Monday, 4 February 2013

The Big Match - December 1969 - Part 1

We often feature guest posts here in the Attic and today sees another debutant. All the way from Spain, David Poza, creator of the epic 'On This Day' series on YouTube that showcases historical football matches for every day of the year. Here, he takes us through a December 1969 episode of The Big Match...

In previous posts we have been talking about some of The Big Match Studios during their 15 year-span, and we have even covered the first edition of their “rivals”, Match of the Day. I was a bit puzzled when nobody dared to develop some aspects of any typical edition of The Big Match and as I have some editions in my collection, I decided that this would be the time to show how the program was made... in this case an edition from late December 1969.


Ramsey: 'Woop'
London Weekend Television started transmitting in colour in November 1969, and probably for this reason the ITV Sport department did not have any colour footage to show, so instead, they showed archive films from years ago. So, another time to see the last goal of Geoff Hurst against West Germany with the cheering English bench at the very end. Also, look at Alf Ramsey, probably the quietest man among the near 100,000 crowd at Wembley.

After the opening titles, it’s time to see... Jimmy Hill?!

I'm so sorry...
Alright, we know Jimmy Hill is both loved and hated, but during his ITV short journey, he only commentated once, in 1973; otherwise he was mainly a pundit. But that day he had the chance to be the anchorman for the whole programme. “Hello, Good afternoon and welcome to The Big Match. We want extra viewers today and still poor Brian Moore is home with flu. We'd like to see you back soon, Brian” says Jimmy, apologizing to the viewers.

Y'all know me...
He then proceeded to show three games (in this modern over-crowded TV scene, four games every weekend is a pleasure for us): QPR vs Birmingham, Ipswich Town vs Tottenham and Sunderland vs Manchester United (with Joe Baker making the debut). And the guest is Terry Venables, someone who would know him nowadays (*sarcasm activated*).

Francis...I think...

Jimmy Hill then shows the main game at Loftus Road - QPR against Birmingham in the old Second Division. QPR has future star Gerry Francis in the starting line-up (in a very difficult to read caption), but Rodney Marsh is suspended so we can't see him today.

Burns, baby, burns!
Birmingham have a good team with later goalscoring hero Bob Latchford (and in goal his brother, Dave) and a bearded wonder called Trevor Hockey (although that day he only sported sideburns). Also, notice someone called John Sleuwenhoek, apparently the son of Dutch sailors, he made few appearances in this side.

The Big(?) Match
With 16,000 in the stadium, waiting for Mr Partridge of Middlesbrough to start the game, your commentator is... JOHN CAMKIN?! Who is he? Where is “our” Brian Moore? As mentioned before, Brian was ill with flu and Camkin had to replace him. He was one of the earliest commentators for Anglia TV and had the big task of replacing the voice of Mr Moore on the mic.

Game On!
“So Rangers in their familiar blue and white hoops kicking off the game to our right” says Camkin and then it's game on! The first thing I noticed watching the game is that Camkin is far from being Brian Moore. His style is very paused, compared with Moore’s early “displays” which were mainly screaming when a goal was scored.

Nit nurse shortage strikes London!
A funny moment comes when the camera points to the main stand, to the Birmingham manager cleaning (or that’s what I suppose) the head of someone in the crowd, because, according to Mr Camkin “someone had hit the ball”.

After four minutes of chances from one and another side... “It’s a goal! What a good goal!” 1-0 for Birmingham; a good cross headed by Malcolm Page and if you were in the bathroom during that goal, there was no consolation for you my unfortunate friend, because there were no replays until 1970...

Barry Davis' favourite scoreline...
A lovely scoreboard marks the 1-0 lead for Birmingham, with 18 minutes played.

Then, the second goal, and there is no cheering by Camkin, no emotion at all; in fact, there is no voice for a long time, about five seconds or more of only fans screaming and making their rattles sound (oh rattles, where for art thou?) The scorer was Barry Bridges, who ironically played for Birmingham before playing for QPR, although the cameraman is focusing on Terry Venables for no reason. Camkin is a bit confused, claiming that the Birmingham goal had been less cheered than the QPR one. John, you are at Loftus Road, and it is natural that the fans would appreciate more the R’s goals than the City ones. Again, no replay at all.

Half-time and no analysis or such things, a quick look to the score and back to the ground for the second half.

A fine goal
The second half is promising, with attacks from both sides, but all focus is on the winning goal. Again it was Barry Bridges, after a good save by Dave Latchford from Gerry Francis’ shot. Camkin again lacks excitement when the goal is scored: “And that’s it!” says the commentator, adding “Fine goal” and announcing that Bridges was "like a dog on a greyhound" when he scored the goal.

And the game continued, but that’s not the point of this post. At the end, QPR won 2-1 and Camkin finishes saying “Goodnight from Loftus Road, London”.

If you'd like to share your nostalgia memories with us, why not send your words to us like David did? Just drop us a line to admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com and we'll do the rest!


  1. but at the end of the game QPR were the best !! :-)

  2. Excellent blog that I have stumbled upon. Thanks heaps!