Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United in the goals on Boxing Day 1963 - Bygones

THE YEAR of 1963 was famous for the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Profumo Affair and the debut of George Best.

On Boxing Day, it also produced one of the most memorable days ever in the domestic football calendar; while the return fixtures just a few days later also provided compelling stories and entertainment aplenty.

The 60th anniversary of the day which saw an incredible 66 goals scored in the English top-flight – December 26, 1963 – arrives on Tuesday.

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Two of the sides involved were Steel City clubs Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United, although the number of goals scored in their respective games was modest in comparison to some.

IN THE GOALS: Sheffield United's Mick Jones. Picture: PA PhotosIN THE GOALS: Sheffield United's Mick Jones. Picture: PA Photos
IN THE GOALS: Sheffield United's Mick Jones. Picture: PA Photos

Wednesday entertained Roses opposition in Bolton Wanderers in front of a crowd of 30,562 at Hillsborough.

A brace from Colin Dobson and goal from Mark Pearson moved the Owls up to fourth in the table after a comfortable 3-0 win.

Meanwhile, a famous name in future Leeds United legend Mick Jones also helped himself to a double as United came from 3-0 down to claim a point in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Nottingham Forest.

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Len Allchurch also netted for the visitors, who ended the day in joint ninth in the table, with Frank Wignall, Barnsley-born Geoff Vowden and Ian Storey-Moore having earlier put Forest 3-0 ahead.

DOUBLE DELIGHT: Sheffield Wednesday's Colin Dobson.DOUBLE DELIGHT: Sheffield Wednesday's Colin Dobson.
DOUBLE DELIGHT: Sheffield Wednesday's Colin Dobson.

In a day of headlines, the main one on a remarkable day saw Fulham record their biggest ever league triumph and inflict the worst ever upon Ipswich Town in a 10-1 drubbing at Craven Cottage.

Graham Leggat scored four times for the Cottagers, including a rapid and scarcely believable treble in just over three minutes.

It was the fastest hat-trick in top-flight football history and he held that record for over 50 years until Sadio Mané scored three goals in 176 seconds when playing for Southampton against Aston Villa in May 2015.

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Bobby Howfield tagged on a hat-trick for Fulham. Bobby Robson and Alan Mullery were also among the scorers for the hosts in a season which saw Jackie Milburn’s Ipswich relegated after conceding a colossal 121 goals.

In East London, leaders Blackburn Rovers also went goal crazy in a 8-2 trouncing of sorry hosts West Ham, with Fred Pickering and Andy McEvoy both scoring hat-tricks.

At Turf Moor, Burnley also put Manchester United to the sword en route to a 6-1 victory, with Andy Lochhead scoring four times for the Clarets and future United winger Willie Morgan posting a double.

Across Red Rose county, it was a better day for the visitors with Chelsea running out 5-1 victors at Blackpool, with Barry Bridges netting twice and Terry Venables also among the scorers.

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The goals also flew in for hosts Liverpool, who stuffed Stoke City 6-1, with future World Cup winner Roger Hunt helping himself to four goals. It was a season when the Reds would end up lifting the title, with Blackburn tailing off and finishing seventh.

Back on Boxing Day, Liverpool’s Mersey rivals - and reigning champions - Everton lost 2-0 at Leicester, for whom Rotherham-born Ken Keyworth scored both goals. It was a rare low-scoring game.

In another part of the Midlands, normal service was resumed in a 4-4 draw between West Brom and Spurs. The visitors, for whom Jimmy Greaves scored twice, let a 4-2 lead fritter away.

Not far away from the Hawthorns, another humdinger saw Wolves draw 3-3 in their derby with Aston Villa at Molineux. Remarkably, all the goals came in the second period, with Ray Crawford scoring twice for Wanderers. Tony Hateley scored a late leveller for Villa.

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Further down the pyramid, Manchester City hammered Scunthorpe 8-1 in the Second Division, while Ian Lawson scored a late leveller for Leeds United in their big showdown with Sunderland, which ended 1-1 at Elland Road.

Future Bradford City and Halifax Town manager George Mulhall had put Sunderland ahead.

Both Leeds and Sunderland would end up being promoted to the top flight.

After the surfeit of Division One goals on Boxing Day, several sides got the immediate chance for revenge just two days later, with the reverse fixtures taking place.

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At Burnden Park, Bolton salvaged pride back with a 3-0 victory over the Owls, repeating the score in Sheffield in favour of the hosts, with teenager Francis Lee among the home marksmen.

The Blades, meanwhile, were beaten 2-1 at home by Forest, who this time produced the turnaround after going behind.

Ipswich afforded themselves some solace for events at the Cottage with a 4-2 home victory, while West Ham turned things around with a surprise 3-1 success at Ewood Park.

At Old Trafford, United atoned for their heavy defeat at Burnley with an emphatic 5-1 triumph over the Clarets.

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Leicester recorded a quick-fire double over Everton after winning 3-0 at Goodison Park, while another draw saw Villa and Wolves share four goals at Villa Park.

In the second tier, Leeds lost 2-0 at Sunderland in front of a crowd of 55,046 at Roker Park.

George Herd put the Wearsiders in front in the first minute and Nick Sharkey added a second on 20 minutes.