Video of the Day: Fulham vs Blackburn Rovers, September 1968
It’s September 1968, then, and “Swinging London” may already be starting to like a fading memory. The city has already seen the Grosvenor Square riots in protest at the Vietnam war, and in the first week of October would follow the baton charge on civil rights demonstrators in Derry that would mark the beginning of The Troubles in Northern Ireland. While Chelsea FC are starting push themselves as London’s showbusiness club, their geographically closest rivals, Fulham, are in decline. Relegated from the First Division at the end of the 1967/68 season after nine seasons, having conceded almost one hundred goals, the Cottagers have also made a disastrous start to the new season in the Second Division, winning just two of their first ten matches of the season. Fulham, it turned out, wouldn’t get back into the top flight of English football until 1999. Their team for this match contains both an eighteen year old Malcolm MacDonald and the Fulham legend, Johnny Haynes.
All told, things weren’t going that much better for Blackburn Rovers, either. The club had been promoted back into the First Division after an absence of ten years in 1959, but the club’s stay in the top flight had ended in 1966 and it wouldn’t return there until the inaugural season of the Premier League in 1992. Their first two seasons back in the second tier of the English league system had been reasonably successful, finishing in fourth and eighth places respectively, and the 1967/68 season had begun with five wins and three draws from their first ten match, seeing them travel to Craven Cottage in third place in the table. All of this was enough to tempt the cameras of the BBC down there to cover this match, and it makes up the whole of this episode of Match of The Day, for which both the presenter and commentator is Kenneth Wolstenholme.
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