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England Postwar Lineups and Match Highlights
By Norman Giller, Football Author

Part 6:  1970-71 to 1974-75

Norman Giller, long-time football journalist and author of more than 60 football books, has generously sent us England lineups and match highlights from his recent Billy Wright biography, reviewed elsewhere on this website, and his book on England's managers, Don't Shoot the Manager (1994), with permission to reproduce them.


No 223

East Germany, Wembley, 25.11.70. England won 3-1

Shilton     Hughes   Cooper   Mullery     Sadler  Moore*          

Lee1   Ball   Hurst    Clarke1  Peters1 

Highlights:  Peter Shilton won the first of his record 125 caps against an East German team that promised much more than they finally produced. The Germans had scored sixteen goals winning their previous four matches, but they could make little impression against an experimental England defence as Sir Alf Ramsey started rebuilding with the 1972 European championships in mind. Manchester United's utility player David Sadler patrolled alongside the maestro Bobby Moore in the middle of the defence, and Emlyn Hughes partnered Terry Cooper at full back. Sir Alf reverted to his favourite 4-3-3 formation, with Allan Clarke joining Francis Lee and Geoff Hurst at the front. Lee and Martin Peters gave England a 2-0 lead inside the first twenty minutes, and the cool, calculating Clarke clinched an impressive victory midway through the second-half after the East Germans had pulled a goal back with a dipping twenty-five yard drive by Vogel that caught Shilton off his line.

No 224

Malta, Valletta, 3.2.71. England won 1-0

Banks      Reaney    Hughes       Mullery*   McFarland     Hunter           

Ball   Chivers   Royle    Harvey   Peters1

Highlights: Alan Mullery was skipper in place of Bobby Moore, who had been suspended by his West Ham club following the 'Blackpool Affair' (Bobby along with West Ham team-mates Jimmy Greaves and Clyde Best had been caught drinking in a nightclub on the eve of an FA Cup tie they thought was going to be cancelled because of snow … the match went ahead and West Ham lost).   Martin Chivers, Roy McFarland and Everton team-mates Joe Royle and Colin Harvey made their debuts in a European championship qualifying match played on an iron-hard pitch that Gordon Banks described as 'the worst I have ever seen.' It had a sand surface that had been rolled flat by a steam-roller. Martin Peters scored the only goal after half a dozen chances had been missed.

No 225

Greece, Wembley, 21.4.71. England won 3-0

Banks   Storey  Hughes   Mullery   McFarland   Moore*          

Lee1    Ball (Coates)  Chivers1    Hurst1   Peters

Highlights: Greece arrived for this European championship qualifying match without any of the their star players from Panathinaikos, who were being saved for a European Cup semi-final. A superbly struck goal by Martin Chivers was all that separated the teams at half-time, and it took late headed goals by Geoff Hurst and Francis Lee to clinch victory and silence the jeers of a frustrated crowd.  Peter 'Cold Eyes' Storey got his first England call up as reward for his consistent performances for an Arsenal team on the way to a League and FA Cup double. A hard-tackling midfield ball winner for the Gunners, he went back to his original position of right-back for his first taste of international football.

No 226

Malta, Wembley, 12.5.71. England won 5-0

Banks   Lawler1    Cooper   Moore*   McFarland   Hughes    

Lee1    Coates   Chivers2       Clarke1   Peters (Ball)

Highlights: Allan Clarke scored one penalty and missed another and Martin Chivers netted twice and might have had five goals. Francis Lee was on the mark, and Chris Lawler decorated  his debut with a spectacular long-range goal from thirty yards. But it was not enough to please the 36,500 spectators who jeered and slow-handclapped England's performance in this return European championship match.  It was so one-sided that Gordon Banks did not have a single shot to save, and touched the ball only from back passes aimed to him by colleagues.

No 227

Northern Ireland, Windsor Park, 15.5.71. England won 1-0

Banks   Madeley   Cooper   Storey   McFarland   Moore*      

Lee   Ball   Chivers    Clarke1  Peters

Highlights: George Best had an opportunist goal disallowed after flicking the ball away from Gordon Banks as the England goalkeeper threw it up in preparation for a kicked clearance.  Many people considered it a magical piece of skill and impudence by Best, but Scottish referee MacKenzie decided he had been guilty of dangerously high kicking and, much to the annoyance of Best and the crowd, he awarded England a free-kick. Allan Clarke's winning goal ten minutes from the end brought off-side claims from the Irish defenders who also insisted that Francis Lee had handled the ball before passing to Clarke. It was not Ireland's lucky day. Paul Madeley, Leeds United's versatile defender, came in at right back as Sir Alf Ramsey continued to search for the perfect blend and balance at full back.

No 228

Wales, Wembley, 19.5.71. Drew 0-0

Shilton   Lawler    Cooper   Smith   Lloyd   Hughes      

Lee    Coates    Hurst   Brown  (Clarke)   Peters*

Highlights: Sir Alf Ramsey's experimental side played like passing strangers in the face of a fierce challenge from Wales. England included new caps Larry Lloyd, Tommy Smith and Tony Brown, whose only appearance for England lasted just seventy-four minutes before he was replaced by substitute Allan Clarke. Francis Lee had a goal ruled off side in the 43rd minute. Martin Peters captained England for the first time in place of rested Bobby Moore, whose poise and authority was greatly missed in England's back line.

No 229

Scotland, Wembley,  22.5.71. England won 3-1

Banks     Lawler    Cooper   Storey   McFarland   Moore*       

Lee  (Clarke)   Ball   Chivers2   Hurst   Peters1

Highlights: Martin Peters headed England into the lead before Alan Ball gifted Scotland an equaliser with a suicidal back pass into the path of Hugh Curran. Ball made amends with a storming performance in midfield, and two Martin Chivers goals gave England victory and the home international championship. The defeat was a massive disappointment for Scotland central defender Frank McLintock,  who at the same Wembley Stadium two weeks earlier had collected the FA Cup as captain on the day that Arsenal completed the double.

No 230

Switzerland, Basle, 13.10.71. England won 3-2 (own goal1)

Banks   Lawler    Cooper   Mullery   McFarland   Moore*        

Lee    Madeley   Chivers1  Hurst1 (Radford)  Peters 

Highlights: Two rare mistakes by Gordon Banks let Switzerland in for equalisers after England had twice taken the lead through goals by Geoff Hurst and Martin Chivers in the first-half of this European championship qualifier. It was just looking as if the Swiss would escape with a draw when a Chivers cross was deflected into the net by defender Weibel for a seventy-ninth minute winner.  The victory put England top of their qualifying group. 

No 231

Switzerland, Wembley, 10.11.71. Drew 1-1

Shilton  Madeley   Cooper   Storey   Lloyd   Moore*  

Summerbee1 (Chivers)   Ball   Hurst   Lee (Marsh)   Hughes

Highlights: Mike Summerbee gave England the lead in the ninth minute, but then they struggled to contain a lively Swiss team that deserved their equaliser, hammered in from twenty-five yards by Odermatt in the twenty-sixth minute. It was a swinging shot that spun into the net off Shilton's hands. England's passing was often careless, and Sir Alf Ramsey responded to the crowd chants of 'Rod-ney, Rod-ney' by sending on Queen's Park Rangers cult hero Rodney Marsh for his England debut as substitute for Summerbee, the player he would soon join as a clubmate at Manchester City. Only a defeat by four or more goals in their final qualifying match in Greece would stop England reaching the quarter-finals of the European championship.

No 232

Greece, Athens, 1.12.71. England won 2-0

Banks   Madeley   Hughes   Bell   McFarland     Moore*         

Lee    Ball   Chivers1     Hurst1   Peters

Highlights: A cannonball shot from Geoff Hurst midway through the first-half put England in charge of a match dominated by the attacking midfield trio of Alan Ball, Colin Bell and Martin Peters. Martin Chivers wrapped up the victory with a last-minute goal to clinch England's place in the quarter-finals of the European championship. Francis Lee twice hit the post, and the final scoreline flattered a Greek team now under the management of 1958 Northern Ireland World Cup hero Billy Bingham. Waiting for England in the quarter-finals were Franz Beckenbauer's West German side, and a re-match at Wembley.

No 233

West Germany, Wembley, 29.4.72. England lost 3-1

Banks   Madeley   Hughes   Bell   Moore*   Hunter      

Lee1    Ball   Chivers   Hurst (Marsh)   Peters

Highlights: Derby manager Brian Clough pulled slightly injured Roy McFarland out of the England squad at the last minute,  and Sir Alf Ramsey's gamble of playing Bobby Moore at centre-half was a tactical disaster in this European championship quarter-final. Moore and Norman Hunter were always struggling at the heart of the defence against the dynamic Gerd Muller, who fed off a procession of passes from the gifted Gunther Netzer. Francis Lee equalised a twenty-sixth minute goal by Uli Hoeness, and outplayed  England clung on until six minutes from the end when Netzer scored from the penalty spot. Moments later Muller made it 3-1 with a devastating shot on the turn. It left England with a mountain to climb in the second leg in Germany.

No 234

West Germany, Berlin, 13.5.72. Drew 0-0

Banks   Madeley   Hughes   Storey   McFarland   Moore*      

Ball    Bell    Chivers    Marsh (Summerbee)   Hunter (Peters)

Highlights: Franz Beckenbauer was outstanding as the German defence shut out England's attack in a match played in a non-stop downpour. The Germans, content to protect their two-goal lead from the first leg, came closest to breaking the deadlock when a 40-yard free-kick from Gunther Netzer smacked against the bar. England, with Norman Hunter and Peter Storey literally making their presence felt, conceded twenty-seven free-kicks and were described by German manager Helmut Schoen as 'brutal'.  For Sir Alf Ramsey the 1974 World Cup finals in Germany now became all-important. His enemies at the FA were gathering like vultures. Oly four of the 'Old Guard' were left in his squad – Banks, Moore, Ball and Peters.

No 235

Wales, Ninian Park, 20.5.72. England won 3-0

Banks   Madeley   Hughes1      Storey  McFarland   Moore*   

Summerbee    Bell1      Macdonald    Marsh1   Hunter

Highlights: England cruised to a comfortable victory in a bruising Home Championship match in which Peter Storey and Terry Yorath,  two of the hardest men in the League,  had a personal feud, with Norman Hunter often joining in on Storey's side. Leading 1-0 from a first-half goal by Emlyn Hughes, England clinched victory with two goals in a minute midway through the second-half. Rodney Marsh scored with a first-time volley from eighteen yards, and then Mike Summerbee laid on the third goal for his Manchester City team-mate Colin Bell. Malcolm Macdonald made a bright debut in the number nine England shirt.

No 236

Northern Ireland, Wembley, 23.5.72. England lost 1-0

Shilton  Todd    Hughes   Storey   Lloyd   Hunter          

Summerbee   Bell*   Macdonald (Chivers)    Marsh   Currie (Peters)

Highlights: This was England's first defeat by Northern Ireland since 1957. Terry Neill, the Irish player-manager winning his fiftieth cap, scored the only goal of the match from close range following a Danny Hegan corner in the thirty-third minute. Colin Bell skippered England in the absence of injured Bobby Moore, and Tony Currie and Colin Todd won their first caps. It was the first match since the 1966 World Cup that England kicked off without one of the heroes of '66 in the starting line-up.

No 237

Scotland, Hampden Park, 27.5.72. England won 1-0

Banks   Madeley   Hughes   Storey   McFarland   Moore*       

Ball1    Bell   Chivers    Marsh (Macdonald)    Hunter

Highlights: The referee called captains Bobby Moore and Billy McNeill together and ordered them to tell their players to calm things down after forty-six free-kicks had been awarded in the first thirty minutes. An Alan Ball goal in the twenty-eighth minute gave England victory in this daggers-drawn centenary match between the two countries. Peter Storey and Norman Hunter were at the heart of the trouble with their fierce tackling, and this brought out the competitive spirit in the  likes of Billy Bremner, Bobby Moncur and Denis Law. For long spells players seemed more intent on kicking each other rather than the ball.  Scottish FA President Hugh Nelson described the game as 'a disgrace,' and made no secret of the fact that he thought England had started it with their retaliate-first approach. Veteran onlookers could not recall a more vicious encounter between the auld enemy, and football was the loser.

No 238

Yugoslavia, Wembley, 11.10.72. Drew 1-1

Shilton    Mills   Lampard   Storey   Blockley   Moore* 

Ball   Channon     Royle1    Bell   Marsh

Highlights: Mick Mills, Frank Lampard (senior, of course), Jeff Blockley and Mike Channon made their international debuts as Sir Alf Ramsey juggled his squad because of club calls and injuries. The quartet of newcomers looked set for a winning start when Joe Royle scored his first goal for England in the fortieth minute, but Yugoslav centre-forward Franjo Vladic snatched an equaliser five minutes after half-time and Peter Shilton had to be at his best as skilful winger Dragan Djazic started to pull the uncertain England defence apart. The Yugoslavs missed three clear-cut chances in the closing stages. Tough luck on Mick Mills that he had to make his international bow against the famed and feared Djazic, one of the greatest players ever produced by Yugoslavia. It was a baptism of fire, and Mills had to wait four years for his next cap.

No 239

Wales, Ninian Park, 15.11.72. England won 1-0

Clemence   Storey   Hughes   Hunter     McFarland   Moore*   

Keegan   Chivers   Marsh    Bell1   Ball

Highlights: Colin Bell cashed in on clever approach work by Alan Ball to score the decisive winning goal in the first-half of this World Cup qualifying match.  Liverpool team-mates Ray Clemence and Kevin Keegan made quiet debuts in what was Sir Alf Ramsey's 100th match as manager. A feature of the game was the way Peter Storey snuffed out the challenge of Wales dangerman Leighton James with a controlled, man-to-man containing role. Keegan, conspicuous with his bubble-permed hair, had a golden opportunity to mark his debut with a last-minute goal, but Leeds goalkeeper Gary Sprake whipped the ball off his toes as he attempted to dribble the ball into the net. It was a memorable night for both Keegan and Clemence, who had each started their careers in the football outpost of Scunthorpe United.

No 240

Wales, Wembley, 24.1.73. Drew 1-1

Clemence    Storey   Hughes   Hunter1   McFarland   Moore* 

Keegan   Bell     Chivers    Marsh   Ball

Highlights: A long-range shot from Norman Hunter in the forty-second minute beat his Leeds team-mate Gary Sprake in the Welsh goal to salvage a World Cup point. John Toshack had given Wales the lead in the twenty-third minute after clever approach play by Leighton James, and England's forwards floundered against a Welsh defence in which Sprake, Peter Rodrigues and Mike England were outstanding. It was a disastrous point for England to drop on the way to the World Cup finals, and there was a much tougher obstacle ahead in the shape of Poland.

No 241

Scotland,  Hampden Park, 14.2.73. England won 5-0 (own goal1)

Shilton     Storey   Hughes   Bell   Madeley   Moore*   

Ball    Channon1   Chivers1   Clarke2   Peters

Highlights: England were three goals clear in fifteen minutes, and skated to an easy victory on a treacherous, snow-carpeted pitch. The match was played to celebrate the Centenary of the Scottish Football Association, but England - with Bobby Moore making his one hundredth appearance  - wrecked the party. It was a nightmare start to Willie Ormond's job as new Scottish manager, following in the shoes of Tommy Docherty who had taken on the challenge of managing Manchester United. 'England hit the High Cs' was the tabloid headlines as Allan Clarke (2), former Southampton side-kicks Mike Channon and Martin Chivers shared the goals, and they were further helped by an own goal from Peter Lorimer on what was a totally embarrassing night for the Scots.

No 242

Northern Ireland, Goodison Park, 12.5.73. England won 2-1

Shilton     Storey   Nish   Bell    McFarland   Moore*   

Ball     Channon     Chivers2     Richards   Peters

Highlights: The game should have been played in Belfast but vecause of the political problems was switched to Goodison Park at the request of the Irish FA. A rare mistake by goalkeeper Pat Jennings let Martin Chivers in for his first goal in the ninth minute, and another mistake - this time by Terry Neill - set Chivers up for the winning goal nine minutes from the end. Dave Clements scored for Ireland from the penalty spot after a foul by Peter Storey in the twenty-second minute. Wolves striker John Richards won his only cap. England's disjointed display brought them jeers and slow handclaps from the Goodison crowd, the majority of whom seemed to be supporting the Irish.

No 243

Wales, Wembley, 15.5.73. England won 3-0

Shilton     Storey  Hughes   Bell   McFarland     Moore*          

Ball   Channon1   Chivers1   Clarke     Peters1

Highlights: England scored three goals and had two others disallowed as they pulled the Welsh defence apart in this Home Championship match. Allan Clarke did not get his name on the scoresheet, but he was the outstanding player on the pitch as he combined neatly with Mike Channon and Martin Chivers. It was England's first victory at Wembley for two years.  Martin Peters saved the best until last, scoring with a swerving shot from twenty yards after neatly combining with Channon and Clarke to make an opening..

No 244

Scotland, Wembley, 19.5.73. England won 1-0

Shilton    Storey   Hughes   Bell   McFarland     Moore*          

Ball   Channon     Chivers    Clarke   Peters1

Highlights: Martin Peters headed in a beautifully flighted free-kick from Alan Ball in the fifty-fourth minute to give England victory in a hard-fought match that tested their stamina as much as their skill. The Scots might easily have won but for magnificent saves by Peter Shilton from Peter Lorimer and Kenny Dalglish. Scotland turned it into a physical battle, with Billy Bremner and big Jim Holton kicking anything that moved. England's win gave them their twenty-ninth Home Championship, which put them in a confident mood for their summer tour that included a crucial World Cup qualifier against Poland.

No 245

Czechoslovakia, Prague, 27.5.73. Drew 1-1

Shilton     Madeley   Storey   Bell   McFarland  Moore*           

Ball   Channon     Chivers   Clarke1   Peters

Highlights: Allan Clarke saved England from defeat with a last-minute equaliser after collecting the ball from his Leeds team-mate Paul Madeley. The Czechs led from the fifty-sixth minute when Novak steered the ball into the net off a post. England, unfamiliar in yellow shirts and royal-blue shorts and with Peter Storey playing out of position at left-back, lacked cohesion. Their punchless performance did little to please Sir Alf Ramsey as they made final preparations for the World Cup qualifier in Chorzow. 'We must,' said a tight-lipped Ramsey, 'make considerable improvement against Poland.' He knew that he was living under the shadow of the axe.

No 246

Poland, Chorzow, 6.6.73. England lost 2-0

Shilton     Madeley   Hughes   Storey     McFarland   Moore*   

Ball    Bell   Chivers      Clarke  Peters

Highlights: This was  disastrous defeat for England in a vital World Cup qualifying match.  Poland went ahead in the ninth minute when a Lubanski shot found its way into the net off the foot of Bobby Moore and the arm of Peter Shilton. Early in the second-half Moore made an uncharacteristic hash of a tackle against Lubanski, who raced clear to make it 2-0. To compound England's misery Alan Ball was sent off following an angry clash twelve minutes from the final whistle.  Once again,  Sir Alf's poor understanding of the substitute system let down England. It screamed out for attacking players to be sent on when the Poles went two goals clear, but Ramsey stuck with his rigid 4-4-2 formation that meant the game became bogged down in midfield as Poland chose to close up shop and hang on to their lead.

No 247

USSR, Moscow, 10.6.73. England won 2-1 (own goal1)

Shilton    Madeley   Hughes   Storey   McFarland   Moore*     

Currie   Channon (Summerbee)   Chivers1  Clarke (Macdonald)   Peters (Hunter)

Highlights: Just four days after the disappointment of defeat in Poland, England showed their character with a victory made harder by the stifling, humid conditions in the Lenin Stadium. Chivers powered England into the lead in the ninth minute, and ten minutes after half-time a clever dummy by Martin Peters so confused Russian defender Khurtislava that he turned the ball into his own net. The Russians pulled back a goal in the sixty-sixth minute from the penalty spot. Tony Currie was an impressive deputy for Alan Ball. Bobby Moore, equaling Bobby Charlton's record of 106 England caps, was back to his imperious best following a below-par  performance in Poland.

No 248

Italy, Turin, 14.6.73. England lost 2-0

Shilton    Madeley   Hughes   Storey   McFarland   Moore*     

Currie   Channon   Chivers    Clarke   Peters

Highlights: Bobby Moore set a new appearances record in his 107th match for England, but he was unable to celebrate a victory. Anastasi gave Italy the lead in the thirty-seventh minute, and Capello made it 2-0 seven minutes after half-time as the England defenders stood waiting for an off-side whistle that never came. It was Italy's first victory against England in nine encounters spread over forty years. 

No 249

Austria, Wembley, 26.9.73. England won 7-0

Shilton     Madeley   Hughes      Bell 1    McFarland   Hunter     

Currie1   Channon2     Chivers1  Clarke2  Peters*

Highlights: England over-ran an Austrian defence that had no answer to the combined power of Mike Channon, Martin Chivers and Allan Clarke – the 'top Cs', with Tony Currie also getting in on the goal spree. It was Currie, Colin Bell and Martin Peters who dictated the pace and pattern of the match from midfield. Channon scored the first goal in the tenth minute, and Clarke struck twice before half-time. Channon and Chivers added goals early in the second-half, and Currie made it 6-0 in the sixty-fourth minute with a rasping shot from the edge of the area. Colin Bell completed the goal avalanche three minutes from the end.  'England can still teach the world how to play,' said Austrian manager Leopold Stastny. But this was a friendly. The test that mattered was to come in the next match.

No 250

Poland, Wembley, 17.10.73. Drew 1-1

Shilton    Madeley   Hughes   Bell    McFarland   Hunter           

Currie   Channon   Chivers (Hector)    Clarke1    Peters*

Highlights.  England had thirty five goal attempts to two by Poland, but it was the Poles who went through to the World Cup finals at England's expense. Poland had the man of the match in goalkeeper Tomaszewski, who was labeled a clown by Brian Clough. He gave England nothing to laugh about as he saved at least four goals with eccentric but effective goalkeeping. It was Poland who took the lead in the fifty-fifth minute in a rare breakaway raid. Norman Hunter, the most feared tackler in English football, mistimed a challenge out on the touchline and the ball was transferred to unmarked Domarski, whose low shot went under the diving Peter Shilton. Allan Clarke equalised from the penalty spot eight minutes later. England were denied the victory they needed to clinch a place in the World Cup finals when late substitute Kevin Hector headed wide from close range in the last minute of the most frustrating match of Ramsey's reign. In the closing moments the tragedy briefly turned to Monty Pythonesque farce. Kevin Keegan, on the substitutes’ bench, recalled:  'Alf Ramsey proved yet again that he was uncomfortable with the substitute rule when he left it until the eighty-fifth minute before he decided to make a change. He called over his shoulder to the substitutes sitting in a row behind him, ‘Kevin, get stripped.’ It was panic stations as goalkeeper Ray Clemence tugged at my tracksuit bottoms to help me get ready for action. My Liverpool team-mate was so eager that he pulled down my shorts as well! My embarrassment was complete when Alf then made it clear that his command had been meant for Kevin Hector, not this Kevin! Talk about ‘Don’t panic, Mr Mainwaring.'' There were just ninety seconds left when the Derby Country striker at last got on to the pitch, and he was desperately unlucky not to score with his first and only touch of the ball. The game finished at 1-1, and England were out of the World Cup. 

No 251

Italy, Wembley, 14.11.73. England lost 1-0

Shilton     Madeley   Hughes      Bell   McFarland   Moore*      

Currie     Channon   Osgood  Clarke (Hector)   Peters

Highlights. Italy scored their first ever win in England when Capello netted the only goal of the match  in the eighty-seventh minute, steering the ball into the net after Peter Shilton had parried a shot from Chinaglia. England dominated the match for long periods but could not find a way through Italy's superbly organized defence. Veteran Italian playmaker Gianni Rivera was the outstanding player on the pitch, continually slicing open the England defence with a procession of precise passes. The match marked the hundred and eighth and final appearance of Bobby Moore, arguably the greatest England defender of all time.

No 252

Portugal, Lisbon, 3.4.74. England drew 0-0

Parkes     Nish  Pejic    Dobson   Watson   Todd         

Bowles    Channon   Macdonald (Ball)    Brooking          Peters*

Highlights: Sir Alf Ramsey's final match as manager. Because of FA Cup commitments and withdrawals, he gave first caps to Phil Parkes, Mike Pejic, Martin Dobson, Dave Watson, Stan Bowles and Trevor Brooking. There was a lot of promising football played up to the penalty area, but the finishing continually let England down.  Ramsey was sacked three weeks later. He had put his indelible stamp on the international game, and his record will be a lasting testimony to the fact that he was an exceptional manager:

Played 113 Won 69 Drawn 27 Lost 17 For 224 Against 99.  It was the end of an unforgettable era for English football.

No 253

Wales, Ninian Park, 11.5.74. England won 2-0

Shilton  Nish  Pejic  Hughes*   McFarland  Todd         

Keegan1  Bell  Channon  Weller Bowles1

Highlights: Joe Mercer, the favourite 'Uncle' character of English football, took over as caretaker manager while Don Revie – the man chosen to succeed Sir Alf Ramsey – completed club commitments with Leeds United. Laugh-a-minute Mercer, a master of PR, was like a breath of fresh air after the sullen, secretive approach of Ramsey, whose woeful handling of the media was his one major weakness.  Mercer's first match brought a satisfactory rather than spectacular victory against Wales. Keith Weller, making an impressive debut, set up the first goal in the thirty-fifth minute. His shot was pushed by goalkeeper John Phillips into the path of Stan Bowles, who slipped the ball into the net from close range for his first goal for England. It was a game of firsts, with Kevin Keegan scoring the first of his twenty-one international goals. Mercer gave his skipper Emlyn Hughes a big say in the running and selection of the team.

No 254

Northern Ireland, Wembley 15.5.74. England won 1-0

Shilton   Nish    Pejic   Hughes*  McFarland (Hunter)  Todd

Keegan  Weller1  Channon  Bell  Bowles (Worthington)

Highlights: A late headed goal by Keith Weller at last broke the Northern Ireland resistance, after goalkeeper Pat Jennings had pulled off a series of magnificent saves. England's defence became disorganised when centre-half Roy McFarland limped off in the thirty-sixth minute with an achilles injury that put him on the sidelines for six months. The energetic Kevin Keegan clipped the bar with a shot just before half-time. Frank Worthington made his England bow as a substitute for Stan Bowles in the sixty-fourth minute.

No 255

Scotland, Hampden Park, 18.5.74. England lost 2-0

Shilton  Nish  Pejic  Hughes*  Hunter (Watson)  Todd 

Channon  Bell  Worthington (Macdonald)  Weller Peters

Highlights: Own goals by Mike Pejic and Colin Todd deflated an England team that struggled to cope with the pace and skill of a Scottish attack in which Peter Lorimer, Jimmy Johnstone, Kenny Dalglish and Joe Jordan were outstanding. Pejic deflected a Jordan shot into the England net in the fifth minute, and a harmless-looking cross was diverted past goalkeeper Peter Shilton by Todd in the thirty-first minute. England were vulnerable at the heart of the defence until Dave Watson replaced Norman Hunter as a conventional centre-half.

No 256

Argentina, Wembley, 22.5.74. Drew 2-2

Shilton  Hughes*  Lindsay  Todd  Watson Bell 

Keegan   Channon1  Worthington1  Weller      Brooking

Highlights: Argentina equalised with a last-minute penalty by Mario Kempes after the Argentinean referee adjudged that Kempes had been fouled by skipper Emlyn Hughes.  There were moments in the second-half when the game threatened to get out of control as England's players started to get drawn into personal feuds in retaliation against a spate of reckless tackles. England were flattered by a 2-0 lead following goals by Mike Channon and Frank Worthington either side of the interval. Hughes, who had got involved in a  skirmish with the Argentineans as they came off at half-time, blocked the ball in the fifty-eighth minute. It ran into the path of Kempes who fired an unstoppable shot into the net to give a glimpse of the goal-scoring ability that would power Argentina to the World Cup in 1978. Alec Lindsay made a sound debut as full back partner to his Liverpool team-mate Hughes.

No 257

East Germany, Leipzig, 29.5.74. Drew 1-1

Clemence         Hughes*  Lindsay  Todd  Watson  Dobson      

Keegan  Channon1  Worthington Bell  Brooking

Highlights: England hit the woodwork four times before Streich gave the East Germans a fortunate lead in the sixty-seventh minute. Just sixty seconds later Mike Channon cancelled it out with a free-kick hammered low through the defensive wall from twenty yards. Martin Dobson, Colin Bell and Trevor Brooking dominated the match in midfield. Dobson was winning the second of five caps under three different managers. Mercer, always ready with a quip regardless of the team's performance, said: 'We hit the woodwork more times than a team of lumberjacks.'

No 258

Bulgaria, Sofia, 1.6.74. England won 1-0

Clemence         Hughes*           Lindsay   Todd     Watson   Dobson    

Brooking          Bell    Keegan   Channon   Worthington1

Highlights: Frank Worthington won the match in the forty-fourth minute with a classically constructed goal. Kevin Keegan flicked on a Ray Clemence goalkick and Worthington brought it under control and then rifled it into the net all in one sweet movement. Colin Todd and Dave Watson were outstanding in a fine all-round team display, with Keegan, Channon and Worthington pulling the Bulgarian defence inside out with their pace and clever inter-changing of passes and positions.

No 259

Yugoslavia, Belgrade, 5.6.74. Drew 2-2

Clemence   Hughes*     Lindsay  Todd   Watson   Dobson       

Keegan1  Channon1  Worthington (Macdonald)  Bell  Brooking

Highlights: Joe Mercer's farewell match got off to a cracking start when Mike Channon forced the ball into the net in the sixth minute after the goalkeeper had failed to hold a Trevor Brooking shot following a Kevin Keegan corner-kick. The Yugoslavians fought back to equalise and then take the lead after misunderstandings in the England defence. Keegan, who had been arrested at Belgrade airport and beaten up by security guards two days earlier, had the satisfaction of heading the equaliser in the seventy-fifth minute to give a happy ending to the Joe Mercer interlude. They had arrested Keegan when completely over-reacting to him clowning around while collecting his baggage. More Pythonesque farce followed when Bernard Joy, one of the few journalists who witnessed the incident,  raced to a telephone to give his newspaper, the London Evening Standard, the hot exclusive. When he finally got through to the newspaper switchboard, after the frustrating delays that were common in those pre-direct dialing days, the operator started with pleasantries:  'Nice to hear from you, Mr. Joy. What’s the weather like out there?' Bernard, the last amateur to play for England, was in urgent deadline-beating mode. 'I’ve got no time for small talk,' he snapped. 'Put me through to the copytakers immediately. I’ve got an exclusive story here.'  'Uh, but Mr. Joy,' the operator said,  'It's Sunday. There's no paper today.'

No 260

Czechoslovakia, Wembley, 30.10.74. England won 3-0

Clemence   Madeley   Hughes*   Dobson (Brooking)  Watson Hunter             

Bell2  Francis G. Worthington (Thomas) Channon1 Keegan

Highlights: Don Revie boldy opened his career as England manager by making a double substitution in the seventieth minute of this European championship qualifier. Revie sent on Dave Thomas and Trevor Brooking for Frank Worthington  and Martin Dobson, and it was Thomas who  created the first goal when his cross was headed in by Mike Channon. Two more goals followed in the next nine minutes. Channon found Bell with a superb diagonal pass, and he steered it into the net with a well placed shot. Then the inspired Channon crossed the ball for Bell to head in the third goal that sent choruses of 'Land of Hope and Glory' thundering around Wembley for an England team newly decked out in shirts with red and blue shoulder stripes. The Admiral was in command, and there was huge criticism of the way England had sold their image to a sportswear company that had their name – Admiral – splashed across the tracksuits.

No 261

Portugal, Wembley,   20.11.74. Drew 0-0

Clemence   Madeley   Watson   Hughes*  Cooper (Todd) Brooking             

Francis G.   Bell  Thomas  Channon  Clarke (Worthington)

Highlights: The 'Land of Hope and Glory' anthem gave way to boos and jeers as England struggled to make any impact against a disciplined and resolute Portuguese defence. Terry Cooper, recalled by his old Leeds United club boss after three years in the international wilderness, broke down with a nagging injury and Colin Todd played exceptionally well as a make-shift left-back. There was a lack of understanding between the midfield and the front line, with a procession of passes going astray on the rain-sodden surface. Don Revie was already finding the England hot seat uncomfortable as he tried to get accustomed to not having day-to-day involvement with his players.

No 262

West Germany, Wembley, 12.3.75. England won 2-0

Clemence   Whitworth   Gillard  Bell1  Watson   Todd 

Ball*  Macdonald1  Channon Hudson  Keegan

Highlights: England celebrated the 100th international match played at Wembley by handing West Germany their first defeat since the 1974 World Cup triumph. New skipper Alan Ball inspired magnificent performances from his midfield partners Colin Bell and, in particular, Alan Hudson. They paralysed the German defence with their pin-pointed passing on a rain-soaked pitched, and it was Bell who gave England a twenty-fifth minute lead with a deflected shot following a Hudson free-kick. Macdonald, whose pace was always a problem for an experimental German team, scored his first goal for England in the sixty-sixth minute when he raced to the far post to head in a cross from Bell. Steve Whitworth and Ian Gillard made sound debuts as new full-back partners.

No 263

Cyprus, Wembley, 16.4.75. England won 5-0

Shilton  Madeley  Watson  Todd   Beattie  Bell

Ball*  Hudson  Channon (Thomas) Macdonald5 Keegan

Highlights: Malcolm Macdonald scored all five goals - four of them with his head - in an extraordinary display of finishing. He became the first player to score five at Wembley and it equalled the five-goal haul by Tottenham's Willie Hall for England against Northern Ireland at Old Trafford in 1938. Macdonald scored his first in the second minute, made it 2-0 in the thirty-fifth minute and added two more early in the second-half against an outplayed, outclassed Cypriot team. He finished off his one-man spectacular with a brilliantly headed goal in the closing stages. Macdonald's team-mates came off at the end wondering how between them they had managed to miss at least six more goals. 'To be honest,' said Macdonald, 'I should have had eight goals. I managed to miss three fairly easy chances. But I suppose I can't complain!'

No 264

Cyprus, Limassol, 11.5.75. England won 1-0

Clemence   Whitworth   Beattie (Hughes)  Watson  Todd  Bell 

Thomas (Tueart) Ball*  Channon  Macdonald  Keegan1

Highlights: England had to be content with a sixth minute winning goal from a Kevin Keegan header in this European championship return match. A bumpy pitch led to many of the England passes missing their target in a scrappy match during which goalkeeper Ray Clemence was hardly tested. Kevin Beattie, winning his second cap, limped off with a groin injury just before half-time and Dennis Tueart came on as a seventy-third minute substitute for Dave Thomas. It was the first match played at the new Tsirion Stadium in Limassol, and while the stands were impressive the pitch needed a lot of ground work! 'Probably the worst pitch any England team has had to play on,' was the terse comment from Don Revie.

No 265

Northern Ireland, Belfast, 17.5.75. Drew 0-0

Clemence  Whitworth   Hughes  Bell  Watson  Todd    

Ball*  Viljoen  Macdonald (Channon)  Keegan Tueart

Highlights: England equalled their record of six consecutive clean sheets in a match that provided an emotional return to Belfast for the first time in four years. The Irish defence, in which goalkeeper Pat Jennings, right-back Pat Rice and centre-half Allan Hunter were outstanding, allowed the England forwards little time and space in which to work. 'We were given a wonderful welcome by the crowd,'' said Don Revie, 'and we are disappointed that we did not provide them with a better spectacle. All credit to the Irish defenders. They worked their socks off, but we should have had at least two goals to show for our supremacy.' 

No 266

Wales, Wembley, 21.5.75. Drew 2-2

Clemence         Whitworth        Gillard  Francis G.        Watson  Todd 

Ball*  Channon (Little) Johnson2  Viljoen  Thomas 

Highlights: David Johnson made a memorable debut, scoring both of England's goals including an eighty-fifth minute equaliser that stole victory from a spirited Welsh team. Johnson gave England an eighth minute lead, but Wales were rewarded for their persistence with two goals ten minutes into the second-half. The first was scored by John Toshack, who then laid on a second for Arfon Griffiths. Aston Villa's Brian Little, sent on as a substitute in the seventieth minute, found Johnson with a centre from which he headed the goal that ended Welsh hopes of a first ever win at Wembley. South African Colin Viljoen, Johnson's Ipswich team-mate, made his second and final appearance for England.

No 267

Scotland, Wembley, 24.5.75. England won 5-1

Clemence   Whitworth    Beattie1  Bell1 Watson Todd

Ball*  Channon  Johnson1 Francis G.2  Keegan (Thomas) 

Highlights: England scored twice in the first seven minutes, the opening goal from Gerry Francis a spectacular shot that rocketed into the net from twenty-five yards. Scotland never recovered from this shattering start despite some superb play by Kenny Dalglish. Colin Bell made it 3-0 five minutes before half-time before Bruce Rioch pulled one back from the penalty spot in the last minute of the half. Ball, Bell and Francis were in unstoppable form, and it was Francis who made it 4-1 in the sixty-third minute with a deflected shot after Ball had pushed a free-kick through Bell's legs into his path. Kevin Keegan, a bundle of energy in the England attack, rammed a shot against the bar ten minute later and Johnson steered the rebound into the net to complete the rout of a dispirited Scottish side. 'That's as good as it gets,' said Alan Ball, who felt he was cemented into the team as skipper.