There was a 'one-off' match in 1963 which took the place of the
traditional England v Young England encounter. 1963 was an important
year for birthdays - it was the 100th anniversary of the formation of
the Football Association and the 75th anniversary of the Football
League and so the match became England v The Football League. Playing
under the Football League banner the side could have included anyone
who played in the Football League including foreign players - although
'foreigners' at the time were players born in the exotic locations of
Scotland, Wales or Ireland. In reality though the match was
all-English with new England manager Alf Ramsey taking a close look at
many of the players who would be taking part in the England and
England Under-23 tours of the continent in the summer, but without
Manchester United and Leicester players who were in opposition in
the following days' Cup Final. Match details -
Friday 24th May 1963 at
Highbury, Arsenal FC. Attendance 26,994.
England 3 (Greaves,
Football League 3 (Hunt, Hurst, Kay)
England: R Springett
(Sheffield Wednesday), J Armfield (Blackpool) - sub A Marchi
(Tottenham), R Wilson (Huddersfield), R Moore (West Ham), M Norman
(Tottenham), G Milne (Liverpool), B Douglas (Blackburn), J Greaves
(Tottenham), J Byrne (West Ham), G Eastham (Arsenal), A Hinton
Football League: P Bonetti (Chelsea), K Shellito (Chelsea), G
Shaw (Sheffield United), R Flowers (Wolves), B Labone (Everton), A Kay
(Everton), T Paine (Southampton), R Hunt (Liverpool), G Hurst (West
Ham), J Melia (Liverpool), C Dobson (Sheffield Wednesday).
So onto the new format. As the
programme notes for the first F.A. Cup 3rd/4th
Place Play-Off match correctly predicted the success of the venture
would depend on the paying public. But from the World Cup down
play-off matches for the beaten semi-finalists are not popular fixture
- it's a match for losers with no real purpose to it. But having said
that the first match in the series - Manchester United v Watford -
proved to be the most popular although even the crowd-pulling power of
Manchester United with Charlton and Best couldn't get the attendance
to the level of the last England v Young England fixture. Match
1969/70 - Friday
10th April 1970 at Highbury, Arsenal FC. Attendance 15,105.
Manchester United (0) 2 (Kidd
Watford (0) 0
Manchester United: Stepney,
Stiles, Dunne, Crerand, Ure, Sadler, Morgan, Fitzpatrick, Charlton,
Watford: Walker, Welbourne, Williams, Garvey, Lees, Eddy,
Scullion, Franks, Garbett, Walley, Jennings.
A year later the northern hordes
failed to arrive in South London with the attendance a disaster. The
writing was on the wall! Match details -
1970/71 - Friday
7th May 1971 at Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace FC. Attendance 5,031
Stoke City (1) 3
(Bernard, Ritchie 2)
Everton (2) 2 (Whittle, Ball)
Stoke City: Banks, Marsh, Pejic, Bernard, Skeels, Lees,
Haselgrave, Greenhoff, Ritchie, Mahoney, Burrows.
Everton: Rankin, Wright, Newton, Kendall, Labone, Harvey,
Whittle, Ball, Johnson, Lyons, Morrissey.
Following the disappointing
attendance of the previous season the tinkering started and the next
match was played as a pre-season match at the start of the 1972/73
season as a home match for Birmingham City. Geoff Hurst made his debut
for Stoke in the match and it became to first FA Cup match to be
decided on penalties.
1971/72 - Saturday 5th
August 1972 at St Andrews, Birmingham City FC. Attendance 23,841
Birmingham City (0)
Stoke City (0) 0
Birmingham beat Stoke 4-3 on penalties
Birmingham: Cooper, Carroll, Pendrey, Smith, Hynd, Harland,
Campbell, Francis, Latchford, Hatton, Taylor.
Stoke: Farmer, Marsh, Pejic, Skeels, Smith, Bloor, Robertson,
Greenhoff, Ritchie, Hurst, Dobing.
After the excellent attendance at St
Andrews it was a case of same again with the third and fourth places
of the 1972/73 season being decided in a 1973/74 pre-season fixture at
Saturday 18th August 1973 at Highbury, Arsenal FC. Attendance 21,038.
Arsenal (0) 1 (Hornsby)
Wolverhampton Wanderers (2) 3
(McCalliog, Dougan 2)
Arsenal: Wilson, Batson, McNab, Price, Blockley,
Simpson, Chambers, Ball, Radford, Kennedy, Hornsby.
Wolves: Parkes, Palmer, Parkin, Hegan, Jefferson, Taylor,
McCalliog, Sunderland, Richards, Dougan (sub Hibbitt),
Another change to the date for
the 1973/74 decider - this time the match was played at the end of the
season again but five days after the FA Cup Final had been played. As
Leicester stated in the programme notes for the match -
'We make no secret of the fact that we
would have preferred the game at the beginning of the next campaign,
but unfortunately the Football Association insisted that the issue be
settled this week.' It had become a problem
fixture and with the attendance just topping 4,000 it was decided it
was the last staging of the match.
1973/74 - Thursday 9th
May 1974 at Filbert Street, Leicester City FC. Attendance 4,432
Leicester City (0) 0
Burnley (1) 1 (Hankin)
Leicester City: Wallington, Woollett, Rofe, Earle, Munro,
Cross, Tomlin, Sammels, Stringfellow, Kilkelly, Glover (sub
Burnley: Finn, Newton, Brennan, Ingham, Thomson, Rodaway, Nulty,
Hankin, Noble, Flavell, Flynn.