Forty five years ago, the Radio Times featured the League Cup Final as ‘Match of the Day from Wembley’. Martin Percival kindly lent me his copy and there on the inside cover, next to ‘Points from the Post’ Kenneth Wolstenholme wrote the following article:
‘The Football League Cup has now been given soccer’s supreme accolade – a Wembley appearance. It is a far cry from the days when everyone laughed at the competition and said that it would never succeed. Now it has not only succeeded, but has commanded a Wembley date and everyone will be shocked if the gate today does not top 70,000.
There could not be a finer menu for this first Wembley final. West Bromwich Albion will carry the standard of the First Division and they will be seeking to retain the trophy they won last season. Incidentally, Albion have yet to lose a League Cup-tie. They entered the competition for the first time last season and won it. Now they have reached the final again. But what opponents ! Queen’s Park Rangers, the first Third Division side ever to reach a Wembley final, the team which lives in the shadow of the BBC’s giant Television Centre.
This final is sure to be a game of character, just as it will be a game of characters. Both teams play all-out attacking football. To do this, both tend to leave themselves open in defence. The result should be a lot of goals, which is just what the customers like. Albion will want to keep up the Midlands’ proud record in the competition. This is the seventh competition since the very first in 1960-1, and of the six previous occasions the Cup has gone to the Midlands five times – to Villa in 1961, Norwich 1962, Birmingham City 1963, Leicester City 1964, and Albion last season. The only non-Midland team to have won the Cup is Chelsea, who won in 1965.
The personalities of the game are matched as in a game of snap. There is Clive Clark, Albion’s flying wingman who always plays with his stockings rolled down and his shins unprotected. They know all about him at Queen’s Park Rangers – they found him and later sold him to Albion. Clark plays an orthodox wingman’s game. So, too, does Mark Lazarus of Rangers. And Lazarus is just as big a goal scorer, just as big a character as Clark.
Talking of characters, they come no better than thirty-eight-year-old Jim Langley, now the Rangers’ full-back. He has previously played for Leeds, Brighton, Fulham and England and is a dead shot with penalty kicks.
If Albion mention their goal-scoring forwards like Astle and Kaye, two of the most dangerous men in the game, Rangers will counter with Roger Morgan and Marsh, for whom Newcastle United were willing to pay ¬£90,000 earlier in the season. Marsh, the former Fulham player, has been called many names – the El Cordobes of Soccer, the Clown Prince of Soccer. Call him what you like: the records show that he is top goal scorer this season.’
Prior to ‘Match of the Day’ at 10.05pm, Patrick Troughton was on screen as the latest Doctor Who, the Monkees filled the 6.15pm slot after Juke Box Jury and the News. We didn’t have BBC 2 at the time and the only programme that I might have watched occasionally on a Saturday evening before the football, would of been, ‘Adam Adamant Lives !’ Gerald Harper played Adam Adamant, an adventurer who had been born in 1867, vanished suddenly in 1902 and was then revived from hibernation in 1966. He wore Edwardian clothes and like John Steed in the iconic series, ‘The Avengers’, also carried a swordstick.
The match highlights were soon released commercially and could be viewed in the comfort of your own home with the aid of a screen and a projector. British Pathe News have some footage and many years later after an eventual video release, some cine film, in colour and taken by an R’s fan, surfaced and was transferred to video and circulated. The BBC material was re-launched onto DVD four years ago and included a short documentary, ‘Memories of ’67.’