Most people have important things that take up their time. Things like careers, and friends, and family, and hobbies. I don’t have anything like that, so I end up spending a lot of my time watching old-timey newsreels on YouTube.
Since it’s Thursday, and people like to throw things back on Thursdays for whatever reason, here’s some vintage newsreel footage of old-school English football. It was December 1963, and Manchester United were hosting Tottenham (just like they will this weekend) in the second round of the European Cup Winners Cup (one of a few continental tournaments that eventually got folded into what is now the Europa League). Although United’s back was against the wall, being down 2-0 on aggregate, they at least had the 50,000 or so crowd at Old Trafford to draw on for the second leg.
Manchester United won 4-1 to progress 4-3 on aggregate, and there are a few things that stand out about the footage. There are the faces of the 1960s-era football supporters. There’s United legend Bobby Charlton—you’ll find him sitting near Alex Ferguson during home games these days—scoring a late brace to send the Red Devils through to the next round. Dave Mackay, who passed away recently, being substituted off in the first half due to a broken leg.
But what’s also remarkable is how some of the details haven’t changed. A few wide shots show the old stands which have since been rebuilt, as well as the all-standing terraces. But beyond that, this is still recognizable as Old Trafford. There’s a certain Old Traffordiness that persists through the years, and you see it even in this 50-year-old footage. It reminds you that underneath the hype and spectacle that surrounds the Premier League, English football has a deep history that rumbles just underneath the surface.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go see what the Austro-Hungarian Empire is up to. My guess is No Good. I’ll be sure to report back.