Looking back 50 years to 1968
Sports comments By Tony Matthews In football, Manchester City won the First Division title for the second time; West Bromwich Albion beat Everton 1-0 after extra-time to lift the FA Cup with Baggies’ defender Dennis Clarke becoming the first-ever substitute used in a final; Manchester United defeated Benfica 4-1 in the European Cup final at Wembley and Celtic achieved the Scottish First Division and League Cup double.
At the summer Olympics in Mexico, Americans Jim Hines, Tommy Smith and Lee Evans won the men’s 100m, 200m and 400m gold medals respectively. This same trio also won gold in the 4x100m relay. Dick Fosbury took the high jump gold with his famous ‘flop’ and GB’s David Hemery won gold in the men’s 400m hurdles.
The Detroit Tigers celebrated by winning the World Baseball Series for the third time, while the Boston Celtics were the NBA Champions.
Boxer Muhammad Ali was the undisputed world heavyweight champion; Henry Cooper was the British champion and Chris Finnegan won the Olympic middleweight gold medal.
Yorkshire claimed cricket’s County Championship for the third year running while Warwickshire won the One-Day NatWest trophy.
Dutch cyclist Jan Jansen won the gruelling Tour de France.
In golf, South Africa’s Gary Player triumphed at the British Open and Texan Lee Trevino triumphed in the US Open.
In horse racing, the ‘big’ flat races were won by Sir Ivor (the Derby & 2,000 guineas), Caergwrle (1,000 guineas), Ribero (St Leger & Irish Derby), La Lagune (Oaks) and Pardallo II (Ascot Gold Cup) while the top prizes over fences/jumps went to Red Alligator (Grand National), Fort Leney (Cheltenham Gold Cup) and Persian War (Champion Hurdle). The leading flat race jockey was Lester Piggott (139 wins) while Josh Gifford (82 wins) was the champion rider over the jumps.
Italian Giocomo Agostini, on his MV Augusta, won the 500cc Moto-GPO world championship and GB’s Graham Hill, driving his reliable Lotus-Ford, lifted the F1 motor racing world title.
Leeds doubled up by winning Rugby League’s Premiership title and the Challenge Cup final, while France claimed Rugby Union’s five nations championship.
John Pulman retained the world professional snooker title (recording his fifth successive win overall).
New Zealander Ivan Mauger was the World speedway champion.
And the men’s and women’s tennis Grand Slam Open tournaments were won respectively by Rod Laver & Billy Jean King goals last season (36 outings), Ronaldo and Suarez both bagged 31 in separate campaigns, as did Shearer in 1995-96.
Shearer, of course, holds the all-time record for most PL goals scored – 260. Wayne Rooney claimed 208, the aforementioned Cole struck 187, Lampard weighed in with 177, Henry netted 175, Robbie Fowler 163, Jermain Defoe 162, Owen 150, Les Ferdinand 149 and Sheringham 146.
Five players have scored five goals in a single PL game: Cole for Manchester United v. Ipswich in 1995; Shearer for Newcastle v. Sheffield Wednesday in 1999; Defoe for Spurs v. Wigan in 2009; Berbatov for Manchester United v. Blackburn in 2010 and Aguero for Manchester City v. Newcastle in 2015.
So, my question is, who will be receiving the Golden Boot next May? Aguero is bang in form, Kane isn’t quite at his best and Salah has been off the pace as well. So about Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette perhaps, even West Ham’s Marko Arnautovic?
We shall wait with bated breath. (Wimbledon), Arthur Ashe & Margaret Court (USA), Ken Rosewall and Nancy Ritchie (France) and Bill Bowry and Billy Jean King (down under in Australia).
NB: Also in 1968, the deaths occurred of former USA world heavyweight boxing champion Jess Willard, aged 86; American race-car driver Ronnie Duman (39) who crashed while competing in the Rex Mays 150, and former Swedish athlete Johan Nystyrom (94).
Boston Celtics were the NBA Champions.
Red Alligator (Grand National)
Tommy Smith won the 200m
Jim Hines won the 100m