1968–69 in English football

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The 1968–69 season was the 89th season of competitive football in England.

Honours[edit]

Competition Winner Runner-up
First Division Leeds United (1) Liverpool
Second Division Derby County Crystal Palace
Third Division Watford Swindon Town
Fourth Division Doncaster Rovers Halifax Town
FA Cup Manchester City (4) Leicester City
League Cup Swindon Town (1) Arsenal
Charity Shield Manchester City West Bromwich Albion
Home Championship  England  Scotland

Notes = Number in parentheses is the times that club has won that honour.

FA Cup[edit]

Manchester City completed a disappointing season for relegated Leicester City by defeating them 1–0 in the FA Cup Final. Neil Young scored the only goal of the game, although Leicester's David Nish gained the record as the youngest captain of a cup finalist at the age of 21.[1]

The season's big giant-killers were Third Division Mansfield Town who accounted for Sheffield United in the Third Round and West Ham in the Fifth before going out to Leicester in the Sixth Round.

League Cup[edit]

In one of the biggest shocks in the history of the competition Swindon Town won the final 3–1 against Arsenal. Swindon's non-top flight status saw them barred from competing in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup which led to the creation of the Anglo-Italian Cup the following season.

European football[edit]

Newcastle United won the first, and to date only, European trophy in their history by beating Újpest of Hungary 6–2 on aggregate to lift the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

Football League[edit]

First Division[edit]

Leeds United won the League for the first time in their history, finishing six points ahead of Liverpool.

Manchester United's final season under the management of Sir Matt Busby before his retirement ended in an 11th-place finish, although their defence of the European Cup lasted until the semi-finals. Their cross city rivals finished 13th a year after being league champions, but had an FA Cup triumph as compensation for their failed defence of the league title and their failure to succeed in the European Cup.

Newly promoted Queens Park Rangers were relegated after finishing bottom, along with the FA Cup runners-up Leicester City.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GR Pts Qualification or relegation
1 Leeds United 42 27 13 2 66 26 2.538 67 Qualified for the European Cup
2 Liverpool 42 25 11 6 63 24 2.625 61 Qualified for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup
3 Everton 42 21 15 6 77 36 2.139 57
4 Arsenal 42 22 12 8 56 27 2.074 56 Qualified for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup[a]
5 Chelsea 42 20 10 12 73 53 1.377 50
6 Tottenham Hotspur 42 14 17 11 61 51 1.196 45
7 Southampton 42 16 13 13 57 48 1.188 45 Qualified for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup[b]
8 West Ham United 42 13 18 11 66 50 1.320 44
9 Newcastle United 42 15 14 13 61 55 1.109 44 Qualified for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup[c]
10 West Bromwich Albion 42 16 11 15 64 67 0.955 43
11 Manchester United 42 15 12 15 57 53 1.075 42
12 Ipswich Town 42 15 11 16 59 60 0.983 41
13 Manchester City 42 15 10 17 64 55 1.164 40 Qualified for the Cup Winners' Cup
14 Burnley 42 15 9 18 55 82 0.671 39
15 Sheffield Wednesday 42 10 16 16 41 54 0.759 36
16 Wolverhampton Wanderers 42 10 15 17 41 58 0.707 35
17 Sunderland 42 11 12 19 43 67 0.642 34
18 Nottingham Forest 42 10 13 19 45 57 0.789 33
19 Stoke City 42 9 15 18 40 63 0.635 33
20 Coventry City 42 10 11 21 46 64 0.719 31
21 Leicester City 42 9 12 21 39 68 0.574 30 Relegated to the Second Division
22 Queens Park Rangers 42 4 10 28 39 95 0.411 18
Source: rsssf.com
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored.
Notes:
  1. ^ Arsenal qualified for Inter-Cities Fairs Cup ahead of Everton, who finished below Liverpool, due to the "only one club per city" rule.
  2. ^ Southampton qualified for Inter-Cities Fairs Cup ahead of Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, who finished below Arsenal, due to the "only one club per city" rule.
  3. ^ Newcastle United qualified for Inter-Cities Fairs Cup as the trophy holders.

Second Division[edit]

Derby County were runaway winners of the Second Division and they were joined in being promoted by runners-up Crystal Palace. Despite still boasting the talents of Johnny Haynes and George Cohen, Fulham finished bottom and were relegated. They were joined in the Third Division by perennial strugglers Bury

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GR Pts Promotion or relegation
1 Derby County 42 26 11 5 65 32 2.031 63 Promoted to the First Division
2 Crystal Palace 42 22 12 8 70 47 1.489 56
3 Charlton Athletic 42 18 14 10 61 52 1.173 50
4 Middlesbrough 42 19 11 12 58 49 1.184 49
5 Cardiff City 42 20 7 15 67 54 1.241 47
6 Huddersfield Town 42 17 12 13 53 46 1.152 46
7 Birmingham City 42 18 8 16 73 59 1.237 44
8 Blackpool 42 14 15 13 51 41 1.244 43
9 Sheffield United 42 16 11 15 61 50 1.220 43
10 Millwall 42 17 9 16 57 49 1.163 43
11 Hull City 42 13 16 13 59 52 1.135 42
12 Carlisle United 42 16 10 16 46 49 0.939 42
13 Norwich City 42 15 10 17 53 56 0.946 40
14 Preston North End 42 12 15 15 38 44 0.864 39
15 Portsmouth 42 12 14 16 58 58 1.000 38
16 Bristol City 42 11 16 15 46 53 0.868 38
17 Bolton Wanderers 42 11 16 15 55 67 0.821 38
18 Aston Villa 42 12 14 16 37 48 0.771 38
19 Blackburn Rovers 42 13 11 18 52 63 0.825 37
20 Oxford United 42 12 9 21 34 55 0.618 33
21 Bury 42 11 8 23 51 80 0.638 30 Relegated to the Third Division
22 Fulham 42 7 11 24 40 81 0.494 25
Source: rsssf.com
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored.

Third Division[edit]

Watford won the title on goal average (Goal Ratio) from Swindon Town and both teams were duly promoted. At the bottom end Northampton Town, Hartlepool, Crewe Alexandra and Oldham Athletic were all relegated.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GR Pts Promotion or relegation
1 Watford 46 27 10 9 74 34 2.176 64 Promoted to the Second Division
2 Swindon Town 46 27 10 9 71 35 2.029 64
3 Luton Town 46 25 11 10 74 38 1.947 61
4 Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic 46 21 9 16 60 45 1.333 51
5 Plymouth Argyle 46 17 15 14 53 49 1.082 49
6 Torquay United 46 18 12 16 54 46 1.174 48
7 Tranmere Rovers 46 19 10 17 70 68 1.029 48
8 Southport 46 17 13 16 71 64 1.109 47
9 Stockport County 46 16 14 16 67 68 0.985 46
10 Barnsley 46 16 14 16 58 63 0.921 46
11 Rotherham United 46 16 13 17 56 50 1.120 45
12 Brighton & Hove Albion 46 16 13 17 72 65 1.108 45
13 Walsall 46 14 16 16 50 49 1.020 44
14 Reading 46 15 13 18 67 66 1.015 43
15 Mansfield Town 46 16 11 19 58 62 0.935 43
16 Bristol Rovers 46 16 11 19 63 71 0.887 43
17 Shrewsbury Town 46 16 11 19 51 67 0.761 43
18 Orient 46 14 14 18 51 58 0.879 42
19 Barrow 46 17 8 21 56 75 0.747 42
20 Gillingham 46 13 15 18 54 63 0.857 41
21 Northampton Town 46 14 12 20 54 61 0.885 40 Relegated to the Fourth Division
22 Hartlepool 46 10 19 17 40 70 0.571 39
23 Crewe Alexandra 46 13 9 24 52 76 0.684 35
24 Oldham Athletic 46 13 9 24 50 83 0.602 35
Source: rsssf.com
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored.

Fourth Division[edit]

The Division was won by Doncaster Rovers, who were promoted along with Halifax Town, Rochdale and Bradford City. No team failed re-election so no new members were admitted to the Football League.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GR Pts Qualification or relegation
1 Doncaster Rovers 46 21 17 8 65 38 1.711 59 Promoted to the Third Division
2 Halifax Town 46 20 17 9 53 37 1.432 57
3 Rochdale 46 18 20 8 68 35 1.943 56
4 Bradford City 46 18 20 8 65 46 1.413 56
5 Darlington 46 17 18 11 62 45 1.378 52
6 Colchester United 46 20 12 14 57 53 1.075 52
7 Southend United 46 19 13 14 78 61 1.279 51
8 Lincoln City 46 17 17 12 54 52 1.038 51
9 Wrexham 46 18 14 14 61 52 1.173 50
10 Swansea Town 46 19 11 16 58 54 1.074 49
11 Brentford 46 18 12 16 64 65 0.985 48
12 Workington 46 15 17 14 40 43 0.930 47
13 Port Vale 46 16 14 16 46 46 1.000 46
14 Chester 46 16 13 17 76 66 1.152 45
15 Aldershot 46 19 7 20 66 66 1.000 45
16 Scunthorpe United 46 18 8 20 61 60 1.017 44
17 Exeter City 46 16 11 19 66 65 1.015 43
18 Peterborough United 46 13 16 17 60 57 1.053 42
19 Notts County 46 12 18 16 48 57 0.842 42
20 Chesterfield 46 13 15 18 43 50 0.860 41
21 York City 46 14 11 21 53 75 0.707 39 Re-elected
22 Newport County 46 11 14 21 49 74 0.662 36
23 Grimsby Town 46 9 15 22 47 69 0.681 33
24 Bradford Park Avenue 46 5 10 31 32 106 0.302 20
Source: rsssf.com
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored.

Top goalscorers[edit]

First Division

Second Division

Third Division

Fourth Division

Events of the season[edit]

  • 3 August 1968 – The reigning champions Manchester City beat the FA Cup holders West Bromwich Albion 6–1 in the Charity Shield at Maine Road. Bobby Owen and Francis Lee both score twice.[4]
  • 10 August 1968 – The League season begins with Manchester City losing 2–1 to Liverpool at Anfield. Promoted Queens Park Rangers draw their first match in the First Division at home to Leicester City, and Arsenal win the North London derby 2–1 at White Hart Lane.[5]
  • 17 August 1968 – The Manchester derby at Maine Road finishes goalless. Draws for West Ham United and Arsenal (against Nottingham Forest and Liverpool respectively) end their 100% records, leaving Leeds United as the only First Division club with six points out of six. Crystal Palace and Millwall are the teams with maximum points in Division Two, while Mansfield Town and Lincoln City, of Divisions Three and Four respectively, have won both of their games thus far.[6]
  • 19 October 1968 – Geoff Hurst scores six times as West Ham United thrash Sunderland 8–0 to equal their record League victory.[7] Burnley beat Leeds United 5–1.[5]
  • 18 December 1968 – Tommy Docherty becomes the manager at Aston Villa, his third club in six weeks, after his resignation from Rotherham United and a brief spell at Queens Park Rangers.
  • 21 December 1968 – Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur 1–0 to top the First Division table at Christmas. Leeds United, who avenge their earlier defeat to Burnley by beating the Clarets 6–1 at Elland Road, are three points behind with two games in hand, while Everton and Arsenal remain in contention. At the bottom, Queens Park Rangers and Coventry City occupy the relegation places.[8]
  • 14 January 1969 – Sir Matt Busby announces that he will retire as the manager of Manchester United at the end of the season.[9]
  • 20 January 1969 – Brian Purcell and Roy Evans, two Hereford United players, are killed in a car crash on their way to an FA Cup tie at Nuneaton Borough.[10]
  • 15 March 1969 – Third Division Swindon Town cause a major shock by beating Arsenal 3–1 in the League Cup final thanks to two goals in extra-time from Don Rogers.[11]
  • 19 March 1969 – Struggling Manchester United beat bottom-of-the-table Queens Park Rangers 8–1 at Old Trafford in one of the highest-scoring matches of the First Division season.[5]
  • 29 March 1969 – Queens Park Rangers lose 2–1 at home to Liverpool and are relegated from the First Division in their first season after promotion, having won just three of their 38 matches so far.[5]
  • 11 April 1969 – The Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year award is shared for the first time in the 21 years the accolade has existed: Manchester City's Tony Book and Dave Mackay of Derby County are the joint-winners. Leeds' Billy Bremner finishes third, and Jimmy Greaves of Tottenham is fourth.[12]
  • 26 April 1969 – Manchester City win the FA Cup with a Neil Young goal giving them a 1–0 win over relegation-threatened Leicester City in the Wembley final.[13]
  • 28 April 1969 – Leeds United draw 0–0 with second-placed Liverpool at Anfield to clinch the First Division title for the first time in their history.[14]
  • 15 May 1969 – Manchester United's defence of the European Cup ends when they are knocked out by Milan in the semi-finals. They win the second leg at Old Trafford 1–0 with a goal by Bobby Charlton, but lose 2–1 on aggregate. Milan's goalkeeper Fabio Cudicini is injured by an object thrown from the crowd.[15]
  • 17 May 1969 – Three weeks after their FA Cup final defeat, Leicester City are relegated from the First Division. Needing to beat Manchester United to overtake Coventry City, they lose 3–2 in Matt Busby's last match as Manchester United's manager.[16] Liverpool's draw with Newcastle United leaves them in second place, six points behind Leeds United, who finish the season with just two defeats and unbeaten in their last 28 League games since October.[5]
  • 11 June 1969 – Newcastle United beat Újpest Dózsa 3–2 in the second leg of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Final to secure a 6–2 aggregate victory and win their first European trophy.

Star players[edit]

For the only time in its history the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year was shared by two players — Tony Book of Manchester City and Dave Mackay of Derby County.[12] For the sixth and final time in his illustrious career Tottenham Hotspur's Jimmy Greaves was Division One top-scorer with 27 goals. He was also top-scorer in the league overall with 22 goals taking the Second Division award for John Toshack of Cardiff City,

Star managers[edit]

  • Don Revie led Leeds United to their first ever League win, with a record number of points, losing just two matches and set in place a team that was to become one of the most successful of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
  • Already a club legend as a player, Joe Harvey became one of Newcastle United's most celebrated managers by leading the club to European glory.
  • Ken Furphy took Watford into the Second Division after a close race with Swindon Town. However Swindon's Danny Williams also won the League Cup to make his own name.

National team[edit]

The England national football team enjoyed a successful year in the build-up to the 1970 FIFA World Cup, for which they had automatically qualified as holders of the trophy after the 1966 FIFA World Cup. They won the 1969 British Home Championship by beating all three opponents and only lost one game all year, to Brazil during an end of season tour to the Americas.

American tour[edit]

Mexico 0–0 England
   


Deaths[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "David Nish profile". Archived from the original on 2012-03-05. Retrieved 2010-02-11.
  2. ^ a b "English League Leading Goalscorers". RSSSF. Retrieved 2017-06-04.
  3. ^ a b "English League Leading Goalscorers". RSSSF. Retrieved 2017-06-04.
  4. ^ "Man City triumph in Charity Shield thriller". ESPNsoccernet. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e Smailes, Gordon (2000). The Breedon Book of Football Records. Derby: Breedon Books. p. 122. ISBN 1859832148.
  6. ^ "Leeds only unbeaten first division club". The Gazette. Montreal. The Canadian Press. 19 August 1968. p. 29. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  7. ^ "West Ham United 8 - 0 Sunderland". Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  8. ^ Tom German (23 December 1968). "Tottenham true to pattern". The Times (57441). London. p. 9.
  9. ^ "1969: Matt Busby retires from Man United". BBC News. 14 January 1969.
  10. ^ [1] Archived 2010-07-10 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "The Forgotten Story Of ... Swindon's 1969 League Cup triumph". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  12. ^ a b "MACKAY AND BOOK SHARE AWARD". The Herald. Glasgow. 11 April 1969. p. 6. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-04-15. Retrieved 2014-10-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ Geoffrey Green (29 April 1969). "Leeds survive pounding to clinch title". The Times (57557). London. p. 8.
  15. ^ Geoffrey Green (16 May 1969). "Milan rearguard action balks United". The Times (57561). London. p. 11.
  16. ^ Geoffrey Green (19 May 1969). "Too good a side for relegation". The Times (57563). London. p. 6.
  17. ^ Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 44. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0.
  18. ^ a b c Player death notices
  19. ^ Eric Sweeney
  20. ^ Jones, Trefor (1996). The Watford Football Club Illustrated Who's Who. Surrey: T.G Jones. p. 24. ISBN 0-9527458-0-1.