Mick's Football Memories

Mick’s Football Memories – part 5

1955 saw the inception of the European Cup but the FA pressurised English clubs not to participate, including forcing Chelsea to withdraw their application.

By the start of the 1955/56 season I was following football statistics in the national newspapers, including league tables, results and fixtures. I fully understood these and would queue at the newsagents each Saturday evening awaiting the arrival of the “Pink” classified paper. This was the only way of obtaining football results on the day of the match. This was at a period in time when all matches were played on the same day and at the same time.

On a local level I would walk down Knebworth High Street to a notice board outside Charles Lowe’s builder’s yard. This gave relevant information on Knebworth FC, including team sheets, Herts. County League tables for all divisions and results and fixtures. There were two divisions for first teams designated Division One “A” and Division One “B” and a single division for reserve teams. Colney Heath won Division One “A” and Bovingdon Division One “B”, with Knebworth finishing eleventh out of twelve in Division One “B”. Knebworth also had a team in the Reserve Section which finished fifteenth out of sixteen.

In the Football League Division One Wolves were to finish third, behind Manchester United’s Busby Babes. In a nine year spell between 1952 and 1961 Wolves finished as champions three times, second twice, third three times and sixth once. This was in an era when any one of the twenty two teams in the division had an equal chance of winning it, unlike the situation that exists today.

The 1956 FA Cup Final was the first one I watched on television, in which Manchester City beat Birmingham City by three goals to one. In goal for Manchester City that day was a German prisoner of war Bert Trautman, who several days after the match was discovered to have broken his neck. Also in the Manchester City line up that day was Don Revie, destined to become manager of Leeds United and England.

The inaugural 1956 European Cup Final was won by Real Madrid, beating Rheims by four goals to three. Hibernian from Scotland became the first British team to enter the competition.

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