This Month in Football History – November

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.

Jimmy Scarth

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.

Gordon Highlanders

 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.

Poor Minter

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!!!!

A Sketch from History


Debojyoti Chakraborty is a follower of English Premier League and European football. You can reach him at