football history

General Football News

On This Day in Football: The Butcher of Bilbao hacks Maradona

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Diego Maradona moved to Barcelona in the summer of 1982 for a then world record fee of £5 million.

Despite contracting hepatitis during his first season, Maradona helped the club to a fourth place finish and a Copa del Rey title.

Obviously, expectations were high in his second season as the Argentinean superstar had a year under his belt playing in Spain.

On This Day in Football: Romanian invincibility ends

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On this day in 1989, Romanian club Steaua Bucharest lost 3-0 against rivals Dinamo Bucharest thus ending their incredible run of 104 league games without defeat.

Steaua of the 1980s reached legendary status with Emeric Jenei under whom they won the UEFA European Cup by beating Barcelona in the final at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville in 1986.

On This Day in Football: Birth of Rivera, Brentford elude Death

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One of football’s all time greats Gianni Rivera was born on this day in 1943. Son of a railway worker, Rivera grew up in the Piedmontese town of Alessandria where he began his footballing career with ASD Don Bosco.

There he caught the eye of former AC Milan midfielder Franco Pedroni who then worked as the assistant coach of U.

English Premier League

On This Day in Football: The Blonde Arrow strikes, Liverpool create history

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On this day in 1953, Alfredo Di Stefano made his debut for Real Madrid in a friendly against French club AS Nancy. Los Blancos lost the game 4-2 but Di Stefano managed to get a debut goal for his new club.

Di Stefano is often regarded as one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

On This Day in Football: Worst debut in living memory

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Football fans around the world were left bewildered when Real Madrid signed Newcastle United and England centre-back Jonathan Woodgate in the summer of 2004.

If Newcastle fans were caught off-guard, Real Madrid fans were in utter and complete shock. Given Real’s usual transfer targets and Woodgate’s unflattering stature in the world of football, even the Spanish media could not believe that the deal went through.

On This Day in Football: Green is the colour at Goodison, Man With The Golden Head arrives

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On this day in 1949, Republic of Ireland beat England 2-0 at Goodison Park to become the first foreign team to defeat the Three Lions at home.

The match was a friendly with both countries eager to make full use of it ahead of the 1950 FIFA World Cup. England, despite missing the great Stanley Matthews and Stan Mortensen, fielded a very strong team that included Tom Finney and Billy Wright.

On This Day in Football: Brian Clough dies of cancer

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On this day in 2004, legendary football manager Brian Clough lost his fight with stomach cancer at the age of 69.

Clough was under ill health for several years and had a liver transplant in 2003.

As controversial as he was successful, Clough was the epitome of eccentricity.

On This Day in Football: Life at San Siro begins, Sir Bobby Robson takes charge of Newcastle

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On this day in 1926, AC Milan and Inter Milan inaugurated the iconic San Siro stadium with a friendly game of football. The Nerazzurri thrashed Milan by 6-3!

The two clubs share the stadiums together now but originally, AC Milan were the sole tenants. Construction began in 1925 in the San Siro district of Milan, with a view to have a stadium specifically dedicated to football.

On This Day in Football: Uruguay destroy Brazil, Liverpool return to Europe

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On this day in 1920, Uruguay smashed Brazil 6-0 in a Copa America match. The drubbing still remains the biggest defeat in Brazil’s history along with the 7-1 loss inflicted by Germany in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Uruguay were two-time winners of the tournament which began in 1916.

On This Day in Football: Liverpool register record win

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On this day in 1974, Liverpool recorded their biggest ever win by beating Norwegian club Stromsgodset 11-0 at Anfield in the European Cup Winners Cup.

It was a first round tie and Bob Paisley’s side made an early mark in the tournament by absolutely destroying Stromsgodset.

On This Day in Football: First televised match in Britain, Leeds join Euro elites

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On this day in 1937, the BBC screened its first live coverage of a football match in the United Kingdom.

The BBC’s television service had only begun the previous year. To test the technology for live broadcasting a match between Arsenal and Arsenal Reserves was arranged at the Highbury stadium.

On This Day in Football: Record wins in Europe for Derby and Swansea

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On this day in 1976 and 1982, Derby County and Swansea City both registered their biggest wins in their clubs’ history, respectively. To make the wins even sweeter, both were achieved in European competitions.

Derby’s victory came against Irish side Finn Harps in a UEFA Cup first round tie.

On This Day in Football: WW2 puts an end to football, Boca win Libertadores

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The Football League was suspended on this day in 1939 due to the outbreak of the Second World War.

The Luftwaffe almost decimated the Polish town of Wielun on September 1, destroying more than 75% of the city and killing nearly 1,200 inhabitants. Two days later, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared war on the Nazis.

On This Day in Football: Pato stuns Camp Nou, Arsenal field World XI

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On this day in 2011, Alexandre Pato stunned the crowd at the Nou Camp by scoring inside 25 seconds in AC Milan’s UEFA Champions League group stage match against Barcelona.

The Brazilian received the ball just around the centre circle before getting past Javier Mascherano and Sergio Busquets with a sudden burst of pace.

On This Day in Football: Goals galore in Scotland, Leeds fire Clough

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On this day in 1885, in a Scottish Cup first round fixture, Dundee Harp beat Aberdeen Rovers 35-0. A ridiculous score-line, obviously, but it still was not the highest scoring match of the day.

Twenty miles away, in the same competition, Bon Accord FC lost 36-0 to Abroath FC.

On This Day in Football: Someone stole the FA Cup!

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On this day in 1895, the FA Cup was stolen from a shop in Birmingham. It has not been recovered to this day.

Aston Villa were the reigning champions after beating West Bromwich Albion 1-0 in the final earlier that year at Crystal Palace. Winger Bob Chatt scored inside the opening minute to give Villa their second FA Cup.

On This Day in Football: Cannons, Blood and Scorpions

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On this day in 1913, Arsenal, then going by the name of Woolwich Arsenal, played their first ever game at the Highbury stadium.

It was the beginning of the 1913-14 season and Arsenal had just moved from Manor Ground in South East London to the north of the river Thames. The new stadium had not been fully completed yet as Arsenal hosted Leicester City, then known as Leicester Fosse, in a Second Division match.

On This Day in Football: Birth of Spurs

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On this day in 1882, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club was founded as a subsidiary of the Hotspur Cricket Club.

But how did it all come about? And why are they called ‘Hotspur’? Here is a short summary…

In 1882, a group of students, mostly aged between 13 and 14, who attended the Tottenham Grammar School and the Saint John’s Middle Class School, decided to form a football club.

On This Day in Football: European Cup begins, Chelsea debut at the Bridge

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The first ever match of the UEFA European Cup was played on this day in 1955.

Sporting hosted Partizan Belgrade in the first leg of their first round clash in Lisbon. 33,000 fans had gathered at the Estadio Nacional to watch the inaugural edition of the European Cup. Sporting took the lead after 14 minutes thanks to a goal from Joao Martins but Milos Milutinovic equalised for the Serbians just before half-time.

On This Day in Football: United play first league game, City concede nine

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On this day in 1892, Manchester United played their first ever match in the Football League. Then known as Newton Heath, United lost 4-3 against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

Founded in 1878 by employees of the Yorkshire and Lancashire Railways, Newton Heath’s application to join the Football League was rejected several times.

On This Day in Football: Everton make Goodison bow, Bournemouth score 10

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On this day in 1892, Everton played their first ever game at Goodison Park winning 4-2 in a friendly against Bolton Wanderers.

Everton’s journey from an amateur church club to one of the founding members of the Football League was an adventure. The Toffees, before moving to Goodison Park, played at a number of grounds before settling at Anfield where they played their home games for eight seasons.

On This Day in Football: Liverpool turn Anfield red from blue

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On this day in 1892, Liverpool played their first ever game at Anfield, winning 7-1 against Rotherham United in a friendly.

About a hundred odd people turned up to watch the new club from Merseyside. But long before Liverpool, Anfield catered the needs of Everton. Yes, the Toffees called Anfield ‘home’ before moving to Goodison Park in 1892.

On This Day in Football: Red Rooney and five other deadline day signings

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On this day in 2004, Manchester United signed 18-year-old Wayne Rooney from Everton for a reported fee of £25.6 million – then the highest amount ever paid for a player under the age of 20.

Rooney had submitted a transfer request at Goodison Park when United came calling.

On This Day in Football: Play resumes after World War I

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On this day in 1919, football in England returned following the end of World War I.

Derby County, Second Division champions in the 1914-15 season, played a 1-1 draw against Manchester United while Preston North End who finished second behind Derby lost 4-0 against Blackburn Rovers.

On This Day in Football: Villa put 10 past Burnley, Ronaldo opens Real account

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On this day in 1925, Aston Villa hammered Burnley 10-0 in front of 43,000 fans at Villa Park.

It was the opening day of the 1925/26 season and Villa were determined to make a strong start in the new campaign after finishing at a disappointing 15th the previous season – their joint-lowest ever position in league football.

On This Day in Football: Fowler scores fastest hat-trick, United batter Arsenal

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On This day in 1994, Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-0 at Anfield and 19-year-old striker Robbie Fowler scored the fastest hat-trick in the Premier League.

A Liverpool youth academy graduate, this was Fowler’s second season at the club. In the previous campaign, he had racked up an impressive 18 goals in 34 appearances for the Reds.

On This Day in Football: Kidnappers release Di Stefano, Riverside opens

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In the summer of 1963, Real Madrid landed in Caracas, Venezuela for the Trofeo Ciudad de Caracas – a less popular successor of the Pequena Copa del Mundo – which in itself was an uncorroborated precursor of the Intercontinental Cup.

The players were enjoying their stay at the Potomac Hotel when four armed men infiltrated the compound and kidnapped club legend Alfredo Di Stefano at gunpoint on the night of August 24.

On This Day in Football: ‘Numbered’ shirts make debut, Southall meditates

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On this day in 1928, Arsenal and Chelsea became the first teams in Europe to field players with squad numbers on the back of their shirts.

Arsenal were playing away at Sheffield Wednesday in a Division One fixture while Chelsea played Swansea Town in a Division Two match.

“The 35,000 spectators were able to give credit for each bit of good work to the correct individual, because the team were numbered, and the large figures in black on white squares enabled each man to be identified without trouble,” read a Daily Express match report from the Stamford Bridge game.

On This Day in Football: Old Trafford reopens, Bundesliga begins

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During World War II, German bombing runs across Manchester had destroyed much of Manchester United’s iconic Old Trafford stadium.

The FA had already suspended league football in 1939, but even when it returned in 1946, Old Trafford was still in the rebuilding phase. United rented the Maine Road stadium, home of their bitter rivals Manchester City, for £5000 a year and a percentage of gate receipts to play their home games for three seasons.

On This Day in Football: Spurs present Argentine duo, Heysel rises

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Tottenham Hotspur shocked the world in the summer of 1978 when they signed Argentina’s World Cup winning stars Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricardo Villa from Huracan and Racing Club respectively.

Spurs were back in the First Division after spending the previous season away from top flight football.

English football and the war to abolish the wage cap

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In 1885, the Football Association announced to legalise the employment of professional footballers. Clubs could now pay their players a full working wage, quite in contrast to what had been the norm previously when teams were made up of amateurs.

Many clubs were enticed by the idea as it presented a lucrative opportunity to earn money; primarily from match day tickets, and immediately turned from amateur to professional.

On This Day in Football: BBC MOTD begins, Germans sink Wembley

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On this day in 1964, the newly formed BBC 2 televised the first airing of the show ‘Match of the Day’. An estimated audience of around 20,000 people watched the highlights of the match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield.

The late great Kenneth Wolstenholme ran the commentary as the Scousers won 3-2 in a thrilling encounter.

On This Day in Football: The first substitute, Carli bags gold for USA

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Football substitutions can be traced as far back as the 1860s. For example there have been several mentions of the word ‘substitute’ in old reports from matches held by Eton College and the Charterhouse School.

But these were mainly replacements for players who failed to show up or arrived at the game injured and unable to play.

On This Day in Football: United call Anfield ‘home’, US Soccer takes first steps

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On 20 August 1971, a team in red walked out of the tunnel at Anfield waving at the plethora of excited fans, also donning red colours, sat in the Spion Kop.

Arsenal were the visiting team on that day. But the Gunners would not be playing Liverpool, but rather their arch nemesis, Manchester United.

On This Day in Football: Hansen delivers immortal words, Life begins at the Emirates

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The date is 19 August 1995 and a young Manchester United side has travelled to Villa Park to play Aston Villa in the opening day of the new Premier League season.

Alex Ferguson has named Phil Neville, 18, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, all 20, in his starting line-up.

How war in the Middle East changed English football

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In October 1973, Israel and a coalition of some Arab nations engaged in a conflict known as the Yom Kippur War. The discord commenced when the Arab coalition launched attacks on several Israeli-occupied territories on Yom Kippur or ‘The Day of Atonement’ – the holiest day in Judaism.

The fighting mostly took place in the Golan Heights, Sinai and the other areas under Israeli occupation since the Six-Day War in 1967.

Everton equal long-standing record with victory over Hajduk

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Everton’s 2-0 victory over Hajduk Split in the first leg of their Europa League play-off round tie equalled a 39-year-old club record.

Two victories over Ruzomberok in the previous round, an opening day win in the Premier League against Stoke City and Thursday’s success over Hajduk was the first time since 1978/79 that Everton had won their first four games of the season.

Scottish Premier League

On This Day in Football: Death of a Scottish legend

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On this day in 1985, former Celtic and Scotland legend Jock Stein passed away at the end of Scotland’s 1-1 draw against Wales in a World Cup qualifier at Ninian Park in Cardiff.

Played in front of nearly 40,000 fans, this was the two countries 101st meeting at the international stage – a run of games that stretched back to 1876.

On This Day in Football: Hibs end derby woes

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On this day in 1994, Hibernian defeated their city rivals Heart of Midlothian by one goal to nil in front of nearly 14,000 fans at Tynecastle.

This was Hibs’ first derby win after 22 games, a run that stretched for more than five and a half years. Third game of the new Scottish Football League Premier Division, Hibs came into this game at the back of an impressive start which included a 5-0 drubbing of Dundee United.

The Rest

Nazi Death Match: Remembering Kiev’s Fallen Heroes

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74 Years ago, a team mainly consisting of players from Dynamo and a few from Lokomotiv Kyiv, played a game of football against the German Luftwaffe in Nazi occupied Ukraine. The match has since then cemented its place in the annals of history, albeit, amid much debate and dissension.

It is difficult to provide a definitive version of what exactly happened in the ‘Death Match’, given the nature of the circumstances and the contradicting stories inculcated as propaganda by both the Soviets and the Nazis.