Thursday, 3 November 2016


Searching Youtube for early Socceroos footage, I stumbled across a great channel which contains classic 1960's through to 1980's British football games, including full episodes of The Big Match and Match of the Day.

One episode is well worth a look for Aussie fans, and it's The Big Match from December 1974. The video is incorrectly labelled as December 12 1979.

I'm old enough to recall having seen a few episodes of The Big Match as a kid in the late 1970's, though the usual late Saturday night timeslot was way beyond my bedtime. The theme tune is a cracker, and in this year's opening you get a few glimpses of cheeky future Socceroos manager Terry Venables.

The featured game is Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United from White Hart Lane on December 29, 1973. Two of the Spurs players, Martin Peters and Martin Chivers, would later play a few games for Frankston City in the Victorian State League. Winger Ralph Coates had a spell with St George in the NSL after leaving Spurs and before joining Leyton Orient in 1979.

The episode is full of highlights. There's the grim Northern English backdrop as Oldham Athletic host Watford in the Third Division. There's Coventry City visiting The Dell to meet Southampton. There's Muhammad Ali telling us he's had enough of Brian Clough. There's Poland eliminating England from World Cup qualification in a game which surely has the record for most missed sitters. There's Sunderland manager Bob Stokoe running amok. There's Franz Beckenbauer and Uli Hoeness!

Then, at 47:20 is THE goal from Jimmy Mackay against South Korea in Hong Kong that put Australia through to the 1974 World Cup. It is in glorious colour and what a strike it was. I'm not sure why this colour version hasn't been shown on tv over the years nearly enough. Most times I've seen the goal it has been a black and white version that was so dark you wondered if the game was played under training ground lights.

What a goal! What a player!

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