Oxford United v Tranmere Rovers, Match of the Day 1965

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A mate of mine found this on YouTube. It's one of the earliest "Match of the Day" programmes, which had only started earlier that season. Because the top two divisions were playing in the Third Round of the FA Cup, the BBC was forced to dig deeper and amazingly chose Oxford United V Tranmere Rovers, a top-of-the-table clash from the old Fourth Division. In those days, they featured only one game (as the programme title suggests), so we get to see extended highlights of life at the same level nearly 56 years ago. There is an interesting introduction by a very young Frank Bough, who also acts as commentator, pundit and summariser. The home team features Ron Atkinson, while the away side contains many of my boyhood heroes.

Watching Rovers that season was exciting, but eventually broke my heart. At the time of this game, we were in the middle of a 19-match winning run at home in the league, but our away form let us down and we just missed out on promotion, despite topping the table for most of the season. Later on, Oxford became the only side to win a league game at PP that season and (spoiler alert) completed the double over us.

It might entertain and amuse some of you over the holiday.
 
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drwhoman

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Merry Xmas BBTC. A truly exciting season. My first traveling on my tod from the south end of Liverpool to home games. Two buses and the train. Friday night games were magical. Brighton, who were eventual champions, beaten 4-2 in front of 13,000 fans! We scored 99 goals that season, 72 at home in 23 games - 0ver 3 a game on average! We lost once at Prenton, to Oxford, who beat us to promotion by one point, as we lost twelve away! Truly Jekyll and Hyde! As you say, some great players and long time stalwarts like Johnny and Alan King. Up front Barry Dyson 29 goals, Charlie Mac (what a character!) 22 and John Manning 21. Almost always you came away from Prenton with a spring in your step! Also worth noting that 12 of the other 23 teams in the Division, almost half, are not longer in the League, including our local rivals, Chester, Southport and Wrexham. Local derbies always had an extra edge. No surprise given the economic inequality between north and south, that most of the demoted clubs came from north of Birmingham. On the other side of the ledger, Crystal Palace and Brighton are in the Premier League!
 
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Yes, drwhoman, times have changed - including 3 points for a win. If that rule had been in place then, Rovers would have been promoted as champions!
 

drwhoman

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Yes, drwhoman, times have changed - including 3 points for a win. If that rule had been in place then, Rovers would have been promoted as champions!
Indeed. The whole game has changed. The pitches, the balls, back passes allowed, what were then called wing halves taking the throw ins, not too much playing out from the back. Just give it a good welly down the pitch Harry! Later replaced by the immaculate Jim Coombes of course and Roy McFarland was on the horizon. Just pure class in the brief time he had with Rovers.
 

drwhoman

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Indeed. The whole game has changed. The pitches, the balls, back passes allowed, what were then called wing halves taking the throw ins, not too much playing out from the back. Just give it a good welly down the pitch Harry! Later replaced by the immaculate Jim Coombes of course and Roy McFarland was on the horizon. Just pure class in the brief time he had with Rovers.

The crowds. Many standing and very vocal. Frank Bough was so BBC in his early days!
 
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I’m looking forward to watching the programme but I know I’ll be disappointed. For some reason, Rovers away were a shadow of the team they were at home.
 

drwhoman

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I’m looking forward to watching the programme but I know I’ll be disappointed. For some reason, Rovers away were a shadow of the team they were at home.
I agree. It did not help that John Manning was not playing in this game and Barry Dyson was never a target man. As the same time, in his pre- match comments Frank Bough mentioned that he used to watch Headington Utd before they became Oxford Utd. A quick check on Wickepedia confirmed that he went to Oxford Uni. Might explain the choice of game and what I thought was a slightly biased commentary presented in the Kenneth Wolstenholme style! Still an interesting piece of football and social history even if the result was not a good one! No idea why the winning pen was given, nor did Bough! . No slo mos in those days or VAR!
 
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I agree. It did not help that John Manning was not playing in this game and Barry Dyson was never a target man. As the same time, in his pre- match comments Frank Bough mentioned that he used to watch Headington Utd before they became Oxford Utd. A quick check on Wickepedia confirmed that he went to Oxford Uni. Might explain the choice of game and what I thought was a slightly biased commentary presented in the Kenneth Wolstenholme style! Still an interesting piece of football and social history even if the result was not a good one! No idea why the winning pen was given, nor did Bough! . No slo mos in those days or VAR!
Yes and Bough got a football blue at Oxford. He liked to wind Jimmy Hill up about the fact that he had played at Wembley, unlike Jimmy!
 

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I haven't watched it yet but will do on my "me time" after my Xmas bubble on the Wirral. Thanks for the initial post and comments. My first match wasn't until 1973/4 so well before my time! The thought that I've experienced so large a %age of the MOTD history is still making me feel "well old", though!
 

drwhoman

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I haven't watched it yet but will do on my "me time" after my Xmas bubble on the Wirral. Thanks for the initial post and comments. My first match wasn't until 1973/4 so well before my time! The thought that I've experienced so large a %age of the MOTD history is still making me feel "well old", though!
A mere boy!
 

drwhoman

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Yes and Bough got a football blue at Oxford. He liked to wind Jimmy Hill up about the fact that he had played at Wembley, unlike Jimmy!

Thanks for reminding me BBTC. Fulham were always a decent team but not really Wembley material even with Johnny Haynes. A bit of useless information - Johnny ended up as a coin dealer in the City - different!
 
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