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Showing posts from December, 2021

Scotland's Christmas Day football - 1971

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Although a couple of league games were played on Christmas Day 1976 north of the border the last full football fixture list on December 25th in Scotland was in season 1971/72. @AlexHTheMAX turns the clock back 50 years when it was a Subbuteo set from Santa then off to the game like any normal Saturday. When you think of the winter holiday season Scotland is, of course, synonymous with Hogmanay and celebrations that bring in the New Year, but even those with a keen intetest in the festive season might be surprised when they read it was well after WW2 before Christmas Day became a public holiday in Scotland (1958). Both Boxing Day and New Year’s Day achieved public holiday status over a decade later in 1974. As the decade of the 1970s began to establish itself Christmas Day 1971 was a case of business as usual in the then two division Scottish League set up of 18 and 19 clubs respectively. There were no play-offs and no Scottish pyramid back then and we were still four years from the es

The Christmas Truce Revisited | @RichEvansWriter

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Less 'Moneyball' and more ‘Military-ball’ – how might the sides have lined up on that famous Christmas Day in 1914? @RichEvansWriter takes another look at the Christmas Truce, that story has it, saw a football match take place during a ceasefire in the trenches. The honour roll of professional footballers who perished in the First World War makes for a long, sobering reading. Names have been meticulously cross-referenced against regimental diaries and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, but it is worth remembering that, for inclusion, players had to have played professionally prior to the end of the 1914/15 season. Set against the unspeakable horrors of mechanised slaughter, the fact that the casualties were footballers at all becomes somewhat incidental. After all, just over three hundred dead in the context of almost a million in total from British shores seems rather miniscule. Footballing questions abound. For example, what might some of the lost have gone on to achiev

Footballers at War: The Might-Have-Beens

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Richard Evans has been researching footballers whose prime playing years coincided with the Second World War, considering the 'might-have beens' of the sport... Len Shackleton - A player whose carrer was hit by WW2 On Saturday 2nd September 1939, a complete fixture card was in place for the third game of the football season, with Blackpool topping the First Division at the final whistle. The following day though, the Emergency Powers Act was implemented; gatherings of large crowds were prohibited. As a result, it was 1946 before teams next began to officially compete again. Nevertheless, football was not put entirely into hibernation during these dark years. It endured, but, where the fascist powers in Germany and Italy kept their leagues running, exempting some registered players from active duty, Britain shipped many of its footballers into combat overseas.  Indeed, those who remained in Blighty long enough to play at all were only able to do so in the Wartime League, whose m

When Hibs Hammered Napoli (1967)

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Seeing as  @AlexHTheMAX  has been chilling in Italy recently so it's only fitting he brings us the story of one of the finest Scotland v Italy encounters from a Scottish point of view. 1967 was maybe the greatest post-WW2 year for Scottish football. Celtic became the first British team to win the European Cup beating Inter Milan 2-1 in Lisbon. Rangers also made a Euro final, but lost 1-0 to Bayern in the Cup Winners Cup final, whilst Kilmarnock made the semi-finals in the third Euro club competition of the era, the Fairs Cup, just failing to make it three Scottish sides in three respective European finals in '67. Scotland became the first team to beat 1966 World Cup winners England in April 1967, while Scottish players featured heavily in the English top flight at all of the major clubs. As '67 drew to a close there was still time for another unforgettable night for Scottish football. On November 29th 1967 =, Hibernian overcame Napoli (with future World Cup winner Dino Zoff