Football’s Golden Years:
The people that help to make the game – From Wembley to The Kop, from the Stretford End to Colchester … and even a famous World Cup final, too
This helps to remind us of the sheer passions football can induce – the 1978 World Cup final between Argentina and Holland at the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires
This picture was only taken 53 years ago; here you can see a section of the crowd at Wembley for the 1960 FA Cup final between Wolves and Blackburn. Many of the gentlemen look as if they are dressed for cricket at Lord’s with their jackets, shirts and ties.
Do you get the feeling this picture was taken in the days before tribalism in the game? This delightful snap shows Sheffield United supporters in London before the 1936 FA Cup final against Arsenal – more than 93,000 watched at Wembley as the Gunners won 1-0.
It has been said by many that one of the major changes in football over the past 20 years is the number of women attending matches – I have seen many old pictures, including this one of Colchester fans watching their team play Norwich in the 1950s, that shows the game has been popular with female fans for a lot longer
This picture appealed to my love of trains as well as football, with Fulham fans at London’s old Addison Road station in 1957 to catch a special supporters club train to Ipswich for an FA Cup third round tie – they would have come home happy as well, with the London club winning 3-2 at Portman Road.
There are certain experiences as a football fan you’re never going to forget, and my first time on The Kop certainly falls into that category – here’s a picture of the legendary terrace in 1970, which gives you some idea of how just packed it could get on there. The Kop was rebuilt in 1994, with seats installed.
How can you not love this picture? Craven Cottage is one of my favourite grounds, it always seems to hark back to a different era – if you’ve been there recently, you’ll notice that some things haven’t changed since this 1958 picture of schoolboys celebrating a Fulham goal against Bristol Rovers in the sixth round of the FA Cup. The London side won the match 3-1, but were beaten by Manchester United in the semi-finals.
I can’t believe there are more than a handful of you reading this that haven’t heard of the ‘White Horse’ Cup final – the first match played at Wembley, the 1923 FA Cup final between Bolton and West Ham, which was memorable for the chaotic scenes beforehand and the enormous crowds that poured into the stadium. The image of PC George Scorey on his white horse ‘Billy’ is one of the truly great FA Cup images.
The Valley used to attract massive crowds – and this fine picture of a match between Charlton and Blackburn in 1958 gives us some idea of how packed terraces at the south London ground used to be
This is the only fan that gets their own billing here – I just thought this Preston supporter, seen here in London’s Trafalgar Square before North End’s FA Cup final clash with Huddersfield in 1938, deserved it. I suspect he had a pretty good time after the game too, as Preston were 1-0 winners at Wembley.
There’s a real resonance about this picture, which shows servicemen at Wembley for a wartime match between England and Scotland in 1943
One thing stands out a mile from this picture of Manchester United’s famous Stretford End in 1969, the numbers of children in attendance – you just don’t see these kind of scenes any more at matches, not least because of the price of tickets now.
Millwall fans climb onto the floodlight posts and scoreboard to watch a match against Newcastle at The Den in 1957
I am quite partial to pictures of unusual vantage points, and here people watch from nearby balconies and roofs of buildings as England play Malta in a European Championship qualifier in Valletta in 1971
How much do you still wish there were special football trains today? Here Arsenal fans are at London’s King’s Cross station to catch the train to Huddersfield for the FA Cup semi final against Grimsby in 1936
Look how packed the roof of this block of flats is – these fans are watching West Ham play Hereford in an FA Cup fourth round replay at Upton Park in 1972
A glorious picture here of a young fan being passed over the heads of the crowd to a better viewing position at the front of the terrace, during a match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in 1947
I’m hoping that like me you enjoy pictures like this on more than one level – here Manchester United players are in the city after the club’s famous 1968 European Cup win
A smashing aerial shot here of the old Clock End at Highbury in 1956, with fans packed in to watch Arsenal play a First Division match against Cardiff
I love the backdrop to this picture, all those faces watching on, as Leeds take on Chelsea in one of their many tough battles of the 1970s