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FA CUP 1969-70. BRUTAL


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https://readtheleague.com/the-big-feature/fa-cup-1969-70-brutal

FA CUP 1969-70. BRUTAL

The 1969-70 F.A Cup saw Leeds United and Chelsea take the final to a second match, the first time the season’s showpiece had not been settled at the first time of asking since it was moved to Wembley way back in 1923. And what a final it was.

The two teams fought out a thrilling, and most would agree, brutal, 2-2 draw on a Wembley pitch that was in no state to stage a game of this importance. At the second time of asking it was Chelsea who came out on top, taking the honours thanks to a David Webb extra-time goal at Old Trafford which brought to an end four hours of play in which two of the game’s toughest, and most talented, teams slugged it out for the trophy.

The competition had kicked off way back in September 1969 and when the ‘big guns’ entered the tournament on January 3rd there were still four non-league teams competing. Of these Brentwood Town succumbed to a 1-0 home defeat by Northampton Town whilst South Shields suffered a 4-1 loss at Queen’s Park Rangers. The other two, Sutton United and Hillingdon Borough were pitted against each other and it was Sutton who came out on top, winning the replay 4-2 at Gander Green Lane after a goalless draw in the first match at the Leas Stadium to send former England international Jim Langley’s team out of the competition and give Sutton a plum draw in the 4th Round against the mighty Leeds.

Elsewhere in the 3rd round there were upsets galore as five 2nd Division teams overcame top flight opposition. Carlisle United, Middlesbrough, Blackpool and Leicester City saw off Nottingham Forest, West Ham United, Arsenal and Sunderland respectively whilst the biggest surprise saw Sheffield United, who would eventually finish 6th in the second sphere, get the better of champions-elect Everton 2-1 at Bramall Lane. Chelsea were also given second-tier opposition but bucked the trend recording a comfortable 3-0 home victory over Birmingham City with goals from Ian Hutchinson (2) and Peter Osgood.  

Don Revie’s Leeds barely avoided another shock, edging past Swansea Town, then of the Fourth Division, 2-1. Having fallen behind to a David Gwyther goal, United were on course for a shock early exit until Mel Nurse was sent off after a clash with Allan Clarke on the hour mark. Ten minutes later Johnny Giles converted a penalty and then with 12 minutes left Mick Jones scored to save Revie’s blushes. It says much for the Welsh club’s display that Gary Sprake, playing against his hometown team was the Leeds Man of the Match.

And so, after some talk of switching the tie to Elland Road, Revie’s star-laden team made the trip to Sutton. A crowd of 14,000 crammed into Gander Green Lane bringing in receipts of £8,000 for the Isthmian League club, the first amateur team to reach the 4th Round for 17 years.

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Peter Lorimer scores for Leeds against Sutton

Dreams of a remarkable upset were quickly dispelled as four goals from Allan Clarke and a brace from Peter Lorimer saw the Yorkshire giants comfortably deal with an opposition team which included a fishmonger, a jig borer and a panel-beater in their line-up.

Chelsea were handed an all-first division tie at home to Burnley and Dave Sexton’s team seemed to be coasting into the last 16 when goals from John Hollins and Peter Osgood sent them two up. But Martin Dobson struck twice for the visitors in the last 10 minutes to force a replay at Turf Moor.

The Clarets took the lead in the second match but Tommy Baldwin equalised and a brace from Peter Houseman saw the visitors home.

There were shocks elsewhere in the 4th Round; 4th Division Scunthorpe United visited Hillsborough and shocked their hosts, overcoming a Sheffield Wednesday side who would finish bottom of the top flight 2-1. 2nd Division Watford hosted Stoke City and ran out 1-0 winners in front of a crowd of 23,000 thanks to a 25-yard strike from Colin Franks.

There were two more all Division 1 clashes. A George Best-less Manchester United comfortably overcome local rivals Manchester City 3-0 at Old Trafford. Willie Morgan slotted home a first half penalty after Bobby Charlton had been brought down and Brian Kidd added a pair in the second half. Crystal Palace, in their first season in the top flight, forced a goalless draw at White Hart Lane before seeing Spurs off 1-0 in front of 45,980 fans at Selhurst Park with a goal from Gerry Queen in what proved to be Jimmy Greaves’ last match for the North Londoners before departing for West Ham.

Palace’s reward for their win over Spurs was a home tie against Chelsea but they couldn’t repeat their heroics, losing 4-1 with over 48,000 in attendance.

Leeds had another home tie against lower-league opposition and easily saw off Mansfield Town 2-0. But the individual performance of the round came at the County Ground Northampton. Returning from a four-week van for kicking a ball out of the referee’s hands, George Best scored six times in his team’s 8-2 thrashing of their hosts. Elsewhere wins for Watford, Middlesbrough, Swindon Town and Queen’s Park Rangers ensured that the 2nd Division would be well represented in the quarter-final with the top flight also having four clubs through in Leeds United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.

It was 1st against 2nd all the way in the last eight. Chelsea was handed another away draw in London making the short trip to Loftus Road to play Queen’s Park Rangers. Goals from David Webb and Peter Osgood inside the first eight minutes established the Stamford Bridge club’s superiority. Former Chelsea-man Terry Venables got the home team back in the game with a twice-taken penalty after another ex-Blue Barry Bridges had been brought down. Peter Bonetti saved the initial effort but was deemed to have moved too soon. Osgood restored Chelsea’s two-goal advantage after Mike Kelly failed to hold a John Hollins shot and then went on to complete a hat-trick before Bridges got a late consolation for the home team.

Manchester United travelled to Ayresome Park and took the lead through Carlo Sartori but a fine chip by John Hickton sent the match to a replay. At Old Trafford Bobby Charlton put the home side ahead but Hickton again provided the equaliser. But a penalty with 12 minutes to go from Willie Morgan saw the home team through to the last four.

A brace from Allan Clarke saw Leeds through a tricky looking tie at League Cup holders and Anglo-Italian cup winners Swindon so Don Revie’s men reached the semi-final without having faced top-flight opposition and it was left to Watford, priced at 40/1 entering the quarter-final stage, to provide the upset. The Hornets relied on a goal from Barry Endean, a major factor throughout their cup run, and some solid defending led by Man of the Match Ray Lugg to see off Liverpool in front of 34,047 fans, a result which set Bill Shankly on the road to rebuilding his team heading into the 70s.

Watford’s reward for their win was a semi-final clash with Chelsea at White Hart Lane.

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David Webb scores for Chelsea against Watford

On a sand-covered pitch Chelsea took the lead when David Webb prodded home from close range after Watford failed to deal with a corner. But the lower division side hit back when a combination of a long-range shot from Terry Garbett and an uneven surface deceived Peter Bonetti. But then the Blues took over; Osgood, Hutchinson and a brace from Peter Houseman, who, along with Alan Hudson (who sadly missed out on a place in the final team through injury) had an outstanding game, saw them race to a 5-1 to earn their second Wembley appearance.

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Part of the 55,000 crowd at Hillsborough.

While 55,209 were crammed into White Hart Lane to watch the ‘Southern’ semi, 55,000 were at Hillsborough, with 10 shilling tickets reportedly changing hands for £8, to see the clash of the giants between Manchester United and Leeds United. With Paul Reaney negating the threat of George Best teams fought out a tough goalless draw on another mud heap.

The teams met again nine days later in front of 65,000 fans at Villa Park and once again couldn’t be separated. There were plenty of chances but again, no goals so they met for a third time and Leeds kept their bid for an historic League, Cup and European Cup treble alive.

The second replay took place at Burnden Park and this time a crowd of 55,000 were on hand to see newly-elected Footballer of the Year Billy Bremner settle the tie with a superb goal after just eight minutes. Allan Clarke’s goalbound effort was blocked and Bremner rifled the ball past Alex Stepney from just inside the area.

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Allan Clarke and Billy Bremner celebrate the Scots’ winner

Bremner’s strike proved to be the winner, and just like five years before he scored the only goal in a semi-final to deny Manchester United and earn his team a place at Wembley. Manager Revie, whilst acknowledging that his skipper was outstanding praised the team effort saying after; “The lads were wonderful, just wonderful. It was a perfect show”.

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Bremner and Harris at the toss

So, on April 11, the two teams walked onto a Wembley pitch described by commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme as ‘like Goodwin Sands’, due to the fact that the Horse of the Year show had been staged just a few days previously.

The rivalry between the two teams had been building throughout the 1960s. Chelsea’s Tommy Baldwin would later say of the clashes between the two; “There were a lot of scores being settled from previous games whenever we played them. It just always seemed to go mad with everyone kicking each other” whilst Leeds star Johnny Giles said that there was; ‘a special sort of animosity’ between the teams whilst Blues striker Ian Hutchinson didn’t mince words; “They hated us and we hated them.” He said.

Way back in 1964 when the clubs were in a three-way battle for the title with Manchester United a game at Elland Road where Johnny Giles was stretchered off was described as ‘Never mind the ball’ by one reporter. The feud continued, including a cup semi-final at Villa Park in 1967 where Gary Sprake kicked John Boyle in the head.

Things would come to a peak at Wembley, the fifth meeting of the season between the teams and again at Old Trafford for the sixth.

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That pitch!

Leeds were in early control in the first match and took the lead after 20 minutes when Jack Charlton headed home from a corner. Both Eddie McCreadie and Ron Harris seemed to have a chance to clear off the line but the conditions saw the ball roll underneath their combined efforts to clear. The Yorkshire team were well on top and taking better advantage of the easier conditions out wide with Eddie Gray giving Blues’ full-back David Webb a torrid time. But Chelsea managed to avoid slipping further behind and five minutes before the break they equalised with the pitch again playing a part, although the blame mostly fell of the Leeds ‘keeper. A speculative 20-yard shot from Peter Houseman somehow got past Gary Sprake and the break came with the teams all square.

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Eddie Gray with his wife and the Man of the Match trophy

The second half was more even but, with Gray, later named Man of the Match, continuing to torment Webb who admitted afterwards; “I didn’t have a battle with him, I never got near enough to battle!”, it was the Yorkshire team who retook the lead with just six minutes left. After Gray had hit the bar with a rasping drive, an Allan Clarke header struck a post and Mick Jones followed up to rifle past Peter Bonetti who Chelsea had to thank for not being further behind. The Londoners bounced back again and managed to level when Hutchinson bravely headed home. There was still time for Leeds to strike the woodwork for a third time but Chelsea survived until the final whistle With the players energy sapped by the pitch, extra time failed to produce a goal so, for the first time in Wembley’s history the game went to a replay.

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The stars talk about the first match.

With Leeds set to play the second leg of their European Cup semi final against Celtic there was an 18-day break before the replay, which may well have proved crucial for Chelsea’s hopes.

Chelsea manager Dave Sexton picked the same 11 for the second match but he did make one crucial positional change. Sexton knew that his team was unlikely to survive if Webb, tormented by Gray at Wembley, was forced to mark the Scot again. So he switched him to central defence with skipper Ron Harris taking over the right back position, a move the late Peter Osgood would later say; “won us the Cup”. Leeds boss Don Revie replaced goalkeeper Gary Sprake, held accountable for the first equaliser at Wembley, with David Harvey

The match was watched by a TV audience of 28million, the sixth largest television audience ever in the UK, and is popularly regarded as one of the dirtiest ever. Some years later referee David Elleray watched a recording of the match and said he would have sent off six players and booked 12. Over the two matches, referee Howard Jennings booked just one player, Ian Hutchinson. The legendary journalist Hugh McIlvanney said of the ref’s performance in the replay; “at times it appeared Mr Jennings would give a free kick only on production of a death certificate”.

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Osgood’s equaliser.

Leeds went in front for the third time in the tie when Jones’s fine run and shot beat Bonetti whose agility had been hampered by a previous clash with the same player. In the second period, as football war continued to break out all over the pitch Chelsea equalised for the third time when a curling ball from Charlie Cooke was met by Osgood whose diving header gave Harvey no chance.

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Webb’s winner.

Extra-time was needed for a second time and finally Chelsea took the lead in the 224th minute. A long Ian Hutchinson throw was inadvertently headed back across his own area by Charlton and Webb rose at the far post and forced the ball over the line.

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Ron Harris and Peter Osgood with the trophy

Having finally got the lead Chelsea held on comfortably for the remaining 16 minutes and in fact could have doubled their advantage had a Hutchinson effort not been ruled out for offside. Even with Charlton moving forward to support the strikers, Leeds failed to muster an equaliser of their own so the Londoners took the cup for the first time in their history. How much the game meant to the two teams was shown in the reaction of Charlton following the final whistle. After refusing to go up and collect his runners-up medal he later said; ‘It wasn’t the losing of the game, it was the losing of the game to Chelsea”.

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Chelsea parade the trophy

It proved to be part of a disappointing end to the season for Leeds. Challenging for honours on three fronts, they were beaten to the title by Everton (Chelsea were third) and lost the ‘Battle of Britain’ when beaten by Celtic in the European Cup semi-final.

The following campaign saw both teams go on to glory in Europe – Chelsea won the Cup Winners Cup and Leeds took the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, and United would go on to claim victory at Wembley in 1972’s centenary F.A. Cup Final as well as capturing another 1st Division title in 1973-74. But the 60s decade closed, and the 70s started, with one of the most memorable finals of all time.

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THE COLOSSUS

https://readtheleague.com/if-you-know-your-history/the-colossus

THE COLOSSUS

IT has always been said that Goalkeepers are the real characters of football. Stories of eccentricity abound among custodians reminding us of the old adage ‘you don’t have to be mad to be a ‘keeper’ – but it helps.’

Perhaps the first, and still among the most famous, of the character-goalkeepers was William Foulkes, known most often as ‘Fatty’ for obvious reasons, but also by the much kinder nickname of ‘The Colossus’, who graced the game across two centuries. And whilst I’ll make no claims about the mental health of the man whose star shone brightly during the end of the Victorian and beginning of the Edwardian eras, he certainly had many of those traits that make the men who guard the last line of defence different.

Many reports, both from the time and since, reported his name as Foulke but it appears clear from his headstone, pictured below, that there was an ‘s’ at the end. For the purposes of of this article I have kept the name ‘Foulke’ in contemporary reports.

Foulkes was born in Dawley, Shropshire in 1874 and started his working life at the nearby Blackwell Colliery. It was while playing in goal for the colliery works team that he first came to the attention of the public. The Derby Daily Telegraph of September 20 1893 reporting on a local match, included the comment; ‘The feature of the game was the goalkeeping of W. Foulkes of Blackwell who certainly has the makings of a first-class custodian.”

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Early days at Sheffield United. Almost svelte!

His reputation had already spread, starting with a match between Blackwell and Derby County where the ‘keeper had an excellent game and ‘In endeavouring to repel a shot, missed the ball and displaced the two front teeth owned by one John Goodall [a famous England international of the time]’.

These exploits led to County, along with Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United and others all looking to sign the 16 stone youngster of whom it was said ‘He has carried a man under each arm without distressing himself’.

it was United who won the race for his signature when they offered to pay Blackwell £1 per day for the remainder of the 1893-94 season (amounting to £20) and young William joined the professional ranks.

On September 1, 1894, the keeper made his debut for his new club, replacing the legendary Arthur Wharton between the posts. He went on to play in 29 of the 30 games that season and helped his new team to a 6th-place finish.

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Foulkes’s reputation quickly grew. A report in ‘Scottish Sport’ commented; ‘In Foulke, Sheffield United have a goalkeeper who will take a lot of beating. He is one of those lengthy individuals who can take a seat on the crossbar whenever he chooses, and he shows little of the awkwardness usually characteristic of big men.’ C.B. Fry, one of the best-respected players at the time, said; “Foulke is no small part of a mountain. You cannot bundle him.”

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On England duty

With his team regularly challenging at the top of the table, Foulkes earned international recognition in 1897 when capped against Wales in a 4-0 win. This was to prove to be his only cap however as he could not dislodge the incumbent ‘keeper Jack Robinson, with many at the FA apparently not pleased with some of Foulkes’s antics. A report in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph highlighted the problem. “It is a pity that Foulke cannot curb the habit of pulling down the crossbar,” the report stated, “which on Saturday ended in his breaking it in two.

“On form, he is well in the running for international honours, but the Selection Committee are sure to prefer a man who plays the game to one who unnecessarily violates the spirit of the rules.’

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An intimidating presence 

In 1897-98, Sheffield United, led by Ernest ‘Nudger’ Needham captured the championship, and finished with the best defensive record. Foulkes missed just one game and was described by many as ‘the best goalkeeper in the world.’ Forwards tried to intimidate him. According to reports, George Allan of Liverpool ‘charged him’ in one match and the big man; ‘losing his temper, seized him by the leg and turned him upside down holding his head in the mud’. Liverpool were awarded a penalty from which they scored and won the match.

The following season United struggled a little in the league but Bill added to his medal haul with a 4-1 FA Cup Final victory over Derby County and his form remained excellent. The editor of the Athletic News wrote; “His kicking from goal was as mighty as ever, and his good right hand, doubled up, banged out incoming shots with the force of a sledgehammer.”

Around the turn of the century Foulkes also had a short run of appearances wth Derbyshire in County cricket. He was said to be a fine batsman and slip fielder with one journalist joking that every time he came into bat; ‘there is an appeal against the light.’

Another Cup Final was reached in 1901 but United were undone by Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 in a replay, after the first match finished all square at 2-2. Foulkes’s performances, even in those defeats, was of the usual high standard. Reports suggested that it was the big man’s heroics that earned the second match and kept the score down to three in the replay.

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Weight gain

Foulkes missed the start of the following campaign through injury and it took him a while to regain his place. This wouldn’t have been helped by his ever-increasing weight. After coming into the professional game weighing under 13 stones, the 6ft 4ib Foulkes had by now, ballooned to around 20 stones. When he did get back in the team, he was soon back to his best form, and continued to deal with opposing forwards in his own inimitable way. The Athletic News reported; “when forwards try to barge him he doesn’t claim a foul, but simply places that paw of his on the shoulder of the charging gentleman in a most fatherly manner, and pushes him aside with an expression of ‘get on one side little boy’ .” In a Sheffield derby match he fell on Wednesday striker Laurie Bell. “It was really all an accident,” he later recalled. “Just as I was reaching for a high ball Bell came at me, and the result of the collision was that we both tumbled down, but it was his bad luck to be underneath, and I could not prevent myself from falling with both knees in his back. When I saw his face I got about the worst shock I ever have had on the football field. He looked as if he was dead.”

In 1902, United and Foulkes reached another FA Cup Final with Southampton the opponents. The match, and the ensuing replay, might well have contained the big man’s greatest performances, as well as a defining moment.

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The first encounter finished 1-1 but Southampton’s equaliser was shrouded in controversy. United led from the 2nd minute but it was only the efforts of Foulkes that kept the Blades in front. C.B. Fry, later wrote in Southern Echo; “The outstanding feature of the match was the grand goalkeeping of Foulke. He made a number of good saves, and on two or three occasions cleared the ball from what appeared impossible positions. Once, near the end, from a corner, he effected an absolute miracle with four or five men right on him.”

With two minutes to play, Southampton knocked the ball upfield and it fell to Harry Wood who had been tying his bootlaces and was in an offside position. When the ball came his way, Wood straightened up and ran on to score. The referee, Mr Kirkham consulted his linesman and they concluded that the ball had struck a United defender playing Wood onside.

After the match Foulkes went looking for Kirkham, ‘in his birthday suit.’ Linesman J. T. Howcroft later recalled; “I saw F. J. Wall (secretary of the FA) pleading with him to rejoin his colleagues. But Bill was out for blood and I shouted to Mr. Kirkham to lock his cubicle door. He didn’t need telling twice. But what a sight!

“The thing I’ll never forget is Foulke, so tremendous in size, striding along the corridor without a stitch of clothing.”

The replay took place a week later and United, with Foulkes described as ‘invincible’ by the Athletic News, running out worthy 2-1 winners. ‘The Colossus’ had his second FA Cup winners medal.

Over the following seasons, his ever-increasing weight was starting to affect Foulkes’s play. Although his size and girth proved a help in some situations, such as when Bolton forward Stokes ran through on goal but, as a newspaper report said; ‘the mountain of flesh which is posed by Foulke hove in sight, and appeared to paralyse the little Wanderer, who simply shot into the hands of the leviathan.’ But the ever-expanding girth made it increasingly difficult to reach low shots, a problem opposing forwards took advantage of. United fans started to berate him for his performances and he began losing some of his immense popularity.

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The Chelsea line-up

In 1905, United decided that, if he wanted to remain with the club, Foulkes would need to take a pay cut. He refused and was transferred to League newcomers Chelsea for £50. It was reported that Chelsea, newly formed and in need of personalities, offered him the maximum wage. So he agreed to move to London and was immediately made captain.

The signing of Foulkes was part of Chelsea’s attempts to ensure that they had a team of enough personality to help fill their cavernous Stamford Bridge ground. It was said at the time that the Blues; ‘Didn’t just dress the shop window, they filled it with Foulkes’.

In his first season at Stamford Bridge, Bill’s form was outstanding, he saved 10 penalties and his team finished 3rd in the second division. To draw more attention to his size Chelsea placed two small boys behind the goal. The boys started to collect the ball when it went out of play, and ball boys were ‘born’.

His prowess at saving penalties came to the fore during his time in London. In one match against Burton United he saved two from the same player. When berated by a teammate and asked why he didn’t put the ball on either side of the ‘keeper the man who missed simply stated; “I couldn’t, there was no room”.

However, the weight problems continued. One report claimed that he would arrive early for a breakfast which had been set out for the whole team and eat the lot. Whilst many of the tales attributed to him might be categorised as ‘urban myths’ (including that the ‘who ate all the pies’ song started with him), it can be confirmed that in a Chelsea match programme from December 1905 it was said; “Foulke says he doesn’t care how much they [forwards] charge him, so long as they don’t charge him too much for his dinner.”

Another tale from his time at Stamford Bridge sees the team travel to an away match. Foulkes was detached from his teammates at the railway station (including the one who had the tickets) and on informing a pair of ticket collectors who he was, was promptly laughed at. He picked both up, tucked one under each arm and carried them to the Station Master’s office to confirm his identity.

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At Bradford

He spent a single season in London before moving back to Yorkshire and joining Bradford City in 1906, again for a transfer fee of £50. He was still performing well, with the local ‘Daily Argus’ newspaper stating that; ‘the mighty goalkeeper is doing a great deal in the direction of inspiring confidence in the team.’ But in November 1907, with his weight a continuing problem, he decided enough was enough and retired from first-class football.

Moving back to Sheffield, Foulkes had a shop in the city and also took over the ‘Duke’ public house. But he was soon accused of being involved in illegal betting, was fined £25 and lost his publican’s license.

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Foulkes died in May 1916 at the age of just 42, with the official cause of death given as “cirrhosis”, an illness often brought on by excessive alcohol use. Reports at the time stated that he had set up a ‘Beat the Goalie’ sideshow on Blackpool seafront with players charged 1d a shot and given 3d if they scored. He caught a chill while performing and this led to his sad, and early demise.

Over 100 years after his death, memories of Foulkes linger. Mitchell and Kenyon footage showing the man in action stands testament to his size. His sporting prowess is documented in record books, and his uniqueness and personality shines through in some of the stories and quotes recounted above. And it’s surely fair to say that there is, and always will be, ‘Only one Fatty Foulkes’.

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  • 1 month later...
On 16/03/2022 at 14:57, Vesper said:

https://readtheleague.com/the-big-feature/fa-cup-1969-70-brutal

FA CUP 1969-70. BRUTAL

The 1969-70 F.A Cup saw Leeds United and Chelsea take the final to a second match, the first time the season’s showpiece had not been settled at the first time of asking since it was moved to Wembley way back in 1923. And what a final it was.

The two teams fought out a thrilling, and most would agree, brutal, 2-2 draw on a Wembley pitch that was in no state to stage a game of this importance. At the second time of asking it was Chelsea who came out on top, taking the honours thanks to a David Webb extra-time goal at Old Trafford which brought to an end four hours of play in which two of the game’s toughest, and most talented, teams slugged it out for the trophy.

The competition had kicked off way back in September 1969 and when the ‘big guns’ entered the tournament on January 3rd there were still four non-league teams competing. Of these Brentwood Town succumbed to a 1-0 home defeat by Northampton Town whilst South Shields suffered a 4-1 loss at Queen’s Park Rangers. The other two, Sutton United and Hillingdon Borough were pitted against each other and it was Sutton who came out on top, winning the replay 4-2 at Gander Green Lane after a goalless draw in the first match at the Leas Stadium to send former England international Jim Langley’s team out of the competition and give Sutton a plum draw in the 4th Round against the mighty Leeds.

Elsewhere in the 3rd round there were upsets galore as five 2nd Division teams overcame top flight opposition. Carlisle United, Middlesbrough, Blackpool and Leicester City saw off Nottingham Forest, West Ham United, Arsenal and Sunderland respectively whilst the biggest surprise saw Sheffield United, who would eventually finish 6th in the second sphere, get the better of champions-elect Everton 2-1 at Bramall Lane. Chelsea were also given second-tier opposition but bucked the trend recording a comfortable 3-0 home victory over Birmingham City with goals from Ian Hutchinson (2) and Peter Osgood.  

Don Revie’s Leeds barely avoided another shock, edging past Swansea Town, then of the Fourth Division, 2-1. Having fallen behind to a David Gwyther goal, United were on course for a shock early exit until Mel Nurse was sent off after a clash with Allan Clarke on the hour mark. Ten minutes later Johnny Giles converted a penalty and then with 12 minutes left Mick Jones scored to save Revie’s blushes. It says much for the Welsh club’s display that Gary Sprake, playing against his hometown team was the Leeds Man of the Match.

And so, after some talk of switching the tie to Elland Road, Revie’s star-laden team made the trip to Sutton. A crowd of 14,000 crammed into Gander Green Lane bringing in receipts of £8,000 for the Isthmian League club, the first amateur team to reach the 4th Round for 17 years.

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Peter Lorimer scores for Leeds against Sutton

Dreams of a remarkable upset were quickly dispelled as four goals from Allan Clarke and a brace from Peter Lorimer saw the Yorkshire giants comfortably deal with an opposition team which included a fishmonger, a jig borer and a panel-beater in their line-up.

Chelsea were handed an all-first division tie at home to Burnley and Dave Sexton’s team seemed to be coasting into the last 16 when goals from John Hollins and Peter Osgood sent them two up. But Martin Dobson struck twice for the visitors in the last 10 minutes to force a replay at Turf Moor.

The Clarets took the lead in the second match but Tommy Baldwin equalised and a brace from Peter Houseman saw the visitors home.

There were shocks elsewhere in the 4th Round; 4th Division Scunthorpe United visited Hillsborough and shocked their hosts, overcoming a Sheffield Wednesday side who would finish bottom of the top flight 2-1. 2nd Division Watford hosted Stoke City and ran out 1-0 winners in front of a crowd of 23,000 thanks to a 25-yard strike from Colin Franks.

There were two more all Division 1 clashes. A George Best-less Manchester United comfortably overcome local rivals Manchester City 3-0 at Old Trafford. Willie Morgan slotted home a first half penalty after Bobby Charlton had been brought down and Brian Kidd added a pair in the second half. Crystal Palace, in their first season in the top flight, forced a goalless draw at White Hart Lane before seeing Spurs off 1-0 in front of 45,980 fans at Selhurst Park with a goal from Gerry Queen in what proved to be Jimmy Greaves’ last match for the North Londoners before departing for West Ham.

Palace’s reward for their win over Spurs was a home tie against Chelsea but they couldn’t repeat their heroics, losing 4-1 with over 48,000 in attendance.

Leeds had another home tie against lower-league opposition and easily saw off Mansfield Town 2-0. But the individual performance of the round came at the County Ground Northampton. Returning from a four-week van for kicking a ball out of the referee’s hands, George Best scored six times in his team’s 8-2 thrashing of their hosts. Elsewhere wins for Watford, Middlesbrough, Swindon Town and Queen’s Park Rangers ensured that the 2nd Division would be well represented in the quarter-final with the top flight also having four clubs through in Leeds United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.

It was 1st against 2nd all the way in the last eight. Chelsea was handed another away draw in London making the short trip to Loftus Road to play Queen’s Park Rangers. Goals from David Webb and Peter Osgood inside the first eight minutes established the Stamford Bridge club’s superiority. Former Chelsea-man Terry Venables got the home team back in the game with a twice-taken penalty after another ex-Blue Barry Bridges had been brought down. Peter Bonetti saved the initial effort but was deemed to have moved too soon. Osgood restored Chelsea’s two-goal advantage after Mike Kelly failed to hold a John Hollins shot and then went on to complete a hat-trick before Bridges got a late consolation for the home team.

Manchester United travelled to Ayresome Park and took the lead through Carlo Sartori but a fine chip by John Hickton sent the match to a replay. At Old Trafford Bobby Charlton put the home side ahead but Hickton again provided the equaliser. But a penalty with 12 minutes to go from Willie Morgan saw the home team through to the last four.

A brace from Allan Clarke saw Leeds through a tricky looking tie at League Cup holders and Anglo-Italian cup winners Swindon so Don Revie’s men reached the semi-final without having faced top-flight opposition and it was left to Watford, priced at 40/1 entering the quarter-final stage, to provide the upset. The Hornets relied on a goal from Barry Endean, a major factor throughout their cup run, and some solid defending led by Man of the Match Ray Lugg to see off Liverpool in front of 34,047 fans, a result which set Bill Shankly on the road to rebuilding his team heading into the 70s.

Watford’s reward for their win was a semi-final clash with Chelsea at White Hart Lane.

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David Webb scores for Chelsea against Watford

On a sand-covered pitch Chelsea took the lead when David Webb prodded home from close range after Watford failed to deal with a corner. But the lower division side hit back when a combination of a long-range shot from Terry Garbett and an uneven surface deceived Peter Bonetti. But then the Blues took over; Osgood, Hutchinson and a brace from Peter Houseman, who, along with Alan Hudson (who sadly missed out on a place in the final team through injury) had an outstanding game, saw them race to a 5-1 to earn their second Wembley appearance.

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Part of the 55,000 crowd at Hillsborough.

While 55,209 were crammed into White Hart Lane to watch the ‘Southern’ semi, 55,000 were at Hillsborough, with 10 shilling tickets reportedly changing hands for £8, to see the clash of the giants between Manchester United and Leeds United. With Paul Reaney negating the threat of George Best teams fought out a tough goalless draw on another mud heap.

The teams met again nine days later in front of 65,000 fans at Villa Park and once again couldn’t be separated. There were plenty of chances but again, no goals so they met for a third time and Leeds kept their bid for an historic League, Cup and European Cup treble alive.

The second replay took place at Burnden Park and this time a crowd of 55,000 were on hand to see newly-elected Footballer of the Year Billy Bremner settle the tie with a superb goal after just eight minutes. Allan Clarke’s goalbound effort was blocked and Bremner rifled the ball past Alex Stepney from just inside the area.

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Allan Clarke and Billy Bremner celebrate the Scots’ winner

Bremner’s strike proved to be the winner, and just like five years before he scored the only goal in a semi-final to deny Manchester United and earn his team a place at Wembley. Manager Revie, whilst acknowledging that his skipper was outstanding praised the team effort saying after; “The lads were wonderful, just wonderful. It was a perfect show”.

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Bremner and Harris at the toss

So, on April 11, the two teams walked onto a Wembley pitch described by commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme as ‘like Goodwin Sands’, due to the fact that the Horse of the Year show had been staged just a few days previously.

The rivalry between the two teams had been building throughout the 1960s. Chelsea’s Tommy Baldwin would later say of the clashes between the two; “There were a lot of scores being settled from previous games whenever we played them. It just always seemed to go mad with everyone kicking each other” whilst Leeds star Johnny Giles said that there was; ‘a special sort of animosity’ between the teams whilst Blues striker Ian Hutchinson didn’t mince words; “They hated us and we hated them.” He said.

Way back in 1964 when the clubs were in a three-way battle for the title with Manchester United a game at Elland Road where Johnny Giles was stretchered off was described as ‘Never mind the ball’ by one reporter. The feud continued, including a cup semi-final at Villa Park in 1967 where Gary Sprake kicked John Boyle in the head.

Things would come to a peak at Wembley, the fifth meeting of the season between the teams and again at Old Trafford for the sixth.

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That pitch!

Leeds were in early control in the first match and took the lead after 20 minutes when Jack Charlton headed home from a corner. Both Eddie McCreadie and Ron Harris seemed to have a chance to clear off the line but the conditions saw the ball roll underneath their combined efforts to clear. The Yorkshire team were well on top and taking better advantage of the easier conditions out wide with Eddie Gray giving Blues’ full-back David Webb a torrid time. But Chelsea managed to avoid slipping further behind and five minutes before the break they equalised with the pitch again playing a part, although the blame mostly fell of the Leeds ‘keeper. A speculative 20-yard shot from Peter Houseman somehow got past Gary Sprake and the break came with the teams all square.

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Eddie Gray with his wife and the Man of the Match trophy

The second half was more even but, with Gray, later named Man of the Match, continuing to torment Webb who admitted afterwards; “I didn’t have a battle with him, I never got near enough to battle!”, it was the Yorkshire team who retook the lead with just six minutes left. After Gray had hit the bar with a rasping drive, an Allan Clarke header struck a post and Mick Jones followed up to rifle past Peter Bonetti who Chelsea had to thank for not being further behind. The Londoners bounced back again and managed to level when Hutchinson bravely headed home. There was still time for Leeds to strike the woodwork for a third time but Chelsea survived until the final whistle With the players energy sapped by the pitch, extra time failed to produce a goal so, for the first time in Wembley’s history the game went to a replay.

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The stars talk about the first match.

With Leeds set to play the second leg of their European Cup semi final against Celtic there was an 18-day break before the replay, which may well have proved crucial for Chelsea’s hopes.

Chelsea manager Dave Sexton picked the same 11 for the second match but he did make one crucial positional change. Sexton knew that his team was unlikely to survive if Webb, tormented by Gray at Wembley, was forced to mark the Scot again. So he switched him to central defence with skipper Ron Harris taking over the right back position, a move the late Peter Osgood would later say; “won us the Cup”. Leeds boss Don Revie replaced goalkeeper Gary Sprake, held accountable for the first equaliser at Wembley, with David Harvey

The match was watched by a TV audience of 28million, the sixth largest television audience ever in the UK, and is popularly regarded as one of the dirtiest ever. Some years later referee David Elleray watched a recording of the match and said he would have sent off six players and booked 12. Over the two matches, referee Howard Jennings booked just one player, Ian Hutchinson. The legendary journalist Hugh McIlvanney said of the ref’s performance in the replay; “at times it appeared Mr Jennings would give a free kick only on production of a death certificate”.

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Osgood’s equaliser.

Leeds went in front for the third time in the tie when Jones’s fine run and shot beat Bonetti whose agility had been hampered by a previous clash with the same player. In the second period, as football war continued to break out all over the pitch Chelsea equalised for the third time when a curling ball from Charlie Cooke was met by Osgood whose diving header gave Harvey no chance.

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Webb’s winner.

Extra-time was needed for a second time and finally Chelsea took the lead in the 224th minute. A long Ian Hutchinson throw was inadvertently headed back across his own area by Charlton and Webb rose at the far post and forced the ball over the line.

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Ron Harris and Peter Osgood with the trophy

Having finally got the lead Chelsea held on comfortably for the remaining 16 minutes and in fact could have doubled their advantage had a Hutchinson effort not been ruled out for offside. Even with Charlton moving forward to support the strikers, Leeds failed to muster an equaliser of their own so the Londoners took the cup for the first time in their history. How much the game meant to the two teams was shown in the reaction of Charlton following the final whistle. After refusing to go up and collect his runners-up medal he later said; ‘It wasn’t the losing of the game, it was the losing of the game to Chelsea”.

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Chelsea parade the trophy

It proved to be part of a disappointing end to the season for Leeds. Challenging for honours on three fronts, they were beaten to the title by Everton (Chelsea were third) and lost the ‘Battle of Britain’ when beaten by Celtic in the European Cup semi-final.

The following campaign saw both teams go on to glory in Europe – Chelsea won the Cup Winners Cup and Leeds took the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, and United would go on to claim victory at Wembley in 1972’s centenary F.A. Cup Final as well as capturing another 1st Division title in 1973-74. But the 60s decade closed, and the 70s started, with one of the most memorable finals of all time.

One of the stars of that 70s team was Peter Houseman, a brilliant winger for us.

He was killed when a completely drunk driver smashed head on to Housemans car killing him, his wife and their two best friends in the same car.

The culprit was the son of a Tory MP, returning blind drunk from Boris Johnsons Bullingdon Club drunken wrecking sprees - so he only received a fine.

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11 hours ago, Fulham Broadway said:

One of the stars of that 70s team was Peter Houseman, a brilliant winger for us.

He was killed when a completely drunk driver smashed head on to Housemans car killing him, his wife and their two best friends in the same car.

The culprit was the son of a Tory MP, returning blind drunk from Boris Johnsons Bullingdon Club drunken wrecking sprees - so he only received a fine.

Fucking hell i never knew who the murderer was🤬

And a fine for murder, talk about a law for the rich and privileged and a law for the rest of us, the least the cunt should've died as well.

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13 hours ago, bigbluewillie said:

Fucking hell i never knew who the murderer was🤬

And a fine for murder, talk about a law for the rich and privileged and a law for the rest of us, the least the cunt should've died as well.

Exactly BB - imagine if it had been an ordinary person drunk as a skunk and killed an Etonian and his wife - be a ten year stretch at least

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