Thursday, September 10, 2009

10 September 1960 - Not Quite Ready For Prime Time

On 10 September 1960, fledgling British station ITV carried the first live broadcast of a regular Football League fixture, a match between Blackpool and Bolton Wanderers. The match, played at Blackpool's Bloomfield Road ground, was intended to be the start of a regular series of televised games.

It echoed the famous 1953 FA Cup Final, which Blackpool won over Bolton by the score of 4-3. But by 1960, both clubs were in decline. Nor did it help that Bolton's star forward Stanley Matthews was absent due to injury.

In the event, Bolton won 1-0 in what most observers considered a bleak display. Ratings were so poor that ITV scrapped its plans for televised football. In fact, it delivered such a blow that the next live broadcast of a Football League fixture came over 23 years later, on 2 October 1983.

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