TOP 5 FA COMMUNITY SHIELD MATCHES
English football fans now perceive the FA Community Shield as the annual curtain raiser to the upcoming season, with the reigning champions of England playing the winners of the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium. However, the origins of the fixture originated from a annual match played for the “Sheriff of London Charity Shield”, pitting the best amateur side in England against the previous seasons’ FA Cup or League champions. On all but one occasion, the amateur team chosen were, of course, the Corinthians, who allowed themselves to break their club rule - to never play for trophies - due to the charitable nature of the game.
True to the Corinthian ethos, all proceeds from the game would be distributed across multiple charities and hospitals, until its disbandment in 1907 when the fixture was altered to become something more representative of what the match is today.
Liverpool FC posing with the Sheriff of London Shield after their 1906 victory over Corinthian FC
Due to the rise and rise of professionalism in football today, the now named FA Community Shield is competed between the English Premier League winners, as well as the FA Cup winners, as a traditional opener to the new season. The match continues to raise funds for grassroots football, in an attempt to promote and support the amateur game – it’s yet another nod to the past and the continuing influence of Corinthian FC on the modern game.
Here are some of the best Community and Charity shield matches that have taken place:
1, Manchester United 8-4 Swindon Town (1911)
League champions in 1911, Manchester United looked to claim their 2nd of their record 20 shields, while in the process take part in the highest scoring encounter in the fixtures history. It should also be remembered that Harold Halse scored six times, setting a United scoring record that wouldn’t be equalled until George Best got his own double hat trick in 1970 against Northampton. The proceeds from this year’s game were donated to the survivors of the Titanic, which sunk in April 1912.
2, Everton 5-3 Newcastle (1932)
After legendary 45 goal tally in the domestic season for Everton’s Dixie Dean, a Charity Shield fixture against Newcastle was sure to be a goal fest. The crowd were treated to possibly one of the most dominant performances by a single player, as Dean continued where he left off in the league campaign, scoring 4 goals on the day after Newcastle took an early lead. With 349 goals in 399 games for the Toffees, it was a matter of how many, rather than if Dean was going to score - and so it proved as Everton ran out eventual winners of the shield.
3, Manchester 3-3 Tottenham (1967)
Arguably the most memorable match in Charity shield history, this 1967 game was filled with star players and performances. The game was a collection of two of the finest sets of players in English football, producing 6 goals, and revealed signs of what was to come later that season - when United ended the campaign lifting their first European cup. Although a Bobby Charlton 30 yard goal sent the Old Trafford crowd into a frenzy, it was Spurs keeper, Pat Jennings, who stole the headlines. After a United attack, the goalkeeper punted the ball down wind, catching Alex Stepney off guard in the opposing net and forcing the stadium into silence as the Tottenham goalkeeper celebrated a rare goal!
4, Leeds 4-3 Liverpool (1992)
After winning the final league trophy before it’s rebranding in 1992, Leeds faced a struggling Liverpool team who'd managed to salvage their season by winning the FA Cup. With a young Eric Cantona still amidst their ranks, Leeds came away as the winners after a back and forth encounter which was won by an Eric Cantona hat trick, just months before moving to rivals, Manchester United. For a friendly fixture, this match showed the new level of professionalism in the modern game, and can be seen as bringing in a new era, a bench marker to the Premier League we watch today.
5, Manchester United 4-0 Newcastle (1996)
After an extremely close title race in the 1995-96 season, Newcastle looked to seek revenge against title champions Manchester United, after losing a 12 point lead in the final few weeks of the season. On the back of an incredible Euro 96 campaig, Newcastle had brought and were unveiling the legendary striker Alan Shearer for a world record fee of £15 million to help them finally overcome united. However the highly anticipated clash resulted in United coming out as convincing winners. With memorable finishes by David Beckham and Eric Cantona, the Red Devils laid down their mark, as they looked to follow up on a successful league campaign - and continued an ear of dominance for the decade that followed.