We look back at the most memorable happenings in the month of November in world of Football
November 01, 1952 – Gillingham’s Jimmy Scarth scored the fastest hat-trick of that era in the English League. In a Division Three (South) match against Leyton Orient, the ex-Tottenham Hotspur player achieved the envious feat of scoring 3 goals within a span of 2 minutes and 30 seconds. More than half a century later, in 2004, Bournemouth’s James Hayter bettered that record by 10 seconds. Though some reports claim that Scarth had managed to get the goals in by a mere 2 minutes, FA is yet to approve that.
November 03, 1997 – A Malaysian-based betting syndicate bribed the security guards to rig the lights at the Boleyn Ground when the match between West Ham United and Crystal Palace was tied at 2-2. The match could not be started and the betters earned a whopping £30million. The story was known 2 years later when the same betting syndicate tried to manipulate a match in a similar fashion, but was caught this time round.
November 08, 1975 – Referee Wolf-Dieter Ahlenfelder blew the half-time whistle 29 minutes into the match between Hannover 96 and Werder Bremen at the Weserstadion. Fortunately, the assistant referee pointed out the error and the remaining 16 minutes of the half were played. Apparently, Ahlenfelder did not like any unwanted attention as he went into the break and even stuck his tongue out to one of the photographers. He returned in the second half but the match finished without any further drama at 0-0.
November 10, 1899 – British forces in South Africa were playing a football match at the parade ground of the Gordon Highlanders near Ladysmith in the British Colony of Natal against a team from a local Natal regiment during the Second Boer War. Barely two minutes into the game, an innocent 90-lb artillery shell fired by Boer forces, flew over the playground just to explode harmlessly nearby. Amidst the shock at the arrival of such a guest, one of the Gordon players acted smart and sneaked in a goal. Responding to the objection of the Natal players, the Gordons later sent a letter to the Football Association. They argued that there is no ground for any such objection as per the rule book! FA was baffled, and even today they are looking for an answer.
November 11, 2007 – 26-year old disc jockey and a die-hard Lazio fan, Gabriele Sandri was travelling to Milan for a Lazio-Inter match, when he got involved in a clash with a group of Juventini and was unfortunately shot dead by a policeman. Hell broke loose across Italy in protest resulting in cancellation of football matches across Italy. Luigi Spaccarotella, the firing policeman, was convicted of criminally negligent manslaughter and sentenced to six years of imprisonment in 2009.
Fans put up a poster of Gabriele Sandri
November 14, 1973 – Italy beat England at Wembley in a friendly, by a late solitary goal. The goal scorer was a certain Fabio Capello.
November 17, 1989 – Egypt had to win against Algeria at Cairo Stadium to book a place in the 1990 World Cup. The arch rivals had a long history of hatred, dating back to the 1950s when Egypt refused to play matches intended to support Algerian independence. As time passed by, scuffles had become a regular affair in their matches. Egypt were the underdogs for this match but that did not dishearten their fans to pack the 1 million capacity stadium, a good 4 hours before the kick-off to the match. The hosts won, 1-0, but the match made the headlines for the consequent violence that took place, earning it the nickname of “Hate Match.” After the final whistle, Algeria’s players, coaches, and officials encircled the referee and began throwing plants and dirt into the stands. At a post-match conference, Algerian midfielder Lakhdar Belloumi struck the Egyptian team doctor, blinding him in one eye. Emotions were running high and this is evident from the celebrationsoftheEgyptianfans – they were returning to the World Cup tournament after a hiatus of 56 years.
November 18, 2009 – Thierry Henry, or his hand, helped France secure their place at the 2010 World Cup. After finishing second in their qualification group, France took on Ireland in a playoff. They won the first leg in Dublin, 0-1 but were soon 1-0 behind themselves in the second leg in Paris. With the sides dead locked at 1-1 on aggregate at the end of regulation, the match went into extra time, when France forward Thierry Henry clearly controlled the ball inside the Irish half with his left arm, before centreing it for defender William Gallas to score the eventual winner. Neither did the referee spot it, nor did FIFA listen to the Irish appeal for a replay. After the match, Henry admitted to using his hand, but was not feeling guilty as he said, “I’m not the ref.” France’s luck ran out in the World Cup to follow, as Les Bleus crashed out after only one draw and two losses in the group stage.
I am not the ref
November 20, 1988 – The league match between Argentinos Juniors and Racing Club from Argentina saw a staggering 44 penalties. The Argentinean Primera Division had introduced the penalties that season to augment the excitement at drawn matches. The match under consideration ended 2-2 in regulation time, and seemed to go forever as the tie-breaker went on and on. The penalty shootout for only 1 additional was heavily criticized and it was abandoned after only one season.
November 22, 1922 – Wilf Minter of reigning Athenian League champions St. Albans netted seven times against Dulwich Hamlet from the Isthmian League, in an FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round replay match. But he must have felt dejected as he still ended up on the losing side. The teams had finished 1-1 in the first leg. In the decider, played in front of a crowd of 4,060 at Dulwich’s Champion Hill, both the teams could not field their first choice goalkeeper resulting in goals galore. Minter scored two hat-tricks – one in the first half hour and one in the last half hour of regulation 90 minutes of football – only to see Dulwich matching St. Albans stroke for stroke. Dulwich struck first blood in extra time, but Minter again fired in one more, scoring his seventh to equalize five minutes from time. But he could not prevent his team losing it 7-8 on that day. Dulwich again featured in another goal festival 7 years later in a 7-7 draw with Wealdstone in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round.
November 23, 2002 – Luiz Figo returned to Barcelona after his much talked about transfer to Real Madrid for a then-world-record-fee of £37.2 million for the second time. It was not exactly a joyous reception that he received from the Barca faithful. When Figo approached to take a corner, he was greeted with plastic bottles, cans, lighters, AND the head of a piglet and one of a rooster. The referee had to intervene and the match was stopped for about 16 minutes. The match was a pale one in comparison, ending with a scoreless draw.
What a distraction
November 24, 2009 – The Guardian’s Paul Doyle had to go on in live commentary of a Champions League match between Barcelona and Inter Milan despite missing the first 32 minutes. The poor chief football writer for the Guardian website, Doyle, saw his TV getting blacked out just after the whistle. Barcelona went on to score the opening goal in the 10th minute, and Doyle reported, “Word is there’s been a goal by Barca – scored by Pique – but intense study of my blank screen does not offer up any clues as to how it came about. Brilliant.” His TV was up and running by the 33rd minute but there was not much of an action left, by then Barca had gone up 2-0 and had restored to some boring tici-taca passing game for the rest of the match.
November 28, 1999 – José Luis Chilavert, legendary Paraguayan shot stopper, scored a hat-trick for Vélez Sársfield as they defeated Ferro Carril Oeste 6-1 in an Argentina top flight match. This remains the only hat-trick scored by a goalie in any professional match. Chilavert, a dynamic character and an inspirational leader, was a swift dead ball specialist. He used to wear specially designed, a bit smaller on size, shoes to help him score from free kick and spot kicks. In the match against Ferro, in fact, all three of his goals came from the spot. In all, Chilavert scored a whopping 57 goals in club and international competitions during his time. Out of those 9 were for Paraguay, most number of international goals by any goalkeeper.
Lion heart Chilavert
A historic Moment
November 29, 1978 – Nottingham Forest’s right back, Viv Anderson became the first colored player to start for England in a friendly match against Czechoslovakia at Wembley. Anderson paid back the faith of manager Ron Grennwood in him by having a telling contribution towards the solitary goal of the match. In all, he appeared 30 times for England, till 1988 and was elected in the England hall of Fame in 2004.
Hans Gamper, born in Switzerland, was going across Barcelona to visit his uncle to Africa, when he fall in love with the city and settled down. He would then advertise on paper and go on to find eleven more people interested in forming a football club. Thus, on this day, the Futbol Club Barcelona was established in a meeting at the Gimnasio Solé.
November 30, 1872 – The first ever official international football match was played between England and Scotland. Neither side was able to score on that day. Boring British Football!!!!
World War II had ravaged the world. The entire continent of Europe was in ruins. The World Cup trophy would have been lost amongst many other valuables which were seized by the Nazis. The Nazis were after the trophy as well, but it was saved by the efforts of a man named Ottorino Barassi. He was the president of the FIGC (Fedeazione Italiana Guioco Calcio or Italian Football federation) during the war. As Italy was the defending champions, the trophy was in a bank vault in Rome. Barassi sensing the danger to the trophy took it home and kept it in a shoe-box under his bed till the end of the war. There were very few countries willing to host the tournament after the war. People felt that spending money for a football tournament was wasteful when countries were rebuilding themselves from the ravages of war. Before the cancellation of the 1942 tournament, FIFA had received two bids from Brazil and Germany. The Brazilians presented their bid to FIFA again in 1946 when it was decided that the tournament would go back to South America after two decades. Barassi , the saviour of the trophy, was assigned to assist the Brazilian federation in organising the tournament, drawing on his experience from the 1934 tournament held in his country. The Brazilians presented the idea of building the largest stadium of the world in Rio de Janeiro, double the capacity of Wembley stadium, then the largest in the world.
The hosts started as favourites as they had won the Copa America in 1949 beating Paraguay 7-0 in the finals and Uruguay 5-1 before that. They had an impressive trio of inside-forwards in Zizinho, Ademir and Jair. Italy, the defending champions were weakened by the Superga air disaster involving the Torino team which resulted in the death of ten national team players. Sweden, the Olympic champion of 1948 was a strong team but their coach had refused to include players playing for foreign clubs. The best Swedish players had been signed up by Italian clubs after the Olympics, so they did not have their best side for this tournament. Yugoslavia, silver medallists from the Olympics were a good team. There was huge anticipation over the debut of England who had lost Frank Swift, Tommy Lawton and Raich Carter but still had Billy Wright, Stan Mortensen and ‘The wizard of the dribble’ Stanley Matthews in their ranks. FIFA had decided that the first two teams of the British Home Championships would qualify automatically for the tournament. England and Scotland both had qualified based on this FIFA directive. George Graham, the chief of the Scottish FA decided that Scotland would play only if they won the Home Championships. They lost the final to England and despite the pleading of Billy Wright, the England captain and Jules Rimet, they refused to go to Brazil. Uruguay had some good players like Juan Schiaffino and Alcide Ghiggia. All the East European countries like Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Soviet Union refused to play the qualification matches. Turkey refused to go, citing financial difficulties. In Asia – Philippines, Burma and Indonesia – all destroyed by war pulled out of qualification matches while India qualified by default. Argentina withdrew citing differences with the Brazilian Football federation. France and Portugal were invited in place of Turkey and Scotland. Portugal refused but France accepted. Germany and Japan were banned from playing international football by FIFA.
FIFA had changed the format of the tournament with four groups where all teams played each other, with each group winner advancing to another group of four teams to decide the champions. The format was to ensure that each team would play more than one match as opposed to the knockout format used for the last two editions of the tournament. There was no final match but the last match became a final by circumstances. There was no zoning of the groups and all teams with the exception of the hosts had to travel large distances to play their matches which was not ideal in those times. The draw was held in Rio just before the tournament with the 15 participating teams.
Group 1: Brazil, Mexico, Switzerland and Yugoslavia
Group 2: England, Chile, Spain and the USA
Group 3: Italy, India, Paraguay and Sweden
Group 4: Uruguay, Bolivia and France
India wanted to pull out citing financial difficulties, but FIFA agreed to bear the major part of the expenses. They still pulled out as they played barefoot and FIFA had banned barefoot play in 1948. France also withdrew due to the large amount of travelling involved in playing their two matches. Finally, only thirteen nations remained in the fray, same as the last tournament in the same continent twenty years ago.
The tournament started on June 24, 1950 at the huge Maracanã stadium, then known as the Municipal in Rio de Janeiro with the hosts playing Mexico. The capacity of the stadium was halved as it was not complete. There were fireworks, 5000 pigeons and a 21 gun salute which did not bode well for the unfinished concrete structure. The people in the stands were covered in shards of concrete but thankfully none of them were large in size. The host team however was better prepared than the venue. The Brazilians hit the post in the 6th minute by a Jair shot. Then Ademir tapped the ball into the goal past the advancing goalkeeper Antonio Carbajal to put Brazil ahead. Mayhem ensued with fifteen radio commentators and a dozen reporters rushing onto the pitch for instant interviews! The referee George Reader of England cleared the pitch without much of a problem and the game resumed. Brazil kept dominating and hit the woodwork five times. After halftime, Ademir and Balthazar switched positions. Jair scored with a cross-shot and Balthazar added a third with a header off a corner from ten yards. Ademir added his second of the game by a driving in Jair’s short pass. Brazil had won 4-0 but still their coach, Flavio Costa wasn’t sure about their forward line.
Yugoslavia comfortably defeated Switzerland 3-0 with their incisive passing. This was the first finals match where the floodlights were switched on. Alfred Bickel, the Swiss captain was one of two players who had played in the last World Cup before the war. The other was Erik Nilsson, the Swedish captain. Incidentally both the players were from countries which were neutral during World War II. Yugoslavia defeated Mexico 4-1 in their next match living up to their reputation as one of the best teams in the tournament. Brazil played Switzerland in Sao Paolo in their second match. The Brazilian coach called their opponents as a team without any importance. He brought in a lot of new players from the Sao Paolo club to please the crowd. The same crowd wanted to lynch him at the end of the match and riot police had to be deployed. Leaving out Jair was a bad decision. The Brazilians struggled against the plucky Swiss and led 2-1 at halftime. In the 88th minute, Bickel got away and crossed for Jacky Fatton to score his second goal of the game and stun the crowd. The result meant that Yugoslavia needed only a draw against Brazil in the last match. The hosts were in danger of being eliminated. There was massive amount of tension in Rio when Brazil met Yugoslavia to decide who would reach the final group. Brazil had a huge slice of luck when Zlatko Cajkovski, the Yugoslavian midfielder cut his head in an unfinished steel girder at the stadium. The referee, Mervyn Griffiths refused to delay the start in a stoic show of British punctuality. Ten man Yugoslavia were made to pay for their deficiency by conceding a goal scored by Ademir in the third minute. Cajkovski rejoined in the tenth minute and the Yugoslavs matched the hosts in creating chances. The Yugoslav goalkeeper, Srdan Mrkusic was asked to change his jersey as he was wearing the same all-white strip of the Brazilians after 30 minutes (Shades of Graham Poll of 2006). Cajkovski hit the post and missed with the goalkeeper at his mercy in the second. The host eventually made the match safe with Zizinho scoring in the 69th minute. The hosts had just about made it to the final pool.
The English played their first World Cup finals match against Chile. The Chileans were facing their first European opposition since the 1930 World Cup tournament. Neil Franklin, one of England’s best defenders had left England to play for Independiente Santa Fe of Bogotá for 5000 pounds and 35 pounds of bonus for each win. He was not pleased with the 20 pound a week wage cap imposed on footballers by the English FA in England. Columbia was not a member of FIFA and he refused to join the English teamfor the tournament which was a big loss for them. The coach, Walter Winterbottom did not even play Matthews. They defeated Chile with goals by Mortensen and Wilf Mannion in each half but looked far from comfortable at the back with Chilean George Robledo who played for Newcastle causing them problems. England team used oxygen cylinders to cope with the humidity during the halftime break but Billy Wright just didn’t like the concept. United States played Spain and led through a Gino Pariani goal for 80 minutes. The Spaniards eventually equalised through Silvester Igoa and won 3-1 with further goals from Estanislao Basora and Telmo Zarraonandia, better known as Zarra, in the 82nd and 85th minute. The scoreline did not reflect the real story of the match. American defender Charlie (Chuck) Columbo played with gloves raising a few eyebrows. Spain next played Chile and defeated them 2-0 with both Basora and Zarra on target in the first half.
England played USA in Belo Horizonte in a match that has been touted as the greatest upset in the history of football. The truth was that the Americans were not a bad side as they had shown against Spain in the last match. The English media has described the American win as nothing short of a miracle over the years but they were being unkind to their opponents to gloss over the shortcomings of their own team. Matthews was still not on the team as Winterbottom did not consider their opponents good enough to play the great man. Joe Gatjaens scored the only goal of the match with a diving header in the 38th minute. The English media describe the match as a procession of missed English chances and acrobatics by Frank Borghi, the American goalkeeper. Mortensen and Mullen missed chances but the Americans had their own chances to extend their lead. Pariani brought out a great save from Bert Williams, the English keeper. Alf Ramsey cleared off the line from a Frank Valicenti (Wallace) shot. The crowd grew from 10,000 to 40,000 by the end. An editor in London thought the scoreline was a misprint of 10-1 in favour of England. It was a bad day for the English against colonials as on the very same day England lost for the first time in a cricket test match against West Indies. The score in reality should have been 3-0 in favour of England as the Americans had fielded three foreigners in their team. The goal-scorer Gatjaens had played for Haiti, Joe Maca was a Scottish player and Ed McIlvenny was a Belgian. There was a FIFA letter showing that the three were ineligible. However, Jules Rimet was persuaded by the American ambassador, Herschel Johnson who conveyed the wish of a certain President Harry Trueman to overlook such small deficiencies and shortcomings. In their last match, England needed a win against Spain. At last Matthews started and Jacky Milburn was brought in. Both of them played well but the rest of the team were demoralised by the loss in the last match and Spain won it by a goal from Zarra in the 48th minute. Spain had qualified for the final pool with an all win record. In the inconsequential last match, the Americans were defeated by the Chileans 5-2.
The first match was between defending world champions Italy against the defending Olympic champions Sweden. Sweden had not selected the great AC Milan trio Gunnar Gren, Gunnar Nordahl and Nils Liedholm, known as the great Grenoli. Again a lot of people say what if? The match was well fought with the Swedes bossing the possession with crisp passing. The Scandinavians were 2-1 ahead at halftime through goals by Hans Jeppson and Sune Andersson after Italians had taken the lead through Riccardo Carapellesse. Jeppson added another in the second half. Ermes Muccinelli pulled one goal back in the 75th minute but the Swedes comfortably controlled the game till the final whistle to win 3-2. Nearly all the Swedish players were signed by Italian clubs after this match. The Swedes played the Copa America runners up Paraguay next and were two goals up within half an hour. Paraguayans fought back with goals in the 34th and 75th minute. After that the Swedes shut shop and played for the 2-2 draw. The Paraguayans needed to beat the Italians by a two goal margin to qualify for the final pool but were handed a 2-0 defeat. The Italians played well and it was the last the Italians were seen in a World Cup for 12 years as their national team went into decline. Italy was the first defending champions to be eliminated in the group stage, an ‘achievement’ which they repeated six decades later. Sweden qualified for the final pool.
There was only one match in this group which was hit by the pulling out of France. Uruguay crushed Bolivia 8-3. In this match, Uruguay showed that they had some very good players like Roque Maspoli in goal, Rodriguez Andrade the nephew of the great player of the 1930 cup winning team and Obdulio Varela their captain. Schaiffino and Ghiggia were both impressive with Omar Miguez scoring a hat-trick. Uruguay made it to the final pool, easily playing just a single match which meant that they were much fresher and less travel weary than the other teams.
Final Pool: Brazil, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay
The first match in the final pool was between Uruguay and Spain. Both teams were very physical and rough. Zarra was marked out of the game by the Uruguayans. Ghiggia sprinted in to score the first goal in the 27th minute. Spain hit back with two goals from Basora in the 39th and 41st minute. Uruguay was saved by Varela who moved up-field and went past two opposition defenders and scored from the edge of the box. The bruising match finished 2-2 and two Uruguayans missed their next match. After narrowly qualifying from the group stage, Brazil unleashed their attacking prowess against Sweden by annihilating them 7-1. The Swedes were not a bad team by any stretch but four goals by Ademir, a brace of goals by Chico and one by Maneca finished their chances in the tournament. The three inside forwards Ademir, Jair and Zizinho were magnificent with their inter-passing and movement which was far more skilful than anything seen in Europe in those times. All the three were lanky and sported pencil moustaches. They would have scored more goals if they had not played exhibition football for the last 30 minutes.
Uruguay played Sweden in their second match. It was a close match, the Swedes taking the lead through Karl-Erik Palmer in the fourth minute, after he controlled and shot high across the keeper from a long floating free-kick from the wing. Uruguay equalised through Ghiggia in the 39th minute, who after a characteristic surging run through the midfield, volleyed a long shot to the keepers right. Sweden immediately regained their lead through a Stig Sundkvist goal with a left footed volley, after the second choice Uruguayan keeper Anibal Paz came out and dropped a cross under pressure from Jeppson to take a 2-1 lead into the break. After the break the Uruguayans kept attacking without any success. Eventually Miguez scored twice from loose balls in the 77th and 84th minute to give Uruguay a 3-2 victory and kept alive their chances of winning the tournament. Brazil played Spain and was equally impressive as the last match winning 6-1. Jair, Ademir and Zizinho were magnificent again with their inter play leaving their opponents mesmerised.
Before the last match there was the league match to decide third place. Spain just needed a draw and Sweden needed a win. The Swedes won 3-1 to claim the third position. This was the best performance in the World Cup by Spain till 2010. Brazil went into the last match against Uruguay, just needing a draw to win the World Cup. They were overwhelming favourites playing at home in front of a crowd of 205,000, the biggest ever to watch a football match. The Brazilian press had already termed their team as champions. The Uruguayan captain bought a newspaper which proclaimed the Brazilians as champions and ordered his teammates to urinate on it to stoke their anger and focus. The mayor of Rio de Janeiro referred to Brazil as the champions in his speech before the match. The Brazilians were exceptional in their forward play but their defence had a few problems. The diagonal defensive formation left their wing-halves with no cover if the opposition wingers managed to penetrate. The Brazilians started off like their last two matches attacking Uruguay relentlessly. They had eight shots in the first five minutes but were frustrated by a wall of Uruguayan defenders. Eusebio Tajera marked Ademir and he was helped by Varela who was falling back. Above all, the Uruguayan goalkeeper Maspoli played the game of his life.
Maspoli saved a thumping shot from Ademir after some crisp interplay between Jair and Zizinho. Then he saved a great header to deny Ademir again. Chico had his shot saved by Maspoli after that. There was no goal at halftime but the spectators were in good spirit singing and dancing to the samba beats. The goal came in the 47th minute. The Uruguayan defence was in the left side to cover Ademir and Jair. A reverse pass from Ademir sent Friaca clear on the right side of the goal. He managed to hold off Andrade and beat Maspoli with a flopping cross cum shot (0-1). The entire stadium was in raptures. The volume was louder and the samba rhythm faster. The goal coming in the second half did not demoralise the Uruguayans who took heart from the fact that they had thwarted the hosts for so long. Varela started to make forays into the Brazilian half. Ghiggia then started to give the Brazilian left-back Bigode a harrowing time. In the 66th minute he took a pass from Varela and pulled Bigode to the left touchline, beat him by a body sway, crossed for Schiaffino to score with a sweeping shot just beating Brazilian defender Juvenal’s tackle and goalkeeper Barbosa’s outstretched hands (1-1). The stadium was silent. The Brazilians were still going to win the Cup if the score remained the same but the crowd reaction was as if they had lost the Cup.
The Brazilian manager many years later said that it was the silence in the stadium that terrorised his players. Ghiggia repeated the move only to see Schiaffino shoot wide in the 71st minute. The Brazilian coach Flavio Costa should have done something to protect poor Bigode. Defensive tactical acumen was not the forte of Costa. Brazil kept attacking and Maspoli kept saving. Brazil had 30 shots on goal in the game to Uruguay’s 12. In the 77th minute Julio Perez, the Uruguayan half back played a one-two with Ghiggia which flummoxed hapless Bigode. Ghiggia angled in from the right wing and Barbosa stayed back on his line expecting another cross, instead the Uruguayan unleashed a fierce shot below the keeper’s hands, who got a faint touch (2-1). The spectators were now horrified.
On the other end of the pitch, Maspoli continued his procession of great saves, first from a Jair shot, another from a Chico toe-poke. Then Ademir volleyed over the goal from close range. In the last action of the game, Maspoli dropped a high cross after being challenged. His teammate Andrade was the first to the ball and the final whistle was blown by George Reader, the English referee. The Uruguayans had triumphed for the second time in South America and were yet to be beaten in the tournament. Schiaffino described the after-match ceremony as having the atmosphere of a despondent funeral.
The Brazilians unfairly blamed the players of African origin for their loss, namely, Barbosa the goalkeeper. Thirteen years later Barbosa was given the goalposts as souvenir, which he took home and promptly used as fuel for a neighbourhood barbecue. The Brazilian all white jersey was deemed unlucky and with permission from the Football Confederation a newspaper held a design competition for a new jersey. The competition was won by a 19 year old named Aldyr Garcia Schlee who designed the current uniform reflecting their national flag. Ruben Moran is the only player to make his debut in the World Cup final and win. It was a very successful tournament with huge turnouts to the matches. The only down side was that an entire country was in mourning after the tournament finished.
This Month in Football History – August
We look back at the most memorable happenings in the month of August in world of Football
August 1, 1920
East Bengal, one of the pioneering clubs in Indian football, was established.
August 4, 1995
An 18-year old made his professional debut for Bundesliga 2 side Chemnitzer FC. He would go on to win his first Bundesliga title in 1997 along with league and cup doubles in 2003, 2005 and 2006 with Bayern Munich. He won the fourth cup double of his career with Chelsea in 2010. He had already won the prestigious FA cup twice in 2006 and 2008, though. Guess who? Correct, Michael Ballack!
August 7, 1999
Defending Belgian champions KRC Genk entered the record books for playing out the highest scoring draw in the history of professional football away at Westerlo on this season opener. The match also saw 5 penalty kicks being awarded along with 4 red cards – equally shared by the teams.
August 14, 2001
First qualifying match was played for the Women’s Cup, established by UEFA in response to the growing interest in women’s football across Europe. It is till date the only major European women’s club competition and was rebranded as the UEFA Women’s Champions League in 2010, to better parallel the equivalent men’s tournament.
August 15, 2009
37-year old Burnley defensive midfielder Graham Alexander became the oldest debutant in Premier League history when he started against Stoke City on the season’s opening day.
August 17, 1977
Thierry Henry was born in the Paris suburb of Les Ulis, Essonne. He would go on to be named a five-time French Player of the Year while also becoming the French national team’s greatest goal scorer.
August 19, 1995
It should be very awkward when your predictions get broadcast to millions of football viewers and that haunt you forever. What do you say Mr. Alan Hansen? He famously (!!!) announced on Match of the Day that “You’ll never win anything with kids” after a young Manchester United side lost the season opener to Aston Villa 3-1. Fergie’s team of youngsters including David Beckham, the Neville brothers, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt were able to wrestle the title back from Blackburn Rovers, and also win the FA Cup, securing the first of what was to be two consecutive double-winning seasons, a feat never before seen in English football.
August 24, 1949
Manchester United returned to Old Trafford, playing a League fixture there for the first time in over ten years. Old Trafford, nicknamed the “Theatre of Dreams,” had served as United’s home ground since 1910. But matches were suspended there due to World War II and construction work since 1939. By the start of the 1949-50 season, the stadium was not fully ready, but hosted 41,748 spectators to enjoy United beat Bolton 3-0.
August 27, 2001
Dutch center back Jakob “Jaap” Stam had helped the Red Devils win three Premier League titles, an FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League and was included in the Team of the Year in all 3 seasons by England’s Professional Footballers’ Association. On this day he was shockingly transferred from Manchester United to Lazio for a then United-record £16.5 million. In his upcoming autobiography Head to Head Jaap had reportedly criticized the gaffer and had to pay the price. Later In 2009, Ferguson admitted that Stam’s transfer was one of his greatest mistakes, noting that the defender continued to play a top level for several years afterward.
August 28, 1994
It took Robbie Fowler just four minutes and thirty-three seconds to score the fastest ever Premiership hat-trick till date for Liverpool against Arsenal.
August 31, 2005
Tunbridge Wells FC and Littlehampton Town FC set an English record by taking an FA Cup penalty shootout to 40 kicks in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup replay at the Wells’ Culverden Stadium having drawn 1-1 earlier in the week at Littlehampton. They battled to a 2-2 draw (including two penalty kicks) through the end of extra time, and then advanced to the shootout to took 20 shots each before Tunbridge Wells emerged as winners by the margin of 16 to 15.