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Boxing Day 1963: The Craziest Day In English Football

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In a crazy day of 10 matches, an incredible 66 goals were scored. The matches in the Premier League are becoming less predictable in the modern game, making it easy to have an exciting bet like in the past. On Boxing Day of 1963, it appears that the goalkeepers might have relaxed too much, enabling the strikers to take full advantage in front of the Christmas crowds. Let’s see what happened this year.

The top-flight in 1963 is the subject of this article, but the turmoil wasn’t restricted to the First Division – Manchester City beat Scunthorpe 8-1 in the second division. We’re not suggesting it was due to Boxing Day hangovers, but we can’t think of anything else that might have caused these crazy results.

Boxing Day 1963’s results

  • Fulham 10-1 Ipswich Town
  • West Ham United 2-8 Blackburn Rovers
  • West Bromwich Albion 4-4 Tottenham Hotspur
  • Burnley 6-1 Manchester United
  • Liverpool 6-1 Stoke City
  • Blackpool 1-5 Chelsea
  • Nottingham Forest 3-3 Sheffield United
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-3 Aston Villa
  • Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 Bolton Wanderers
  • Leicester City 2-0 Everton

Fulham 10-1 Ipswich Town

Before they travelled to West London to face Fulham, Ipswich had conceded 58 goals. It may not be one of the most exciting Boxing Day games, but it’s still significant. After 18 months as champions, Ipswich were back on their way to relegation. Fulham’s two hat-tricks were scored by Bobby Howfield and Graham Leggat, who notched four goals.

West Ham United 2-8 Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn entered the meeting in first place, and they established a strong marker against West Ham. The following season, the Hammers won the FA Cup after bouncing back effectively from their Boxing Day defeat, finishing six points behind  Blackburn. Andy McEvoy and Fred Pickering both scored hat-tricks, while Johnny Byrne notched a brace for the home side, but it was little more than an afterthought in West Ham’s biggest ever home league defeat.

West Bromwich Albion 4-4 Tottenham Hotspur

In the early 1960s, Tottenham were the team to beat. A double was followed by Cup Winners’ Cup victory in 1963, making them the first English club to accomplish the feat. Spurs were in contention for the title on Christmas Day, but they fell apart from a 4-2 lead and took a draw from their journey to the Midlands. Greaves scored twice for Spurs’ and ended the season as top scorer. The Baggies were saved by Clive Clarke, Micky Fudge, John Kaye and Don Howe.

Burnley 6-1 Manchester United

Before the start, Manchester United were just one point off the top of the table. Four from Andy Lochhead and two from Willie Morgan helped to keep Manchester United at bay, who ultimately fell four points short of top spot. Burnley ended up ninth in the table and was among the most successful home clubs in England, winning 14 matches and losing only 4 times.

Liverpool 6-1 Stoke City

The Premier League odds of 6-1 for Stoke to defeat Liverpool in 2015 seemed incredibly farfetched, but the same result on December 26, 1963, was less so. The Reds went on to win their sixth First Division crown and qualified for the European Cup as a result of their success. Their European Cup run came to an end in the semi-final but this 6-1 win was one to remember.

Blackpool 1-5 Chelsea

The scoreline was 4-0 in favour of Chelsea before Blackpool scored their goal, effectively ending the game as a contest. Terry Venables, who later managed numerous clubs and England, added a fifth for the visitors. Venables was born and bred at Stamford Bridge, making him one of its most illustrious alumni.

Nottingham Forest 3-3 Sheffield United

Nottingham Forest scored three goals in the first half against Sheffield United, who were making their third successive appearance in the Division. On most days, that’s an unassailable lead, but not on Boxing Day 1963. The Blades completed a stunning comeback with two goals from Mick Jones and one from Len Allchurch. The teams ended up finishing mid-table, only 2 points apart.

Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-3 Aston Villa

The first half was uninteresting. With the score at 0-0 at halftime, both teams were sluggish, just like many others on Boxing Day. The second half was when things got interesting, though. Villa struggled to win games away from home in 1963/64, winning only three times during the season. This was certainly the most entertaining half of the famous 1963 Premier League Boxing Day games.

Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 Bolton Wanderers

Sheffield Wednesday made the most of the opportunity as other top clubs dropped points. Sheffield’s Colin Dobson scored a brace to lead his team to a comfortable victory over a struggling Bolton side. By the conclusion of the day, Sheffield were five points off the top, but their title challenge never got much better. They ended up sixth after a pretty successful season for them.

Leicester City 2-0 Everton

The 2-0 Leicester City win over Everton on the afternoon was a snoozer by these standards. Everton were defending champions, but the loss badly compromised their title aspirations. On their way to a mid-table finish, Leicester won the League Cup that season.

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