Doin’ It For Charidee

It’s the “Community Shield” this weekend. Yet another contender for the award for Most Pointless Match Of The Season. One always assumes that it is, and always has been, the pre-season curtain-raiser between the FA Cup winners and the League champions, but this has only been the case since 1974. Prior to that, it was a much more informal affair. For the first few years of it’s existence, it clung almost charmingly to the idea of professionals and amateurs being distinct from each other. The first match, in 1908, pitted the Football League Champions, Manchester United, against the amateur Southern League Champions, Queens Park Rangers. United were regulars in the first few finals. In 1911, they beat Swindon 8-4. The pros vs amateurs theme continued until 1930, at which point it switched to the format that we are still used to now, of Cup winners against League champions. There were exceptions to this, such as in 1950, when the England World Cup team took on a touring Canadian team. Fat load of good it did them: England, of course, went on to lose against the USA in Belo Horizonte that summer. Although now a more traditional competition, the Charity Shield was still capable of springing the occasional surprise. In 1963, Everton thrashed Manchester United 4-0. In 1967, Pat Jennings scored directly from a drop-kick for Spurs against Manchester United,...

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