Football Round Up – Ronald Atkin (Observer 16 November 1969 p.24)
The Manchester derby pulled in the season’s biggest crowd, 63,000, and the fact that City beat United at Maine road for the first time in 10 years – and by four goals too.
The League leaders, Everton, failed to puncture Chelsea’s unbeaten home record but will be satisfied with their merited draw.
Leeds might have expected to do better than a draw at Southampton, but they ran into a Ron Davies back to fitness and good form.
Liverpool at last halted their slump with a clear victory over West Ham, whose record at Anfield is something that Ron Greenwood would rather not hear about.
Man City 4 Man Utd 0 – Arthur Hopcraft (Observer 16 November 1969 p.24)
The game reiterated United’s current condition as one of the lesser equipped sides in the First Division and re-emphasised with much style, that City are among the very best. This was a performance of high quality from City, whose shrewdness in the middle of the field was dramatically complemented by a rich flourish of enterprise at the arrow head of the attacks.
For United and their supporters it was plainly a bitter experience, a confrontation in the emotional atmosphere of hope and fear that always ends these derby matches with the clearest possible exposition of the sides’ numerous and varied insufficiencies.
Chelsea 1 Everton 1 – Hugh McIlvanney (Observer 16 November 1969 p.24)
This was a match that outlived its strength, declining after an hour of surging incident to end in subdued anticlimax.
The weather made the perfect comment when an unnatural twilight settled on Stamford Bridge during the last 20 minutes and an icy rain swept across the floodlit ground.
Both teams, having played with intensity and intelligence for so long, we now resigned to dead lock and they seemed grateful for anything that obscured their final perfunctory exchanges.
Perhaps they have given too much too soon. Certainly the pleasure the 50,000 spectators took from a relentlessly inventive and competitive first half was sufficient to encourage a tolerant response to that disappointing conclusion.
Tottenham 2 WBA 0 – Tony Pawson (Observer 16 November 1969 p.24)
Spurs have kept their supporters on short rations in their home matches, but they were more generous against West Bromwich Albion, winning with style and assurance. Throughout they were prompted by the rich invention of Gilzean and Greaves whose deft and delicate touches lent enhancement to the game.
Gilzean can be irritatingly languid, but this was a day when he was cool and decisive, unobtrusive master of the midfield. The restless bustle of Albion was disdainfully dismissed by his unhurrying precision. In his quiet way he covered more ground than anyone else and was at the heart of every telling move.
Greaves has lost some of the hunger for goal and the devastating certainty of shot. But no one is quicker to spot an opening, no one more adept at winning space in a packed penalty area. Experience has added a whimsical humour and philosophic acceptance of misfortune that is an endearing oddity in the current age of harsh, unsmiling endeavour.