start of major team changes, though, except for a run of several games for Hartle. This must have been a key moment for his career - he had scored 4 goals for the Reserves in a 6-0 victory over Derby the previous Saturday, so with 6 goals from 2 games, this must have been looking like a breakthrough moment for him.
Report/photos from the scrapbook below:
6DAC1471-7E77-4867-B73E-6BB8860501B9.jpeg
 

Isaw Joeshaw

Old School Blade
Joined
May 17, 2017
Messages
3,459
Reaction score
8,264
Loved the piece about Joe Shaw at the end .

One of the hallmarks of a truly great player is that of being recognised and appreciated by opposition supporters as someone special . Such admiration is usually reserved for exciting , attacking flair players and the fact that the Geordie fans on that day recognised it in a slightly built centre half is credit to them .
 

HodgysBrokenThumb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Messages
6,170
Reaction score
11,551
Loved the piece about Joe Shaw at the end .

One of the hallmarks of a truly great player is that of being recognised and appreciated by opposition supporters as someone special . Such admiration is usually reserved for exciting , attacking flair players and the fact that the Geordie fans on that day recognised it in a slightly built centre half is credit to them .
Well spotted and well observed. An even better example (for me, if you get my drift) coming shortly. When was the last time the Lane crowd applauded an opposition player, other than ex-Blades? Kabba?
 

Pedro Verde

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2011
Messages
3,963
Reaction score
5,188
Location
In your head
Well spotted and well observed. An even better example (for me, if you get my drift) coming shortly. When was the last time the Lane crowd applauded an opposition player, other than ex-Blades? Kabba?

Pretty certain Shaqiri got applauded when we played Stoke in a pre season friendly a couple of years ago
 

HodgysBrokenThumb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Messages
6,170
Reaction score
11,551
Pretty certain Shaqiri got applauded when we played Stoke in a pre season friendly a couple of years ago
Didn’t go to that game, so I didn’t know it. I was going to say that a friendly shouldn’t count, but the League Cup early rounds have always been rather like friendlies, so I’ll give you that one!
 

Alan Birchenall's hair

Constant Turmoil
Joined
Jul 28, 2021
Messages
112
Reaction score
245
Brian Flynn got applauded off at half-time for Burnley in a 2-2 draw at the Lane in 1974. Don't know if it was his actual debut, but if not, he'd only just broken into their 1st team. Looked about 10 years old, and 7 stone wet through. But he gave Currie a better midfield test than any other midfielder that season.
 

HodgysBrokenThumb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Messages
6,170
Reaction score
11,551
October 14, 1961
United 2-1 Ipswich
Attendance: 22194

An important win for United, against an Ipswich side promoted together with United. They had started the season well, and came to the Lane in 4th position in the League. United continued with the experiment of the in-form Hartle on the left-wing, and Simpson moved from left-wing to inside-left, not a position I ever felt he was really suited to; but for the moment the system was working, with United managing at last to score more than one goal in a league game for the first time since the opening game of the season. And possibly the most significant moment was Billy Russell scoring - at last - his first goal of the season. It is often strange how things work out for goalscorers, with spells of scoring regularly alternating with barren spells. Russell had scored the memorable hat-trick in the opening 20 minutes at Newcastle the previous March, but in the 61-62 season it was his 10th appearance of the season before he scored. It certainly made us more optimistic to feel that other players could take some of the burden of scoring goals off Pace. I think I am right in saying that Pace played all 42 league games in 1960-61 and 1961-62; I don’t even know if we had a proper reserve centre-forward for those seasons. And at that time the centre-forwards received (and dished out) plenty of rough treatment. I suspect we rather took Pace for granted: we expected him to play, and we expected him to score goals.
The crowd was a little higher than usual, and in the first half United were very good value for their 2-1 lead, thanks to opportunist rather than classic goals. Ipswich, as expected from a 4th-placed team who had recently beaten Wednesday 4-1, came back strongly in the second half, but again the defence held firm, with me and my brother both rating Hodgy to be Utd’s man-of-the-match. So, another 2 points, and optimism that we could avoid a relegation battle.
Photos, reports, programme follow in the next post. The programme focus is largely on an intriguing friendly match coming up 5 days later. Ipswich were of course managed by Alf Ramsey, and amongst their better-known players was the reliable goalkeeper Roy Bailey; it will not be news to most of you that his son Gary Bailey played in goal for ManU and England. A sort of reverse Schmeichel.
 

Pedro Verde

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2011
Messages
3,963
Reaction score
5,188
Location
In your head
Says in one of the programme notes United were due to play Eintracht Frankfurt on a Thursday night and a crowd of 30,000 would be needed to cover the cost of getting the Germans to BDTBL it is unlike our directors to take such a financial gamble
Did it pay off I wonder ?
 

HodgysBrokenThumb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Messages
6,170
Reaction score
11,551
Says in one of the programme notes United were due to play Eintracht Frankfurt on a Thursday night and a crowd of 30,000 would be needed to cover the cost of getting the Germans to BDTBL it is unlike our directors to take such a financial gamble
Did it pay off I wonder ?
You’ll have to wait🤣 Spoiler alert: do our Board’s initiatives usually work?
 

HodgysBrokenThumb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Messages
6,170
Reaction score
11,551
Thursday, October 19, 1961
Sheffield Utd 3-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Attendance: 19762

The Board of Directors had taken quite a gamble in inviting one of the big teams of European football to play a friendly match at the Lane, with a crowd of around 30000 needed to ensure the club did not make a financial loss on the game. Wet weather and Utd’s generally low crowds meant that the crowd was under 20000, and despite the result, the experiment was deemed a failure, with the programme notes from the next home match (Fulham) blaming the whole city of Sheffield for letting the club down.
The context was interesting. In 1960-61, Eintracht had played Rangers in the European Cup, and having beaten them in Frankfurt 6-1, they were apparently amazed to play in front of a full house at Ibrox when the tie was effectively dead. Eintracht scored 6 more goals, and were applauded off the pitch by the Rangers crowd, and apparently the Scottish fans were solidly behind Eintracht in the famous Final at Hampden, which they lost 7-3 to Real Madrid in front of a crowd of over 130,000. That match was shown live on TV, and was the first match I had seen between 2 foreign teams. It was an eye-opener, and dispelled the notion that England was the centre of the football universe. I had started studying Spanish at school, and at a parents evening some time later, when we were asked to prepare wall displays related to the subjects we were studying, I did a glorified scrapbook page on Spanish football - much to the horror of my snobby form teacher. In fact, it attracted more attention than any other (from fathers, at least), and whilst I did not appreciate the links between football and politics at the time (Franco and Real Madrid, Catalan separatism and Barcelona, etc.), I feel vindicated by the fact that football is now a respectable subject of academic research!
But back to United. The Board acted quickly when Eintracht were invited to Glasgow to play a friendly v Rangers at Hampden to inaugurate new floodlighting, and so Eintracht played at Hampden on the Tuesday and Bramall Lane on the Thursday. It must have been quite a shock for the German team to go from Hampden (crowd of 107,000) to Bramall Lane (crowd of 19000). The problem was that Eintracht had established a link with Glasgow. They were a very good team, but they were not household names in Sheffield, and I think that is the main reason the crowd was so disappointing.

In footballing terms, United could claim success. After 3 victories over Rangers, the German league-leaders were beaten
3-1 by Utd, and in the following May, United beat them twice in friendlies in Canada (I recently saw a programme for one of these games for sale at £235). At the Lane, the German players looked talented, but probably tired and/or not motivated; they had arrived late on the evening before, and the scrapbook shows them trying to look interested to see a statue of Queen Victoria. I do remember enjoying the game, but feeling that we had not seen them at their best.
Pictures follow in the next post.
 

ancientblade

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2020
Messages
3,006
Reaction score
3,441

All advertisments are hidden for logged in members, why not log in/register?

Top Bottom