100YEARS!” “I

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f it were pos­si­ble to stage-man­age a foot­ball sea­son, skil­fully build­ing the ac­tions of the play up to a tremen­dous cli­max, that which oc­curred on Satur­day would stand as the per­fect ex­am­ple of con­trari­ness.” Lan­cashire Evening Post, May 1938

In Au­gust 1937, Dixie Dean told the Daily Mail: “This threat­ens to be the most open cam­paign we’ve ever seen. Half a dozen clubs stand a good chance of win­ning it, and any one of 10 clubs could go down.” Dean was right. Tight fin­ishes at both ends of the ta­ble, sur­prise pace­set­ters, ar­guably the worst ti­tle win­ners ever, dop­ing al­le­ga­tions, player melt­downs, the start of the TV rev­o­lu­tion and the cham­pi­ons in freefall – all in the tu­mul­tuous 1937–38 sea­son.

Ti­tle favourites were Ma­jor Frank Buck­ley’s Wolver­hamp­ton Wan­der­ers, aim­ing to win the league for the first time. Banned from a pre-sea­son tour due to their ‘over-vig­or­ous’ play the pre­vi­ous sea­son, Buck­ley’s men – with skip­per Stan Cullis set­ting the stan­dard – buzzed with con­fi­dence. Per­haps it was due to the ‘se­cret rem­edy’ Buck­ley had given his play­ers. In June, Buck­ley had been ap­proached by chemist Men­zies Sharp, who had stud­ied the ex­per­i­ments of French quack Serge Voronoff. The ec­cen­tric doc­tor had made a name for him­self graft­ing the tes­ti­cles of young sheep and goats onto older ones, claim­ing the older an­i­mals re­gained their vigour as a re­sult. Be­liev­ing his play­ers could ben­e­fit, Buck­ley chose to un­dergo a four-month course of 12 in­jec­tions taken from mon­key glands.

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