Monday, 11 February 2013

The Big Match - December 1969 - Part 2

Last week we brought to you 'The Big Match - December 1969 (Part 1)' from David Poza, creator of the epic 'On This Day' series on YouTube that showcases historical football matches for every day of the year. Here, we present Part 2!


So, game finished, 2-1 for the R’s and we are back to the studio with Jimmy Hill and our guest, a “handsome skipper Terry Venables” (would that sound acceptable today?) talking in very polite terms about the game itself. And for this, ladies and gentlemen, we see a SLOW MOTION REPLAY! For most of us, it seems very normal to have 450 replays focusing frame by frame on how good a player moves his hair in order to head a ball, but in 1969 we had to wait to the end of the highlights to see the goals and some actions with the voice of the protagonists.

Sat in the marvellous “glam rock” studio, both Hill and Venables discuss the first goal by Birmingham, pointing out the poor defence they had when they conceded the goal (Venables points out that they will be practising that sort of free-kick on Monday).

And then, another big development appears: A camera behind the goal, which was very advanced at that time, and twinned with the slow-motion it gives us the chance to answer a question Hill poses: “Did Barry Bridges touch the ball in the first goal before the ‘keeper gets it?” The slow-motion machine stops and... definitely, he touches the ball before. So, no chance for a 6-year-old lad who might consider writing to Brian Moore and asking about it!

The Birmingham defence is also mentioned, because Venables thinks that with that defence (two players going to head a ball with only one QPR player) they would not be able to beat Chelsea in the Cup the following week (and they didn’t - they lost 3-0).

Jimmy Hill finally is very scared about the reputation of both teams’ players as hard men, because in the Sunday papers that morning the reader could see three players were booked. He thinks they could bring the game into disrepute, but in fact one of those bookings was a very funny moment when a Birmingham player makes a “fantastic” save.... on the halfway line!

Another booking was merely for a QPR player showing dissent. If Jimmy is seeing today’s football (I’m absolutely certain that he is) he must be very proud if a team finishes the game with only one booking. We all know that in those days the game was very hard, but Hill seems to think that three names taken means big trouble for the future of the sport. Nowadays, we have Pepe, the Dutch team in 2010 World Cup Final... and nobody is yelling “They are spoiling soccer!”


Here, Jimmy apologises again when presenting the Sunderland vs Manchester United game. He said in the beginning that it was Joe Baker’s first game for The Mackems, but Brian Moore corrects him. You wouldn't see this these days, what with having Twitter and Facebook to correct it!  In fact, it was Joe’s first goal for the team from the north-east. So, time for the presentation of the game, and this is one of the most famous sentences used by the anchormen when presenting a match:

"Let’s just watch it now, with pictures by Tyne-Tees Television, and the commentary by Geoff Thomas."

No caption to mark the game, but a picture of the new scorer. And this game is one of the strangest I have seen on The Big Match. Apart from seeing the goal and some near misses, accompanied by the “over-excited” commentary of Mr Thomas, there's something missing...

Where is Manchester United's goal?  Where is Brian Kidd’s effort to make it 1-1?

Unfortunately there were technical troubles during two minutes of that game and it was during that time he chose to score the goal! So for all Manchester United fans from London (still no “glory-hunters”) there's a huge disappointment; waiting nearly 50 minutes to see the goal, and nothing! Also, notice the heavy fog at Roker Park. Where is the ball you may ask? I certainly don’t know!

Time for the last game, Ipswich Town vs Tottenham, with pictures from Anglia Television and Gerry Harrison is the commentator. We have a caption to show which game we're seeing. And at Portman Road, one of the rarest cameras we have seen to cover a game: behind the goal. Anglia, and his director, Bob Gardam, had many problems placing a camera where it is natural to have it; at the halfway line, and decided to put it in behind the goal. It was also common at Norwich until 1972.

The game finished 2-0 for the Tractor Boys, and we finally mention two things: another delightful scoreboard, and one of the last games of Jimmy Greaves in a Spurs shirt (at least on TV) until he joined West Ham. Here, he wears the number 8.

So, three games, a different commentator, a camera behind the goal, a goal missing, Terry Venables and his stupendous haircut and of course, Jimmy Hill. As this was the last edition of THE BIG MATCH of the 1960's, Jimmy sums up by wishing all of us a happy New Year. Finally some new year predictions are shown (the actual outcome is shown in brackets):

Arsenal – Winning the Fairs Cup (ACCOMPLISHED)
Chelsea – Win the League Title (Not at all - they won the FA Cup)
QPR – Win promotion to Division One (They finished 9th, despite winning that day)
Orient and Luton – Promote to Division Two (ACCOMPLISHED)
Brentford – Promoting to Division Three (Finished 3 points behind)

So, 2 out of 5, Jim. Not bad! See you in 1970 (or we are in 2013?) with a goal by Barry Bridges. And with that, the show finishes with scenes of Loftus Road emptying, along with its terraces and floodlight pylons. Bring them back I say!

A huge thanks to David for this excellent piece! If you'd like to share your nostalgia memories with us, why not get in touch? Just drop us a line to admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com and we'll do the rest!


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