This Month in Football History – February

We look back at the most memorable happenings in the month of February in world of Football

1 February 1936 – Goals Galore

On the first day of February 1936, four levels of the English Football league system racked up a total of 209 goals in a single day across 44 matches – an astounding average of 4.75 goals per match. This remains a record for goals scored in a single day in any country’s league hierarchy. Three players scored four goals each whereas nine others scored hat-tricks. The highlights included Chester City’s 12-0 thumping over York City and an enthralling 6-5 win for Chesterfield away at Crewe Alexandra.

4 February 1899 – Birth of Werder Bremen

A group of 16 vocational school students in the north western German city of Bremen came together on this day to form Werder Bremen. One of the most successful clubs in Germany was actually founded by using some sports equipment those boyshad won as a prize.
Originally known as Fußball verein Werder – river peninsula – to relate to the riverside pitch that was their first home, had its most successful years during the late ’80s and early ’90s when they won the Bundesliga title in 1988 and 1993, the German Cup in 1991, and the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1992.
Besides earning accolades on the pitch, Werder has left a mark in football administrations. They were the first club to charge spectators a match entry fee and also the first to hire a professional manager, as early as in 1922.

6 February 1958 – The Munich Air Disaster

On February 6, 1958, Manchester United, returning from a victory against Red Star Belgrade in the quarter-final of the European Cup stopped over at the Munich-Riem Airport for refuelling. The plane, carrying supporters, journalists, crew members, and Matt Busby’s Manchester United squad nicknamed the “Busby Babes”, hit a spot of slush in the runway and collide to a nearby house going through the fence. 20 of the 43 on the aircraft died– seven unfortunate United players featured in this list. The injured were taken to the nearby Hospital where three more died including flamboyant Duncan Edwards and. This incident has been considered as one of the tragic most incidents in football history.

14 February 2005 – Arsenal fielded the first all-foreign side


Arsenal was the first team in the Premiership to field all non-English players against Crystal Palace 14 February 2005 at Highbury during the 2004-2005 English Premier League season. The team had representatives from eight different countries – manager Arsene Wenger made this Valentine’s day special for his country with France topping the charts with as many as six players. Arsenal won the match 5-1 with one goal each from Denis Bergkamp, Jose Antonio Reyes and Patrick Vieira while Thierry Henry scored a brace. Arsenal first team squad is given below –
1 Jens Lehmann (GERMANY)
22 Gael Clichy (FRANCE)
18 Pascal Cygan (FRANCE)
12 Bisan Lauren Etame Mayer (CAMEROON)
28 AbibKoloToure (COTE D’IVOIRE)
17 Eduardo Cesar Daud Gaspar Edu (BRAZIL)
7 Robert Pires (FRANCE)
4 Patrick Vieira (FRANCE)
10 Dennis Bergkamp (NETHERLANDS)
14 Thierry Henry (FRANCE)
9 Jose Antonio Reyes (SPAIN)
Furthermore, all the substitutes were also from non-English countries as well – such a feat!
24 Manuel Almunia (SPAIN)
20 Philippe Senderos (SWITZERLAND)
15 FrancescFabregasSoler (SPAIN)
16 Mathieu Flamini (FRANCE)
11 Robin Van Persie (NETHERLANDS)

16 February 1957 – Egypt won the inaugural African Cup of Nations

In the first edition of African Cup of Nations, Egypt beat Ethiopia in the final 4-0 on 16th February, 1957. Mohamed Diab Al-Attar, also known as Ad-Diba, scored all the four goals in the final. Confederation of African Football (CAF) had only four member nations at that time and South Africa was disqualified due to racial segregation issue. So their scheduled semi final opponent Ethiopia directly progressed to the final. Egypt on the other hand, had to overcome host Sudan in the only semi-final where Ad-Diba had once again scored the winner.

19 February 1910 – Old Trafford Inauguration


Old Trafford is the home of Manchester United and has been since 1910. John Henry Davies, the then Manchester United Chairman, funded the initial construction in 1909 after the club won had its first silverwares – the First Division Championship in 1907-08 and the FA Cup in the next season. The stadium was designed by renowned Scottish architect Archibald Leitch with a capacity of 100,000 spectators. The stadium hosted its inaugural game on 19 February 1910 where United played against arch rival Liverpool. Ironically United lost the game by 3-4.

20 February 1897 – Enters the Coach

On this day Ireland made history by being the first national team to appoint an official coach. Billy Crone took charge for their opening match against England in that year’s British Home Championship. It did not help though as the Irish were handed a 6-0 humiliation by the English.
IN those days, national team players were selected by their respective football associations and then coached by the team captain. This trend continued for quite sometime as England themselves felt the need of a professional coach or manager way later in 1946.

24 February 1910 – Malmö FF founded

The club was initially founded to encourage the youth of Malmo city to play football. 19 footballers of one of the youth teams, Bollklubben Idrott, also known as BK Idrott, formed Malmö FF on 24 February 1910, which later became the most successful club in Sweden.

25 February 1912 –Paulino Alcántara debut hat-trick for Barcelona

On February 25, 1912 PaulinoAlcántara played for the Barcelona senior team first time when he was just 15 years 4 months and 18 days old in the Catalonian Championship at the old Carrer de la Indústria ground against Català Sporting Club. Barçelona won the match 9-0 and Alcántara scored first three of the goals. In the course of his debut hat trick he set a record – and the record still holds good – for being the youngest player to ever score for FC Barcelona in an official match.

27 February 1900 – Bayern was founded

FC Bayern Muenchen v Hamburger SV - Bundesliga
A congregation of members of Munich gymnastics club (MTV München 1879) took a decision on 27 February 1900 that the footballers of this club would not be allowed to join the German Football Association (DFB). Eleven members of Munich gymnastics club left the congregation and on the same evening they founded Fußball-Club Bayern München (FC Bayern München). Since then Bayern has created history and re-written history en route becoming one of the most decorated clubs in Germany and World of football.

27 February 1977 – Maradona Debut for Argentina

New Picture

On 27th of February 1977, a 16-year old Diego Maradona made his Argentina debut against Hungary at the Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires. He was not in the first eleven though. The Argentinos Juniors midfielder came on for Leopoldo Luque in the 62nd minute at the Bombonera in front of more than 60,000 home crowds. He did not appear to have done anything memorable. By the time he entered, Argentina was already up by 5-1 goals due to a brace from Luque& a hat trick from Daniel Bertoni. When Hungary’s SandorZombori scored the consolation goal in the 61st minute, Cesar Luis Menotti first time fielded Maradona in Albiceleste colors with shirt# 19. Incidentally Lionel Messi, hailed as his spiritual heir,also debuted in a friendly against Hungary – and as a substitute.

About Srinwantu Dey

Srinwantu Dey lives in Chicago who takes football journalism seriously under the huge influence of Eduardo Galeano. He is keenly interested in various creative ways of story-telling on the beautiful game, its diverse socio-cultural and humanitarian appeal. Srinwantu habitually travels, documents and visually captures how football explains different societies and ethnicities. He can be reached at @SrinwantuDey.