Aug 9 1969
With the football authorities allowing the English national team a full month to acclimatise in Mexico at the end of this upcoming football season, the season itself has been compressed, so much so that the season is scheduled to finish on April 11.
Last year’s champions, Leeds United, started on the back foot last week as they lost to a gallant Manchester City in the Charity Shield. Nonetheless, they remain the bookmakers favourites to retain their title. Following them are the two Merseyside teams and behind them come the Manchester clubs followed by Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea. The rest you can forget as a sailor forgets names after he leaves a port.
Leeds face Tottenham first up at home. Chivers returns for Spurs after 11 months out of the game due to knee troubles. A very religious man by all accounts. This will also allow Greaves to move into a play maker role in midfield, which will suit his wily personality. Leeds will have their new recruit Alan Clarke from Leicester available. He played well last week however moving to such a big club meant his nerves rose too prominently to the fore last week. Let’s see how he performs this week at home.
Liverpool also face London rivals in the face of Chelsea, a team bristling with talent yet no bottle when they travel north of Watford. Liverpool with their power and force of personality should be too strong.
Manchester City face Sheffield Wednesday without the services of Francis Lee. He injured his knee last weekend, perhaps as he was leaning forward in the player’s lounge for another fried chicken drumstick as part of a well balanced diet. It’s too easy to idly speculate, so I’ll continue to do so. Why waste time on the difficult things in life when speculation comes so easily.
The two new boys of the first division face difficult matches. The gallant Crystal Palace, who have strengthened their team with a couple of players from north of the border (that’s Scotland for those who failed geography or are poor at pub quizes),face the might of Manchester United, European champions a mere year ago. With the return of Law, Palace might find the going as sticky as fairy floss and just as difficult to get it out of your hair.
Derby County under the tutelage of the venerable walking mouth that is Brian Clough face Burnley at home which could turn out to be a somewhat enigmatic encounter.
All in all it promises to be an intriguing first Saturday of the season and with plenty of sunshine and hopefully plenty of entertaining matches.