Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Saudi contest for women's rights

From Big Issue in the North magazine, please buy it when you see a seller. 

Despite recent improvements there is still a long way to go before women enjoy equal rights in Saudi Arabia, say human rights campaigners.
In February King Abdullah appointed for the first time ever a number of women to the advisory body the Shura council. Last year two Saudi women became the first from the country to compete in the Olympics. Both decisions caused an outcry from conservatives in the Arab state of 16 million citizens and an estimated 11 million foreign workers who are employed to exploit the world’s largest oil reserves.
As Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy there have never been any elections since its establishment in 1932. The king is expected to abide by sharia law and the teachings of the Quran, both of which have been interpreted in widely different fashions, including one that argues that the qualities of leadership and decision making are bestowed only to men.
According to Adam Coogle, researcher on Saudi Arabia for Human Rights Watch (HRW), the king has made a number of improvements to women’s rights since coming to power in 2005. They include allowing the Ministry of Justice to issue its first trainee license to a female law graduate and a new law that prevents men from refusing to get their wives or daughters ID cards by making it a requirement that women do this themselves.
These are largely symbolic changes. But, in addition, between 2011-12, the Saudi Ministry of Labour issued a series of decrees easing restrictions on women entering employment in clothing stores, factories and amusement parks or working as cashiers without the approval of a male guardian.
Coogle said: “Importantly, anecdotal evidence also suggests that women are now being allowed to work in most sectors without written approval from a male guardian.
“However the guardianship system still exists and girls and women are forbidden from travelling, conducting official business, marrying oundergoing certain medical procedures without permission from their male guardian. Until Saudi Arabia does away with this discriminatory system women will not approach equality with men in society.”
Halifax MP Linda Riordan has maintained an interest in Saudi affairs since she was a researcher for her predecessor Alice Mahon and worked to free a British worker jailed in Riyadh for a crime he did not commit.
She said: “The recent sentencing there of two women to prison for helping a woman abused by her husband greatly disturbs me. It is therefore pleasing that HRW is noting some improvements in women’s rights. Our government must exert pressure on the Saudis to move much more quickly. The problem is that governments fear losing trade with an oil-rich country by being critical.”
Bad press
Coogle feels all Western countries prefer to raise any human rights and equality issues behind closed doors. He said: “It would be more helpful if they issued public statements about human rights violations and the need to enact reforms that cut to the heart of the guardianship system itself.
“Public pressure works better as bad press moves Saudi Arabia more than quiet lobbying, as many members of the royal family are very image-conscious. Public statements also tend to bolster the forces within the royal family who do want to see changes.”

Friday, 26 July 2013

Manchester United and the FA Cup

Manchester United currently hold the record for the most FA Cup successes, with eleven in all.  It’s a great achievement, especially after starting out as Newton Heath in 1878 they captured the cup just once in the first 69 years. 

In fact it wasn’t until January 1894 before a first round proper match was won, Middlesbrough suffering a 4-0 defeat in the first tie to be held at Bank Street, Newton Heath having moved there from North Road in the previous summer. Any hopes this was to be the start of a glorious tradition quickly floundered, although in 1896-97 and, as Manchester United in 1905-06, the club did reach the last eight. 

Hopes were high therefore in 1907-08 when, en route to capturing the First Division title for the first time, a quarter-final tie away to second Division Fulham offered an opportunity to move towards capturing the League and cup ‘double.’  A surprise defeat was forgotten when the following season, helped by some terrible weather in the quarter final, that caused the game at Turf Moor to be abandoned with just 18 minutes left with Burnley one-nil to the good, Ernest Mangnall’s men progressed to the final. 

Bristol City had pipped Manchester United for the Second Division title three seasons earlier when both sides had been promoted, but it was the large United following at the Crystal Palace that left the happier, Sandy Turnbull knocking home the only goal. Returning with what was then the most sought after cup in the world the players and staff enjoyed a glorious reception before thousands of Mancunians. 

When a second League title followed in 1910-11, United fans appetite for more success was high. It was not to be, and only once did their side seem set for another final appearance. This was in 1926 and standing in their way of a first ever Wembley appearance were City, who two years previously had won the second final at the new ground, beating Newcastle 2-0. United were ably led by Frank Barson, a blacksmith by trade and not a man to be tangled with. Despite his best efforts City won comfortably, although Bolton stopped them winning the cup again a few short weeks later. 

Not once after that did United even make it to the last sixteen before football as a serious contest was ended for the more important struggle that was World War Two. When it did resume United were pitted over two legs against Accrington Stanley in the 1945-46 third round. It had been Stanley who United had faced first in the FA Cup after changing their name from Newton Heath in 1902. Then it had been 7-0, now United again scored seven in going through 7-3 on aggregate. 

With bombed out Old Trafford years away from being ready, City had agreed to let United play their home games at Maine Road. As the more successful, better supported side they might have thought they were simply doing their lesser rivals a favour. United repaid them by using Maine Road as a base to begin their rise above them and back to the very summit of English football. It’s a climb that City are still trying to catch up with. 

Preston put paid to United in 1946 but two years later no-one was going to do so and arguably the manner in which Matt Busby’s side won the FA Cup has never been bettered. Certainly what hasn’t is the numbers that turned up to see them doing it! All the more appropriate therefore that this success spawned some great mementoes of the six games, all away from home, culminating in a 4-2 first ever Wembley victory against Stanley Matthews Blackpool. 

59,000 had packed out Villa Park for the third round, and they witnessed a sensational match in which despite scoring four Aston Villa ran off beaten 6-4. More than 74,000 were present for the fourth round ‘home’ game played at Goodison Park due to City also being at home in the cup. Liverpool had no chance and were swept aside 3-0. Charlton, Preston North End and Derby County, all First Division teams at the time, were all then beaten by at least a couple of goals before United headed to Wembley. Losing 2-1 at half time it wasn’t until the 70th minute when Jack Rowley forced the equaliser. Twelve minutes later Blackpool were in with no chance after Stan Pearson and John Anderson had doubled the United total. The best final ever said the papers. 

With few people able to afford the primitive televisions then on the market it was the cinema’s that profited, doing a roaring trade by showing the final live on the large screen. For those unable to gain entry there was a chance to catch some of the highlights before the evening film showings courtesy of Pathe News. It wasn’t to be long though before most people could enjoy the comfort of watching the cup final at home and by 1957 and 1958 the numbers doing so dwarfed those doing so at the cinema’s. 

Having hammered Bournemouth 5-0 in the 1948-49 third round United were drawn against Bradford Park Avenue in the fourth and thousands were determined to see the game. The gates were closed, but not before 82,771 the largest ever crowd outside of Wembley assembled to watch a FA Cup tie. It was though almost beaten in the fifth, non-league Yeovil had created one of the greatest ever cup shocks by overcoming Sunderland in the fourth, but despite being backed by 7,000 in a crowd of 81,565 they were no match for the cup holders. Eight-nil and a then record haul of five goals in an FA Cup match for Jack Rowley. Wolves however put paid to consecutive successes, beating United 1-0 in a replayed semi-final at Goodison Park.

By the time United returned to the final four of the competition in 1957, Matt Busby had assembled a new side. As runaway league leaders, and European Cup semi-finalists, the chance of a treble was on and along with the now by obligatory rosette worn proudly by many United fans there was also the chance to wave a special pennant at the semi-final against Birmingham City at Hillsborough. The Blues had reached the final the previous season, but were no match as United moved onto Wembley. By the time they arrived Real Madrid had put paid to any treble by winning the two leg Euro semi 5-3 on aggregate but with the double still very much on ‘The Babes’ were on the edge of history. 

They would have undoubtedly have achieved it if the game had been played under today’s rules.   Seven minutes in with ‘keeper Ray Wood easily collecting a poor cross he was battered to the ground by Aston Villa winger Peter McParland, leaving the United custodian with a broken cheekbone. Even for the 50s it was a harsh crude challenge, but it was to be another 28 years before Kevin Moran became the first man to be sent off in an FA Cup Final. McParland went on to profit from his good fortune by scoring both his sides goals in a 2-1 win.

If 1957 broke United fans hearts, the following year shattered even those of  people who had never entered a football ground. Munich, February 1958 and with the game of football coming to terms with its tragic loss everyone wanted United to do the impossible by winning their way back to Wembley. It’s not possible to do justice to the players who did it, suffice to say Sheffield Wednesday were swept away in the fifth round match re-arranged in the aftermath of Munich, and although Fulham put up stubborn semi-final resistance a hat-trick by Alec Dawson finally helped a side being managed by assistant Jimmy Murphy to win the second game, 5-3. 

Matt Busby was back for the final, but was a game too much from United, Nat Lofthouse scoring both goals in a 2-0 win for neighbours Bolton. It took just four seasons to gain revenge, the Wanderers losing 2-1 at Old Trafford on 3rd round day in 1962. The previous season had seen United swept aside 7-2 at home to Sheffield Wednesday so when the two sides were pitched together in the 5th round revenge was in the air. The Owls did force a replay but a resurgent United won this 2-0 at Hillsborough, Johnny Giles and Bobby Charlton sweeping home the goals. Matt Busby’s side were back on the same ground within five weeks. Facing them were the previous season’s double winners Spurs and despite a valiant effort it was the Cockney side who triumphed 3-1. 

This was to mark the start of five seasons in which United reached the last four of the competition. Yet only once did they make the final, when having enjoyed a fortuitous series of draws - - that pitched them against just one side from the top League in Aston Villa they found themselves lining up against Leicester City at the 1963 final. The East Midlands side were the favourites to win, but, inspired by Denis Law, Manchester United won comfortably enough in a 3-1 win, David Herd hitting two past Gordon Banks in the Leicester goal.

Set to face their first top flight opponents that season in the 1964 semi-final it looked like history might repeat itself. However the damage had already been done. United might have beaten Second Division Sunderland 5-1 in the 2nd replay of the sixth round, but their efforts in hauling themselves past the Wearsiders, when in both the earlier matches they had scored right at the end, had left them exhausted. As many as 100,000 are estimated to have turned up for the second game at Roker Park, when with the gates broken down two people died. Unable to get anywhere near the ground the United party had to dismount from their coach and make the last half mile on foot. The series of games were later to be described by Bobby Charlton as the most exciting of his career. Back at Hillsborough for the semi-final, United slumped 3-1 to West Ham United. Fast forward a year and this time Leeds United stood in the way, United having won a thrilling quarter-final tie 5-3 away at Wolves.

If football had been the winner at Molineux it certainly wasn’t at Hillsborough, when both United’s kicked lumps out of each other. Law and Jack Charlton made passable impressions of being boxers in their past lives and to make matters worse a scoreless draw forced a second game. A third seemed certain but with only minutes remaining Leeds, through Billy Bremner, forced home the winner. Five years later the two sides did, in fact, need three games to divide them at the semi-final stage and Bremner was again the match-winner. It was a defeat that brought to an end George Best’s chance of winning an FA Cup medal of any description. He’d been too young to play in the 1963 Final and a premature end to his career meant he was to be long gone by the time United again qualified for the final.

He had though not left without making his mark. Having beaten near neighbours City 3-0 in the fourth round of the 1969-70 season, United were given a tricky away tie against Northampton Town. The Cobblers had thrilled the football world by making it into Division One at the end of the 1964-65 season. They almost managed to stay for a second season but relegation started the plunge right back to the basement and by the time Best came to town on 7 February 1970 they were struggling in Division Four. Still this being the FA Cup, confidence was high amongst the home followers in a packed out County Ground. 

What happened next remains folk law. On a muddy pitch, perfect for upsets, Best was at his impudent best. He headed home the opener and had added a second to make it 2-0 by half-time. His third arrived just after the restart and by the end he’d doubled his haul. Best was fresh back from suspension and yet despite being thrashed 8-2 no Northampton player that day would turn back the clock as they and anyone lucky enough to be present witnessed perhaps the greatest of the genius’s games. 

Manchester United had completed three consecutive seasons semi-final defeats in 1966 by losing 1-0 to Everton at Burnden Park, and it was to be another ten years before they did finally make it back to Wembley for the first time in 13 years. Southampton of the Second Division stood in their way. Having enjoyed a successful return to the top flight after promotion from the Second Division the previous season then Tommy Docherty’s side were big favourites. Not for the first, or last, time the FA Cup Final threw up a surprise, and although neither team really deserved to win it was Southampton, courtesy of a late Bobby Stokes goal, that captured the famous trophy for the only time in their long history. 

Defeat meant that over a twenty-year period United had reached the last four on nine occasions, but on only one occasion - in 1963 - had they actually managed to win the FA Cup. There must have therefore been one or two fans who feared the worst when they again reached the last four in 1977, especially as the other three sides were Leeds United and the two Merseyside Giants. To add to their concerns United were asked to again play the Peacocks at Hillsborough. This wasn’t though the Don Revie side of the 1960s and goals from Steve Coppell and former Leeds apprentice Jimmy Greenhoff, saw Docherty’s side win more comfortably than the 2-1 scoreline would suggest.

Liverpool were United’s opponents at Wembley. The Merseysiders had already captured the League Title and with a European Final against Borussia Moenchengladbach to come then the chance of the unique treble was definitely on. Before the game much was made of the absence of the highly reliable Stewart Houston down United’s left, but in the event FA Cup debutant Arthur Albiston came in and played with distinction. The better side on the day lost, but Martin Buchan couldn’t have cared less when he became the first man to captain sides to Scottish and English FA Cup successes. Neither could the United hordes, who roared their delight when he hoisted aloft the famous trophy.

The first half was a poor affair, but on 50 minutes Stuart Pearson cracked home a fine opening goal. Jimmy Case, Liverpool’s combative midfielder with a lovely shot on him, was having none of that and two minutes later he put his side level with a wonderful sweeping drive. With the tension on the terracing becoming almost unbearable United were back in the lead within three minutes. The goal was a fluke, Lou Macari’s shot was going well wide when it hit Jimmy Greenhoff to deflect the ball wide of Ray Clemence in the Liverpool goal. 

Liverpool were stung but when they pushed forward the United back four, able supported by a busy midfield, were never going to give up the chance to deny their rivals a crack at the treble. That would have to wait for another day, or rather year, because unlike United Liverpool have yet to achieve such a feat. 

By the time United next returned in 1979 to Wembley in the FA Cup Tommy Docherty had long since departed, unceremoniously dumped after his affair with Mary Brown, wife of United physio Laurie. Having, in the semi-final, again beaten Liverpool, courtesy of another Jimmy Greenhoff goal, United’s final opponents were Arsenal. 

Manager Dave Sexton had spent heavily in bringing in two Leeds United players in Joe Jordan and Gordon McQueen and it was the latter who appeared to have given his side a consolation goal when he used his long legs to proud the ball beyond Pat Jennings to make it 2-1 with just four minutes remaining. Arsenal had been coasting with an early goal from Brian Talbot being added to by a Frank Stapleton effort just before half-time. 

Sammy McIlroy, part of a long line of Northern Ireland internationals at Old Trafford, had endured a difficult afternoon but with 88 minutes on the clock he showed sublime skill to weave his way across the box before leaving his countryman Jennings grasping thin air. 2-2 and queue ecstatic United celebrations - too ecstatic in fact. 

Liam Brady, another Irishman, only this time from the South, had created Arsenal’s first two goals and now he was going to play his part in the third. Slipping a wonderful pass out wide gave Graham Rix the chance to cross and, timing his run to perfection, Alan Sunderland came bursting in to send one half of Wembley into silence. Brian Talbot thus became the only man to win the FA Cup with different clubs in successive seasons, having been part of the Ipswich side the previous year. Arsenal 3 Manchester United 2 and a long way home for the United followers, who then watched their side fail to pass beyond the fourth round over the next three seasons. 

Italian bound Joe Jordan had been replaced by Arsenal’s Frank Stapleton in 1981, one of many new expensive arrivals under new manager Ron Atkinson and his last minute goal had seen United squeeze past Everton in the quarter finals of the 1982-83 FA Cup. Standing in the way of an ninth final appearance were Stapleton’s old side, and they took a first half lead through Tony Woodcock, only for another of Atkinson’s expensive buys, Bryan Robson to force home the equaliser before Norman Whiteside saw United back at Wembley for the second time in a matter of weeks after the disappointment of losing to Liverpool in the Milk Cup Final. 

Brighton, already relegated, were not expected to offer a significant threat. The Seagulls though led 1-0 at half time, courtesy of a 14th minute Alan Smith effort. Yet with just three minutes of the game remaining United’s name seem certain to be on the cup following another Stapleton and a rare Ray Wilkins goal. This may account for some slack marking at the back and Gary Stevens profited by forcing home the equalising goal. It was to be the first time United had played extra-time in the FA Cup Final, and with no extra-goals it also meant a first ever replay. If there was disappointment it was tempered by the fact that Smith was left with only Bailey to beat at one point - ‘Smith must score’ ranted the commentators. If he did it would have been the greatest day in the South Coast sides’ history, but stung by enjoying such a lucky escape United made sure in the second game. Robson with two, Whiteside and Arnold Muhren, the first Dutchman to play in a cup final, all scored in a 4-0 win that gave United a fifth success.

This became six just two years later. Liverpool had again been beaten at the semi-final stage, no-one from Anfield being able to match Bryan Robson over the two games in which he scored in both. It was the other side from the Mersey who faced United. Everton had already won the First Division title and following their previous seasons FA Cup success they were poised to capture the now long gone European Cup Winners Cup. They had a powerful midfield in which Peter Reid had been outstanding that season. 

With ticket prices at a record high it was not surprising that the match saw the first one million pounds plus gate receipts for an FA Cup Final. It was a sum significantly higher than the first final in which reliable receipts were recorded, when 12,500 spectators paid out a grand total of £442 to witness Blackburn Rovers beat Scottish side Queen’s Park 2-0 in 1885. 

In a bruising no-holds encounter United more than held their own but seemed certain to go down to defeat when Kevin Moran was unlucky, after fouling Reid, to become the first man to be dismissed in a Cup Final, referee Peter Willis Wiley waving away appeals for clemency. For Everton the famous League and Cup ‘double’ was within their reach when Whiteside wrenched the cup from their grasp by curling a magnificent shot that left Neville Southall grasping fresh air. A great contest had been settled by the sort of goal which should win such occasions. It was to be Whiteside’s finest hour and he like his manager was long gone by the next time United ran out at Wembley in the FA Cup Final.

In 1990, manager Alex Ferguson’s side had enjoyed two thrilling games at Maine Road against near neighbours Oldham Athletic in the semi-final. In a see-saw match both teams took the lead in the first, at the end of which they’d shared six goals. Only half as many were scored in the replay, with Mark Robins scoring the crucial third in extra-time. 
Crystal Palace had never previously reached the final and United were expected to win comfortably. That hadn’t been the case in the third round, drawn away at Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest there were rumours that defeat, in a season in which his side had failed to perform in the League, would see Ferguson summarily dismissed. A late goal from substitute Robins proved just enough to squeeze United through.

Managed by ex-Red Steve Coppell, Palace were ahead when Bryan Robson thundered home an equaliser. When Hughes made it 2-1 it was time for Coppell to push on substitute Ian Wright and within seconds he’d brought the match level and taken it into extra-time. Jim Leighton was then left stranded by a superb Wright volley and an unlikely south London success looked on. Seven minutes from time Mark Hughes cruelly denied the Eagles a famous victory in what had been an exciting 120 minutes of football. 

The replay never had anything like the same level of entertainment. Leighton had been surprisingly replaced between the posts by Les Sealey, on loan from Luton. He had little to do, Palace were poor and United little better but a 60th minute well-driven shot by Lee Martin proved enough to win the trophy for a then record equalling - with Aston Villa and Spurs - seventh time. Alex Ferguson too also had a record to be proud of, becoming only the second man, after Johnny Cochrane of St Mirren and Sunderland in the 1930s, to manage English and Scottish FA Cup Winning teams. 

By the time captain Steve Bruce next lead out United in the 1994 Cup Final Spurs, by winning the cup in 1991, were back in front with eight wins. With the FA in dire financial straits semi-final matches had all been moved to Wembley, and so it was that the followers of both United and Oldham journeyed past perfectly acceptable venues to meet in north London for the right to return there for the final a few short weeks later. For much of the time it seemed it would be the near neighbours who’d been travelling south but with only seconds remaining Mark Hughes lashed home a trademark volley to give United a slightly fortuitous draw. Thankfully, at least, the replay was at Maine Road. The consolation of a short trip home would have been the least of Oldham followers concerns after they’d witnessed their side being well beaten 4-1.

Chelsea stood in the way of a record equalling eighth win. Not for long, Eric Cantona became the first man to score two penalties in the Cup final before Mark Hughes and Brian McClair added a goal apiece to ensure the Pensioners limped off a well-beaten side. Victory in a year in which Sir Matt Busby had earlier passed away meant a first ever League and FA Cup double, a fitting tribute to the great man. Also joining in the celebrations were the residents of Gugh Island, who before you ask ‘where’s that?’ is in the Isles of Scilly, who issued a special 50p stamp in commemoration of United’s achievement. 

A chance of a ninth FA Cup success came the following season. Even though Eric Cantona was still suspended at the time of the semi-final match because his actions in attacking a Crystal Palace supporter during the league game at Selhurst Park earlier in the season - this helped stoke up the atmosphere before the two sides met at Villa Park in the semi-final. Significant pre-match trouble around Birmingham failed to prevent the sides putting on a fine display, but following a 2-2 draw many supporters of both sides, sickened by the violence, decided to give the replay a miss. Only 17,987 saw United win comfortably with a goal apiece from the centre-back partnership of Gary Pallister and Steve Bruce. It set up a frantic finish to the season, with a second double very much on.

Having lost out to Blackburn on the final day of the League season there was to be further disappointment when Everton’s Paul Rideout put his side ahead after half an hour. United after that were the better side, but failed to create sufficient chances to deserve a victory and it was to be the Toffees who headed north with what is currently  their last major honour. 

One year later and having already won the league title United were back at Wembley. They’d enjoyed a touch of good fortune in round three, Sunderland, backed by what Alex Ferguson later said were the loudest bunch of away fans he’d heard at Old Trafford, had come within seconds of putting United out of the competition when they led 1-0 at Roker Park in the replay before Paul Scholes equalised at the death. Andy Cole duly put United through in extra-time, after which they cruised to the final to set up a meeting with Liverpool. 

The match proved a terrible one - especially for Liverpool, who in a return to the past defended deeply and seemed happy to ensure they didn’t lose. Justice was therefore done when Cantona, showing great poise, fastened on to a loose ball to drill home a shot from the edge of the box that somehow made its way past the ranks of Liverpool defenders in front of him. United had done the double for the second time and won the FA Cup for a record breaking ninth time. Wimbledon and Barnsley put paid to a tenth the following seasons but no-one was going to do so in 1998-99! 

Chelsea had defended deeply in the sixth round but any hopes they might profit for a goalless draw were to be ruined when Dwight Yorke scored both goals at Stamford Bridge in the replay. Arsenal and United then played out another goalless affair in the semi-final at Villa Park and it looked with the score at 1-1 in extra time that the outcome would be decided on penalties. 

Ryan Giggs had last scored an FA Cup goal back in 1995 and was due another. Few though would have bet on him scoring when he picked up a ball just inside the Arsenal half. Showing all the skills of his compatriot and United legend Billy Meredith the Welshman hurtled down the wing leaving a trail of Gunners in his wake before cutting inside and hammering a shot of such pace and precision that England keeper David Seaman never had any chance of saving it. It was a truly brilliant goal and helped set United up for another final, this time against Newcastle.

The match itself was not the best Wembley has ever seen. Having already won the title United were keen to simply get the job done and move on to Barcelona to face Bayern Munich in the final of the European Champions League. Newcastle were backed by their passionate followers but there was never a chance of the Geordies winning their first domestic trophy since the last time they won the FA Cup in 1955. Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes ensured a comfortable success. 

To the intense irritation of its older fans United didn’t defend the cup the following season, journeying off to South America to play in the World Club Championship but by May 2004 Alex Ferguson’s side were back in the final. They were up against unlikely opponents in Millwall, whose manager Denis Wise had taken the Lions to a first ever final. United had beaten City 4-2, with Ruud van Nistelrooy grabbing two, in round five and were naturally big pre-match final favourites. With Wembley closed for refurbishment the match was played at the impressive Millenium Stadium in Cardiff and although the lower league side looked like they may go in at half-time level they failed to pick up van Nistelrooy in the 44th minute and his headed goal was one of two in a 3-0 victory. United had now won the FA Cup eleven times.

There was a glorious chance to make it twelve the following season. Back at the Millennium Stadium for the semi-final van Nistelrooy again grabbed two in a 4-1 demolition of Newcastle, setting a final with Arsenal. 

Having, for once, failed to capture a trophy during the season then this was United’s chance to do so. The  Gunners were more intent on not losing than winning the game and adopted a defensive attitude.  Alex Ferguson’s side were unlucky to find Jens Lehman in fine form, and his series of saves helped ensure the game finished 0-0 after extra-time. In the past a 0-0 draw would have meant a replay, but changes in the rules meant that for the first time the FA Cup was decided on penalties. Again Lehman was the hero, saving Paul Scholes effort to leave Patrick Viera to stroke home the winning penalty at 5-4. 

By the time United were back in the final in 2007 the new Wembley had opened. Rooney had starred in a 4-1 semi-final win against Watford at Villa Park and hopes were high for a 12th cup success. Victory over Chelsea would also have given United the double for the fourth time. With their opponents having won the League Cup earlier in the season then there were real hopes of a great game for the first FA Cup Final back in London after six years in Wales. It was not to be, the first shot didn’t arrive till half an hour had gone, and two sides seemed set to settle the competition on penalties when Didier Drogba popped up with a late winner. 

In 2008/09 a chance to again play Chelsea in the final was lost when United lost on penalties at the end of the goalless semi-final match with Everton. There was further disappointment in 2010-11 when City beat their near neighbours 1-0 at Wembley in the semi-final. City went on to win the Trophy for the fifth time, but with eleven successes then their near neighbours are easily the most successful FA Cup side ever.  

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

George Elliott: The Middlesbrough player who finished as top scorer in Division One in 1913/14

Re-produced from the Golden Boot book published by Amberley Publications and co-authored with Tony Matthews.


George Elliott 31 goals of 77 goals by Middlesbrough who finished in 3rd place 
21 home, 10 away

George Elliott’s sporting enthusiasm saw him ignore his family’s advice to go to Cambridge University, instead signing for Middlesbrough on 3 May 1909. He’d already shown enough promise that when Derby County enquired about re-signing Steve Bloomer in September the following yea,r Middlesbrough were happy to let him return south. Having hit four goals in his first season, Elliott proceeded to steadily up his scoring record with 10, 17 and 22 league goals in the following three seasons. The Teessiders though had struggled in the 1912-13 season, finishing in sixteenth place in Division One. The 1913-14 was to be very different, as with Sunderland born Elliott in rampaging form Middlesbrough were to finish in their highest ever League placing of third. 

Elliott got his goal tally off the ground by netting twice against Derby County. Having being on the end of a fine move with a ten-yard header he banged home a ‘grand goal, with the ball striking the foot of the post before going into the net’ reported the Middlesbrough Gazette

He went one better at Ayresome Park in the local derby with reigning champions Sunderland. It was a brilliant game played at a cracking pace, and with the result in doubt to the very end.  At 0-0  ‘Elliott eluded Gladwin and Ness with a pretty dribble and gave Butler no chance of saving his hard drive into the net’ reported the Newcastle Journal. Then, after hitting home a penalty, he brought his side back into the game at 3-4 with a close-in finish, but with the home side having lost Andrew Jackson at half-time the ten men couldn’t force home a late equaliser against a Sunderland side that was more than prepared to stretch the rules to capture both points, with a late tackle leaving the Boro centre-forward injured and absent for the following three games. 

Back in the side against Newcastle United, Elliott earned and scored a penalty and his two goals were enough to ensure a comfortable 3-0 victory. Debutant Walter Tinsley had been signed from Sunderland to play alongside Elliott at inside left. The two were able to form a deadly partnership with the new man able to grab 19 League goals in just 23 matches before the end of the season, including three in the following home game that saw Aston Villa beaten 5-2. ‘Rarely, if ever has the five forwards that represented the club been equalled’ reported the Gazette

On New Year’s Day, Elliott lifted a John Carr centre high into the net for the winner in a five-goal thriller against Derby County. Two weekends later, League leaders Blackburn Rovers arrived at Ayresome Park to find Elliott in sparkling form, constantly picking up the ball to find wingers Cook and Stirling before getting on the end of their crosses to hit home all three goals in the match. It was the third time he had hit a Middlesbrough hat-trick, his first having come against Bolton Wanderers during the previous season.  

‘Elliott was in international form’ reported the Gazette and to confirm that was the case he scored both his sides goals in a 4-2 defeat at Roker Park the following weekend. His first, and that of the game, came on 34 minutes when ‘Stirling dashed away leaving Ness trailing in his wake and from his centre Elliott scored a lovely goal’ reported the Newcastle Journal. Towards the end he reduced the away sides three-goal deficit with a simple finish. 

Two weeks later, he might have scored a lot more than his single effort against Everton. But what a goal it was and in its reporting - courtesy of the Liverpool Echo - we catch a glimpse of the Boro centre-forwards assets.

The scoring of the second point was worth going far to see, as to taking the ball there was no hesitancy and flashing between the backs, he simply rendered Fern, who made a gallant effort to arrest the lighting shot, practically helpless…….As a distributor and an opportunist, Elliott had no compere, and the honours that have come his way have undoubtedly been well merited. 

Elliott’s superb form brought him a place in the England line-up against Ireland in the Home International Championship. With the game being played at Ayresome Park he was on familiar territory. Ireland were no mugs and Elliott had been part of the England side the previous season when they’d won for the first time ever in games between the sides. With Liverpool’s Billy Lacey in sparking form the away side showed the result in Belfast had been no fluke by winning 3-0.  There was therefore to be no place for Elliott against Scotland at Hampden Park and when the Boro man did finally make it back into his country’s colours in March 1920 he suffered the agony of losing for the third and final time. 

Despite the Ireland disappointment, Elliott continued to score regularly as the 1913-14 season came to its conclusion. He hit a beauty against Manchester United, but remained just behind Danny Shea of Blackburn Rovers in the scorers’ chart. 

Then, at home to Sheffield Wednesday, he hit his third hat-trick of the season and when he then scored twice to help push PNE towards relegation, he had moved up to 28 League goals for the season. Bashing home a late winner at Turf Moor, he moved onto 30 with a fine effort in a narrow 3-2 home defeat to Sheffield United. 

Shea was to have the honour of collecting a League winner’s medal but the Blackburn man was not going to earn the title of the seasons ‘hot-shot’ and with Tinsley scoring twice Elliott ended the season with another goal in a 3-1 defeat of runners up Aston Villa. Reward, if that’s not stretching the English language too far, came from knowing that a bonus totalling £165 could be paid to the players for finishing third, £15 per position divided by the number of games played by each player. Having missed a sixth of the season through injury and playing for England Elliott would have lost out on £2.50. 

Elliott’s Ayresome Park career continued to be a fine one. It was cut short by the World War, but in 1919-20 he again scored 31 League goals. When he finally quit, he left behind a record that read 365 first team appearances and 213 goals, leaving him second behind George Camsell in the list of all time Boro scorers. 

The Matchgirls successful strike of July 1888

In 1888, an event took place in East London which changed the face of British trade unionism. It was the strike of the Matchgirls at the Bryant and May factory in Bow. 

The conditions of the poor in this period were appalling. Very few of the unskilled labourers were unionised. Consequently they had no protection and were forced to work  excessively long hours for a few shillings in unsafe and unhealthy conditions. Then when they were broken in body and spirit they lost their jobs to children ‘ripe’ for labour.

The Matchgirls, some of them little more than children, were subject to bullying by their charge-hands, with illegal fines and stoppages taken from their meagre wages of as little as four shillings (20 pence) a week.

They even had a day’s pay stopped so Theodore Bryant could boast that his workforce had donated towards a statue of Gladstone, which he had erected in Bow Road. (*)

They worked with yellow phosphorus, used for the match ends. Phosphorus covered the benches they worked at - the same benches from which they ate their lunches.

It burned the skin on impact and covered their clothes so that they were luminous in the dark. A number of girls had yellow, jaundiced skin, caused through inhaling the  phosphorus, which killed off the live bone of the jaw and caused terrible disfigurement.  ‘Phossy Jaw’ was intensely painful. How many died as a result will never be known.

In the dark winter evenings, piles of luminous vomit in the gutters around Bow evidenced that the Matchgirls had finished work for the day.

An article appeared in the Socialist weekly paper of that time known as the Link, entitled ‘White Slavery of London.’ It was written by Annie Besant and in it she exposed the conditions at Bryant and May. She had met and talked with the girls before composing her piece.

Rather than tackle the problems faced by the workers the company commenced a search for their leaders. The girls were told to sign a paper stating that what Besant had wrote was all lies. Bravely, no one signed.

The girls’ leader was dismissed. The girls demanded that management meet a deputation from them. Bryant was left amazed by their self-organisation and he reluctantly agreed -  although at the short meeting he then refused to reinstate the sacked girl, who without any work now faced the prospect of starving to death. 

1,400 girls, with just a few pence in their purses and unemployment at high levels, walked out. They had defied their employers by going on strike.

Public opinion swiftly swung behind the strikers and Annie Besant, a tireless fighter for them, led a deputation of Matchgirls to the House of Commons.

The London Trades (Union) Council that until then had largely represented skilled labour took up their case and offered to arbitrate.

Strike pay was distributed. It had been raised from the donations of thousands of sympathisers and well-wishers from all walks of life. 

The girls formed the Matchgirls’ Union and when Besant held meetings with management on 16 July 1888 it was agreed that fines, deductions for cost of materials and other unfair deductions should be abolished. From then on all future grievances could be taken straight to the management without having to involve the foremen who had prevented the management from knowing of previous complaints. Very importantly, meals were to be taken in a separate room, where the food would not be contaminated with phosphorus. 

The girls’ union was recognised and its general secretary was Annie Besant.

* The statue still stands today. Many of the Matchgirls went to the unveiling with stones and bricks concealed in their pockets and supposedly some cut their arms and let their blood trickle on the marble plinth. The outstretched hand of the statue has been daubed with red paint on several occasions as a tribute to the women. Gladstone 
now stands guard over some closed public lavatories.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Euro fight for food labelling

From Landworker magazine 

Linda McAvan, the Labour MEP spokesperson on food safety, is continuing her determined battle to improve food origin labelling after the European Commission failed to include it within a package of proposed measures designed to protect against food fraud in the wake of the horse meat scandal.

The Commission proposes slashing from 70 to five the current legislative pieces relating to the food supply chain. Tougher fines would be introduced for lawbreakers. It also wants to discuss whether to include country of origin labelling to all meat products, including processed meat products in future legislation. A new study has been ordered to help with the discussions. 

It was two years ago when Labour MEPs won the backing of the European Parliament for new European rules to improve labelling; including extending them to ensure fresh meat was labelled with the country of origin. EU Ministers however gave in to pressure from food manufacturers, who claimed this would be too difficult to implement and failed to back the changes.  

According to Linda McAvan this was a mistake as, “if Findus had been obliged to label the origin of the beef in its lasagne, my guess is that it would have paid much greater attention to its sourcing policies. Only now that the scandal has impacted on sales are large retailers having to think again about labelling where their meat comes from in an attempt to rebuild consumer confidence.”  Findus was just one of a long list of companies – including Tesco and Asda – that were caught up in the horse meat scandal earlier this year.

McAvan, whose labelling plans recently received the endorsement of Consumer watchdog WHICH, said: “Labour MEPS will carefully consider new proposals on food labelling by the Commission but we will not have closed any of the necessary loopholes until we have a commitment to label the origin of all meats, including processed meats.” 

Chopping off the Forestry Commission's links to Government

From Landworker magazine

Alongside the other forestry trade unions, Unite reps at the Forestry Commission have been raising their concerns with members and senior management in England that 10 Downing Street is moving unnecessarily quickly to sever the 94-year old connection to the non-ministerial government department. Without daring to consult with a concerned public the government is proposing changes after it considered recommendations made by the independent panel on forestry last year. 

The panel was established after huge public pressure forced a humiliating climbdown by the government in 2011 over its plans to sell 1,000 publicly owned forests covering 258,000 hectares. In its report the panel confirmed the estate should remain in public hands but proposed it should managed by a trust with a Charter that would be renewed every ten years specifying the public benefit mission and statutory duties.

The Government is proposing not to create a trust and there will be no Charter. All the changes would mean the government would play no direct role in day-to-day affairs at the Forestry Commission. The link with Parliament would be through the Secretary of State for Rural Affairs. Forestry trade unions are concerned that the Government’s new body will be more akin to a corporation that is less willing to consider its public duties. 

“As a result we are stressing to our senior management - that are due to meet Government officials - that we wish to see the current direct Government link, that was established in 1919, retained. Especially as that also means workers will remain civil servants, with opportunities to be transferred to other jobs if their current one is made redundant,” said John Stevenson, who has replaced the retiring Robert Beaney on the Unite Forestry Commission National Organising Committee.

Based in Elgin in north-east Scotland, John has worked as a nursery operative for the Forestry Commission, for 14 years. He believes, “every statistic shows there is no need for change as the Forestry Commission provides timber, brownfield regeneration and tourist and leisure facilities for a pittance. I fear the plans are a way to get rid of the Forestry Commission in the long-term by making it easier to sell forests into private ownership. Once that happens the owners will cash in when the price of timber goes up. Then they will be able to make more money by putting the land up for sale for development.

The Forestry Commission is an efficient organisation and changing its current structure will not be improve its workings. Speaking to members it is clear they feel the same and we have been urging them to say so in the consultation meetings that have been running until July 12th.” 

Unite members at the Forestry Commission can contact John Stevenson on and 07972630285/07771345730

Monday, 22 July 2013

Young disabled people are finding it difficult to access sports leisure facilities in the region.

Young disabled people are finding it difficult to access sports leisure facilities in the region.
From Big Issue in the North magazine 
A report by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s national group of 500 disabled 16-30 year-olds criticises leading gym chains for seeking to charge disabled customers full membership prices whilst failing to provide complete access, usable equipment and inclusive classes. There is also a lack of information about what the gyms can offer.
David Gale, 29, a civil servant from Carlisle, has Becker muscular dystrophy. This is a progressive muscle weakness that means he is not currently wheelchair bound. Exercise and activity are encouraged for him. On a good day the keen Carlisle United fan is able to walk the ten minutes to Brunton Park to watch his favourites; on other occasions he uses a taxi.
He said: “I have found that gym facilities are very mixed. Some have too many stairs and lack fitness equipment designed for disabled people. There are firms who manufacture such equipment so it should be easy to purchase it.
“Not many instructors appear to have experience of working with disabled people and if so they should be provided with specialist training.”
Staff attitudes are a concern for Carrie-Ann Lightley, 25, from Kendal, who has cerebral palsy. She said: “I want to do Pilates but often instructors aren’t used to dealing with individuals
with disabilities and the general attitude may not be as inviting. If staff were made more aware of the importance of offering sport to disabled people it would encourage more people to go.”
A report by the Sport and Recreation Alliance in 2012 revealed that following the Olympics only 11 per cent of sports clubs had seen an increase in the numbers of disabled people joining.
According to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign (MDC), two out of three young disabled people can’t use a gym owing to a lack of appropriate equipment, yet three out of four say better access would encourage them to participate. Eighty per cent believe there must be more active engagement from local gyms, starting with more accurate information.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Young Disabled People recently held a meeting to discuss the concerns of the MDC group of young people, known as Trailblazers. Most major leisure chains failed to send a representative, with only David Lloyd Leisure participating alongside the English Federation of Disability Sport and disabled sports charities Aspire and Interactive. MDC is hoping that firms such as Virgin Active, Fitness First, Soho Gyms and DW Sports will attend the follow-up meeting in the autumn.
Pool hoists
Virgin Active’s website states: “Everyone’s welcome. Young or old. Fit or unfit. It’s all good.”
There is though no mention of facilities or access for disabled people. The Big Issue in the North asked the company about this and whether Virgin Active has given any consideration to opening up its facilities for disabled people.
A Virgin spokesperson replied: “Thanks for highlighting the missing website information, which we are now reviewing and will be changing. The majority of our clubs offer facilities that include disabled toilets, lifts, accessible changing rooms, pool hoists and disabled fitness equipment.
“A number of disabled athletes train in our clubs and disabled members are able to bring their carers to training sessions at no extra charge.”


Published in 2001 by Wolfhound Press 
Henry Hudson

There are too few novels on work that are written by working class people. Henry Hudson was from 1969 to 1999 a worker in Dublin’s power industry. The Transport and General Workers Union member used his experiences to good effect in an amusing, occasionally hilarious, book that is based around three decades of construction worker Timmy Talbot’s life from the late 50s onwards. 

Pulditch Gates power station is a bleak place made bearable by the comaraderie amongst those who work there. Each day is a constant battle of wits between the men and management. Amongst the latter is the husband of the daughter of one of Ireland’s richest men and who in addition to having unsuccessfully tried to force himself on Talbot’s wife, Patsy, has also left her former friend pregnant and imprisoned in a convent for ‘wayward women.’ 

When a mix-up ensures Talbot and his mates end up getting permanent jobs they use their good fortune to collectively organise for better pay and conditions. But, as Ireland’s economy hits rock bottom they find themselves chucked in jail for threatening electricity supplies. The court rooms scenes in which they are sent down, their imprisonment and their release under a shoddy, compromise deal are amongst the best bits in the book and are highly amusing. 

Other scenes will also hit a chord with Irish workers who can recall the 60s and 70s when management’s ‘right to manage’ and a lack of abortion rights were challenged. Hudson’s novel thus celebrates the lives of those men and women who challenged poverty, ignorance and fear. 

Friday, 19 July 2013

John Campbell of Sunderland - English football’s first truly prolific goalscorer

By finishing as top scorer in Division One on three occasions John Campbell ranks as the first of English football’s truly prolific goal scoring merchants. It was Campbell who turned the 1890s Sunderland side into a great one deserving of the title ‘The Team of All the Talents’ with title successes in 1891-2, 1892-3 and 1894-5.  

Campbell, who stood 5’ 9” tall, had in 1889 caught the eye of one of Sunderland’s financiers during a friendly with Scottish Cup winners Renton. The Wearsiders were seeking entry to the Football League and were assembling a formidable team. High profile friendlies had drawn large crowds and when pitched in an election battle against the league’s bottom club Stoke City Sunderland obtained more votes and joined the Football League for the 1890-91 season. 

It didn’t take long for Campbell to get his name on the scoresheet, scoring in Sunderland’s opening game against Burnley, and then in the seventh game of the season he became the first Sunderland player to score a league hat-trick by putting four goals past John Sutcliffe in the Bolton away game at Pikes Lane as Sunderland recovered from going 2-0 down to win 5-2. In January 1891 he became the first Sunderland player to score a home hat-trick when his three close range finishes did for Aston Villa in a 5-1 hammering of the West Midlands side. Sunderland were to finish in a respectable seventh place. Campbell had missed just one of the 22 league games and had netted 16 times. 

There was disappointment however in the FA Cup. In the first round Sunderland squeezed past Everton, the side that went on to win the League, 1-0 before a record Newcastle Road crowd of 21,000, with Campbell scoring the winner with a thunderous shot that John Angus had no chance of preventing. 

Victories against Darwen and Nottingham Forest then set up a semi-final against Notts County. A crowd of 22,000 packed out Bramall Lane. 3-2 down Campbell produced another thunderous finish to earn a replay. Sunderland though played poorly and were to suffer a 2-0 defeat.

Sunderland started the following season at home to Wolves. The away side had taken an early lead when Campbell scored his first of the season when he powerfully headed John Murray’s free kick past Billy Rose. His second was a real beauty giving Rose no chance with a powerful drive from around 20 yards. It was enough to turn the game and in the second period Sunderland attacked strongly with Campbell’s colleague James Millar, a fine inside forward who later won the Scottish League on two occasions with Rangers, scoring a hat-trick in a 5-2 win.

Penalty kicks had only been introduced at the start of the season and on October 24th 1891 John Campbell became the first to score one for Sunderland when he stroked the ball past WBA’s Bob Roberts in a match that was won 4-0 and in which he scored three times. 

Darwen were struggling at the bottom of the league when they arrived at Newcastle Road on December 12th 1891. Sensing an opportunity the home side pressed from the kick off. Campbell’s two helped Sunderland record a 7-0 victory that cut the gap on leaders Bolton to five points.   When victory at Everton on Christmas Day followed, Campbell getting the second, it was clear the Wearsiders were now title contenders. 

The following day Sunderland played Wolves away. The Molineux side had only lost once at home, and with Sunderland’s reputation growing there was a healthy 12,000 crowd present. The away side had a fine afternoon, and when news of their 3-1 victory was received back on Wearside there was ‘jubilation as this match was regarded by many as a particularly hard fixture and the result was most satisfying.’ Newcastle Daily Chronicle. 

Sunderland were now just two points behind leaders Bolton and despite Campbell’s absence through injury when the sides met it was Sunderland who won 4-1. Against new league leaders Preston North End Campbell scored in a game that despite a heavy snowstorm attracted the season’s biggest gate so far of 12,000. Another 4-1 home victory was the fans’ reward for having risked the elements.

Aston Villa had put Sunderland out of the FA Cup but travelled north after losing to near neighbours WBA in the final. Another 12,000 crowd packed out Newcastle Road to witness a cracking encounter and when the Villa centre forward Jack Devey equalised in the 85th minute it seemed Sunderland might be denied top spot. However, three minutes later John Hannah struck a famous winner that had the ‘crowd going wild. When the final whistle blew Sunderland had snatched a famous victory and were sitting proudly at the top of the league.’ (Newcastle Daily Chronicle) 

April 2nd 1892 was therefore a big day for a club playing only its second league season. Victory at home to Stoke would set up manager Tom Watson’s side for the title. Campbell was clearly determined to start the match quickly. On two minutes he ‘got possession to spin round and bang in a lightning shot that that flew past Rowley’s despairing dive to put Sunderland one up.’ His second on the stroke of full-time confirmed the home side’s superiority in a 4-1 win that meant they could afford to lose two of their remaining four fixtures and still win the League Championship.  

At home to Blackburn Rovers, Campbell was in fine form, hitting the opener with a  powerful drive on eight minutes. It was the first of his four as Sunderland virtually confirmed the title in a 6-1 demolition. Three more followed in a 7-1 victory at Darwen before the season was completed when Sunderland won 2-1 at Turf Moor, Campbell scoring once. Champions Sunderland had scored 93 times in 26 matches with Campbell striking 32, three ahead of Villa’s Jack Devey. 

1892-93 season 

Sunderland were favourites to make it two in a row when the 1892-93 season got under way with a six-nil hammering of Accrington. Campbell opened the scoring and added another two by the end. The Scotsman was also first on the score sheet the following weekend in a 2-2 home draw with Notts County. 

Having hit six in their first away game Sunderland repeated the feat in the second at Aston Villa. Again Campbell was in fine form scoring his side’s second on five minutes. It came in the following fashion - ‘The game had hardly been restarted when J.Campbell got possession and cleverly beat Cowan to lash in a hotshot that left Dunning helpless.’ [Newcastle Daily Chronicle] He added a second as Sunderland won 6-1. 

Campbell was now playing the best football of his career, two more followed against Blackburn Rovers including a twenty yard ‘hot-shot’ that flew past the famous ‘keeper Herbie Arthur. When he then scored against Stoke City the following weekend it meant he’d put the ball into the net in all five Sunderland games so far to record nine goals. Absent from the scorers list at Everton, Campbell then took the opportunity to grab six in the next two home games including a hat-trick in what was then Sunderland’s record league victory, 8-1 against WBA.  

Away to Sheffield Wednesday Sunderland took the lead when 
‘Campbell got possession just over the halfway line and set off for the Wednesday goal. As he closed the range he unleashed a surprise snapshot that flew past Allan to open the scoring.’ Despite the advantage Sunderland faded and lost their first game of the season 3-2. Campbell had now scored fifteen times in nine games. By early December his total was up to twenty. 

Newton Heath, the league’s new boys, had remarkably beaten Wolves 10-0 but were struggling at the bottom. Nevertheless the draw of watching Sunderland was enough to attract a record crowd of 15,000 to Heath’s North Road ground on March 4th 1892. The away side did not disappoint them and after Campbell swept home the opening two in the 24th and 25th minutes Sunderland continued their search for goals winning 5-0 by the end with the Sunderland centre-forward running off with another hat-trick to his name. When he then notched another double in the following match at home to Derby County his overall total had risen to 29. 

It became 31 when bottom club Newton Heath made the return journey. It would have needed a miracle for Preston North End to overtake Sunderland at the top. Ten points behind and with five games remaining the Lancashire side also needed Sunderland to lose their remaining three games. There was never any chance of that happening especially once John Hannah swept the ball home on eleven minutes. A 6-0 home win confirmed the Championship would be returning to Wearside. Campbell got two, his second a ‘grand shot’ just before the end of the game

The result gave Sunderland a chance of becoming the first side ever to score a hundred league goals in a season and after drawing 1-1 away at Derby they did just this by winning 3-2 at Turf Moor with John Harvey grabbing the final and 100th league goal of the season. Of which John Campbell had scored nearly a third at 31 league goals. 

Hopes of a third successive title were to remain unfulfilled in 1893-94. Sunderland started the season poorly and in the seventh game suffered a 7-1 defeat away to Everton. 

A 6-0 success at home against Wolves raised supporters hopes, and with Campbell missing through injury it was Millar who did the damage with a hat-trick. Both men were on the score-sheet on New Year’s Day when the largest league crowd of the season, 12,000, saw a marvellous match that ended with Preston beaten 6-3 with Campbell scoring two blistering goals. 

Sunderland were to go on and finish the season in second place with Aston Villa six points out in front. Campbell, with 18 goals, found himself outscored by Millar who notched 

Sunderland began the 1894-95 season with a bang. With Campbell scoring three times Sunderland stormed to their then record victory, 8-0, against Derby County. In the third game of the season Sunderland travelled to face the champions Aston Villa. One down they were brought back into the game when ‘Campbell caught Cowan and Elliott completely by surprise when he suddenly checked back and drove a magnificent low shot past Wilkes from 20 yards for an equaliser.’ Although the goal was against the home side it was warmly applauded by the sporting home crowd. It was enough to help Sunderland win the game 2-1, an important marker for the season to come. 

When Sunderland went on to beat WBA 3-0, with Campbell opening the scoring, the Wearsiders had begun the season with maximum points from four games. By the time Campbell grabbed his seventh  league goal of the season Sunderland were on fifteen points from eighteen and racing towards their third title in four seasons. His eighth in a 4-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers came as follows: - Moments later Campbell tried a shot from 20 yards that struck Somerville. Catching it on the rebound Campbell let fly with a shot that flew well out of Sutcliffe’s reach and high into the net to put Sunderland 3-0 up. (Chronicle) 

Against Liverpool Campbell spun on a loose ball in a 3-2 home victory that helped ensure Sunderland had 20 from a possible 24 points. Amazingly when Sunderland then won the next game 7-1 at home to Small Heath Campbell was absent from the scorers. It didn’t take him long in the following game, scoring in the first minute as Sunderland beat Blackburn Rovers 3-2. 

Sunderland’s early season form was, however on the wane and after beating WBA on Boxing Day the following four games yielded just three points. Campbell failed to score in these games and his name was also absent from the list of scorers at home to Nottingham Forest on January 5th as the game entered the final quarter of an hour with the away side 2-1 to the good. Defeat and Villa would go top. 

But cometh the hour then cometh the man when ‘out of the blue Sunderland grabbed an equaliser. Scott and Hannah swept upfield and passed to Campbell who was almost 30 yards out. He let fly with an absolute beauty that flew straight as an arrow into the top corner of the net to level the scores after 75 minutes.” (Newcastle Journal)

It was clearly his best goal of the season and definitely his most important as a revived Sunderland then journeyed to Molineux to beat Wolves 4-1 with guess who grabbing a couple? Two more followed at the Victoria Ground, Stoke in a 5-2 victory. The first was a darting 60-yard run that left defenders trailing behind him before a fine finish beat Clawley. 

Sunderland were at the top of the table as they looked forward to the start of the 1895 FA Cup. Playing Fairfield at home was new territory, but the unknowns from Manchester proved no threat and were hammered 11-1, a victory that remains Sunderland’s record victory to this day. Campbell failed to score! 

He was though on the scoresheet as Sheffield United were beaten 2-0. He then scored Sunderland’s second in an important 3-1 win over the Wednesday that established a four-point gap at the top of the table. Sheffield United though showed there was still work to do when they thrashed Sunderland 4-0 at Bramall Lane.

Two weekends later, after suffering a disappointing FA Cup semi-final defeat to Aston Villa, Sunderland faced a tricky fixture at Olive Grove. And when Alec Brady equalised for Wednesday just after half time the away side were looking for inspiration. It came from John Harvey who making space found Campbell on 54 minutes who smartly drove the ball home to ensure a 2-1 success. 

Two days later Sunderland were faced with another difficult encounter, away at Anfield against Liverpool. Campbell opened the scoring and Sunderland squeezed to a 3-2 victory in what all the papers agreed afterwards had been a brilliant match enjoyed in particular by away fans who’d journeyed to the game on a train special.  

Still with Everton refusing to concede the title Sunderland faced a third tricky away match on April 13th 1895, this time at Turf Moor. Backed by a travelling following numbering a total of three Sunderland gave each of them a goal to cheer. Campbell didn’t score but it meant that when the away side ran off the title was as good as theirs as Everton were four points behind. With the teams set to play each other the following weekend Sunderland knew that even a draw would end the contest. 

Such was the clamour to watch the match that far too many people were allowed into the Newcastle Road ground which was packed beyond its agreed 18,000 capacity with the gate later given as 20,000.

With Sunderland determined to finish the season in style Everton had done well to stay with them at 1-1 when with just ten minutes left ‘Campbell got possession near the halfway line beat Holt cleverly and set off towards the Everton goal. As Arridge and Kelso dashed across to try to check his run Campbell steadied himself and then let fly with a tremendous shot from 15 yards. Hillman seemed to be taken by surprise, was late with his dive and the ball flew past his left hand and crashed into the net to restore Sunderland's lead. It was a great goal even by Campbell’s standards and the crowd roared their approval.’ (Journal)

Campbell had scored the winning goal to clinch the title, Sunderland’s third in four seasons in which he had personally triumphed by finishing as the league’s top scorer - again! 

The 1895-96 season witnessed a decline in the ‘team of all talents’ and Campbell struggled at its start, taking eight games to score his first goal. His, and Sunderland’s best game of the season was against West Brom in January when he, and Millar, with three cracking shots, both scored hat-tricks in a 7-1 hammering of the Baggies. A late season finish saw Campbell end the season with 15 goals and the only player to finish in double figures.

The 1896-97 season was to be Campbell’s last at Sunderland. He and the side struggled. Manager Tom Watson had moved on to manage Liverpool and in his place came Robert Campbell, John’s brother. It wasn’t until the ninth game that a league game was won, whilst it wasn’t until the twelfth match before Campbell got on the scoresheet in a 2-1 defeat away to Nottingham Forest. After sixteen matches it was his only goal. Crowds had collapsed and there were only 3,000 for the December home game against the [Sheffield] Wednesday. It finished 0-0 and John missed a host of opportunities. On Boxing Day a new signing for Airdrie, Hugh Morgan, was selected to play against Everton at centre-forward with Campbell moved to inside left. 

In early January Campbell was left out of the side to face Aston Villa, who were to finish as League and FA Cup winners at the end of the season. It proved to be Sunderland’s finest performance of a troubled season with Morgan hitting a final minute goal in a 4-2 victory that thrilled a large crowd of 12,000. When Campbell returned to the side it was at inside right and after scoring against Stoke in a 4-1 home success he struck Sunderland’s equalising goal in a 1-1 draw at home to Burnley. 

It was a result that virtually ensured that the Turf Moor side would occupy one of the bottom two places in the league. The question was would Sunderland accompany them into the test matches [playoffs] against the top two from Division Two to see who would play in Division One in the following season. 

Morgan struck the winner against West Brom but a 2-2 draw at home to Nottingham Forest really needed to be turned into victory. Campbell scored his final goal for Sunderland away to Bury in a 1-1 draw but by finishing fifteenth Sunderland were pitched for the first time in to the test matches. 

After losing one and drawing two matches things looked bleak. Campbell had played without scoring at centre-forward but for the final match at home to Newton Heath he was asked to play wide on the left. Lying bottom of the table Sunderland won 2-0 and when news came through that Notts County had beaten Burnley survival was ensured - but only just!. 

“With the news that Notts County had won 1-0 at Burnley there was great rejoicing on Wearside with the realisation that Sunderland had preserved their 1st division status. Burnley were relegated to be replaced by 2nd division champions Notts County and Newton Heath remained in the 2nd division.’ The Journal newspaper. 

Campbell signed for Newcastle United in May 1897 and helped the Magpies to win promotion the following season. Campbell remains the fifth highest goalscorer in Sunderland’s history with 150 goals in just 215 appearances. He was just 36 when he died in June 1906. Surprisingly Campbell never received international recognition for Scotland.