Each month we take a look at an
Albion ‘programme from the past’. A number of the programmes will be rarities, allowing a much wider audience to view them, perhaps for the very first time.
Everton v West Bromwich Albion, FA Cup Fourth
Round, Goodison Park, Sunday 27th January 1974
Albion this week facing Everton at The Hawthorns, our latest featured programme
comes from a clash between the two clubs forty years ago this month, the very
first competitive game either club had played on a Sunday.
Despite being commonplace these days, prior to 1974 Sunday
football was a ‘taboo’, the reason being the Sunday Observance Act that had been
in force since 1780 - The Law of Sunday Holidays ‘prohibited that any building,
room or other place can open to the public amusement or public consultation at
Sundays’. Back then, public opposition to Sunday football on religious grounds
was also strong.
The introduction of Sunday football came about due to a
combination of a miners' strike and the oil embargo declared by OPEC members on
Western countries that were siding with
Israel in the Yom Kippur War. Restrictions on energy use,
power cuts, and a three-day working week were all imposed to save fuel and as
part of the restrictions football clubs were banned from using their
floodlights. With all games having to be played during daylight hours, kick-off
times throughout the country were brought forward. Electricity however was still
needed for the general running of stadia, and in December 1973 the Football
Association asked the Home Office for permission to play games on a Sunday,
feeling that a supply of power was more likely to be guaranteed on that day.
With permission granted, clubs had to devise a way of
bypassing the law which prevented them from charging admission for any games
played on a Sunday. To stay within the law, admission to games was made free,
but supporters would have to purchase a programme or teamsheet priced at the
normal cost of admission to enter the ground. The programmes would vary in price
according to which part of the ground you wished to enter.
Sunday football was launched in
England on 6 January 1974 with
four FA Cup ties, the first being Cambridge v Oldham which kicked off at
11.15am. Albion’s first game on a Sunday came three weeks later in a FA Cup 4th
round clash with Everton at Goodison Park. With Liverpool also due to play at
home on that weekend, and with the energy crisis biting into the countries’
infrastructure, the decision to avoid both teams playing on the same day was
taken - Liverpool would face Carlisle United on the Saturday with Everton's game
moved back 24 hours to the Sunday. A huge crowd of 53,509 fans, including around 6,000 Baggies,
witnessed Second Division Albion - they had been relegated from the top-flight
nine months earlier, produce an excellent display to earn a 0-0 draw and a
replay at The Hawthorns that would take place three days later.
The supporters in attendance saw the following teams line up:
Everton: Lawson, Darracott, McLaughlin, Clements, Lyons,
Hurst, Bernard, Buckley, Royle, Jones (Telfer), Harper.
Albion: Latchford, Nisbet,
Wilson, Cantello, Wile, Robertson, Johnston, T Brown, Shaw, Hartford, Glover.
Sun not used: Merrick
Don Howe’s men would go one better in the replay, a solitary
Tony Brown goal knocking out the Toffees to clinch a fifth round home tie
against Newcastle United. Evidence of the energy crisis was again on show for
the replay with the game kicking off at
2pm on a Wednesday afternoon as
well as a ‘makeshift’ matchday programme that was printed by Doncaster Free
Press as opposed to the usual
printers Peerless Press.
Despite seeing increased attendances throughout the country,
opposition to Sunday football was strong and the games resorted back to their
usual Saturday kick-off times as soon as the energy crisis ended. It would be
another decade before Sunday football was attempted again but it didn’t really
take off until Rupert Murdoch and BSkyB came along in 1992 and changed the face
of football forever.
The 16 page programme for the Goodison Park game is not rare, copies can usually be bought for a couple of pounds, however,
the teamsheets that supporters had to purchase to gain admittance to the ground
very rarely come up on dealers' lists and are usually much sought after items.
View the complete programme here