Saturday, April 23, 2011

English Leagues the 60s: Liverpool Arsenal Division One 1964 1965

First Ever Match of The Day
22 August 1964
Anfield Road

 Kenneth Wolstenholme's words were mildly prophetie: 'Welcome to Match ofthe Day, the first of a weekly series on BBC 2. This afternoon we are in Beatleville...' It wasn't only John, Paul, George and Ringo who were putting Merseyside on the map. The Kop at Anfield, witry and refreshing, were signalling the arrivai of a new force in the English game Bill Shankly's Liverpool. The champions opened their programme against Billy Wright's Arsenal, and if the game was memorable for the BBC, it certainly wasn't for Don Howe, the England full-back making his Arsenal debut. Howe was up against Peter Thompson, Liverpool's flying left-winger, who helped set up the opening goals for Roger Hunt with a splendid volley, and Gordon Wallace, deputising for the injured lan St john.But Arsenal retaliated. Geoff Strong, who ironically joined Liverpool soon afterwards, pulled a goal back, and then Joe Baker headed the equaliser. Every new production needs a fitting climax, and the armchair viewers got one when Wallace struck the winner three minutes from time. In the second half, a black cat delayed the taking of a corner by running across the Liverpool goalmouth. The BBC had got lucky with their first Match ofthe Day.

Liverpool: Lawrence, Byrne, Moran, Milne, Yeats, Stevenson, Callaghan, Hunt, Chisnall, Wallace, Thompson. Scorers: Hunt, Wallace (2)
Arsenal: Furnell, Howe, McCullough, Snedden, Ure, Simpson, Armstrong, Strong, Baker, Eastham, Andersen. Scorers: Strong, Baker

Codec H264, Mkv
Sound 128 kbps
Resume 55mnts
English Comments
Pass :

The TV cameras were treated to a classic. Liverpool raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to Roger Hunt and Gordon Wallace, only to see that advantage cancelled out as the north Londoners drew level with goals from Geoff Strong and Joe Baker. But, not for the last time, Liverpool and Arsenal produced a moment of late drama at Anfield, as Don Howe, who had been tormented throughout the 90 minutes by Liverpool winger Peter Thompson, deflected a Wallace shot past his own goalkeeper, Jim Furnell, with just 60 seconds left on the clock.

  Bill Shankly's Liverpool, as the reigning champions, were the natural choice to launch the BBC's groundbreaking new highlights programme on the opening day of the 1964-65 season. Kenneth Wolstenholme – still nearly two years away from achieving immortality – stood pitchside at Anfield to introduce the very first Match of the Day. With She Loves You, followed by Hippy Hippy Shake, blaring in the background, Wolstenhome emceed: "As you can hear, we're in Beatle-ville!" And with that, a broadcasting institution was set on its way. The BBC certainly lucked out, picking a superb game to open their new series. Liverpool were under strength – both Ian St John and Alf Arrowsmith were out – while Arsenal ("This could be their year," suggested Wolstenholme) welcomed their new signing Don Howe. The home side went into a two-goal lead through Roger Hunt and Gordon Wallace, and Phil Chisnall "threatened permanent damage to Simpson's spine" with a "tremendous drive", according to Eric Todd in this paper. But Billy Wright's side came back at Liverpool. Todd, who appears to have been suitably refreshed for the start of the new season, tells the story. "Over the years, football reports have incorporated such classic phrases as 'end to end play ensued', such a team 'came in with a wet sail in the second moiety', 'it was thrust and parry all the way', and 'this was a match of two halves'. The last of these conforms with the laws of the game, of course, but is meant to imply that one side dominated the first half, and the other the second. In that sense, there could be no more apposite description of proceedings in which Liverpool and Arsenal took turns in holding the mastery. The outcome was a thoroughly absorbing match, and Arsenal had the almost unique experience of shaking Liverpool and the Kop to their very foundations …

"Arsenal were as good as beaten. Then for no apparent reason – other than the black cat that raced around the ground – Arsenal discarded their inhibitions and adopted the open, skilful style that had seemed to be Liverpool's perquisite. The mantle of infallibility worn earlier by Wallace and Hunt now descended on George Eastham and Geoff Strong. Howe nearly played Peter Thompson out of the game, and the magnificent John Snedden attained even greater heights. This was the Arsenal of old." Arsenal were rewarded with two goals in 45 second-half seconds, Strong and then Joe Baker drawing the Gunners level. But with time running out, Wallace cut inside from the left, and battered a low bouncing effort into the bottom right corner. "It's there!" screamed Wolstenholme. "Wallace has scored! Oh what an ending! What an ending to a magnificent match!" The Kop engaged in some syncopated clapping. "That's a fine cha-cha-cha rhythm," noted the commentator, just before the final whistle blew. "Phew, well I'd call it the match of the century, I don't know about Match of the Day," puffed Wolstenholme pitchside after the final whistle. Colour analyst Walley Barnes – he of the late own goal in 1947 – veered awkwardly into shot to agree that "match of the century is probably very right". Sadly, nobody who went to Anfield that day would have been able to hear these Cholmondley Warneresque jolly japes. BBC2 had only been on the air for four months, and was only available in the London area. An estimated audience of 20,000 watched history being transmitted – less than half of the day's 47,620 attendance – and viewers in Liverpool would have to make do with either The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters, a western on BBC1, or ABC's western Sugarfoot. Today's multi-channel world of wall-to-wall tat suddenly doesn't seem so oppressive.

1 comment:

  1. Merci beaucoup TheWildBunch. Le tout premier MOTD, c'est effectivement mémorable ! Grimph